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The shocking truth about your health | Lissa Rankin | TEDxFiDiWomen

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    What's the most important part
    of your health?
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    What do you think?
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    Is it eating a balanced,
    mostly plant-based diet,
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    balancing your hormones, daily exercise,
    getting enough sleep -
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    What do you guys think?
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    Taking your vitamins,
    seeing your doctor for regular check ups?
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    (Laughter)
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    These things might all seem
    like important, even critical, factors
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    to living a healthy life,
    but what if I told you
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    that caring for your body was
    the least important part of your health?
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    What do you think?
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    I'm a physician,
    so if you'd told me that five years ago,
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    that would have been total sacrilege.
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    I mean, I spent 12 years training,
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    because the body is supposed to be
    the foundation for everything in life.
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    But what if I told you that the medical
    profession had it all backwards,
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    if the body doesn't shape
    how we live our lives?
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    What if the body is actually
    a mirror of how we live our lives?
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    Think about it for a minute.
    Think about a time in your life
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    where you weren't living the life
    you were supposed to be living.
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    Maybe you were in the wrong relationship;
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    or you were in
    some hostile work environment
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    doing what you thought you should do;
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    or you were creatively thwarted,
    you felt spiritually disconnected.
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    And what if you started getting
    little inklings from the body,
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    little physical symptoms?
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    You know, the body's trying to tell you
    something and you ignore it,
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    because you're supposed to do
    what you're doing.
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    And then the body totally decompensates.
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    Can you think about a time in your life
    where something like that has happened?
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    Yeah, I see a lot of noddings.
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    Yeah, me too.
    Same thing happened to me.
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    So this is what the body does,
    the body is brilliant this way,
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    the body speaks to us in whispers.
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    And if we ignore the whispers of the body,
    the body starts to yell.
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    Millions of people in this country
    are ignoring the whispers of the body.
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    We are suffering from an epidemic
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    that modern medicine
    has no idea what to do with.
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    People suffering from
    this epidemic are fatigued,
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    they're anxious and depressed,
    they toss and turn at night,
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    they've lost their libido.
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    They suffer from
    a whole variety of aches and pains,
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    so they go to the doctor,
    'cause something is wrong.
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    And the doctor
    runs a whole battery of tests,
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    and the tests all come back normal,
    so the patient gets diagnosed as "well".
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    Only the patient does not feel well.
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    So she goes to another doctor and
    she starts the whole process over again,
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    because something is clearly wrong.
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    And it is wrong,
    it's just not what she thinks.
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    I used to work in
    a really busy managed care practice,
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    I was seeing 40 patients a day.
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    And I would get so freaking frustrated
    with these patients.
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    They would come in and it was so obvious
    they were really suffering.
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    And I'd run the tests,
    everything would come back normal,
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    I'd diagnose them well,
    and they'd look at me like:
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    No, I'm not well, something's wrong.
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    And I felt so frustrated because
    I couldn't come up with a diagnosis.
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    And they just wanted, please God,
    give me a pill.
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    And there was no pill,
    there's no pill to treat it,
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    there's no lab test
    to diagnose this epidemic,
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    there's no vaccine to prevent it,
    no surgery to cut it out.
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    It wasn't until years later
    that I realized I was suffering
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    from the same epidemic
    my patients were.
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    By the time I was 33 years old,
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    I was your typical physician.
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    I had succeeded in everything I ever
    wanted to achieve in my life, I thought.
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    I had all the trappings of success,
    the ocean front house in San Diego,
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    the vacation home, the boat,
    the big fat retirement account,
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    so I could be happy
    one day in the future.
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    I was twice divorced by that point.
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    I had been diagnosed
    with high blood pressure.
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    I was taking three medications
    that failed to control my blood pressure
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    and I had just been diagnosed
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    with precancerous cells
    of my cervix that needed surgery.
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    Even more importantly I was so
    disconnected from who I was,
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    so totally disillusioned with my job,
    so completely spiritually tapped out,
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    that I didn't even know
    who I was any more.
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    I'd covered myself up
    with a whole series of masks.
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    I had the doctor mask, like when you
    put on the white coat,
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    stand up on a pedestal,
    pretend you got it all together,
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    you know it all.
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    And I am also a professional artist,
    so I had the artist mask,
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    where you've got to be, you know,
    dark and brooding,
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    mysterious - starving,
    that wasn't me either.
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    And then I had gotten married
    a third time,
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    you know, third time is a charm.
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    So now I've got this dutiful wife mask
    I've gotta wear,
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    where I've got to get dinner on the table
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    and make sure
    that I've got the right sexy lingerie on.
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    And then I got pregnant and all of sudden
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    there's this huge mummy mask
    you're supposed to wear, right?
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    You guys know the mummy mask.
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    You're supposed to instantly
    inherit the gene
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    that makes you capable of baking the
    perfect cupcake.
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    That's where I was,
    wearing all those masks,
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    when my perfect storm hit.
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    And at this point in my life,
    it was January 2006,
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    and I gave birth to my daughter
    by C-section,
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    my sixteen-year-old dog died,
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    my healthy young brother wound up
    in full-blown liver failure
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    from the antibiotic Zithromax,
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    and my beloved father passed away
    from a brain tumor, all in two weeks.
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    I had just started to take a breath,
    when my husband,
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    who was the stay home for my newborn,
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    cut two fingers off his left hand
    with the table saw.
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    Yeah -
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    They say when your life falls apart,
    you either grow, or you grow a tumor.
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    Fortunately for me I decided to grow,
    there was something in me.
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    SARK called it my "Inner Wise Self",
    which I call your Inner Pilot Light.
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    It said, "It's time to take the masks off.
    It's time to stop the madness.
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    It's time to stop doing what you should,
    and start doing what you feel."
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    And in that moment I knew
    I had to quit my job.
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    Now, this was a huge deal, right?
    I spent 12 years training to be a doctor
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    and hundreds of thousands of dollars
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    and we had all the trappings, you know,
    the house, the mortgage,
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    all the doctor stuff, right?
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    My husband was not employed
    and I had a newborn.
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    I also had to pay a malpractice tail
    to buy my freedom,
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    a six-figure malpractice tail,
    in case I ever got sued in the future.
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    So I decided to do it, and God bless
    my husband, who said let's jump together.
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    And I quit my job
    and I had to sell my house
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    and liquidate my retirement account
    and move to the country;
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    and I spent a few months painting
    and writing and licking my wounds.
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    (Laughter)
    (Applause)
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    It wasn't until about nine months later,
    everybody was like - nine months!
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    I'm an OB/GYN!
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    Nine months later I realized you can quit
    your job but you can't quit your calling.
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    And I had been called at a very young age,
    I was seven years old,
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    to the service, the practice,
    the spiritual practice of medicine;
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    and that calling hadn't gone away.
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    I had gotten so wounded by the system
    that I didn't even notice it anymore;
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    but it came back after I had rested
    and healed after a little while.
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    But I knew I couldn't go back,
    I couldn't be seeing 40 patients a day,
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    7,5 minutes with my patients,
    that wasn't why I went to medical school.
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    So it began this quest, that turned into
    an almost five-year quest now,
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    to rediscover
    what I loved about medicine.
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    So that also meant I had to figure out
    what I hated about medicine.
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    So I started by blaming everybody:
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    it was the ambulance chasing
    malpractice attorneys;
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    it's big pharma;
    it's managed care medicine;
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    it's the insurance company's fault.
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    Then I thought, oh no,
    it's the reductionist medical system,
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    we're so, so sub-specialized,
    you know?
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    I'm an OB/GYN, so I was seeing
    these patients that had pelvic problems.
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    But I knew that there was something
    bigger than the pelvis
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    that was causing their issues.
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    But I hadn't been trained
    to really look at that.
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    So I thought that's the problem,
    like you go to your doctor,
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    your pinky finger hurts and he says,
    "I'm sorry, I'm a thumb doctor."
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    (Laughter)
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    Nobody's looking at the whole picture.
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    So I thought integrative medicine
    was the answer.
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    And so I joined
    an integrative medicine practice,
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    and it was so much better; I got
    a whole hour with my patients.
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    I really got to listen to my patients,
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    we didn't accept
    managed care medical insurance,
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    so it was really so much better.
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    And then I still kept bumping up
    against something though,
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    because now if you came in
    and you were depressed
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    we were giving you herbs and amino acids
    instead of Prozac.
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    If you had other physical symptoms -
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    but it was still this allopathic model,
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    where the answer was outside of you,
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    and I had to give you
    something that you could take.
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    So I thought maybe that's not the problem,
    maybe I need to look outside of that
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    and find new tools
    for my healing toolbox.
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    So I started working
    with all these complementary
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    and alternative health care providers,
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    whom I love, acupuncturists,
    naturopaths and nutritionists.
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    And I started treating my patients
    with needles in their energy meridians
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    and raw foods, and that was great.
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    But I kept bumping up
    against the same thing:
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    patients would get better from one symptom
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    and if we didn't treat the root cause
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    of why they had
    that physical symptom in first place,
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    they just wound up getting a new symptom.
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    So at this point I was both
    really frustrated and really curious,
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    and I started down this path
    of trying to figure out
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    what really makes a body healthy,
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    and what really makes us sick.
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    And I dug into the medical literature
    and spent a year researching
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    all of the randomized controlled
    clinical trials out there.
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    And I decided this is it,
    I'm going to figure it out,
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    I'm going to find the answer.
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    And I spent hours in the library,
    researching, reading, studying.
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    What I found blew my frigging mind,
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    stuff nobody ever taught me
    in medical school.
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    All the things we think of as health,
    all the things we think matter, they do.
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    It matters that you exercise,
    it matters that you eat well,
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    it matters that you see the doctor.
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    But nobody taught me that what
    really matters is healthy relationships,
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    having a healthy professional life,
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    expressing yourself creatively,
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    being spiritually connected,
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    having a healthy sex life,
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    being healthy financially,
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    living in a healthy environment,
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    being mentally healthy,
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    and of course all the things
    we traditionally associate with health,
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    also matter,
    all the things that nurture the body.
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    The data on this is unbelievable.
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    Lots of it is not in
    the traditional journals that you read,
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    that doctors read, a lot of it's
    in the psychological literature,
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    the sociological literature.
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    But if you look deep, this is in
    The New England Journal of Medicine,
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    it's in The Journal of the
    American Medical Association,
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    it's coming out of Harvard and Yale
    and Johns Hopkins.
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    This is real data proving
    that these things are just as important,
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    if not more.
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    I had this patient, she's a raw vegan,
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    she runs marathons,
    she takes 20 supplements a day,
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    she sleeps eight hours a night,
    she does everything her doctor tells her,
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    she's got a chart this fat, and
    she's still got multiple health problems.
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    So she had heard about my philosophy,
    I had started practicing with my patients,
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    and I had an intake form
    that's about 20 pages long
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    and it asks about all those things,
    relationships, work life, spiritual life,
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    creative life, sex life,
    all of these things that make you whole.
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    So she came and she filled out her form
    and she said,
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    "Doctor, what's my diagnosis?"
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    And I said, "Honey, your diagnosis
    is you're in a freaking abusive marriage.
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    You hate your job,
    you feel creatively thwarted,
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    you're spiritually disconnected,
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    and you haven't let go of that resentment
    you have against your father
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    who molested you as a child.
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    Your body is never gonna get well
    until you heal that."
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    So if taking care of the body isn't
    the most important part of being healthy,
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    what is?
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    It's caring for the mind,
    caring for the heart,
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    caring for the soul,
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    tapping into what I call
    your Inner Pilot Light.
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    Now your pilot light is that part of you,
    that essence,
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    that authentic, deep, true part of you,
    that spiritual, divine spark
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    that always knows what's right for you.
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    You're born with it,
    it goes with you when you die,
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    and it always knows
    the truth about you and your body.
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    It comes to you in whispers;
    it's your intuition;
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    it's that beautiful part of you
    that is your biggest fan;
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    the part that writes you love letters.
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    And that is the biggest healer
    you can tap into,
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    better than any medicine,
    better than any doctor.
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    So based on everything that I learned,
    I developed a new wellness model.
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    And it was based,
    not on the pie charts and pyramids
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    that many of the wellness models
    I had studied were based on.
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    I based it on the cairn.
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    Have you guys seen these things
    around San Francisco?
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    These stacks of balanced stones,
    I love them, I've always loved them.
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    I'm an artist,
    so it appeals to me visually.
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    But I love the interdependence.
    Every stone is dependent on the other;
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    you can't just pull one stone out
    without the whole thing crumbling.
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    And the stone that's most precarious
    is the one on top.
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    That's the body,
    that's where I think of the body.
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    The body is the stone on top.
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    When any of the facets of
    what makes you whole get out of balance,
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    the body is the first to start whispering,
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    and the foundation stone
    is your Inner Pilot Light,
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    that true essence of you,
    that vulnerable, transparent part of you.
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    So based on that, I created this model,
    that I call the Whole Health Cairn.
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    And this is what my next book is about.
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    An it's taking all of the facets
    of what makes you whole;
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    it's about self-healing from the core,
    and once you recognize this,
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    then you have all the tools you need
    to start your own healing journey.
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    So all of the facets of
    what makes you whole are surrounded
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    by what I call the healing bubble.
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    This is love and gratitude and pleasure.
  • 15:38 - 15:40
    And science proves
    that all of those things
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    are good for your health as well; they are
    the glue that hold everything together.
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    So I challenge you.
    If you have any physical symptom,
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    if you're suffering from the epidemic
    that plagues the developed world,
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    I want you to ask yourself,
    "What's the real reason I'm sick
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    or suffering, what's out of balance
    in my whole health cairn?"
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    What's the real diagnosis
    and what can you do about it?
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    How can you be more transparent?
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    How can you open yourself up
    to more possibility?
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    How can you be more honest with yourself
    about what you need and who you are?
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    If any of you were lucky enough to see
    Brene Brown's awesome TEDTalk
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    about the power of vulnerability -
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    I see a lot of nodding heads, I love it -
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    it's so fabulous, but it talks about
    the science behind being true,
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    being vulnerable, being transparent.
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    It generates love and intimacy
    which increases oxytocin and endorphins,
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    and reduces harmful stress hormones
    like cortisol and adrenaline.
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    When we let our true self be seen,
    when we let our Inner Pilot Light radiate,
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    we heal from the inside out
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    and it's more powerful than anything
    medicine can give you from the outside.
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    So I challenge you to write
    the prescription for yourself.
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    No doctor can do this for you.
    We can give you drugs,
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    we can give you surgery,
    and sometimes you need that,
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    that's the jump-start
    of the self-healing process.
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    But to heal to the core, so that
    you don't develop new symptoms,
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    so you don't need another surgery --
    you gotta write your own prescription.
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    So I ask you, "What is it that you need,
    what does your body need to get healthy?
  • 17:27 - 17:32
    What is it that you need to change,
    What needs to be tweaked in your life?"
  • 17:32 - 17:35
    If you knew
    that stripping off all of your masks
  • 17:35 - 17:37
    and letting us see
    that beautiful light within you,
  • 17:37 - 17:42
    was the solution to your health problems,
    would you be willing to do it?
  • 17:42 - 17:44
    I dare you.
  • 17:44 - 17:48
    It just might make
    your body ripe for miracles.
  • 17:48 - 17:50
    Thank you.
  • 17:50 - 17:52
    (Applause)
Title:
The shocking truth about your health | Lissa Rankin | TEDxFiDiWomen
Description:

Lissa Rankin talks about medicine from a more spiritual side. She introduces her cairn model of wellbeing and health.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Project:
TEDxTalks
Duration:
18:03

English subtitles

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