Why Affirmations Work
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Why Affirmations WorkJust listen to your body and Louise Hay!
Healing the mind and body with affirmations, medicine, and intuition is territory that has been increasingly explored over the last 30 years. And though there are many brilliant and gifted individuals who have helped lead the way, few would argue that the first pioneer in this field was Louise Hay. In fact, this movement began en masse in the 1980s, when we all bought her “little blue book,” Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them, and discovered the thought patterns that led to the health problems we all had.
Who knew what a turn my life would take because of this little blue book, but it truly has changed everything. It helped me sculpt my own medical practice and its theory has guided me along the path to better health for my patients and myself.
I had dragged Louise’s book Heal Your Body along with me to medical school and later as I spent long years researching the brain in pursuit of my Ph.D. I used it when I cried through the ups and downs of my medical and scientific training. And the times I didn’t cry and came down with sinusitis and postnasal drip. I would look up in the book the associated thought pattern: postnasal drip, also known as “inner crying.” When I got nervous about taking out one student loan after another to pay tuition, I started to get sciatica, lower-back problems. Once again I turned to the little blue book. Sciatica was associated with “fear of money and of the future.”
Time after time, the book made sense, but I could never figure out where Louise got her affirmation system. What motivated her, nearly 35 years ago, to start her “clinical observation study” on the association between human thoughts and health? How could someone with no scientific background or medical training observe client after client, see a consistent correlation between certain thought patterns and their associated health problems, and then write a book that so accurately addresses our health concerns? Her prescriptions worked but I didn’t know why or how. It simply drove me crazy.
So, as necessity—or aggravation—is the mother of invention, I decided to delve into the science behind her affirmation system, mapping out the emotional aspects of illness in the brain and body. And the correlations I found helped me create a treatment system that has guided me through more than 25 years of intuitive consultations and an equal number of years as a physician and scientist. But it wasn’t until Louise and I started down the path of writing our book, All Is Well, that I realized how powerful combining the healing methods I use with Louise’s affirmations could be.
The Importance of Intuition
Back in 1991, I had finished two years of medical school training plus three years of my Ph.D., and I needed to go back to the hospital floor to do my residency. Armed with a white coat, stethoscope, and lots of little books, I entered the floors of what at that time was Boston City Hospital.
On the first day, my resident came to me, gave me the name and age of my first patient, and said simply, “Work her up.” That was it. I was terrified. How was I supposed to do figure out what was wrong with her when I had no information other than her name and age?
In the elevator on the way down to the emergency room, I fidgeted nervously. I knew only the rudiments about how to work up a patient, let alone how to operate the stethoscope around my neck. Momentarily trapped in the elevator, I stood with clipboard in hand. And there, in an instant, I saw in my mind’s eye an image of the patient I was about to evaluate. She was moderately obese, in lime-green stretch pants, clutching the right upper part of her abdomen, screaming, “Doctor, doctor! It’s my gallbladder!”
Wow! I thought. In the event that the patient I am about to meet does have a gallbladder problem, how would I evaluate that medical problem? As the elevator slowly crept between floors, I flipped through the pages of the numerous manuals stuffed in my pockets and quickly researched how I would work up a patient with a gallbladder problem. On my clipboard, I sketched out the classic workup one does for a gallbladder problem: check an ultrasound of the liver, check liver enzymes, observe the whites of the patient’s eyes.
The doors opened. I ran down to the emergency room and threw open the curtain, and there, to my surprise, was a woman lying on the gurney in, yes, lime-green stretch pants, screaming, “Doctor, doctor! It’s my gallbladder!”
It had to be a coincidence, right?
The second day, once again, the resident barked out the name and age of my patient, telling me to go down to the emergency room. Again an image of the patient popped into my mind, this time with a bladder infection. So, I ran the drill again: how would I treat a patient with a bladder infection. Lo and behold, it was a bladder infection. On the third day, I repeated the process again, and again my impressions were accurate. After three days, I realized that there was something unique about my brain, that my mind’s eye could see ahead of time what my trained medical eye would eventually see on the floors of the hospital.
I could see just how useful intuition was in helping me assess my patients, but I soon realized that intuition played an even larger role than I initially thought.