healing, nine domains of healing, self-care, self-healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

Get Out of the Way of Healing

One of my greatest challenges as a physician is to get out of the way of my clients’ healing.

Inspired by wanting to help them feel better, to relieve their suffering, and achieve their goals, it’s tempting to try to “fix” things. To lock in on their pains and problems and employ every root cause-level magic bullet in the toolkit. When what they most need is for me to get out of their way.

What do I mean?

Our bodies are all wise—they know innately how to heal. The primary urge of all Nature is to heal.

Here’s how it works for us.

First and foremost, as people on a healing path, we must show up, go slow, and pay attention. Yes, we must be present. Awareness of what we need is our genius.

Then we must create space for that healing to occur: By removing the irritants, toxins, time wasters, and negative energy that get in our way. By softening the tenacious stories that impede our progress (stories about our power, our worth, and fear of change). By creating time for what’s truly important to us.

And we must create energy and resilience through how we nourish ourselves and fill our unmet needs—inner strength and equanimity, love, movement, sleep, and healthy food.

None of these are magic bullets. These are the domains of our lives—of being human—that when tended to, allow us to heal.

I still use my tools and savvy, targeted treatments, but the foundation of my clients’ greatest success—of their healing life—is in how they create the conditions (with support and guidance) that allow them to heal themselves.

p.s. These domains of our self-healing are the crux of my upcoming book—I call them the Nine Domains of Healing. While I don’t have an official title yet, the book is entering its final stages of editing, and I can’t wait to finally share it with you in 2019! Stay tuned…

And, oh yes—about our stories! We all know those tenacious stories that trip us up, shut us down, and get in the way of our aspirations! These are the stories of our lives—products of our survival-oriented brains—that can tell us things that simply aren’t true. Take a peek at the most common such stories in my e-book, Big Energy: How We Bravely Reclaim Our Health, Our Potential, Our Lives—It’s All in Our Stories.

 And from my Archives:

Inner Wisdom: How to Find and Trust It. 2018.

Softening. 2018.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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