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-five-year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

The Law of Attraction May Not Be What You Think

law of attraction, heal

I love the idea of the law of attraction.

You’ve heard of it, right?

The “law” of nature that (purportedly) says, “think it, feel it, celebrate it, take action toward it, and it will come.” That we create our reality. That we can manifest our dreams.

Saying those words fills me with hope. They make me feel I can control my outcomes. Direct my life.

And we can to some extent, right? We know this…

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The Not-So-Nice Side of Nice

love, empathy, kindness

I have a problem with nice.

Do you know what I mean?

Those people who tell you what they think you want to hear? How your hair always looks great (even when you know it doesn’t), or how your food is always the most delicious they’ve ever had (even the peanut butter and jelly sandwich), or what you’ve written is awesome (when you know it’s crap).

I don’t need that. In fact, I hate that.

See, I…

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When Help Hurts

empower yourself, healing is in your hands

I struck a resonant chord with my discussion about asking for help last week. Thank you so much for speaking up about your troubles and insights—you can be sure there are a whole bunch of others feeling exactly the same way but choose to stay quiet. We have so much to learn from one another!

What did I learn from you?

There’s a whole other angle to the help story that often gets us…

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How to Cure Chronic Fatigue at the Root Cause (2019)

Cure Chronic Fatigue at the Root Cause Level with a Functional Medicine Approach

A breakthrough approach to chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome recovery is the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine (FM). In FM, we focus on the individual and the unique circumstances of their illness rather than a generic diagnosis and statistical averages.

Rather than treat a diagnosis with a…

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Why’s It So Hard to Ask for Help?

help, helping hands, heal, karyn shanks md

Does asking for help make you squirm?

Yah, me too.

Why’s that?

I remember a time when I would NOT ask for help. Not ever. I thought I had to do it all myself. You know, pull myself up by the bootstraps, be tough and self-sufficient. Thinking I’d be a bother to others in asking for help or show some inherent flaw in my character, or weakness in my know-how.

Geeze, what crazy silly stories those…

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How to Empower Your Healing Story (A Manifesto)

We All Have a Healing Story

We all have a healing story, don’t we?

Fatigue and chronic illness are stories.

Recovery and failure and pain are stories.

They may be stories someone else wrote and handed to us. Or perhaps they’re stories we created ourselves to wrap our minds around fatigue and suffering and disappointment.

This is how it is. This is how it will be. This is my truth. This will…

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How to Empower Your Healing Story (What are Stories?)

Introduction: Claim Your Healing Stories

We’re Stuck

If we didn’t get stuck, we’d all be healed, wouldn’t we?

Low energy, chronic illness, burnout, depression—you name it. We don’t ask for it. We don’t want it. And for many of us, we know exactly what to do. How many times have we started out on those changes that we know are absolutely perfect for us?

So, why don’t we? Why don’t we just…

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How to Empower Your Healing Story (By Reimagining These Five Stories)

Change the Stories that Get You Stuck

Just look at us! We’ve come so far! The pieces of our savvy, personal self-care plans crafted so brilliantly just for us—by us—are coming together.

But, wait… many of us have been here before. How come we can’t make our genius plans work? Why can’t we get through the starting gates or pass the finish line?

That’s right—we’re stuck.

Why, with all our…

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How to Empower Your Healing Story (Lessons in Story Mining)

Introduction to Story Mining

We’re so intent on our healing, yet we find ourselves stuck … Again! What is wrong with us?

There’s nothing wrong with us. We’re doing our best, right? We’re giving it our all. We’re just stuck in a tenacious story that won’t let us go.

We’re stuck in a disempowering story, like those we discussed in the [previous article]—stories about our power, our worth,…

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How to Empower Your Healing Story (Claim Your Emotional Genius)

We. Must. Feel.

Look at those words again. And again. Let them sink in. We. Must. Feel.

How do you feel as you read them, think them, say them?

Numb? Indifferent? Super-charged? Emotional?

Whatever you feel—honestly feel—is one-hundred percent okay. We have complicated relationships with our feelings. We shame and blame ourselves for having them even though they’re here to keep us alive…

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