Patient, Heal Thyself

You can be your own doctor, love.

Yes, you heard me right.

You can be your own doctor.

I’m not suggesting that you climb into the stirrups and do your own Pap smear, knock yourself out and take out your own gallbladder, or bail on your chemo. As an MD, I have a great appreciation for medical science and all we have to offer, and we certainly need doctors and other health care practitioners to do their part.

What I am suggesting is that you have way more power to optimize your vitality than you might think – more than any doctor, naturopath, therapist, chiropractor, or acupuncturist.

While others might help cure something that ails you, we all must do our part. Handing your body, mind, and spirit over to someone else and hoping they’ll juice you up, fix what’s broken, and send you on your merry way just ain’t gonna cut it, my dear.

Sure, there are gifted healers out there who can help facilitate the process. But when it comes right down to it, you alone hold the greatest power. If you don’t do your part, those of us who are trying to help you are essentially impotent.  Sure, we can throw drugs or supplements at you, cut things out, and recommend lifestyle modifications, but ultimately, you’re the boss. We can’t do it without you.

When we get sick – or even when we’re just trying to be more well, many of us seek out the help of healing professionals who can guide us through the process. I am one of those healers. As an atypical integrative medicine physician who was trained as an OB/GYN, I’ve operated on bodies, delivered babies, helped hearts heal, and midwifed women as they rebirth themselves.

But too often we hand over all of our power and fail to recognize the innate self-healing power that lies within us all. Instead, as patients, many of us show up at the doctor’s office with what we docs call “the chief complaint,” and as patients, we hand over our problems with this request: FIX IT.

No biggie, right?

But I’m afraid it just doesn’t work that way. Maybe the broken, outdated, patriarchal model of the helpless patient and the all-knowing, paternalistic doctor supported this paradigm. But we can do better than this.

By approaching health care this way, we are giving our power away and failing to acknowledge our inner healer. As healers, we are complicit in promoting this mentality. Believing we can “fix” someone feeds our egos and allows us to feel falsely God-like. But that’s just not how it works, my love.

As Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen says, “Fixing implies that someone is broken. And nobody isever broken.”  Amen, Rachel.

Way too often, those of us who are trying to help others go about it all wrong. Instead of empowering you to help heal yourself, we throw drugs at you, suggest treatments that don’t resonate with your intuition, and fail to listen to what you know about your own body. As a result, you walk away feeling disempowered, unheard, and generally icky, and we healers scratch our heads, wondering why you’re not thriving.

But we’re all missing the one big secret nobody is talking about.

You hold the key to your own healing. Nobody else can do it for you.

Every time you hand over your power to another person – no matter how many diplomas they boast or how many research articles they’ve published – you diminish the healing power you hold within you.

I am committed to empowering you to reclaim this capacity for self-healing and expanding the concept of what it means to be “healthy,” so you can better collaborate with the health care providers who can help you ROCK this life.

If you’re a patient who feels frustrated by a system that isn’t meeting your needs, this post is meant to empower you. It’s also meant for discouraged healers, like myself, who dream of mending the broken heart of medicine, whether you’re a doctor, nurse, alternative health care practitioner, coach, or any other service provider helping others live more vitally.

If you’re one of those patients or healers and you want to dig deeper into this, make sure you’re on my newsletter list, because I’m going to be sharing all kinds of juicy stuff with those who are on my list. Sign up here.  In addition, become a Pink Medicine Revolutionary.

Do You Believe You Have the Power To Heal Yourself?

Raise your hand if you do! (Bueller…Bueller…) Tell me what you think. I’m dying to hear…

Empowering your inner healer

Lissa Rankin, MD


A Global Apology On Behalf Of Physicians Everywhere
The Difference Between Healing and Curing

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Revolutionarymotivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.



Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Yes, and I'm trying to lose weight. I'm eating much healthier, but getting more and more sedentary because my back is locking up more and more.

My diet is really not all that bad, but, if I can't exercise, I'm not going to lose much weight. But if I can't move enough to barely wipe myself clean because my back is stiff and twisting like that hurts me terribly, how am I supposed to exercise properly w/o killing myself off?

I've already been to a ton of people. Not it's get my nerves deadened or tough luck. Thing is, I can't even get an ultra sound done, and I just know that getting an IV filled with saline and liquid antibiotics make the pain go away in about 2 days, and it stays away for a few weeks.

Btw, I drink 6-8 glasses of 8oz each water every day. My beverage of choice is the unsweetened iced tea, where I dunk tea bags into water until it's tea, and then chill - so it's still 0 calories w/ no artificial sweeteners or anything.

I eat an orange, not drink juice in the morning. I eat about 4 servings of veggies a day, probably more. My starches consist of whole foods. I only use lean meats, and I cut off excess fat from the meats, and drain fat when they're not. I use calcium tablets, not milk. And my back kills me.

I've done lots, can't get a diagnosis, and yet here I have to do home care for a job. Which is killing me further. I'm hurting terribly right now. yet I can't get help, no imaging, no disability. Heal myself? Yeah, right. Tried/fa

Bonnie K.
Bonnie K6 years ago

So true. And the bigger the leap we want to make healthwise, at any level (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual), the greater our own intention and power needs to be to get us there. I've found that we can lay the groundwork with certain supplements, healing sessions, etc.; but ultimately, when we've gained enough "steam", we have to step into that space with ourSelves.

David Ross
David Ross6 years ago

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Dawn S.
Dawn S.6 years ago

Omg I loved this article. I self-diagnose and have for years. I feel like I know more about what is going on when I am sick than the doctor does. I had a fantastic primary care doctor for years that understood this and appreciated it. I would go in and be able to tell him what was wrong and 99% of the time he agreed. We would decide on a course of medicine (usually an antibiotic) and I wouldn't go back again until something else came along.
I whole-heartedly believe in the food sensitivity/intolerance relation in peoples diets is the primary cause in many debilitating illnesses that society has. Figure out what your body is telling you is wrong & change your diet.

Deborah Vitek
Deborah Vitek6 years ago

Alex I. said it as it is. My husband had chronic progressive MS and when he asked his neuro if the chronic infection he had in his ear since he was a child might have anything to do with it, the doc said no and when my husband asked for an explanation he told him he was being a "difficult" patient, so my husband left. In 7 years he went through 7 neurologists and then decided they were all idiots and he would never see one again, and he didn't. He received much better treatment from his family practice doc, but we never did get any real care until we moved to Canada.

Christa Leduc
Christa Leduc6 years ago

Thank you Lissa for this article. For the past 15 years I have been my own doctor and I am better off for it. I have changed to a vegan diet and learned Qigong, meditation and Pranic healing. If you have read the book "The Secret" it shows examples how people healed themselves from cancer and paralysis by just putting their mind to it and visualizing their healing.
Most doctors only treat the symptoms by giving prescription drugs with side effects that are worse than the ailment.

Christa Leduc
Christa Leduc6 years ago

Thank you Lissa for this article. For the past 15 years I have been my own doctor and I am better off for it. I have changed to a vegan diet and learned Qigong, meditation and Pranic healing. If you have read the book "The Secret" it shows examples how people healed themselves from cancer and paralysis by just putting their mind to it and visualizing their healing.
Most doctors only treat the symptoms by giving prescription drugs with side effects that are worse than the ailment.

Chris H.
Chris H.6 years ago

I've fired more than one doctor for not listening and don't have a primary care doctor at this point. Most of them want to shove pills at me that don't work. Thanks for a great article.

KATE L6 years ago

Yeah, I had arthritis in my wrist when I was 12. I went to quite a few doctors who couldnt do anything. I knew they wouldnt be able to cause I felt I had to cure myself. Which I did :)

alex l.
alex l6 years ago

a great idea, except most doctors take exception to the patient who has done their home work, and doesn't just hand over the reins. they decide they have to put you in your place - especially if they are male, and you are female. you are a doctor, and not used to being the patient, so this all sound quite grandiose. but it is crap. the more you try to take control of your own treatment, the more the doctors punish you, even labeling you "difficult patient" and putting that in your record. one pissed doctor who does that, will make sure that all the rest will treat you badly. and then there is the fact that when a doctor hurts you, they NEVER try to make it better. they just cover their own ass. and they cover each other as well, screwing patients as they go.
doctors DON'T CARE about your body, and they don't care about what they do to you - just get in and get out so they can get paid.
the idea is pretty, but it just isn't true. try living with a disability - the treatment you get will almost always make you worse. real issues that are not quick fixes upset doctors, because they feel they need to take too much time with you, and because if they can't fob you off with one drug, they get frustrated - AT THE PATIENT!!!
the real change needs to be with the teaching of these doctors, who really think their job, and possible embarrassment, is far more important than the patients actual body, or even life.
i live with a permanent injury because of a doc, and was too poor to su