Saturday, December 21, 2013
Mind Over Medicine
Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself
By Lissa Rankin, M.D.
Published by Hay House Inc, May 2013
Dr Rankin, along with the overwhelming majority of doctors trained in the Western world, was taught at medical school that surgery and mainstream medications mediated via medical professionals cured illnesses, period. Pretty much everything else was dismissed as woo-woo.
Her own stress-filled life as an Ob/Gyn coincided with a period of deteriorating personal health and she left medicine altogether for a while to pursue a less stressful and more contemplative lifestyle. Medicine never quite left her, though, and gradually she became drawn to researching and studying how the mind can positively or negatively affect one's health quite dramatically, and this immensely readable book is the result of her work in this field
Surprisingly, there is quite a body of medical literature and research about spontaneous remissions/ unexplained cures/miracle cures if one knows where to look. Dr Rankin draws together a seemingly disparate collection of sources and weaves the complex scientific information into a mind-bogglingly yet coherent narrative which covers the medical documentation of miracle cures at Lourdes, the placebo and nocebo effects noted in medical trials and the ability of positive belief and trust to cure carefully documented and proven medical conditions under certain circumstances.
This is **not** one of the self-help books which tries to convince the reader that if only you believe fervently enough, you will be cured of anything and everything under the sun; Dr Rankin has no desire to place that sort of guilt-trip burden on anyone with a serious illness. She does, however, want to make people aware that what they think about themselves, their illness and the doctors who care for them can have a definite effect on the curative process and the efficacy of medications used in specific illnesses.
The way news is broken and the language used by doctors when giving diagnoses and outlining treatments is also crucial and sometimes, too much information really is a bad thing - it is possible to produce adverse side-effects of medications even when patients in trials have only been given utterly inert substances.
A remarkable book, and a long overdue one.