24 September 2014

Accelerated healing 101

The 5 principles you can learn and apply to accelerate the healing of any condition.

Do you sometimes wonder if people who heal quickly are just lucky? Or did a miracle (an unexplained event) occur? Or is the notion of accelerated healing through using the power of the mind actually real, and if so, how best to take advantage of it?

What follows is very personal. It describes my own recent encounter with a major need for healing. And it provides direct advice based on nearly 40 years in this field. It is also a long article as the attempt has been made to make it fairly complete, almost like a healing manifesto, so it will come in 2 parts, but first

Thought for the day

             Without the heart 
             The eyes cannot see 
             And the ears cannot hear

                     Japanese saying

Recently I had the opportunity to put what I teach into practice. Two days before leaving on the recently completed 3 month road trip/speaking tour, I tore the rotator cuff in my right shoulder.

There was the car to pack, the prospect of many miles to travel, many talks to present. And an arm that was completely immobile and excruciatingly painful! Would it heal? How long would it take? How would Ruth and I manage?

Apparently, rotator cuff tears commonly take 2 – 3 months to heal. Some require surgery and some are very slow. Recently a friend was severely debilitated by this injury for 2 years. My rotator cuff tear was diagnosed on clinical examination by an orthopaedic surgeon and confirmed by X Ray and MRI. It was completely healed in 5 days. I decided to delay writing of it until returning home, just to ensure there was no relapse - it remains as strong and reliable as ever.

Just lucky? Maybe, but here then is “Accelerated Healing 101”. The 5 key principles are explained, how I actually applied them to healing a rotator cuff tear is described, and details of how you can develop these principles are provided for whenever you may need healing.

ACCELERATED HEALING 101 – the five key principles

The potential for the mind to limit healing or to accelerate it is vast. This is not about some simplistic “wishful thinking” – hoping for the best with very little action to back it up. No, this is about realizing the potential of our mind, training it and using it intelligently.

i) Have a clear, positive intention
The Principle
Intention is the starting point. Clearly, when it comes to using the power of the mind, the more certainty the better. Dare to aim high. Do expect the extra-ordinary!

What I did
I told my body that it was completely unacceptable to go on a 3 month road trip with an excruciatingly painful, immobile arm. I expected it to heal quickly and fully and I was committed to doing whatever was necessary to bring that about. Healing became my number one priority.

Maybe we are starting with one of the trickiest principles. I have worked with so many people who, when it came to healing, started with doubts, confusion, uncertainty. However, clearly there is hope. This is a skill that can be learnt like all the others we will be discussing; it simply requires some clarity (about what you are really aiming for) and some courage (to dare to commit to that goal and to follow through on it).

ii) Trust in the cause
The principle
A rotator cuff tear is not “an accident”. Like other things in our lives, it follows on from a string of causes and conditions; some of which we will be aware of, some of which will remain somewhat mysterious.

Have confidence that the cause is clearly to do with our life and that it has the potential to be destructive or constructive depending upon how we respond to it.

What I did
Before leaving on this trip, there had been a lot to do. Heaps of organizing for the tour. Heaps of preparation before leaving the farm for 3 months. Heaps of overhead pruning with the chainsaw in the orchard while balancing on one leg.

No obvious specific trigger, but the injury made sense! And while it did provide an excellent and compelling opportunity to revisit and re-examine what  teach, on the surface, it still seemed extremely inconvenient!

The aim is to recognize cause and effect. To let go of any “victim mentality thinking”, the disempowering “poor me” stuff and to recognize that if something has a cause it also has a solution. Logical analysis will get you to this if common sense does not do it even more directly.

It is wise to reflect on all this, to contemplate it and to clarify your own thinking, your own beliefs around healing.

iii) Let go of the past – along with destructive states of mind
The principle
This means letting go of blame, shame (that feeling of not being good enough), guilt and despair. Tough work for some.

What I did
I need to be honest here and at the risk of sounding immodest or deluded, say that fortunately I attended to these destructive states rather thoroughly some years back and they were simply not an issue in this instance. However, I observe that for many people they can provide a major impediment to accelerated healing.

The simple first step here is to work out what you want. If it is to be angry and resentful then healing will suffer. If accelerated healing is what you want, then you have an imperative: work on transforming any destructive mind states you are aware of. For example, forgiveness is possible when you are committed to it and it transforms resentment.

However, there is an important proviso. Sometimes transforming difficult emotions can of itself take a lot of energy and time. Sometimes it can be expedient to focus on getting well in the first instance, then attending to these difficulties later. Timing can be a major issue and the key is to be comfortable with where you are at.

Some people just know they need to work on forgiveness as a major, immediate priority. Others sense that now is not the time; that there is a knowing that these personal issues will need to be attended to, but that healing will be better served by shelving the issues for now and coming back to them later.

The secret is to aim to develop a comfort with where you are at, to avoid beating yourself up and to develop the intuitive skills that give you confidence to know what to do when (this can be reliably accomplished through the practice of contemplation).

iv) Expect healing
The principle
Be confident. The body’s capacity to accelerate healing is truly amazing. There are so many amazing stories to draw upon; to be inspired by. (In the cancer field, read Surviving Cancer and Radical Remission).

What I did
I knew I could heal quickly.

Take inspiring stories to heart. Be comforted by the fact that even if just one person has accomplished remarkable healing before, it can be done again. Draw strength from the growing body of research that documents and analyses many remarkable recoveries.

Avoid negative people. Or better still, use their doubts to constructively challenge and build your own resolve. Remind yourself regularly of the amazing potential for healing you have. Whenever possible, hang out with people who have done it. Attending a well run, like-minded self help/support group can be very useful.

v) Talk to your self kindly and positively
The principle
The messages we give to ourselves directly impact upon our potential for accelerated healing, and on our wellbeing.

What I did
The pain I experienced with my rotator cuff injury was extreme – for a few days. Over the years I have developed some pain management skills (have had root canal dentistry without anaesthetic) but a couple of times I just felt the need to yell! But then I smiled. It was a release. No need to beat myself up, make judgements or feel guilty in some misguided way. Just let it out and move on the freer for having done so. Move on expecting to heal and thanking the body as the positive signs of recovery began to emerge.

Watch your self talk. Learn to actively participate in your own thinking. Rather than allowing your thoughts to dictate how you feel, take control. Notice when you stray into negative or destructive self talk, recognize it, do not take it seriously, do not beat yourself up and instead, give your energy to creative, constructive thoughts.

The principle
Accelerated healing is based upon the regenerative powers of the body. Inflammation can be important in the early stages of healing, but chronic inflammation and meta-inflammation are both decidedly “anti-healing”.

What we need for accelerated healing is a solid baseline that is anti-inflammatory and regenerative. This is achieved by living a healthy lifestyle.

So good to be doing this before an injury or illness, but again, it is never too late to begin. Two key points:

i) Nutrition
The principle
High levels of meat, dairy, saturated fats and processed foods are all confirmed to promote inflammation and degenerative processes in the body.

Plant based whole foods, good oils, exercise, high fluid intake – all the things you know about – are confirmed to be highly anti-inflammatory, highly regenerative.

What I did
Thoroughly attended to all this

Simple choice really!

ii) Stress management
The principle
Stress also leads to inflammation and aggravates degenerative disease.

What I did
I knew I was under pressure, so I meditated more. Prior to the injury, I had been doing all possible to minimise the load and making time to exercise more.

Especially when healing, do all possible to minimize stressors and make time for relaxation, exercise and meditation. Make meditation a priority and use CDs to help keep focused if you are distracted or have trouble concentrating.

The principle
The body has a vast array of healing mechanisms and they are all regulated by the mind – mostly by the unconscious mind. This regulation involves two-way communication – from the mind to the body AND from the body to the mind.     To be continued….

NEXT WEEK – Accelerated Healing Part 2
How to use the mind to accelerate healing directly using Mind-Body Medicine techniques.

The hierarchy of healing modalities

Activating your support team

FOLLOW UP – specific cancer residential programs with a focus upon accelerated healing

The material presented in this and next week’s blog will be at the heart of the material to be covered in the next specifically cancer related programs Ruth and I will present – the first, Mind, Meditation and Healing at Wanaka, New Zealand in November 2014,  the second, Cancer and Beyond in the Yarra Valley, Australia in May 2015.

(Nutrition will be given thorough coverage as well, while there will be ample time with myself and Ruth for questions and discussion, along with good conversations amongst like-minded people).

Cancer survivors? Cancer thrivers!

Radical Remission

BOOKS You Can Conquer Cancer,   Radical Remission,   Surviving Cancer

Mind Training,   Emotional Health

A Good Life – ABC Compass program outlining something of my life and work.

Link via my website – CLICK HERE 


  1. Thank you Ian for this fabulous article and for being such a shining example of what you teach. Your years of diligent study and meditation have borne fruit in your ability to overcome the disturbing emotions that prohibit healing and you are well versed in the diet and lifestyle which promotes it. Congratulations! Have you any thoughts about the role of negative karma in illness and perhaps it's elimination? Ah but that would be a really long article wouldn't it?
    Warm hugs
    Kamala Kerr

  2. Thanks for the kind words Kamala. There is a series of 3 blogs from 2011 written on karma - the 3rd was titled "Karma - is it all in the mind?" and the link is here:
    It is easy to get the previous 2 from there; maybe you will find them interesting???

  3. Thanks Ian. Do you mean the related blogs at the bottom of the article? I read the one "Why do some people live and some people die" but couldn't get the one "Why do bad things happen to good people". I love reading your blogs.

    1. There was a problem with the link that is fixed now, or you can go directly to

  4. Fascinating, Ian - thank you so much for sharing undeniable proof of all that you 'preach' (for the best purpose out - helping others) and live. Love the university title(!), love your simple, direct all resonates as truth to me, and it has infiltrated permanently, I know it. :-) Thank you again.

  5. Thanks Ian , you are a wonderful teacher. I look forward to next weeks blog. This article has encouraged me to expand on the imagery I currently use to remain cancer free and work on another health issue I am currently dealing with .
    I look forward to joining you soon for another wonderful week of learning in Yarra Junction. See you then.
    Warmest wishes Linda

  6. Fantastic article - looking forward to the second instalment.

  7. Ummm...5 days
    - not quite as quick as JC but PDQ!!!

  8. Thank you Ian. Timely reminders for me. I look forward to the second instalment. Ben

  9. Oh the suspense.....fantastic information and learnings Ian and i look forward to next week. on a side mention root canal....I have been told that people with cancer should not consider root canal work due to the risk of bacteria build up in the dead view would be most welcome

    1. The problem with root canal and other teeth issues is the very real risk of chronic , low level inflammation which aggravates, as in speeds up most cancers. However, if one has a root canal infection, removing the tooth may cause as much trouble as filling it, so there is a need to balance where the affected tooth is with the consequence of removing it. I have had a tooth at the back of my mouth removed due to a root canal infection, another more to the front filled. This is an issue to discuss with a sound Holistic Dentist..

  10. This is really helpful thank you Ian. As someone dealing with cancer, it is hard sometimes to keep positive and this comes as a timely reminder of what is possible. Many thanks.

  11. Thank you so much for your wonderful teaching again. I can't stop reading you and being inspired by you which is great. I will now apply this again.

  12. OMG…this certainly resonates with me.
    Back in Nov 2012 I ‘woke up’ with a frozen shoulder. Went off to Dr who said it was ‘acute’ & would take 12-18 mths to get full use back. Gave me a referral for a scan but said, “don’t go for 2 weeks coz they will have to move your arm”. (my arm was immovable by my side – if moved profuse swear words came forth!) …. I knew I did not have time for all this!
    What had I been doing?..well I had been cleaning windows but that is nothing new as I do that frequently during the year as my house has beautiful views and in order to take the full advantage I like ‘clean’ windows!
    So I decided to come home , sit down & look out of these ‘clean’ windows and think about the diagnosis! I decided to ‘work with’ the diagnosis – it is now real, so no point in getting frustrated or angry and I used meditation & self reiki to help me in this approach. In fact the pain was quite excrutiating so I spent most of the next 2 days & nites doing this!
    3 days later I had organized for our Cancer Support Group to be led thru’ a ‘labrynth maze’ by a lady with lots of experience. So I needed to be there in my role as co-ordinator. To finger walk a labrynth maze was another tool people can use to relax & heal, we were told. I went with arm strapped to my side (so no swear words wouldescape!) and I finger walked this labrynth maze, many,many times. We were told that we were to leave our troubles/pain/emotions in the middle and come back out feeling freer.
    A week later, continuing with my self reiki & meditation , I now had 25-30% use of my arm.
    2 weeks later I had 90% use of my arm, so I did not go for my scan. Maybe my Dr did not diagnose correctly?....he diagnosed my melanoma some 18yrs prior so I had faith!.....on returning to him in January (for another reason) he was bewildered to see I had 100% use of my arm, re-read his notes & shook his head in dis-belief at my recovery. I said I had been using lots of self help modalities to help me heal, and he smiled.
    So Ian, again, without all that I have learnt from you in the 20 years since I bought your first book and more recently from the 2 Meditation in the Desert retreats I haveattended, I am sure I would have struggled with anger & frustration. Thank you-Thank you- Thank you – for all you do to partake your knowledge to everyone. You are such an altruistic, authentic man. Sue from SW of WA

  13. Great story Sue - thanks for sharing it :)