Owning Pink

Redefining women's health: for heart, mind, body, and spirit

The Healing Power Of Loving Practitioners

Bedside Manner Matters

In the rousing conversation that ensued on my blog post Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, massage therapist/energy healer Fred Krazeise (whose amazing work I have experienced myself) posted this comment:

How Fred Facilitates Self-Healing

I can share two short stories from my own practice. One client, Melissa (not her real name), was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Over the course of a year, I worked with her by introducing bodywork, energy work (Reiki and Cranial Sacral), as well as meditation into her daily routine. She responded to the work we did together almost immediately. In fact, after her second session, her sister called me on the phone and asked, "what did you do to my sister?" Not sure how to respond, I asked, "what do you mean?" And she replied by saying that her sister was no longer experiencing the highs and lows that had plagued her for most of her life.

Another client, Tara (also not her real name) came to me suffering from acute fibromyalgia. She was taking large amounts of pain medication and this impacted her performance at work as well as in her family life. Over the course of about 15 months, we introduced regular bodywork and massage, meditation, yoga and other exercise, as well as introducing foods that reduced inflammation. In the end, she was able to completely wean herself off of medication.

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I think there are two things that happened here.

  1. Coaching. I worked with each of these clients in a coaching capacity and helped them put together what I call their personal "life cocktail;" the ingredients of bodywork, diet, exercise and so on. Together we found the combination of things that helped them manage their pain and promote healing and wellness.
  2. Choice. Each client wanted to change. In our first session together, each of these women said to me, "I no longer want to live this way." And I think the power of making that decision had a profound impact on their own healing. As you mention in your post, their illness or condition no longer served them and they made a powerful choice to get better.

I do not know if their healing had anything to do with the things we worked on together in the year or so that I saw each of these women. But, I can be certain that these women got better because they made a choice that they no longer wanted to live life the way in which they had been living it. The recognized the power of their own choice and acted upon it.

I've had many other similar experiences with clients over the course of my practice and I've seen transformational change occur in many of them. But, there is nothing that I can do, if the client / patient does not exercise the force of their own will to bring about their own healing. Personal choice is indeed, very powerful.

The Power Of The Practitioner

In my response back to Fred, I wrote:

I totally agree that the power of choice is critical. Once a person draws the proverbial line in the sand and decides to get well, any number of psychological, physiological, neurological, and spiritual mechanisms get activated, making the body and mind ripe for miracles.

But having been the lucky recipient of your healing work, I also suspect these women may have made that choice because of YOU.

As practitioners, we can't make someone activate their own self-healing superpowers. But I do believe we can facilitate the choice. My belief in my patients, your belief in yours - becomes the mirror through which the patient can see that miracles do happen. In fact, as I’m learning in the research for my upcoming book Mind Over Medicine, many studies show that when docs believe a patient can be cured, they're statistically more likely to be cured than if the doc is pessimistic.

So yes, they did the heavy lifting themselves. But you held the sacred space, brought love, which really is the best medicine, helped them write The Prescription (the "life cocktail") and acted as their cheerleader.

When patients have that, anything is possible.

Bedside Manner Matters

In one study designed to evaluate postoperative pain at Massachusetts General Hospital, patients were randomized to one of two groups. One group met the doctor the night before surgery.  A cheerful, optimistic anesthesiologist who radiated patience, held their hand, assured them everything would be fine, and prepared them for exactly what to expect with their post-operative pain management did their pre-op check.

The other unfortunate patients (poor babies!) were attended by a grumpy, rushed, unsympathetic anesthesiologist who didn’t give them the time of day. (It was actually the same anesthesiologist in both settings, though he was instructed to behave differently with the two groups.)

Those who got the optimistic anesthesiologist required only half the amount of painkilling medication and were discharged an average of 2.6 days earlier.

Reclaiming The Role Of The Healer

Modern medicine seems to think healing is something a practitioner does to you. As a doctor, I’m supposed to give you a pill and you’re supposed to receive it. I have now cured you, supposedly.

While this may work for a few simple-to-cure health conditions, like bladder infections, this approach is not effective for the majority of illnesses.

Instead, as practitioners, we can hold sacred space, believe in our patients, love them, hold up the mirror to show them what we know is possible for them, and then make recommendations for how we think they might achieve the healing effect they desire.

As healers, this is the best gift we can give our patients. Science may cure, but only love heals.

What Do You Think?

Tell us about health care providers who have facilitated your healing process. What works? What doesn’t?

Believing anything is possible,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.

Lissa Rankin, M.D., is an OB/GYN physician, author, and founder of Owning Pink Center, a women's health practice in Mill Valley, California.

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