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.

So You Want to Save the World? Start With Yourself

be the light, self-care, self-empowerment, save the world, activism, mindfulness, peace

Making this world a better place starts with each of us–with how we care for ourselves.

Many of us feel the immediacy of the need to save our world and our planet. We want to be part of the change, of the resistance, of the solutions that are most needed right now.

And yet, it can feel overwhelming. Where do we start? What will pack the greatest punch? How can each of us, individually, best…

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Optimism: The Key to Starting Over When We’ve Failed

optimism, failure, how to overcome failure, try again, succeed, success, self-care, self-empowerment

Once we’ve failed at a resolution or a goal–how do we re-engage and start again? We’ve all felt the weight of this experience–the frustration and the shame of it. How do we rise up, dust ourselves off, and dare to try again?

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over…

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Spring Detox: Five Easy Action Steps for Energy Renewal

spring detox, energy, vitality, invigorate, renew, spring renewal, cleanse

Spring Detox: throw off the winter sloth and heaviness–harness the emerging energy of spring to cleanse and invigorate!

Everyone knows what toxicity feels like. It’s the sickening headache that comes on when we’ve inadvertently sniffed diesel fuel out on the road or tarmac, or walked past one of those bath and body stores that spew out objectionable unnatural scents. It’s the awful…

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Body Wisdom: What Our Bodies Can Teach Us

strong bodies, strong emotions, intuition, creativity, self-healing, self-empowerment

Is there something in your life that needs to change? To heal? Your body is probably telling you about it right now. We can learn to decipher our body’s wisdom.

I’ve ignored my body’s wisdom–the persistently aching shoulder reminding me to hug into myself (rather than extending out to others all the time), the gnawing discomfort in my gut telling me about that toxic person who needed a boot…

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Deprivation: The Challenge of Lifestyle Change

deprivation, grief, letting go, setting intention, using affirmation, self-care, mindfulness, creating change, lifestyle change, the still quiet voice

Making lifestyle changes–like how we eat or sleep–can seem daunting. But it’s doable when we get organized around it…and learn to deal with deprivation.

Facing Our Nemesis: Deprivation

What do we do with the deep feelings of attachment we experience about the habits we love–the food, staying up late, the extra glass of wine–and the grief and and loss that hits us when we try to create…

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Four Simple Steps to Jumpstart Change

four steps to change, steps to healing, self-care, self-healing, self-empowerment, functional medicine

…and your healing. (All healing requires change.)

Getting started is the hardest–and the simplest–part.

Four simple (I didn’t say easy) steps to get you rocking and rolling:

  1. Make. the. Decision. Make the decision to change and heal. Say it, write it, tell someone. Your intentions are powerful medicine.
  2. Take an action. Just one–any–simple action. An action that leads to something. Or an action…

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You Can Heal Chronic Pain

pain recovery, chronic pain, healing, karyn shanks md, functional medicine, heal pain, back pain,

Your Seven-Part Whole-Self Roadmap to Healing Chronic Pain

You can heal chronic pain—yes, you will heal. All you need is a team of smart professionals who love and support you, and a strategy that considers the many dimensions of who you are—of your body, mind, and spirit.

Pain is a mysterious, difficult, soul-sapping experience that requires urgent consideration and resolution. It is the…

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Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality Through Self-Care

The Heart of Healing: Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality Through Self-Care

I recently asked my new client, Ruth, what her goals were in working with me. She said, “I just want to be…myself…again.” She blurted it out and seemed surprised with what she had said. But there it was, the essence of her greatest loss, what chronic illness had taken from her. Years of illness had “destroyed” her,…

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Insomnia Solution–Part Two: Treat the Root Cause

insomnia, sleep, sleep medicine, functional medicine, the power of sleep, fatigue, tired, self-care

Insomnia sufferers, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What are the reasons for not sleeping well? And what’s actually happening when we don’t sleep? We all know it feels bad, but why is it bad and how does it lead to illness? As you can deduce from the previous discussion about what sleep does, lack of sleep has a profound effect on regulation of key aspects of our internal biology, as well…

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Insomnia Solution–Part One: The Power of Deep Sleep

insomnia, sleep, sleep medicine, functional medicine, the power of sleep, fatigue, tired, self-care

Insomnia Antidote: Sleep is the Boss

Sleep, like food, is powerful medicine. There are few aspects of our daily lives that are as profoundly essential and influential to our health and healing as getting good sleep. Sleep is a magical, mysterious time that allows us to power down, repair, replenish, and renew—providing the deepest healing and renewal available to us.

We must sleep—this is one…

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