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.

She Reclaimed Her Feelings (and Discovered Her Power)

karyn shanks, karyn shanks md, Big Energy, Nine Domains of Healing, feelings, feel, emotional healing,

One of the dangers of suffering is what happens when we distance ourselves from how we feel—when we numb the pain.

And it makes sense that we do this, right? We want to feel better. We need to feel better. We do whatever we can. What we know.

But with persistent suffering—the kind that comes with chronic pain, illness, depression, or trauma—(before we discover—and address—the root…

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Already Strong. Already Beautiful. Already Whole.

already strong, already beautiful, already whole, self-care, self-healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

What if we think about self-care like this?

It doesn’t make us better. Not better versions of our selves. Not better than anyone else.

We may feel better, we may function at a higher level, we may experience life in a whole new and vibrant way, but we—who we truly are—was there all along.

Those savvy food plans and vigorous exercise regimens don’t make us stronger or more beautiful.

The…

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Food Hurts. Food Heals.

food as medicine, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, food addiction, food heals, nutritional healing

We all know food is medicine by now. We know food has the molecular power to change our genetic expression, physiology, and function in infinite and profound ways. We know food is us at the most foundational level.

It works both ways. Food hurts. Food heals.

It’s easy to turn to foods that taste good, make us feel better, give us a “high,” a hit of pleasure to help us numb the suffering…

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Off the Grid

off the grid, rest, peace, unplug, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

Sometimes we’ve just got to rest. Sometimes we’ve just got to go off grid. Sometimes we’ve just got to do nothing.

That’s what I’ve been doing this past week and it’s felt so dang good!

I turned my book into my editor last week… I was so ready to hand it off, so needing to disengage to put my brain somewhere else after the four month marathon of editing, following a four year creative…

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Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) Food Plan

FINE food plan, energy nutrition, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, food as medicine, energy healing,

The Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy Food Plan (FINE)—a Real Food Plan for Energy Nutrition

This is your foundational energy nutrition healing food plan.

In some ways this food plan is about going back to our roots. To eating real food, grown in favorable conditions, prepared simply and deliciously, shared with those we love, eaten slowly, and just enough to meet our needs.

But its also…

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My Happiness Meter

happiness, you deserve to be happy, born to be happy, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, Nine Domains of Healing, Big Energy

I had a wonderful conversation with a friend the other day… We were both explaining the ways we’d been slowing down the pace of our lives. Doing just one thing at a time. Doing less. Working less. Playing more. Loosening expectations. Letting go of obligations that no longer feel like a good fit.

We spoke of this as if it were radical. Not quite whispering, or confessing (but close)—capturing…

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Healing is Not Always Curing

healing, healing is not always curing, curing, self-healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

True, we all want to be cured. We all want our pain to go away, our wounds to heal, our function to be restored, and our energy to soar.

But I think there’s more. I hear this in what my clients blurt out when I ask them about their goals and aspirations. How they want to feel like their true selves, to live their best lives, and reach their full potential.

They’re talking about healing.

And…

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Get Out of the Way of Healing

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

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…

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Whistle While You Work

whistle, happy, music therapy, karyn shanks, karyn shanks md

The secret to a happy life you ask?

Ah, yes, I have one of the answers.

Whistle.

Seriously. Whistle!

I come from a family of beautiful whistlers—my mom (a song bird!), her dad, me, and my oldest son. My mom taught me to whistle when I was a wee girl and I remember the immense pride I felt when I finally got it! And I’ve been whistling pretty much non-stop every since (apologies to my…

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Five Things I Must Do to Start My Day (Hint: Yep, Think Slow)

five things I must do to start the day, karyn shanks, karyn shanks md, wisdom, start slow, practice slow, slow medicine

Aren’t those things we do—and say to ourselves—in those first minutes after awakening, the tone-setters for the whole day?

Jumping out of bed and racing out of the house, coffee in one hand, kid in the other—leads one direction. (Eek! The dreaded time pressure, high survival launching out the door—I remember those days! Oh my gosh—my chest is clenching!)

Versus slow. Slow start. Slow breaths.…

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