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The Most Important Part of Your Health

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The Most Important Part of Your Health

I recently had the privilege of giving a speech to a packed house of incredible people at the Hay House I Can Do It IGNITE conference, where I shared the stage with my mentors, teachers, and friends – Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Doreen Virtue, Cheryl Richardson, Danielle LaPorte, Kris Carr, Kate Northrup, Gabrielle Bernstein, Latham Thomas, Alisa Vitti, and more. For those who missed it live, I wanted to share with you my notes from my speech. So here you go!

What if I told you that caring for your body was the least important part of your health?

I learned this, not in medical school, but as a patient.

Heart Palpitations

I was a 24-year-old third year medical student on rounds in the ICU, when I felt my heart begin to pound, faster and faster. I felt a lump in my throat, my chest felt tight, I couldn’t breathe, and I could hear my blood rushing in my ears. I took my pulse. It was 230 beats per minute.

The Diagnosis: Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia

The Treatment: Lay off the caffeine and keep right on seeing patients in the hospital

Nobody ever suggested that my heart might be acting up because I was being sexually harassed by the surgeon who was supposed to be my teacher. For 12 solid weeks, I had been scrubbing into surgery, while my teacher thrust a suction catheter into my hand and said, “Suck me good, Lissa. Suck me hard, Lissa.” This went on Every. Single. Day.

Vulvar Vestibulitis

A year later, I was at a beachfront resort, wearing a sexy black negligee and preparing to have sex with my husband. Although I was smiling on the outside, I was cringing on the inside, because having sex felt like getting stabbed with a knife, like razor blades were slicing into my vagina and tearing me open. After sex, when I’d urinate, it felt like I was covered with cuts and taking a bath in vinegar.

The Diagnosis: Vulvar vestibulitis

The Treatment: Antihistamines, estrogen cream, antidepressants, and maybe some day surgery to cut out the diseased part of my vagina

Nobody once asked me whether my vagina might be rebelling because I had married a guy who wanted me to drop out of medical school and have babies so he could be the doctor in the family.

High Blood Pressure

When I was 27 year old, my doctor noticed that my blood pressure was alarmingly high. She referred me to a cardiologist, who ordered a whole battery of tests which failed to reveal any explanation for my 180/100 blood pressure.

The Diagnosis: Chronic hypertension

The Treatment: Three drugs that still didn’t control my blood pressure

Nobody ever suggested that my blood pressure might be high because the doctors in charge of my education expected me to work 17 hour days, even when I was sick. When I had the flu, I was throwing up and had such severe diarrhea that I assumed my teachers would send me home. But instead, they hooked me up to an IV, pumped me full of anti-nausea drugs, fitted me with a diaper, and told me to scrub into surgery. When I then passed out and dropped my instruments into the patient’s abdomen, I assumed I would finally get to go home, but instead, they put me on a gurney, took me to the recovery room, pumped me full of more fluids, and sent me back to the operating room. Not to mention that I was in the middle of a divorce and I had attended four funerals within a year.

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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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8:21AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Abusers love the power they have over people-the control, the ways of lowering self esteem and love to sap the energies of ones life right out of you.

Yes there are valid medical reasons for various ailments but quite often if one is living a life not really your own, not expressing your own creativity, having your believes, values and self-interests constantly stifled so that you are forced to live out the expectations of an abusive "partner" or family member -- then one often has to time the time to find yourself or even leave the abusive partner if they are destroying you as an individual.

9:25AM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

Thank you so much for sharing.
I think we all now the head ache which is not the reason of having drunken too little water or too much noise but of emotional stress. This is an alarm signal which shouldn't be ignored. If ignored we might start to have other symptoms such as described by the author.

4:56PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

My bet is that you are a wonderful Doctor, having been to hell and back, and reclaiming your humanity to such an extent that you cajole, support and inspire us with your Inner Pilot Light wisdom. Give yourself a hug from me!

1:56PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Thanks a lot for sharing :)

7:23AM PDT on Apr 13, 2012


6:40AM PDT on Apr 13, 2012

Thank you so much for pushing back against this abuse.

10:23PM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Thanks for your honesty,
Great article

9:19PM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Lot s of information, thanks for sharing it!

6:26AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Thank you for the article.

3:05AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012


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