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.

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

root cause healing, Functional Medicine, Heal chronic fatigue with Functional Medicine

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…

read more

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…

read more

How to Empower Your Healing Story (A Manifesto)

empowerment, healing story, heal

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…

read more

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

healing stories, healing beliefs, body-mind healing, heal

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…

read more

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

healing stories, five healing stories, your healing story, write your healing story

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…

read more

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

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

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,…

read more

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

feelings are power, heal your emotions, emotional wisdom, heal

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…

read more

How to Empower Your Healing Story (Rewrite Your Failure Stories)

rewrite your failure story, failure is wisdom, failure is our teacher, failure heals, heal

Deconstructing Failure

The Conundrum of Things Not Working Out

It starts like this, doesn’t it? We feel the terrible sting of disappointment because things are not turning out as we hoped. Our expectations are not met. A door slams in our face and we feel devastated. Or, in spite of working really, really hard, our savvy plan seems to go nowhere.

Then what?

You know where I’m going here,…

read more

I’m Not Feeling Better: Is it Failure? Or is There More to Do?

the three tack rule of healing, Functional Medicine

“This food plan isn’t working for me.”

“This treatment has done absolutely nothing.”

“I thought I’d be feeling better by now. This is a failure.”


Do these “failures” sound familiar?

Healing can be so hard. And can take so long.

What if you’re working hard? To recover your energy and wellbeing? To get your life back? And you still struggle?

Have you failed? Is your healing strategy a…

read more

How to Treat Chronic Fatigue with Energy Nutrition (2019)

energy nutrition, heal chronic fatigue nutrition

Energy Nutrition is Essential to Chronic Fatigue Recovery

Energy nutrition is absolutely essential to heal chronic fatigue no matter what the underlying causes.

Your grandma was right after all: “You are what you eat.” Literally.

The constituents of our food—each individual protein, fat, carbohydrate, and molecule we ingest—become our proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and the molecules that run…

read more