While certainly true that the human mind and body possess an innate healing capacity, the phenomenon can only be fully unleashed by activating specific powerful triggers.
True healing is a complex biological process, not magic.
Here’s the basic definition courtesy of Wikipedia:
Healing (literally meaning to make whole) is the process of the restoration of health to an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism. Healing may be physical or psychological and not without the mutual reception of these two dimensions of human health.
The term spontaneous remission is still regularly mentioned in the cancer world. Again, Wikipedia’s definition:
Spontaneous remission, also called spontaneous healing or spontaneous regression, is an unexpected improvement or cure from a disease that appears to be progressing in its severity. These terms are commonly used for unexpected transient or final improvements in cancer … in the absence of all treatment, or in the presence of therapy which is considered inadequate to exert significant influence on neoplastic disease.
The term spontaneous remission is frequently used by physicians unable to adequately explain a patient’s complete reversal of disease. After all, conventional physicians are trained to view things in a reductive way, attaching one action—a single drug or procedure—to a response or outcome.
Case in point: After I achieved a remarkable remission without any conventional intervention for an incurable late stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia, my oncologist (a Harvard dean and preeminent scientist) was quick to admit he had never seen spontaneous remission of CLL in his 30-year career, including my case. He said: “you achieved this remarkable outcome with your self-created integrative oncology program, and, ultimately, you willed this away. I just don’t know what part of your program we can attribute this outcome to.”
The ever curious investigator, my oncologist was looking for the one magic bullet that triggered such a remarkable clinical response. However, to the extent that various conditions and states of disease are unique, the human mind and body is often too complex to study in a reductionist manner. It’s easy to see why physicians find utility in a catch-all term like spontaneous remission, as opposed to, say, radical remission….
Spontaneous Remission is a Myth—Radical Remissions are Real
In her excellent book Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, my friend and colleague Kelly A. Turner, PhD tells about remarkable cancer survivors who, along their personal journeys with disease, became incredibly curious about untold and often undocumented individual cases and unique approaches to addressing illness.
Dr. Turner wrote her doctoral thesis following a 10 month worldwide expedition interviewing various types of practitioners and healers, as well as those cancer patients themselves who had overcome very tall survival odds. (note: my story is also cited in the book)
Not long ago I had the privilege to share a podium with Dr. Turner and heard her passionately speak about this; how different people approach diagnoses of life-limiting disease as well as the core characteristics, qualities, methodologies and (wellness) processes these remarkable survivors share in common.
Following are the 9 Factors featured in Radical Remission:
- Changing diet
- Taking control of health
- Following intuition
- Using herbs and supplements
- Releasing suppressed emotions
- Increasing positive emotions
- Embracing social support
- Deepening spiritual connection
- Having strong reasons for living
Radical Remissions are not Spontaneous
Radical remissions are triggered and created by a remarkable set of diverse yet synergistic biological and physiological changes. Created by one’s own mind and body, these extraordinary remissions speak to the complex phenomena of epigenetics—the turning off of oncogenes via modulating gene expression.
While we don’t yet have all the answers, we surely know that our thoughts and actions greatly influence our susceptibility to malignant disease as well as our innate, powerful capacity to survive even the most serious prognosis. We are all an n of 1.
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