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.

Detox is About Letting Go: Part Two of a Series

detox is letting go functional medicine karyn shanks md liftoff blog

Detox is About Letting Go: Part Two

Detoxification is about how we manage the toxins, irritants and negative energy that are an inevitable part of our daily lives. We can’t live in a bubble. But we can be wise about how we live and eat and fortify ourselves. 

This is a series of offerings that will dispel common myths about what detoxification is and how to stay safe and strong in our lives and…

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It’s Not Failure: Applying the “Three Tack Rule” of Healing

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Sometimes our healing doesn’t go just as planned.

My own recent healing from low back and shoulder injuries was a long journey of self-discovery that took many twists and turns, required a team of experts and supporters and required deep faith and commitment. I had to commit to myself and to my therapy every single day, not knowing what the outcome would be. There were encouraging steps forward…

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Thought Shifting: Using the Power of Positive Affirmations to Change Our Minds

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The Power of Positive Affirmations in My Life

Positive affirmations completely changed my life. I love my story about Houston Smith, the venerable religion scholar, teacher and author, who spoke in an interview about how he woke up every morning of his life, greeting the new day with excitement and anticipation. When I heard him speak I was at a very busy and stressful time of my life trying to…

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The Art and Practice of Softening

“Soften. Soften your body, soften your face, soften your mind, soften your stories, soften your expectations.” I hear the voice of my yoga teacher, Betsy, as I hold a challenging yoga pose. She teaches the practice of softening as a way to help us regulate our bodies and minds in the process of our yoga practice. The beauty is taking it off the mat and into life. I hear that voice when I am…

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Reclaim Your Energy Using The Nine Domains of Healing

The Nine Domains of Healing® is the roadmap we use to claim our Big Energy.

There are many avenues to our energy recovery solution. I work with many tired and sick people experiencing difficult problems and there are always inroads to their healing, we just have to consider the high priority places to start our work.

Our complexity means that we are incredibly interesting and that there are…

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Deep Dog Meditation

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Here is one of my favorite and, perhaps, most healing forms of meditation:

Lie back comfortably in the recliner with feet up. Breath deeply. Allow dog #1 to curl up at feet. Soles of feet are resting against her backside. Dog #2 curls up at your side. Arm is resting on her belly. Softness of both dogs is appreciated. Their sighs and moans lull you into deep relaxation. Dog at feet pulls your…

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Detox is About Letting Go: Part One of a Series

Detox is About Letting Go: Part One

Detoxification is about how we manage the toxins, irritants and negative energy that are an inevitable part of our daily lives. We can’t live in a bubble. But we can be wise about how we live and eat and fortify ourselves. 

This is a series of offerings that will dispel common myths about what detoxification is and how to stay safe and strong in our lives and…

read more

The Liftoff Foundational Intensive Nutrition Food Plan

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The Liftoff Foundational Intensive Nutrition Food Plan is Simple:

  1. Eat Real Food Only and Always
  2. Avoid All Processed and Refined Foods
  3. Avoid All Sugars
  4. Eat healthy fat
  5. Eat enough healthy protein to meet your needs
  6. Eat mostly plants
  7. Feed your microbiome
  8. Eat fresh food, farm-to-table, seasonably
  9. Eat mindfully, joyfully and socially
  10. Don’t eat too much of anything

In addition to these basic tenets…

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When Stepping Up Means Saying “No”

Two of my friends this week told me their stories about saying “yes.”

Friend #1 went out to a late night concert with a friend of hers. She really didn’t want to go. It wasn’t a venue or band that she particularly liked and she’s been trying hard to get to bed at a decent time lately. But the friend was insistent and played the “oh but we’re such good friends, surely you’ll like what I like”…

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Practice Presence by Cultivating Awe

“The great lesson from the true mystics is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, and in one’s backyard.” -Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values and Peak Experiences

We all know awe from those amazing soul-smacking experiences that we don’t expect: the incredible sunsets, enormous rainbows, powerful storms,…

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