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.

Stay Curious

Stay curious.

Lately I’ve been studying my ass off, scouring the scientific literature to learn as much as I can about COVID-19—the virus associated with it, how it’s behaving, who is affected and why, what effective strategies can be used now and in the future, and what we’re learning to protect us going forward.

I love how the global impact and novelty of this situation is driving a hunger…

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Unbroken

care, hope, heal, healing, love, heal yourself, heal ourselves,

Dear One,

We weren’t broken then.

We aren’t broken now.

Not us.

Not our world. Not our communities. Not the planet.

If not broken, what the hell are we? What kind of Pollyanna idea is “unbroken” anyway?

I’ll tell you what it means. We’re … Complicated. Messy. Mean as hell. Heartbroken. Scared. Gorgeous. Amazing. And Beautiful. All these things. All at once.

But not broken.

Because we are…

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COVID-19 Lessons

Dear One,

In recent conversations with good friends—smart and worldly friends—I realized how uncertain and scared many of them are about the COVID-19 pandemic. More than I expected.

Like, what it is. How it affects us—really. Why we are responding as we are. What we can do to protect ourselves and others. How we safely move forward with our lives.

I’ve heard remarks like, “I didn’t think…

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Born to Heal: Our Call for a New Healing Paradigm

heal, healing is in our hands, our lives are miracles, karyn shanks md

What I’ve learned from my own healing and those of my clients, is that deep, sustainable recovery from suffering, pain, and chronic illness can’t be done in the usual, outdated twentieth century way. We can’t do it with conventional medicine—a brilliant model of healthcare designed to address urgent problems.

As a doctor, that was something I didn’t come to understand overnight. I heard my…

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How to Claim Healing as Your Own

heal, healing is in our hands, karyn shanks md

Healing is ours. Our birthright. The primary urge of all nature. But we must claim it as our own. No one else can do this for us. Our healing, our wholeness, our potential rests squarely in our own hands.

This is power. This is our power. This is the promise of our amazing humanness.

It all begins with a simple decision. A “yes,” softly spoken, perhaps tentatively at first, that precedes…

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How to Become the Expert on You: Write Your Story of Healing

write a new healing story, your healing story, love, heal

Healing is ours. Our birthright. The primary urge of all nature. But we must claim it as our own. No one else can do this for us. Our healing, our wholeness, our potential rests squarely in our own hands.

This is power. This is our power. This is the promise of our amazing humanness.

It all begins with a simple decision. A “yes,” softly spoken, perhaps tentatively at first, that precedes…

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How to Use Anxiety as the Empathic Wise Guide Within You

meditation, heal grief, karyn shanks, karyn shanks md

Anxiety Reframe

How does it make sense to use “anxiety” and empathic wise guidein the same phrase?

Isn’t the opposite true? Aren’t our anxious minds—you know, the way they churn and burn with worry about the past, present, and future—our downfall? A whopping character flaw? A total loss of control? The terrible, shameful energy that keeps us separated from our true selves and happiness…

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How to Work With the Grief of Change

strong, heal, karyn shanks md

Dear One,

“You’ll never get people to change.”

“It’ll bring down the whole economy.”

“People aren’t ready for it—they’re too much in crisis mode.”

“You’re too idealistic.”

What are they talking about?

This is the flack I’ve been getting for speaking out about what we’re called to do. How the pandemic and the suffering it’s brought is illuminating our weaknesses (it’s blinding!). How…

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How to Create Resilience: Adaptability, Energy, and Strength for Life

Heal, Karyn Shanks MD, The Nine Domains of Healing, Healing Roadmap

Dear One,

First, we survive.

Then we step back and ask, what am I called to do next?

And we realize, we knew it all along, didn’t we?

We knew where our reverent care of ourselves was taking us.

Resilience.

And we know in our guts—This. Is. Our. Call.

Survival First

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced—personally and collectively—in any of our…

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COVID-19: How to Protect Your Whole Self in a Global Pandemic

self-care, heal

We’re smack in the middle of a global viral pandemic (COVID-19) unlike anything most of us have ever lived through. It’s a stark and sudden reality. We’re isolating ourselves and taking precautions. And we’re scared.

What else can we do? What else should we do? How do we take care of our whole selves?

Right now, protection has two dimensions:

  • Physical protection: both for ourselves and…

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