START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Self-Healing Vs. Conventional Medicine

  • 1 of 3
Self-Healing Vs. Conventional Medicine

I was working at the Owning Pink Center, the integrative medicine practice I founded in Mill Valley, California, when I met Sandrine, who had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer, an often-curable type of cancer of the lining of the uterus. Her doctors moved quickly to get her scheduled for a hysterectomy, which is standard treatment for someone with endometrial cancer. But Sandrine didn’t want treatment. It’s not that she had a death wish. In fact, she had never been happier in her life, and she was doing everything within her power to cure her cancer, including radically changing her diet, meditating, and engaging in guided visualization. Cancer, she said, was the best thing that ever happened to her.

But her decision to opt out of treatment didn’t go over well with her doctor, who promptly dismissed her and insisted she find a more “open-minded” doctor who would be willing to support her self-healing journey, which is how Sandrine wound up in my office.

She had read some articles I had written in magazines and on the internet and felt intuitively-guided to me as the doctor who could help her navigate her self-healing journey.

Conventional Medicine For Cancer Vs. Self-Healing

I felt torn. On one hand, I totally believe we hold within us the power to heal ourselves. On the other, I believed that her cancer would likely be easily cured with surgery and worried about facilitating any delay in treatment that might cause her cancer to spread. I also worried, in this medical-legal climate, that her family might blame me if she died as a result of declining treatment after I supported her autonomy.

So I straddled the fence. I told her I believe conventional medicine has much to offer and that cutting out her cancer could hasten the process while she activated the self-healing mechanisms she would need to make sure the cancer disappeared for good. For medical-legal reasons, I made it very clear that my advice would be to proceed with the surgery while also engaging in self-healing behaviors that would facilitate a full recovery. I recommended a surgeon friend and told her I would even come to the visit with her if it would make her more likely to seek treatment.

She Believed She Could Heal Herself

But Sandrine was adamant about refusing treatment. So I agreed to support her, offer her tools, and monitor her progress with endometrial biopsies so she could follow whether her self-healing methods were reversing the disease.

At least once a week, I received an email from Sandrine, chronicling her mystical self-healing journey, ripe with intuitive dreams and signs from the Universe that she was on the right path. She fully, 100 percent believed full recovery would ensue. She tingled with excitement.

But each time I read her emails, I felt a pang in my chest. The skeptic in me was kicking and screaming “Stop the madness! Make this delusional woman get a hysterectomy! Save her life, doctor! Remember, first, do no harm.”

But another part of me thought, “Who am I to say she can’t cure her own cancer?”

For a few weeks, I hedged my bets, responding to her emails with support and affirmations of belief.

  • 1 of 3

Read more: Alternative Therapies, Cancer, Health, Spirit, , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
7:43AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

i agree, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. i think there needs to be a balance between conventional medicine and homeopathic.

5:56AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Awesome. Also note that patients with chronic forms of cancer found relief in massage as well. I think a non invasive and loveable approach is always the better one.

12:39PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

I agree with you Lissa. If the cure isn't worse than the disease why avoid it? Why is a medical cure not considered a miracle? Of course you should work on yourself and your lifestyle choices as well to avoid the chance of the problem recurring, but why not learn your lesson and get on with improving your life? What about Sandrine's family (if she had any)? It seems selfish to needlessly worry people who care about you, and possibly rely on you, by gambling with your life like that. I hope she was okay and managed to heal herself, but I think you did the right thing.

10:50AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Whatever happened to Sandrine?

1:21PM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

This is to Ken who introduced me (at least) to HerbStat. Ken, I take your point. However, a significant % of people who are diagnosed with cancer or anything else for that matter probably do not even know what histology is. You sound like someone who is very conversant with all of these things - VEGF, ICAM, ER+, etc. It would be extremely helpful if you could come back on this thread and explain to us how to use what seems basic to you (but not to us). I went to HerbStat but realized, after clicking a lot of places, that it was for iPad and iPhone apps and I couldn't access anything. Please be aware that there are many people who don't have these tools either, myself included. You seem to have a good grasp of how to use alternative healing in conjunction with allopathy. It would be a great good if you to share it with us.

11:59AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

Totally agree with you. It's the middle way and not the extreme on either end which seems to make the most sense. I am a health professional and my doctor wanted me to take preventative antibiotics for frequent UTI's (urinary tract infection). Something about this just didn't seem right and "best practice" to me. I tried to tell her I could tell now (since I was getting them so frequently) when I was getting the first stages of a UTI and when I took 1000 mg of Vit. C on the hour for 3-4 hours I could get rid of the symptoms. She tried to tell me it wasn't a "pre- UTI" I was getting but just "irritation". Well, maybe, but when I didn't take the Vit. C it always went on to become a full blown UTI and then I had no choice but to go on antibiotics. I wonder how resistive to anitbiotics my body would be today if I had taken her advice instead of listening to my own body and intuition. But these are simple UTI's, not cancer. Modern medicine (removal of uterus) combined with self healing therapy to make sure it doesn't return rings true to me and very wise advice.

6:43PM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

I wholeheartlly believe in what you said Lissa. I am a massage therapist and practice energy healing, and I try to support the client in their choices, but I also suggest conventional medical approaches and common sense when I feel it to be important for the client.
Sometimes, I feel that a person's ego sometimes gets so involved with how they approach their condition and fear also takes over. It is complex and I applaud you for taking a stand and listening to both sides as well. Marg

10:05AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

Common sense + middle ground, might provide the most user friendly formula for handling a diagnosis of cancer. Lifestyle changes will certainly be in order, and the presence of positive spiritual energy may be central to the success of any healing process.

Good article. Thank you.

9:49AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

Thanks for posting.

6:06AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

Interesting article.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

It is a silly lawsuit but they could just change the name, as Mark S. suggested. Add a "like" in be…

Thank you Ronnie.

Jo S. Jo S.
on DIY Duvet Cover
3 minutes ago

Very unique display. Never thought of some of these ideas. Thanks.

I gave up non vegetarian foods quite some time back. So burgers were out. Then came the veg. burgers…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!