In recent years, Western Medicine has been catching up with the wisdom that Traditional Chinese Medicine has been promoting for centuries, namely the fact that our mind and bodies are inextricably linked and that to treat one, we must treat the other. The holistic approach of TCM aims to treat the whole person, not just with acupuncture and herbs, but also with lifestyle changes and an emphasis on emotional, mental and spiritual health. This is in contrast to the reductionist approach of seeing the patient as a collection of symptoms that has characterised Western Medicine until recently.
Mind-body medicine has been slowly gathering momentum in the West for decades, and with Lissa Rankin's new book heading to the New York Times bestseller list, it is possible that we are standing at the brink of radical change. At a time when chronic illness is on a steep rise, this comes not a moment too soon.
Lissa is a Western trained medical doctor who has made a radical change in her career to research and promote mind-body medicine in her drive to 'heal health care'. She is an incredibly inspiring, passionate and dedicated woman leading a health care revolution to empower us to heal ourselves. She has been speaking and writing about her research for years and with her new book has crystallised her discoveries into an extremely easy-to-read book that will change the way you think about your health forever. Instead of focusing on the standard healthy behaviour recommendations that we all know so well (e.g. proper diet, exercise and moderate lifestyle), Lissa dives into the mainstream medical literature to find scientific evidence that we need so much more than that to be really healthy in a wholistic way. And she does it in a way that is fun, engaging and entirely convincing.
Lissa's "Whole Health Care" Model looks at ten different aspects of our life and presents a wealth of scientific evidence to support the idea that they are all vitally important for true health. She uses the metaphor of a 'cairn' which is a self-supported mound of stones - if one stone is out of balance, the whole pile falls down. So it is with our health. We need to nurture and nourish our creativity, our relationships, our environment and many other factors to enjoy radiant good health, not just our physical self. Below is Lissa's pictoral representation of her model:
As you can see there is much more to 'whole health' than taking your supplements, eating well and coming to your acupuncture appointments! The beauty of this model is that it helps us to embrace all parts of ourselves, and inspires us to find balance with them all. Lissa gives concrete suggestions for how to nurture and nourish any aspects of your self that you might have neglected for one reason or another, and in fact just identifying which 'stones' are out of balance can be the impetus for real effective change.
The book includes a step-by-step process to help you identify which 'stone(s)' or aspect(s) of your life are out of balance, and then guides you to create your own personalised 'prescription' for healing yourself. The crux of the matter is learning how to switch on your body's own self-repair mechanism, both to prevent disease and heal illness. If you follow the steps and recommendations that Lissa provides, not only will you be on your way to radiant health but you will be feeling more balanced, more inspired and more joyful than ever before.
While reading this book, I often caught myself a bit breathless - its so thought-provoking, life-affirming and inspiring, I wanted to shout about it from the rooftops!! I was originally attracted to TCM because it represented a holistic approach to the body and mind that I did not find in Western Medicine. Now, this ancient wisdom is really being embraced and explored in the West and with Lissa's book representing a new wave of mind-body medicine it feels like the two systems of medicine are falling more in-step, which is fantastic news for everyone.
I highly recommend that you not only read this book but dive into it, use it to reflect on your own life and put its ideas into practice. In combination with TCM and other healing modalities, learning how to heal the self through finding balance in our lives is wonderfully empowering and that is what I wish for all of you. Let me know what you think of it and if it has helped you make any amazing changes in your life!
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