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Natalie: Today on the show I'm speaking with Lissa Rankin. She's talking about her amazing new book Mind Over Medicine. It's absolutely fantastic. So, stay tuned.
Natalie: Hi! I'm Natalie Ledwell and this is The Inspiration Show and today my special guest is Lissa Rankin. Hi, Lissa, how are you?
Lissa: Hi, Natalie.
Natalie: I should just say Dr. Lissa Rankin, right?
Lissa: Oh, you know, no. Even my patients don't call me doctor.
Natalie: Oh, okay.
Lissa: But yes, I am a physician.
Natalie: Now, Lissa has actually written an amazing book that I wanted to tell you about called Mind Over Medicine. Now, we might start with your background cause this is what we traditionally do with the show but then we really need to get into this book because it is an unusual book for traditional medical doctor to write.
Lissa: I know my father would roll over on his grave.
Lissa: My dad was a physician.
Natalie: You're father was a doctor as well. Yeah. So, let's start a little bit about your background and your story.
Lissa: So, I was raised by a physician. I was trained in sort of the ivory towers of medicine and very conventional. I was definitely raised to things that there was you know, this whole crystals in your feet, new age, woo woo. You can hear yourself thing was a bunch of bullarchy.
Lissa: So, and that was really my mentality for 12 years of medical education and 8 years of practice. And I wind up leaving conventional medicine in 2007 because I was so disgusted with the way the system has become. It was just so broken. I knew there was something wrong with it but I didn't know really what it was. And I ran into some alternative health care providers and again I was trained to think acupuncturers, reiki providers like homey apathy, whatever.
Lissa: And these people didn't seem like quacks and in fact they're patients were getting great results and they were wonderful people and they were much happier than most of the doctors that I knew. So, I got really curious and I started researching, you know what was going on with some of these people and really it started; I wind up taking a job at an integrated medicine practice. And I started noticing that my patients, this was in Marine County in the bay area and it's like the perevrial choir.
Lissa: I mean my patients there were the healthiest people you've ever met, right? "Healthiest".
Lissa: In that they're you know, they had the raw vegan diet and they're meditating everyday and they've got you know, they've got their personal trainers and they're sleeping 8 hours a night and taking their vitamins and spending a fortune on health care. They still had a lot of health problems. So, I was really curious about that, I had worked in the inner city of Chicago before and it made sense to me why those people were sick.
Lissa: But it wasn't making a whole lot of sense to me why the people in Marine were still, you know where the laundry list of health problems taking you know, handfuls of pills.
Lissa: So, I started asking my patients there cause they'd come to me with charts this stat and they've seen everybody at stand for the new CSF. And I started asking them, "What is your body need in order to heal?" And the stuff they started telling me was not what I was expecting. They started saying things like "I need to leave my marriage."
Natalie: Wooah, okay.
Lissa: "I need to you know get out of my sole second job. I need to finally go to art school." So, I started saying, "Well, you've just written your own prescription, why do it." And they're like "Well, I can't do that."
Lissa: I'm like "Great! Do you wanna stay sick?"
Lissa: So, some of my patients got really brave and they started actually doing these things and I was watching them one after the other have these spontaneous permissions. So, I got really curious, I started looking into you know the medical literature about what is this whole spontaneous remission thing.
Lissa: And is it true? Is it possible? And if so, is there any way we can harness that? So, that's when I discovered the spontaneous remission project which is a data base that was put together by the Institute of Noetic Sciences and they have over 35 hundred case studies in the medical literature of people who had you know spontaneous remissions from seemingly you know "incurable" illnesses.
Lissa: So, there's everything in there, like if you think there's an incurable illness, I swear go online and look this up. Everything from HIV positive, people that became HIV negative, to stage 4 cancers, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, auto immune disease they're all in there. So, I started wondering like is it just a fluke? Are these people just getting lucky?
Lissa: Or they're doing something. Is there some way that we can harness this? So, you know I was really curious after sort of looking into a lot of the mind body medicine literature that's been written out there by pioneers like Dr. Bernie Siegel and Larry Dacy, Rachel Naomi Remen and I was really looking for proof. There wasn't you know, I was still craving, I have that skeptics mind.
Natalie: Cause you still have your doctors logical mind.
Natalie: It's like "Okay, I need to see the proof of it." Yeah.
Lissa: Right. So, they're saying the mind can heal the body and I'm thinking, "I don't know my loves where. You know really, like it was, I was very skeptical." So, I started digging into the literature and what I realized is that the medical establishment has been proving that the mind can heal the body for over 50 years; we call it the placebo effect.
Lissa: Right. And it's this thorn in the side of modern medicine; we kinda don't know what to do with it, it gets in the way of bringing new drugs and new surgeries to trial because basically evidence based medicine has said, "If it's not better than placebo, it doesn't work."
Lissa: Right. So, I started digging in all the data around placebo effect and it just blew my mind what I found. That you know 18 to 80 % of people who are taking a placebo are getting a fake surgery or getting better. Just because of this combination of kind of positive belief and the nurturing care of somebody in a white coat who we've given a lot of authority.
Lissa: And so, you know the data around the placebo effect is amazing. It's not just that you think yourself better, it's in your physiology like all source are healing when you look at them on endoscopy, colons are less inflamed, bronchi are dilating. In the road game trials like bald men were growing hair when they were taking placebo. So, it's really happening in the physiology of the body.
Lissa: But I started wondering, you know is it only people in clinical trials that can experience this or are there other ways that we can enjoy the benefits of what's happening to the people that are taking placebos and can we bring them into our own lives.
Natalie: Right. So, with the book, I mean you, I know that you have a lot of proof in here.
Natalie: So, is the book basically based on proof or do you have some, did you discover a way that people can actually now use their mind rather than you know, cause I know that a lot of people, we put our trust in other like doctors. Like there's something wrong with us, we don't know what it is; we can't put a finger on it so, we're looking for someone outside of us to tell us, "Well, it's gonna be this and this pill will help you." So, I mean obviously, we put a lot of trust in doctors. So, have you come up with the way that we can actually go, "Okay, well, this is how I can use my mind to heal whatever it is that is ailing me."
Lissa: Yes. It's a short answer.
Natalie: Yeah. Good.
Lissa: You know its funny cause when my literary agent Michelle Martin read this book; she was the first person to read it and she said, "Lissa, I swear to God before I read this book I thought my body was none of my business."
Lissa: And I think that's so true. We do that. We hand our power over and then we expect that the solution lies outside of us and sometimes it does.
Lissa: I mean there been amazing strives in modern medicine. My husband cut two fingers off his left hand with a table saw. There's no amount of you know positive thinking in the mind that was gonna put those two fingers back on.
Lissa: So, I still think there's ways in which you know modern medicine can really help us but especially for those people that have chronic illnesses, modern medicine just isn't hackin' it. You know you're taken the drugs, you've tried the surgery, it isn't working, you still have pain, you still have symptoms. That's where this you know the techniques that I'm teaching in this book can really come in handy.
Lissa: So, the book is sort of broken into three parts. The 1st past is all about the affect of positive belief and nurturing care, sort of the data around the placebo effect and its opposite, the no cebo effect which means that when you think that something's gonna harm your body, it does.
Lissa: It's just as powerful if not more powerful than the placebo effect. And that section also talks about the role of the health care provider cause to say that you can heal yourself is sort of a miss no more when you look at the scientific data, it shows that the role of having a healer, somebody that's facilitating the body's ability to heal itself, it's really important.
Lissa: So, it's the body doing it to itself like the body has these natural, innate self healing mechanisms.
Lissa: But when I'm here with you and I'm touching you and I'm tending you and you feel loved and nurtured then, it actually activates those self repair mechanisms more.
Lissa: So, you can heal yourself with help, you know.
Natalie: Right. Of course!
Natalie: But that's the thing cause you go, "Okay, well, I've got all this proof that people can you know cure themselves of cancer and leukemia and a whole bunch of other things where would I even start?
Natalie: You know how would I do that?
Lissa: Right. Well, the 1st section is all about kind of mostly people who are in clinical trials and then the 2nd section is about people who are not.
Lissa: So, you and me what can we do if we're not in a clinical trial and we wanna start activating those self repair mechanisms.
Lissa: And one of the things I found the most fascinating is that we have those self repair mechanisms but they only work when our nervous system is relax. So, we kind of have these two states of being of our nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system which is the fighter flight and then the parasympathetic nervous system which is kind of our natural homiest stases and we're supposed to be in the parasympathetic almost all the time.
Lissa: And fighter flight is supposed to be reserved for like there's a cave there coming and your life is in danger.
Lissa: But these days we have on average, we have 50 to a 100 stress responses per day in modern times and whenever you body's in stress response those self repair mechanisms get flipped off.
Lissa: So, the key is to change that ray share, to decrease the number of stress responses and increase the number of relaxation responses and that's what we think is making the placebo effect work.
Lissa: It's turning off your stress responses and turning on your relaxation responses. So, the whole 2nd half of the book is about ways that you can do that so, there's a whole chapter for example, on the effects of loneliness on health.
Natalie: Oh, okay.
Lissa: Which is probably much more important than whether not you smoke or how good your diet is or whether not you exercise.
Lissa: And most people don't know that. When was the last time your doctor prescribed, alleviate loneliness and you're gonna you know cut your wrist of heart disease in half.
Lissa: Cause that's what the data shows.
Lissa: Or convert from pessimism to optimism and add 10 years to your life.
Lissa: So, it's all about these different ways that we can do that and some really, really practical ways that you can initiate these relaxation responses in your body.
Lissa: Cause its easier in many ways to add relaxation responses than to subtract stress responses.
Natalie: Right. Okay. That makes sense. Yeah.
Lissa: You know, I mean most of us are reluctant to like deal with our toxic relationships or get out of our sole second jobs.
Natalie: Right. Yes.
Lissa: But it's pretty easy to say, "Well, play with animals."
Lissa: "Laugh more. Be more optimistic. Have sex more often."
Natalie: Take a walk in nature. Do something where you can relief you know, get away from that.
Lissa: Start a meditation practice to yoga, get massages. These are all ways, it doesn't undo the stress response but it sort of adds the benefit of the relaxation responses, better if you can do both.
Natalie: Yeah. And with some of those practices you can actually reduce the stress you know that you feel in those stressful situations anyway.
Lissa: You can learn how to be in your sole second job and like find your own…
Lissa: That's right. Yeah.
Natalie: So, have you had any other feedback from other doctors about your book?
Lissa: You know it's interesting that you asked me now cause I just finished this weekend. I just started a training program, a 9 month training program for a group of 16 doctors in what I'm calling The Whole Health Medicine Institute.
Lissa: And Dr. Martha Beck and I just did a 4 day heal the healers workshop with these doctors and they're amazing.
Lissa: So, they are the choir. I mean there's gonna be I suspect some push back from people that are more firmly kind of in the establishment because this book really for me when I was researching this, it was really freaking me out because it calls into question a lot of what I was thought.
Lissa: You know.
Natalie: Of course. Yeah.
Lissa: It's really shifting the belief system for me and I had to get my brain around that even though there was so much data like it's incontrovertible. I mean I really wrote this for the skeptics. I wrote this as if I'm on it, witness stand you know in a courtroom, in front of a jury of my peers and I'm saying, "Okay, argue with that."
Lissa: "Show me that that's not true." I mean it's irrefutable.
Natalie: I know. It's actually fantastic that a doctor has written this book. You know because it actually, I'm sure that you've been able to put the information in a way that makes it even hard for the most hard and skeptic to refuse.
Lissa: Well, my dad. My dad who died 7 years ago was always the doctor in the back of my mind. You know I'd write something and then I'd hear my dad you know, "Really? Really?" I'm like "Alright, dad. I'll prove it. Let me get three more citations for you, you know."
Natalie: Yeah. Excellent!
Lissa: So, by the end of the 3rd section of the book is all about the six steps to healing yourself. So, it's very practical. It's how to get to the root cause of what might be causing your illness.
Lissa: You know it's not so many times, we think it's like genetics or just plain bad luck, when really we have power, there's often. You know I did an art project. I'm also a professional artist and I did an art project called The Woman Inside Project where I cast the torsos of over 20 women with breast cancer and it was amazing because I interviewed them and I told their stories and I made these sculptures that then had their stories like kind of a first person narrate of the beauty that I saw within these women. And almost every one of them said, "Breast cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me." And when we started talking about it, it was because it helped them identify what might have led them to be pre-disposed the breast cancer. Cause again, you know we make cancer cells every day.
Lissa: Our bodies know how to fight cancer. It's when our bodies get weak.
Lissa: And our immune systems are weakened and our self repair mechanisms aren't working well that cancer starts to take over and I'm not in any way blaming people for their illness.
Lissa: Like that's the last thing you need when you're fighting cancer, when you got a life threatening illness or even if you've just got a nuisance illness like reflex.
Lissa: The last thing you need is somebody saying, "You're causing this."
Natalie: Yeah. Yeah. This is all your fault.
Lissa: You're brain isn't thinking the right things.
Natalie: Yeah. Exactly!
Lissa: No, no, no. I mean that just triggers more stress responses.
Lissa: I mean even if you're a smoker and you get lung cancer, there's no place for blame, shame, guilt in anybody's healing journey. But what I am saying is that your actually had some power.
Lissa: That there are things that you can do to optimize your body's self repair mechanisms, to make your body right for miracles and then whatever happens after that it sort of, that's when it goes into the realm of the spiritual.
Lissa: You know, I can't prove to anybody that if you do the six steps in my book that you're gonna be cured but I can promise that you'll be healed.
Lissa: And to me there's a difference, you know the definition of to cure is the absence of disease.
Lissa: But the definition of to heal is to become whole.
Natalie: Yeah. Absolutely! Lissa, you've been amazing. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Lissa: Thank you.
Natalie: And we're borrowing someone else's studio in case you had noticed. If people wanna find out about the book and about you and where they can connect with you, where can we send them?
Lissa: So, come to lissarankin.com, l-i-s-s-a-r-a-n-k-i-n.com and I write a blog there that's all about mind, body, medicine and passionate prescriptions for living and loving fearlessly.
Lissa: And people can get the 10 Secrets to Healing Yourself, free eBook there as well.
Natalie: Wonderful! I know that you are had been getting all this success from your blogs.
Lissa: Oh, I love blogs.
Natalie: So, thanks again. Yeah. Now guys, I encourage you to share this video and the information in it and you can do that by clicking the Facebook and the Twitter share buttons above. And if you haven't done so already, make sure that you put your email on the box above there because I would love to send you my Manifesting with the Masters Video E-Course. Includes masters like Bob Proctor, John Assaraf and Joe Vitale. It's actually valued $87 but you get it for free but you have to put your email on the box above there to get that. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.