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The Difference Between Healing and Curing

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What Does It Mean To Heal?

Before we move any further forward, let me comment on what I think it means to heal and how I’ll talk about those who help facilitate the process. First, a note about the word “healer.” Please, don’t back away just because I’m using this word. I know it’s a loaded word, conjuring images of Baptist preachers laying on hands and bellowing, “You are HEALED, brother!” (No offense to Baptist preachers, of course.) Or perhaps you think of the ancient medicine woman gathering herbs to pound into a potion.

But hear me out. My intention is to expand the definition of what it means to be a healer, such that the term includes, not just the man who practices the wisdom of native medicine or the “woo woo” practices of a New Age woman in a muumuu, but also the Western medical doctor, the nurse, the Chinese medicine doctor, the OR tech, the yoga teacher, and YOU!

We healers are numerous. And we come with varied backgrounds, different belief systems, and unique tools in our healing toolbox, and yet, we are all still healers. But YOU are the most potent healer of all.

It’s Easy To Get Overwhelmed

The scope of what’s broken in our health care system may seem daunting – and it is. But my goal with The Pink Medicine blog post series is to help us work from the inside out. The US government is spinning their wheels, trying to work on changing the external aspects of what is broken in our health care industry. But that will only take us so far. We must reclaim the heart of healing, and it has to start with YOU.  Changing the skeleton of our system, without focusing on the heart, defeats the whole purpose. When something lacks heart, the whole thing keels over and dies, which is what’s at risk of happening to our current system.

So instead of tackling the big behemoth of our entire health care industry, I’ll focus in this series on expanding what it means to be healthy and whole. I’ll remind you that you know your body way better than anyone and that the power you have to heal yourself will blow you away.

I’m not suggesting that you won’t still seek out the guidance of other healers. When you need an antibiotic for that strep throat, by all means, go to your doctor if that’s where your healing inner wisdom leads you! When you throw out your back, call your chiropractor if that’s who you believe can help! When your husband cheats on you, get thee to a therapist, if therapy resonates with your spirit. Go ahead and seek cure.

And don’t forget about preventative health. Get your Pap smear, mammogram, and colonoscopy. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels checked.

But unless you do the deeper work, these things are only Band-aids. Healing goes to the heart and changes everything, if you approach it the right way.

My vision of Pink Medicine is to create a huge healing round table at which you, as the patient, sit alongside those of us whose healing services you seek out. You are a vital, valued member of that healing round table and, in my opinion, your voice matters most. You get the seat of honor. The rest of us all have tools in our toolboxes, for sure. And when we gather our tools together from different disciplines in a loving, collaborate, integrative way, with you at the center of our efforts, magic can happen.

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Read more: General Health, Guidance, Health, Men's Health, Self-Help, Spirit, Women's Health, , , , , , , ,

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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.


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12:53PM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Thanks for being a change and spreading the word!

5:56PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Curing must require smoking...

11:16PM PDT on Oct 10, 2011


8:53PM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

I use flower essences in my healing practice. They are a form of energy medicine and relate very directly and in practical ways to what Lissa is talking about. My understanding [based on the work coming from the nature research center, Perelandra] is this. The body has electrical circuts that deal with physical level cureing.This is the circutry that kicks in when you get an injury, if all goes as it should. But if you also suffer emotional trauma, that is a different set of circuts, and if you never quite get past the shock, these circuts stay disconnected and healing does not occur in a timely manner. If healing does not occur, the physical cureing circuts don't kick in properly and it takes a very long time to recuperate.A chronic illness indicates that there are lots of emotional stresors and freyed circutry. The good news is, that you can begin to repair those damaged circuts at any time and gradually bring youself back to health, gaining insight all along the way.As Dace J said, perhaps without even realizing how accurate her statement was, "Real healing ignites the bodys internal healing force and stimulates the bodys natural abilities to heal itself." Any one interested in truely taking responsibility for their own health check out the Perelandra ltd website. It is located in Warrington, Virginia. Mechalle Small Wright is the head researcher.I've used her products for years on myself, plants, animals and land, various projects and equipment . Everything has circutry.

2:26PM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

thank you for posting

10:38PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011


2:54PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Yes, we need to take the time to assume responsibility for our own health as in every other aspect of lives. Why do so may people delegate this area? Can never understand "passively.....handing over one's power" in this regard. I am not saying not to follow a doctor's advice, but first do the research and make sure it is also your decision. As to cutting out cancer without working out the cause and stopping it, personally, it just defies all logic. After all...if nothing changes, nothing changes. I'm afraid my simple mind has always equated it to pulling out the wire connected to the oil light in our car, because it was showing red, and then expecting to continue the journey. Please help people to take responsibility for healing themselves Lisa. Good article.

9:47AM PDT on Oct 6, 2011

I believe in the power of prayer and praying for the doctors who help us with what we need. Miracles do happen when God wants it to. Have faith...

11:56PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Interesting article - thanks for posting.

11:36PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

Treat the whole person not just the sympton.We were taught wholistic care.Good article thankyou.

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Thank you for the informative article.

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Fairly standard Cook article. Takes a legitimate subject and then decides that the science might onl…


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