Netflix's "Heal" urges you to recognize and embrace the natural healer you already are. (Illustration by Jaila Desper, University of Maryland)
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Mind over matter takes on a whole new meaning.

How often have you walked into a doctor’s office hoping, wishing and praying that you’d walk away with a magic prescription for a mystical pill that heals all of your mental, physical and emotional pain? Now, how often does that rare and profoundly life-changing occurrence genuinely take place for you or anyone you know?

My strong inclination, through personal experience, tells me the answer lies somewhere close to never. Not only is it nearly impossible for a perfect solution to land in the palm of your hand, but the medication we leave with often acts as a Band-Aid that later intensifies the issue as soon as we strip ourselves of it. Instead of treating symptoms and trying to find a quick fix, we must care for our bodies as the whole organisms they are in order to treat issues at their roots. In doing so, we can escape from this toxic cycle.

In “Heal,” a documentary by filmmaker Kelly Noonan Gores, we embark on a “scientific and spiritual journey” to discover just how drastically our thoughts, beliefs and emotions impact our health and the body’s ability to mend itself. So many people refuse to accept that they already have a body, an extraordinarily brilliant system with the power to heal even the most severe of conditions.

There is a natural intelligence that has always led our cells, from embryo to baby and from that moment on. There is a natural intelligence that has always given us life, one that keeps our hearts beating and our bodies digesting food. Although some of these critical functions take place without our consideration, the ones that start within our minds, the ones we do have the ability to control, can be just as momentous.

If we shift to a more positive frame of mind, we change the signals that adjust the cell. Everything starts in the mind, including disease, so it’s important to remember that toxic thoughts produce toxic chemicals, and tonic thoughts produce tonic chemicals. Although this may sound like a frivolous piece of advice to offer someone who perpetually suffers from an affliction, history and science proved that every organ has the ability to heal itself, given the right circumstances and environment.

Our minds and consciousness shape our bodies and reconfigure our relationship with the world. These invisible forces, which ultimately control everything around us, have been studied and discussed dating back to the written works of René Descarte, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

Through interviews with some of the most influential modern scientists and spiritual teachers, “Heal” examines the ways that quantum physics proves how all of our surroundings are constructed by the energy we put into the world. The documentary directly states that 90 percent of what takes people to the doctor are stress-related illnesses in the form of physical, chemical or emotional stress. Since stress hormones inhibit the immune system, it’s the ultimate cause of disease.

When our bodies receive threats they release cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenalin, which induces a “fight or flight” response. Our energy fields then go into a state of resistance, our blood doesn’t flow as effectively, our pH becomes more acidic and inflammation occurs. We have a highly advanced nervous system that regulates the choices we make, such as the ways we visualize our lives and turn illness into wellness.

Our minds produce approximately 60,000 thoughts per day, and most of the time it’s telling us scary and limiting things. If we weren’t aware of these thoughts, then we’d better comprehend that our bodies are magnificently designed to self-regulate.

Words create images, and this is how a simple act, such as expressing gratitude, can have a deep effect on our stress levels. When we convey appreciation, the body believes it’s receiving something beneficial because of the emotional signals gratitude sends.

The more we envision that healing has already occurred and give thanks for its presence, a trigger is sent to the brain chemistry and nerve cells to reflect that healing. The power of belief is almost everything.

The idea of mind-body medicine may not seem ordinary to you, but the number of people who are sick these days is what’s truly abnormal. “Heal” discusses a variety of reasons why this phenomenon continues to grow, including the endless stream of drug advertisements filling us with fears that our bodies are failing us; pharmaceutical and insurance companies benefitting from our visits to the doctor’s office; and the low air/food quality Earth has succumb to. If you doubt the mind’s ability to play tricks on the body, consider the placebo effect and how belief itself has the ability to shift our biology entirely.

As a society, we’ve been conditioned to trust that convenience is most important, and conventional doctors know best. The idea of Eastern medicine and conventional doctors might seem far-fetched, but the naturopath requires a willingness to become dedicated to a holistic form of healing.

Buddha said, “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” From radical remission survivors to people overcoming being told they’ll never walk again, “Heal” shares countless stories of people who experience miracles during their high stakes healing journeys.

All documented cases share the following similarities: extreme changes in diet, release of suppressed emotions and increase of positive thoughts, embracing social support and overall, deepening spiritual connections in order to form a strong reason to live. Don’t fall prey to your prognosis, take the time to watch “Heal” and believe in the born healer within you.

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