Sunday, December 31, 2017

Spontaneous Remission

Can it really be that 1% to 2% of all cancers, in all stages, spontaneously remiss?

A spontaneous remission of cancer is the sudden disappearance of a cancer, and all it's signs, symptoms, and markers, without any medical intervention ― and it happens― why?

Scratch head....

Spontaneous Remission

Most of the unexpected remission survivors I have 
studied are thrilled to have finally found a 
professional who is interested in learning how 
they healed. They often lament, “My doctor 
didn’t even ask how I did it.”

We’ve all heard a story like this one. After trying 
all that Western medicine has to offer, a person 
with Stage 4 cancer is told there is nothing more 
the doctors can do and is sent home to receive 
hospice care. Five years later, that person strolls 
into the doctor’s office feeling great, with no 
further evidence of cancer.

In the medical world, this kind of case is referred 
to as a spontaneous remission, which is defined as 
“the disappearance, complete or incomplete, of 
cancer without medical treatment or with 
medical treatment that is considered inadequate 
to produce the resulting disappearance of disease 
symptoms or tumor.” Many researchers, including 
myself, believe that the word spontaneous is a 
misnomer and should be changed to unexpected 
or unlikely. We feel this way because few things 
in life are truly spontaneous—occurring purely 
by accident. It is more likely that these remissions 
have a cause—or two or three—that science has 
not yet identified.

Regardless of what we call them, unexpected 
remissions do occur, and more than one thousand 
cases (across all types of cancer) have been 
published in medical journals. Thousands more 
have most likely occurred but not been published, 
because most doctors don’t take the time to 
write up a report and submit it to a journal—
which unfortunately is currently the only way of 
tracking these kinds of cases. Based on what has 
been published, unexpected remissions are 
estimated to occur in one out of every sixty 
thousand to one hundred thousand cancer 
patients; however, the true incidence rate is 
likely higher than that due to underreporting.

Over the past century, there has been a steady 
flow of published case reports along with
flashes of increased interest in this topic. For 
example, in the 1960s, the first two scientific 
books on unexpected remission were published, 
which led to a sharp increase in the number of 
case reports submitted to medical journals. After 
awhile, however, interest in the topic lulled again 
until the late 1980s when the Institute of Noetic
Sciences (IONS) launched the Spontaneous 
Remission Project, which culminated in the
publication of a comprehensive bibliography of 
documented cases. Since then, approximately 
twenty new cases of unexpected remission are 
published each year, and there still has been a 
noticeable lack of formal research into why 
these remissions might occur.

It’s understandable, in a way. How do you begin 
to research something you cannot explain? Many 
conventional doctors feel threatened by these 
“miraculous” cures and don’t wish to talk about 
them—much less research them—for fear that 
they will give “false hope” to their other patients. 
In fact, most of the unexpected remission 
survivors I have studied are thrilled to have 
finally found a professional who is interested in 
learning how they healed. They often lament, 
“My doctor didn’t even ask how I did it.”

The Present Research
Perhaps because I am a qualitative researcher and 
not a medical doctor, I have always been 
fascinated by cases of unexpected remission. 
When I began studying them during my doctoral 
studies at the University of California at Berkeley
, I was disappointed to see how little research 
had been done on this topic. The first problem I 
saw was that there was no database where I could 
easily find and analyze these cases. The second 
issue I noticed was that two groups of people had 
been largely ignored in the research: the survivors 
themselves as well as non-allopathic healers. It 
seemed odd that in an effort to explain 
unexpected remissions, we weren’t asking the 
opinions of the people who had actually healed. I 
also couldn’t understand why, when trying to 
explain a remission that is by definition not a 
result of allopathic treatment, we weren’t 
seeking out hypotheses from non-allopathic healers. 

As a result, my dissertation research involved 
collecting hypotheses from these two previously 
ignored groups about why unexpected remissions 
may occur. More specifically, I spent ten months 
traveling the world in search of fifty non-
allopathic cancer healers. My research led me to 
interview healers in the United States, China, 
Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, India, England, 
Ireland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil
(translators were used when necessary). When I 
returned from this amazing trip, I found twenty 
unpublished cases of unexpected remission and 
conducted phone interviews with the survivors. I 
purposely sought out unpublished cases first, in 
order to see if the underreporting issues were true
—which they were. I am grateful to the American 
Cancer Society for providing partial funding for 
this study.

My seventy hour-long interviews resulted in more 
than three thousand pages of transcripts, which I 
analyzed multiple times to find recurring themes. 
I identified more than seventy-five “treatments” 
for cancer, six of which were “very frequent” 
among all seventy subjects. Underlying beliefs 
about cancer also emerged from the interviews, 
of which three were very frequent. I am happy to 
share these results here in an abbreviated form. 
Please remember that these are hypotheses only, 
not facts.

Belief #1: Change the Conditions under 
which Cancer Thrives

The majority of my interviewees believed that 
cancer thrives under certain, sub-optimal 
conditions in the body-mind-spirit system and 
that to remove cancer, those underlying 
conditions must change. Healer #21 from Hawaii 
explained it this way:

The most successful recoveries seem to be 
strongly associated with major mental, 
emotional, or physical behavioural changes 
among the people with the illness. What is 
major for one person, of course, may not be 
the same for another . . . I know of one 
success where a woman left her family, took 
up a different religion, changed her clothing and 
diet, and moved to a different country. Maybe 
she needed all of those changes or maybe not, 
but overall it worked for her. I know of another 
person, a man, who simply stopped trying to 
outdo his father, and that worked for him.

Belief #2: Illness = Blockage/Slowness; Health =

The majority of my interviewees also believed 
that any illness—including cancer—represents a 
blockage or slowness somewhere in the body-mind
-spirit system, whereas health occurs when there 
is a state of unhindered movement or flow.

Healer #1 explained his theory of “bypasses,” 
which he described as psychological defence 
mechanisms that function to create a bypass 
around an energetic block. He said that this 
energetic block can be located at either the 
spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical level and 
that these bypasses become solidified over time. 
In his opinion, true healing only occurs when a 
person (1) stops bypassing and (2) releases the 
original blockage.

Belief #3: A Body-Mind-Spirit Interaction 
Exists, and Energy Permeates All Three Levels

The third belief that the majority of my 
interviewees discussed was the idea that a body-
mind-spirit interaction exists and that energy 
permeates all three of these levels. According to 
Healer #35, an American-born, Peruvian-trained 

You have to have mind, body, and spirit healing 
. . . Most of us who live in our physical 
bodies, we don’t even know about 
spiritual or emotional bodies. So we 
have to connect with all three of 
them. But you see, in the mountains 
of the Andes, [the Andean people] are already connected.

In addition to these three underlying beliefs about 
health, there were also six treatments that the 
cancer survivors and healers discussed most 
frequently. These included physical as well as 
emotional, energetic, and spiritual “treatments.” 
They are listed below in alphabetical order.

Changing One’s Diet

The majority of my interviewees believed it was 
important to change their diet to primarily whole 
vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans, while 
eliminating meat, sugar, dairy, and refined 
grains. Unexpected Survivor #16, who overcame 
liver cancer without conventional medical 
treatment, explains the major changes he made 
in his diet:

[I healed] by just going on a basic, good, 
predominantly raw, vegan diet alone and 
supplementing it with lots of juices, 
like carrot juice, which of course is 
packed with nutrients. And the 
reason why the juices are so
important is we have depleted basically all of 
our produce . . . That’s the reason for using 
juices as a supplement . . . All of a 
sudden the body says, Wow! 
It’s like watering the lawn when it’s dry.

Experiencing a Deepening of Spirituality

The majority of my interviewees also discussed 
feeling—not just believing but actually feeling
—an internal sensation of divine, loving energy. 
Some even had transcendent experiences, such 
as Unexpected Survivor #4, who healed from a 
Stage 3 lung cancer without conventional 
medical treatment:

It was a ten-day, silent retreat, where you couldn’t speak, you couldn’t acknowledge other people in the room, and you just meditated for like fourteen hours a day. And I had this experience that I can’t explain. It was like all of a sudden there was a flash, and in my eyes I could see rivers of energy swirling around and at the same time felt that same thing through every cell of my body. And there’s a word for it, but I forget what the teacher said it was—but he explained that, “You felt your soul. 
You felt your true essence.” And I said, “Did I feel God?” And he kind of smiled and said, “Some people may call it that.”

Feeling Love/Joy/Happiness

The majority of my interviewees also discussed 
the importance of increasing love and happiness 
in their life in order to help regain their health.

Unexpected Survivor #5, who overcame a rare 
lymphoma without conventional medical 
treatment said that the energy/spiritual healer 
that he saw flooded his lymph system with 
energy and that after the treatment he felt like 
“a teenager in love.” He felt love toward 
everyone and everything. He said the treatment 
made him realize that if he could only find a 
way to feel that level of unconditional love all of 
the time, then he would be healed from his cancer.

Releasing Repressed Emotions

Because many of my interviewees believed that 
illness represents a state of blockage, they there-
fore believed that it was healthy to release any 
emotions they had been holding onto, such as 
fear, anger, and grief. Unexpected Survivor #19, 
who overcame pancreatic cancer without 
conventional medical treatment, explains her 
insight into this process:

I believe that the energy stuck in my body that appeared to be a mass or a tumor, and which [my physicians] called cancer, had been caused by these patterns that I was describing to you that don’t get released, that are continually overlaid, over and over and over, wherever they are. So if it’s kidney cancer, it’s probably excessive fears; if it’s lung cancer, it’s grief of some sort that hasn’t been resolved. I mean, I think they can be very much tracked back to patterns, thought patterns, thought forms that are not
releasing, and therefore they hold in the cell memory are not being released.

Taking Herbs or Vitamins

Many of my interviewees also took various forms 
of supplements, with the belief that they would 
help to detoxify their body or boost their immune 
system or both. Here is how Unexpected Survivor 
#8, who overcame Stage 3 colon cancer, 
described it:

Dr. Turner: Of all the things you just told me about, what do you think was the most influential for your healing, or are they all pretty equal for you?

Unexpected Survivor #8: I would say, for my body, that would be the Wholly Immune [supplement] that I got . . . It has like about fifty different things in it . . . [A friend]researched it and said, “In that Wholly Immune, you’ve got seven cancer fighters. If you were taking them on their own, it wouldn’t be as potent.” He said that because they’re in combination, it acts as a cancer destroyer.

Using Intuition to Help Make Treatment Decisions

Finally, many of my interviewees talked about the 
importance of using intuition to help make 
treatment-related decisions. For example, 
Unexpected Survivor #7, who overcame recurrent 
metastatic breast cancer after conventional 
medicine had failed to work, described how a 
healer’s intuition matched her own:

[The Tibetan healer] took his finger and with a pinpoint accuracy touched every spot on my body where I had had cancer, or where I had cancer presently. It was amazing! He could see what scans couldn’t see. I had predicted my cancer four times. I had led [my doctors] to it with a pinpoint of accuracy before the scans could even pick up the collection of cells. 

[The Tibetan healer] could do what I could do with my own body.

In addition to the six “treatments” listed above, 
which were common among both the healers and 
the unexpected survivors, there were additional 
treatments that were more frequent in one group 
than the other. For example, the following three 
themes were very frequent among the twenty 
unexpected survivors, but less so among the 

Taking Control of Health Decisions

The vast majority of the unexpected survivors 
discussed taking a more active role in health 
decision-making, as opposed to passively 
accepting whatever their doctors told them. 
Unexpected Survivor #9, who overcame recurrent 
metastatic breast cancer after conventional 
medicine had failed to work, describes it this way:

Once the panic and fear had subsided after the breast cancer returned for the fifth time, I felt as certain as I ever had been that the only person who could save me was the scientist within . . . For five years, I had done everything my doctors had advised and undergone all the treatments that they had prescribed . . . [This time] I decided that instead I would look at breast cancer in a detached way, as a natural scientist, and try to understand the disease as a type of natural phenomenon.

Having a Strong Will to Live

The vast majority of the unexpected survivors 
demonstrated a strong will to live. Unexpected 
Survivor #15, who overcame Stage 3 breast 
cancer without conventional medicine, 
demonstrates this willfulness:

The doctor said to me, “After you get this surgery done and have the chemo and radiation, we can give you five more years to live.” And I though, I want to live more than five years! So, when the doctor said that, I got mad . . . So I kind of went out with an attitude of this isn’t going to beat me. I’m going to do this.

Receiving Social Support

Finally, the vast majority of unexpected survivors 
in this study described receiving positive social 
support during their cancer experience. 
Unexpected Survivor #13 describes the outpouring 
of love that she received:

One of the things I truly learned [when I had cancer] is that I am valued . . . I was able to share the reality of my experience, and people resonated with that and just stepped in to do whatever was needed. It was a huge validation of the universe and that all life is valued. I wasn’t valued because I’m me, my person necessarily, but because my life has value.

All life has value, and that includes mine . . . It’s a wonderful consequence of this disease, the outpouring of love. Well, maybe it’s the purpose.

There were two themes that occurred more 
frequently among the healers than the 
unexpected survivors: (1) healing, infusing, 
or unblocking energy and (2) strengthening or 
activating the immune system. You can read 
more about these, as well as further analysis of 
all themes, in my full dissertation.

Future Directions

The results from this qualitative study provide 
some hypotheses as to why unexpected remission 
may occur. What is needed now is for researchers 
to study these hypotheses in clinical trials that 
can test first for safety, then for feasibility, and 
finally for causality. In addition, there is an 
immediate need for a central database of 
unexpected remission case reports, ideally one 
that is online.

I am currently working on creating such a 
database and website, with the hope that 
survivors, doctors, and healers will be able to 
quickly submit their case reports so that 
researchers like myself can verify and analyze 
them. Eventually, this de-identified (anonymous) 
database will also be searchable by the public, 
serving not only as a portal for researchers but 
also as a source of inspiration for cancer patients 
who are currently battling the disease.

In closing, I would like to say that studying 
anomalies such as unexpected remissions is
neither easy, nor uncontroversial, nor 
immediately fruitful. However, I firmly believe
that such research can lead us to a new paradigm 
of scientific understanding, and that by rigorously 
investigating unexpected remissions—as opposed 
to simply ignoring them—we can make 
significant advances in the war on cancer.

HIV+ Baby Cured! Medical
Breakthrough, Miracle, Or Proof
Of Self-Healing?

By Lissa
Thursday, March 7th, 2013

to continue click here

When I first read the Spontaneous Remission Project

"When I first read the Spontaneous Remission 
Project, which consists of over 3500 case studies 
in the medical literature of patients who have 
been cured from seemingly “incurable” illnesses, 
either without medical treatment or with 
treatment deemed inadequate for cure. These 
case studies, written up by doctors as 
unexplainable cases, offer a scientific peek into 
the mystery of medicine, the awe of medicine, 
and the possibility of what some might call 
(though most doctors wouldn’t dare) “miracles.”

Many of these case studies include the stories of patients who were cured from supposedly terminal
cancers- Stage 4 cancers that disappeared. When I read these case studies, the million dollar 
question that popped into my curious mind was 
“Are these flukesーor did these patients do 
something proactive to cure themselves?”

Dr. Kelly Turner, a PhD who trained at Harvard 
and UC Berkeley, had the same question, so I 
tracked her down to interview her from my book 
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You 
Can Heal Yourself. For her PhD thesis, Dr. 
Turner traveled the world studying people who 
experienced what she calls “unexpected 
remissions” from Stage 4 cancer. She prefers the 
term “unexpected remission” to “spontaneous 
remission” because the word “spontaneous” 
implies that it just happened, that it was some
sort of lucky accident, and that the patient 
wasn’t involved in the cure. In addition to 
interviewing the patients in order to find out 
what they did to get well, Dr. Turner interviewed 
their healers, usually unconventional healers, 
since many of these patients had chosen to refuse 
Western medical treatment.

What Dr. Turner found is that these unexpected 
remission weren’t accidents. The common thread
between all of these patients stories was 6 
proactive health behaviors they credit with their 
cancer cures.

1. Change your diet.

The majority of Dr. Turner’s interviewees 
credited diet change as a powerful tool for 
self-healing. Most recommended eating a diet 
consisting primarily of whole vegetables, 
fruits, grains, and beans, while eliminating meat, 
sugar, dairy, and refined grains. When your 
body’s innate self-repair mechanisms are over-
taxed with cleaning up toxins from a poor diet, 
it’s hard for them to go about the business of 
fighting cancer. But when your diet is pristine, 
your natural self-repair mechanisms can do what 
they know how to doㅡkill cancer cells and try to 
return the body to homeostasis. For great
examples of how to fight cancer with a vegan, 
largely raw, chemical-free, anti-inflammatory 
diet, check out Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet and 
Crazy Sexy Kitchen.

2. Deepen your spirituality.

Many of Dr. Turner’s interviewees discussed 
feeling an internal sensation of divine, loving 
energy of a spiritual nature. One study showed 
that engaging in spiritual community by 
attending religious services can extend your life 
by up to 14 years, so it’s unsurprising that 
connecting with the Divineㅡ whether within 
yourself or in spiritual community with others 
who share your faithㅡwould activate your 
body’s self-repair mechanisms so your body 
can heal itself.

3. Feeling love/joy/happiness.

Many of those Dr. Turner interviewed credited 
their cancer cure with increasing love and 
happiness in their lives. Studies show that happy 
people live up to 10 years longer than unhappy 
people and optimists have a 77% lower risk of 
heart disease when compared to pessimists, most 
likely because feelings of joy, love, connection, 
optimism, and happiness flip off harmful stress 
responses and activate healing relaxation 
responses in the body, filling the body with 
healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, 
nitric oxide, and endorphins which bathe every 
cell in the bodyㅡincluding the cancer cellsㅡ
and activate the body’s natural cancer-fighting 

4. Releasing repressed emotions.

Many of Dr. Turner’s interviewees believed that it 
was healing from them to release any negative
emotions they had been harboring, such as fear, 
anger, grief, or resentment. We know that 
repressed emotions, whether they exist in the 
conscious or subconscious mind, act as triggers to 
the amygdala in your limbic brain, since the 
amygdala inaccurately perceives these negative 
thoughts as a threat to your safety. Every time 
you feel fear, anger, grief, resentment, 
loneliness, pessimism, depression, or anxiety, 
these negative thoughts activate the “fight-or-
flight” stress response that fills the body with 
poisonous stress hormones and deactivates the 
body’s natural healing processes. Dealing with 
your negative emotions in healthy waysㅡvia 
psychotherapy, somatic work, EFT, the Hoffman 
Process, or any number of other modalities, can 
calm your amygdala, return your nervous system 
to its homeostatic relaxed state, and boost your 
body’s self-repair mechanisms.

5. Taking herbs or vitamins.

Dr. Turner’s interviewees took various forms of 
herbs, vitamins, and supplements- there wasn’t 
any one magic supplement that beat out the rest- 
with the belief that they would help to detoxify 
the body and/or boost the immune system. 
Whether these herbs, vitamins, and supplements 
actually helped cure the cancerㅡor whether they 
effectively helped flip on the body’s natural self-
repair via the placebo effectㅡhas yet to be 
determined. And it shouldn’t matter. We know 
that 18-80% of the time, patients taking sugar 
pills with no inactive ingredients get betterㅡ
because they believe they are getting the real 
treatment. In other words, if you believe some 
herb, tea, tonic, vitamin, or nutritional 
supplement holds the key to your cure, by all 
means, take it.

6. Using intuition to help make treatment decisions.

Those who Dr. Turner interviewed talked about 
the importance of following their intuition with 
regard to treatment-related decisions, which 
makes sense physiologically. When rats with a 
certain type of cancer are exposed to shocks, 
studies show that the rats who learn to escape 
the shocks die of cancer 30% of the time, 
compared to a 73% death rate when the rats 
become passive and just lay down and accept 
their fate.

In other words, your body is your business. 
Whether or not you’re pursuing conventional 
cancer treatment or trying alternatives like the 
people in Dr. Turner’s study, you can’t just hand 
the fate of your body over to someone else the 
way you would hand your car over to a doctor. 
You know your body better than any doctor does, 
and following your intuition (Step 3 in the 6 
Steps To Healing Yourself that I teach in Mind 
Over Medicine) is key when it comes to fighting 
any illness, especially cancer. If you or someone 
you love has cancer, the very act of taking charge 
of your health not only ensures that you get the 
best care; it also gives you a survival advantage 
and makes it more likely that you will become 
one of the medical miracles.

Remember, these healthy behaviors aren’t just 
about helping you experience an unexpected 
remission. They’re about prevention. After all, 
this is your LIFE we’re talking about."

How to Tap into Your Self-Healing Superpowers

How to Tap into Your Self-Healing

You practice medicine. You don’t give it or deliver it.

Published on May 22, 2012 by Lissa Rankin, M.D. in Owning Pink

As I described in my personal health journey, I 
was once a doctor suffering from a wide array of 
health conditions before I finally woke up to the 
fact that the root causes of my illnesses were 
more emotional than biochemical, and that the 
only way I was going to get well was to treat the 
emotional, psychological, and spiritual sickness 
that was manifesting as physical symptoms in 
my body.

After leaving medicine to spend time healing 
myself, my body was responding to the treatment 
the wise, knowing part of me I call my Inner Pilot 
Light prescribed, but at what price? We were 
running out of money, I still had no plan, and ever 
since I left my job, something deep and important 
was missing from my life. I realized that you can 
quit your job but you can’t quit your calling. I had 
been called to medicine at a very young age, the 
way some are called to the priesthood.

Medicine is a spiritual practice—you practice medicine. You don’t give it or deliver it. You practice it, like you practice yoga or meditation, like you’ll never fully master it. Medicine is about love, about God. Doctors are here to be vessels for Divine love, to use our hands to touch the spirits that live in human bodies. I have been a healer since I was 7 years old, and as my body grew stronger and my heart healed, my soul yearned to get back to my life’s work. I finally realized I had to go back, even though it took me two more years to find my way back to medicine in a way that wouldn’t make me sick.

I wound up working at an integrative medicine center in Marin County, California, where our patients were the most health-conscious people I’ve ever had the pleasure to treat. These people were the proverbial choir. They drank their green juice every day, they had personal trainers, they slept eight hours a night, they took 20 supplements, and they spent a fortune on their health care. They did everything “right,” but they were sicker than ever.

I was baffled. Nothing they taught me in medical school prepared me to take care of patients like these.

So I started asking my patients “What does your body need in order to heal?”

At first, I thought they’d give me treatment intuition, things like “I think I’ll try the 5-HTP supplement instead of the Prozac” or “I think I’ll try changing my diet instead of taking that pill”—and sometimes that’s what they’d say. But more often than not, they answered me with:

 I need to leave my husband.
 I need to quit my job.
 I need to move to Santa Fe.
 I need to put my mother in a nursing home.

When my patients listened to their intuition and had the guts to follow through on what they
prescribed for themselves, seemingly incurable diseases sometimes disappeared.

I was in awe. These patients weren’t responding to conventional medical treatment. They were healing themselves in ways I couldn’t explain. That’s when I discovered a database compiled
by the Institute of the Noetic Sciences, which is called the Spontaneous Remission Project. This database compiled more than 3,500 case reports from the medical literature of patients 
with seemingly incurable diseases that got better 
ㅡ stage 4 cancers that disappeared, HIV + 
patients that became HIVㅡ, people with diabetes 
or high blood pressure or thyroid disease whose 
disease went away, even a patient with a gunshot 
wound to the head who refused treatment and got 

Call these miracles or call them inspiring examples of self-healing. I was riveted.

That’s when I got really curious about exactly 
what makes a person healthy, and what 
predisposes them to illness. To find my answers, 
I dug deep into the scientific literature.

What I discovered blew me away. The research proves—without a doubt—that without even being intentional about it, you can heal yourself of about 18-75% of them. We call it the placebo 
effect, when patients in clinical trials are given 
sugar pills or even fake surgery, and the simple 
belief that they are getting the real treatment 
results in cure.

But from my own experience, I suspected that the ability to heal yourself goes deeper than some sugar pill. So I dug deeper into the medical literature, and what I discovered is that for the 
body to be healthy, you need to be healthy in all 
aspects of your life:

You need:

And of course, not to be completely ignored (biochemistry does still matter!) YOU NEED TO CARE FOR THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF YOUR BODY with diet, exercise, sleep, addiction avoidance, and the traditional “healthy” behaviors.

These expanded categories of what makes a person healthy and whole are now the categories I blog about at, the website I founded where people in need of healing - and those who serve them ㅡ learn how to become healthier in all aspects of life.

What I learned through my exploration into the scientific data led me to write my next book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013). What I learned led
me to create a new wellness model, inspired by the image of cairns, those balanced stacked stones you see marking beaches and sacred landmarks.

I’m a professional artist, so I love the sculpture of cairns, but what I especially love about cairns is that they are all interdependent on each other. If one stone in the cairn is out of balance, the 
whole thing topples over, with the stone on top 
usually being the first to fall.

That’s how I think of the body. The body is the 
most precarious, the most fragile, the most 
susceptible to imbalances in the rest of your life.

As I described in a popular TEDx talk, the Whole Health Cairn is built upon the firm foundation of your Inner Pilot Light, with all the facets of what makes you whole and healthy balanced upon 
it in a way that is deeply true for you. Wrapped 
around the Whole Health Cairn is the Healing 
Bubble of Love, Pleasure, Gratitude, and Service, 
which help balance all the stones in the cairn.

The Whole Health Cairn is both a diagnostic tool and a tool for guiding treatment. You can use it to assess your life and diagnose the root cause of your illness, so you can write The Prescription for
yourself the way I did. 

When you think about your health in this way, you’ll realize that health is primarily an inside job. The Prescription for living a wholly healthy life must come from you. Nobody can diagnose the real reason you’re sick or prescribe exactly the right treatment better than you.

I’m not suggesting that your illness doesn’t have a biochemical component. But I am suggesting that
illness is rarely purely biochemical, and as such, purely biochemical treatment rarely leads to cure
when emotional, psychological, and spiritual factors that contribute to illness are left untreated.

What Can You Do To Optimize Your Health?

What’s out of balance in your Whole Health Cairn? 
What might be contributing to any physical 
symptoms you experience? What is your body 
trying to tell you?

Try inviting your body to write you a letter. (Dear 
You, Love, your headache). Write back. Have a 
conversation. What does your body want you to know?

Pay attention when your body speaks in whispers. Please darling, don’t wait until your body starts to yell.

Listening to whispers,


• Sense of meaning
• Focus on greater good
• Ease of effort
• Connection with various levels of consciousness
• Actions


• Integrated Body-Mind-Spirit
• Restored wholeness
• Health
• Vitality

The Shocking Truth About Your Health

by Lissa Rankin (Transcript)

What’s the most important part of your health? What do you think? Is it eating a balanced, mostly plant-based diet, balancing your hormones, daily exercise, getting enough sleep –

What do you guys think? Taking your vitamins, seeing your doctor for regular check ups?

These things might all seem like important, even critical, factors to living a healthy life, but what if I told you that caring for your body was the least important part of your health? What do you think?

I’m a physician, so if you’d told me that five years ago, that would have been total sacrilege. I mean, I spent 12 years training, because the body is supposed to be the foundation for everything in life. But what if I told you that the medical profession had it all backwards, if the body doesn’t shape how we live our lives?

What if the body is actually a mirror of how we live our lives? Think about it for a minute. Think about a time in your life where you weren’t living the life you were supposed to be living. Maybe you were in the wrong relationship; or you were in some hostile work environment doing what you thought you should do; or you were creatively thwarted, you felt spiritually disconnected.

And what if you started getting little inklings from the body, little physical symptoms? You know, the body’s trying to tell you something and you ignore it, because you’re supposed to do what you’re doing. And then the body totally decompensates. Can you think about a time in your life where something like that has happened? Yeah, I see a lot of noddings.

Yeah, me too. Same thing happened to me. So this is what the body does, the body is brilliant this way, the body speaks to us in whispers. And if we ignore the whispers of the body, the body starts to yell. Millions of people in this country are ignoring the whispers of the body. We are suffering from an epidemic that modern medicine has no idea what to do with. People suffering from this epidemic are fatigued, they’re anxious and depressed, they toss and turn at night, they’ve lost their libido.

They suffer from a whole variety of aches and pains, so they go to the doctor, because something is wrong. And the doctor runs a whole battery of tests, and the tests all come back normal, so the patient gets diagnosed as “well”. Only the patient does not feel well. So she goes to another doctor and she starts the whole process over again, because something is clearly wrong. And it is wrong, it’s just not what she thinks.

I used to work in a really busy managed care practice, I was seeing 40 patients a day. And I would get so freaking frustrated with these patients. They would come in and it was so obvious they were really suffering. And I’d run the tests, everything would come back normal, I’d diagnose them well, and they’d look at me like: No, I’m not well, something’s wrong.

And I felt so frustrated because I couldn’t come up with a diagnosis. And they just wanted, please God, give me a pill. And there was no pill, there’s no pill to treat it, there’s no lab test to diagnose this epidemic, there’s no vaccine to prevent it, no surgery to cut it out. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I was suffering from the same epidemic my patients were.

By the time I was 33 years old, I was your typical physician. I had succeeded in everything I ever wanted to achieve in my life, I thought. I had all the trappings of success, the ocean front house in San Diego, the vacation home, the boat, the big fat retirement account, so I could be happy one day in the future. I was twice divorced by that point. I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was taking three medications that failed to control my blood pressure and I had just been diagnosed with precancerous cells of my cervix that needed surgery. Even more importantly I was so disconnected from who I was, so totally disillusioned with my job, so completely spiritually tapped out, that I didn’t even know who I was any more.

I’d covered myself up with a whole series of masks. I had the doctor mask, like when you put on the white coat, stand up on a pedestal, pretend you got it all together, you know it all. And I am also a professional artist, so I had the artist mask, where you’ve got to be, you know, dark and brooding, mysterious — starving, that wasn’t me either.

And then I had gotten married a third time, you know, third time is a charm. So now I’ve got this dutiful wife mask I’ve got to wear, where I’ve got to get dinner on the table and make sure that I’ve got the right sexy lingerie on. And then I got pregnant and all of sudden there’s this huge mummy mask you’re supposed to wear, right? You guys know the mummy mask. You’re supposed to instantly inherit the gene that makes you capable of baking the perfect cupcake. That’s where I was, wearing all those masks, when my perfect storm hit.

And at this point in my life, it was January 2006, and I gave birth to my daughter by C-section, my sixteen-year-old dog died, my healthy young brother wound up in full-blown liver failure from the antibiotic Zithromax, and my beloved father passed away from a brain tumor, all in two weeks. I had just started to take a breath, when my husband, who was the stay home for my newborn, cut two fingers off his left hand with the table saw.

Yeah — They say when your life falls apart, you either grow, or you grow a tumor. Fortunately for me I decided to grow, there was something in me. SARK called it my “Inner Wise Self”, which I call your inner pilot light. It said, “It’s time to take the masks off. It’s time to stop the madness. It’s time to stop doing what you should, and start doing what you feel.”

And in that moment I knew I had to quit my job. Now, this was a huge deal, right? I spent 12 years training to be a doctor and hundreds of thousands of dollars and we had all the trappings, you know, the house, the mortgage, all the doctor stuff, right? My husband was not employed and I had a newborn. I also had to pay a malpractice tail to buy my freedom, a six-figure malpractice tail, in case I ever got sued in the future. So I decided to do it, and God bless my husband, who said let’s jump together. And I quit my job and I had to sell my house and liquidate my retirement account and move to the country; and I spent a few months painting and writing and licking my wounds.

It wasn’t until about nine months later, everybody was like — nine months! I’m an OB/GYN! Nine months later I realized you can quit your job but you can’t quit your calling. And I had been called at a very young age, I was seven years old, to the service, the practice, the spiritual practice of medicine; and that calling hadn’t gone away. I had gotten so wounded by the system that I didn’t even notice it anymore; but it came back after I had rested and healed after a little while.

But I knew I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t be seeing 40 patients a day, 7,5 minutes with my patients, that wasn’t why I went to medical school. So it began this quest, that turned into an almost five-year quest now, to rediscover what I loved about medicine. So that also meant I had to figure out what I hated about medicine. So I started by blaming everybody: it was the ambulance chasing malpractice attorneys; it’s big pharma; it’s managed care medicine; it’s the insurance company’s fault.

Then I thought, oh no, it’s the reductionist medical system, we’re so, so sub-specialized, you know? I’m an OB/GYN, so I was seeing these patients that had pelvic problems. But I knew that there was something bigger than the pelvis that was causing their issues. But I hadn’t been trained to really look at that. So I thought that’s the problem, like you go to your doctor, your pinky finger hurts and he says, “I’m sorry, I’m a thumb doctor.”

Nobody’s looking at the whole picture. So I thought integrative medicine was the answer. And so I joined an integrative medicine practice, and it was so much better; I got a whole hour with my patients. I really got to listen to my patients, we didn’t accept managed care medical insurance, so it was really so much better. And then I still kept bumping up against something though, because now if you came in and you were depressed we were giving you herbs and amino acids instead of Prozac.

If you had other physical symptoms — but it was still this allopathic model, where the answer was outside of you, and I had to give you something that you could take. So I thought maybe that’s not the problem, maybe I need to look outside of that and find new tools for my healing toolbox.

So I started working with all these complementary and alternative health care providers, whom I love, acupuncturists, naturopaths and nutritionists. And I started treating my patients with needles in their energy meridians and raw foods, and that was great.

But I kept bumping up against the same thing: patients would get better from one symptom and if we didn’t treat the root cause of why they had that physical symptom in first place, they just wound up getting a new symptom. So at this point I was both really frustrated and really curious, and I started down this path of trying to figure out what really makes a body healthy, and what really makes us sick.

And I dug into the medical literature and spent a year researching all of the randomized controlled clinical trials out there. And I decided this is it, I’m going to figure it out, I’m going to find the answer. And I spent hours in the library, researching, reading, studying.

What I found blew my frigging mind, stuff nobody ever taught me in medical school. All the things we think of as health, all the things we think matter, they do. It matters that you exercise, it matters that you eat well, it matters that you see the doctor. But nobody taught me that what really matters is healthy relationships, having a healthy professional life, expressing yourself creatively, being spiritually connected, having a healthy sex life, being healthy financially, living in a healthy environment, being mentally healthy, and of course all the things we traditionally associate with health, also matter, all the things that nurture the body. The data on this is unbelievable. Lots of it is not in the traditional journals that you read, that doctors read, a lot of it’s in the psychological literature, the sociological literature.

But if you look deep, this is in The New England Journal of Medicine, it’s in The Journal of the American Medical Association, it’s coming out of Harvard and Yale and Johns Hopkins. This is real data proving that these things are just as important, if not more. I have this patient, she’s a raw vegan, she runs marathons, she takes 20 supplements a day, she sleeps eight hours a night, she does everything her doctor tells her, she’s got a chart this fat, and she’s still got multiple health problems.

So she had heard about my philosophy I had started practicing with my patients, and I have an intake form that’s about 20 pages long and it asks about all those things, relationships, work life, spiritual life, creative life, sex life, all of these things that make you whole.

So she came and she filled out her form and she said, “Doctor, what’s my diagnosis?” And I said, “Honey, your diagnosis is you’re in a freaking abusive marriage. You hate your job, you feel creatively thwarted, you’re spiritually disconnected, and you haven’t let go of that resentment you have against your father who molested you as a child. Your body is never going to get well until you heal that.”

So if taking care of the body isn’t the most important part of being healthy, what is? It’s caring for the mind, caring for the heart, caring for the soul, tapping into what I call your inner pilot light. Now your pilot light is that part of you, that essence, that authentic, deep, true part of you, that spiritual, divine spark that always knows what’s right for you. You’re born with it, it goes with you when you die, and it always knows the truth about you and your body.

It comes to you and whispers; it’s your intuition; it’s that beautiful part of you that is your biggest fan; the part that writes you love letters. And that is the biggest healer you can tap into, better than any medicine, better than any doctor. So based on everything that I learned, I developed a new wellness model. And it was based, not on the pie charts and pyramids that many of the wellness models I had studied were based on. I based it on the cairn.

Have you guys seen these things around San Francisco? These stacks of balanced stones, I love them, I’ve always loved them. I’m an artist, so it appeals to me visually. But I love the interdependence. Every stone is dependent on the other; you can’t just pull one stone out without the whole thing crumbling. And the stone that’s most precarious is the one on top. That’s the body, that’s where I think of the body. The body is the stone on top. When any of the facets of what makes you whole get out of balance, the body is the first to start whispering, and the foundation stone is your inner pilot light, that true essence of you, that vulnerable, transparent part of you.

So based on that, I created this model, that I call the whole health cairn. And this is what my next book is about.

And it’s taking all of the facets of what makes you whole; it’s about self-healing from the core, and once you recognize this, then you have all the tools you need to start your own healing journey. So all of the facets of what makes you whole are surrounded by what I call the healing bubble. This is love and gratitude and pleasure. And science proves that all of those things are good for your health as well; they are the glue that hold everything together.

So I challenge you. If you have any physical symptom, if you’re suffering from the epidemic that plagues the developed world, I want you to ask yourself, “What’s the real reason I’m sick or suffering, what’s out of balance in my whole health cairn?” What’s the real diagnosis and what can you do about it? How can you be more transparent? How can you open yourself up to more possibility? How can you be more honest with yourself about what you need and who you are?

If any of you were lucky enough to see Brene Brown’s awesome TEDTalk about the power of vulnerability — I feel a lot of nodding heads, I love it — it’s so fabulous, but it talks about the science behind being true, being vulnerable, being transparent. It generates love and intimacy which increases oxytocin and endorphins, and reduces harmful stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin.

When we let our true self be seen, when we let our inner pilot light radiate, we heal from the inside out and it’s more powerful than anything medicine can give you from the outside. So I challenge you to write the prescription for yourself. No doctor can do this for you. We can give you drugs, we can give you surgery, and sometimes you need that, that’s the jump-start of the self-healing process.

But to heal to the core, so that you don’t develop new symptoms, so you don’t need another surgery — you got to write your own prescription.

So I ask you, “What is it that you need, what does your body need to get healthy? What is it that you need to change, What needs to be tweaked in your life?”

If you knew that stripping off all of your masks and letting us see that beautiful light within you, was the solution to your health problems, would you be willing to do it? I dare you. It just might make your body right for miracles.

Thank you.

Lissa Rankin, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine, The Fear Cure, and The Anatomy of a Calling is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and mystic. Passionate about what makes people optimally healthy and what predisposes them to illness, she is on a mission to merge science and spirituality in a way that not only facilitates the health of the individual, but also uplifts the health of the collective. Bridging between seemingly disparate worlds, Lissa is a connector, collaborator, curator, and amplifier, broadcasting not only her unique visionary ideas, but also those of cutting edge visionaries she discerns and trusts, especially in the field of her latest research into “Sacred Medicine.” Lissa has starred in two National Public Television specials and also leads workshops, both online and at retreat centers like Esalen and Kripalu. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her daughter.