102: Why Love Is Medicine For The Heart & Mind w/ Razi Berry

102: Why Love Is Medicine For The Heart & Mind w/ Razi Berry

by Dr. Anna Cabeca September 08, 2019

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How we feel towards our bodies and our loved ones can actually impact the health we have inside. Love is medicine; feeling love increases our oxytocin and helps keep cortisol in check, so our stress levels don’t contribute to the heart or other diseases. Razi Berry is a naturopathic doctor who focuses on the way love impacts our health.

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When Razi was a teenager, she had a severe eating disorder that was causing her heart to stop working. She knows the exact moment when she started to heal: her mother and brother were surrounding her hospital bed and telling her how much they loved her. It was that love, and love she felt for them, that told her body it was time to heal.

Razi found herself asking the question “where does healing come from?” often after she was healed. And now she believes that as a society, our lack of love and empathy for one another and ourselves are contributing to chronic and incurable diseases. 

As a society, we have a disconnection from nature and Razi encourages everyone to spend more time outside. Also, we should strive to become more self-aware and connected with nature, so our bodies will start to reattune and heal from the inside out.

Razi shares a couple of techniques that help you reconnect with your body and feel the love. She explains how a body scan works and why you should do them regularly. Plus, she gives some examples of how power poses and various playful practices can heal the body and soul.

How is your relationship with yourself and your loved ones? Have you ever practiced using body scans? When’s the last time you spent time in nature?

 

In This Episode:

  • What the hardest moments in your life lead to
  • How love can heal you
  • What has happened in our current society that leads to more chronic diseases
  • How is how we treat nature connected to our health
  • What happens when we have a disconnection from nature
  • How can you become more self-aware and connected to nature
  • What a body scan is and why you should practice them regularly
  • How play is a healing power for the body and soul 

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Quotes:

“The naturopathic philosophy is one that says ‘the doctor doesn’t heal you, healing comes from within.’” (7:55)

“It’s not just about love and relationships, but it’s about how these resources of love, in yourself and your relationship with nature, your environment, and each other are really the medicine that we need to get back to healing.” (10:02)

“If we don’t know how to love ourselves, how to listen to ourselves, then that’s how we stay stuck in these patterns that take us away from our health.” (13:54)

 

Links

Find Out More About The Love is Medicine Project

Find Razi Berry Online 

Find Razi Berry on Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

 

Transcript

Razi Berry:
What Love is Medicines means, it's not just about love in a romantic relationship, but it's about how these three sources of love, your inner self, your relationship with nature and environment, and your relationship with each other are really the medicine that we need to get back to healing.

Dr. Anna:
Hello, everyone and welcome to Couch Talk. Today we're talking about my favorite topic. We're going to hit on love, love, and oxytocin and how love is medicine. Now that's something to really capture at this time. Right now we're in hurricane preparedness in the Southeast of the United States. I'm in Southeast Georgia and we've been threatened with hurricane Dorian, and not exactly sure where she's going. So, it leaves this entire stage of unrest and anxiety, and uncertainty, right? What's the best thing to do? Is it coming? Is it not coming? How do we plan our life, our work, our businesses, juggle our family? And what's our escape route, so to speak, if we need to?

Dr. Anna:
So, this can be a very anxiety-producing, hence cortisol producing, time period. And what we want to do in these instances is certainly to bring in oxytocin, bring in a sense of peace and calm into this chaos. Now, I have to share with you that our guest today is Razi Berry. And Razi has been a dear friend of mine and an amazing clinician, amazing leader in integrative medicine and functional medicine. And so, we'll be talking Love is Medicine today.

Dr. Anna:
And it really brings to mind the story of, we've had a couple of hurricanes here in the last couple of years. And, after hurricane one, was pretty traumatized with five moves to finally coming back into my house. And, when we had the second hurricane a year later, almost exactly a year later, I was starting to get a little frantic. And my young daughter, Ava Marie says, mom, remember when we had the last hurricane, you were worried and upset. And then, yes, we moved a lot. But then we're here in our beautiful house and we just love it and everything is great. And so, she goes, next time maybe we move into a house with a soccer field. And I was like, what? Where did that come from? She doesn't even play soccer.

Dr. Anna:
Well, low and behold, after the hurricane, which did do quite a bit of damage, but my house was not flooded, it was safe. Other houses on the island were. And then, I extended myself out to offer, to like pay it forward, to offer another mom and kids home, respite while their house was being repaired. Like there was three feet of water in their home. So, they came to live with us for months, like from September through Christmas and stayed with us. And it was really a blessing.

Dr. Anna:
And then, one day I'm doing dishes, I look out the window and I see the soccer nets in the backyard. I see the soccer nets because they are big soccer family. So, the mom was a soccer player at SCAD and the young daughter Ava Marie's age was a soccer player. So, Ava is outside in the backyard playing soccer with Leigh Ella and Aubrey. And it was just like, huh. Then I remembered what Ava had said, maybe when we moved this time we'll get a soccer field.

Razi Berry:
Oh, that's so cute.

Dr. Anna:
Isn't that amazing? That is amazing. Well, I'm glad and thrilled to introduce today Dr. Razi Berry. And just thrilled to have her to be part of my circle, part of my friendship circle and just to be an amazing leader in this space. She's actually the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News and Review. And that's been in print since 2005, which is also the premier consumer face website of Natural Medicine NaturalPath. And she's a resource to go to, so NaturalPath. She's also the host of the Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and the Heart Revolution: Heal, Empower, and Follow Your Heart and this ever-popular, ten-week, sugar-free summer program.

Dr. Anna:
So, from... and I'll let Razi tell her story, but she had a near-death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart. And then, later overcoming infertility and chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, she is paying it forward. And now she has the Love is Medicine program, a documentary that is coming to us now to be taken advantage of, to listen, and to really soak up the information that brings us love as medicine. Razi, thank you so much for being here.

Razi Berry:
Oh, Anna, it's always so great to be with you. I missed that little group that you had where we had our monthly chats. We should try to make that happen again.

Dr. Anna:
I agree. We got to do that.

Razi Berry:
I mean, you're an expert when it comes to love. And the Love is Medicine Project, you asked to share my story. I will briefly because you can often look back on your life and see how sometimes the hardest or darkest moments reveal their purpose to you later, much later in your life.

Razi Berry:
So, I was about 14 years old and I was in the Phoenix Children's Hospital and I was dying of heart failure. And our family priest, Dr. Father McGuire, came into the hospital and gave me the last rite ceremony. And it was a really difficult time for my family. And I remember being in the hospital and then the doctor said to my mother, it's a shame, Mrs. Berry because she is doing it to herself. And they thought that I was very weak, obviously. Heart failure is no joke, but he was right. I was doing it to myself because I had an eating disorder and heart failure is the leading cause of death in eating disorders. So, it was really painful just to sort of perceive and hear that.

Razi Berry:
And I don't often talk about this. It's just as of late that I've talked publicly outside of like my family, and friends, and soul mates that were around me when it happened. But I found myself kind of looking down on my mother and my little brother who was four years old at the time. And suddenly then I was in this space of love and in what many people describe as a near-death experience. I didn't really learn that language until many, many years later.

Razi Berry:
But that's not the important part. The important thing is that I healed. I completely healed. My heart healed. I was able to go back to school, become class president, no longer had an eating disorder. And so, the aspect of love that I felt when I had that experience, I believe, that is what healed me. And, before that in my life, we were being raised very allopathically. Whenever we were sick, the doctor would give us medicine, or a shot, or a procedure, something that like fixed us. So, I had always been of the belief that something happens to you and the doctor fixes you. That's what heals you.

Razi Berry:
So, I kind of had this question in my mind from a very young age of where does healing come from? Why do some people heal? And why do we get sick? And so, much, much later in my life, I became a publisher of a journal. I founded a journal, Naturopathic Medicine. And I started to notice these patterns in these cases I've published over the last 15 years, 21 hundred cases from different physicians all around North America. Now, remember the naturopathic philosophy is one that says, the doctor doesn't heal you. Healing comes from within. It's what's called the [Latin 00:08:02], the vital force. And, throughout all of our different cultures, sometimes it's called love, or God, or nature, but we have this force of life within us that strives to grow. And you, as a Naturopathic medicine doctor, what you do is you try to support that life force. And that's a real strong paradigm in naturopathic medicine.

Razi Berry:
So, I noticed in all of these cases that... we think in modern medicine like we're always trying to investigate why people get sick. And we have all this technology. You can scan your blood, your microbiome, your body. There's every kind of technology, but yet we are not getting that... chronic diseases are still on the rise, depression, cancer, autoimmune disease, right? They're still on the rise. So, there's all this half mentality of how can we kind of overcome that?

Razi Berry:
Well, what I have seen just in my work is that it's a disconnection from either each other, all that science behind the social implications of rejection, isolation, bullying, things like that, all the oxytocin, how that plays a role in our relationships with each other, vassal testing, we're connecting all these things. A disconnection from nature, so our natural rhythms are interrupted from what nature intended from us, and also the way we treat our environment. And then, disconnection from the self.

Razi Berry:
Now, in my experience, when I had that eating disorder that led to heart failure, that's a perfect example of being disconnected from yourself. You can't be connected within your own intuition and your own body signals if you are starving yourself into heart failure, or if you're eating your way into heart disease or diabetes. And so, what Love is Medicine means, it's not just about like love in a romantic relationship, but it's about how these three sources of love, you're inner self, your relationship with nature and the environment, and your relationship with each other are really the medicine that we need to get back to healing.

Dr. Anna:
I agree. I agree completely. I think that's been one of the... and what I talk about in my book, The Hormone Fix, on the importance of oxytocin as the hormone of love and connection, there's so much more to it than that, right? There's a whole energy around love and the vibration around it. So, connecting, connection, right? Connection as medicine and how we honor and love ourselves, sometimes the hardest one to love sometimes. So, like there's always... one of the things that I do in my coaching programs is, go back and talk to your six-year-old self. Let's talk to her. What would you say to her? What is she like? Right? And you'd love her. No matter what, you'd love her. So, it's a beautiful exercise to do.

Dr. Anna:
And then, loving in your relationship and the words we use, how we honor and respect them. And I like how you've brought in even more the connection to nature. How are we connected to nature, mother nature and this earth's energetic field, and how are we treating nature and how that can impact your health. Now, that's fascinating. That's not something I have thought about. So-

Razi Berry:
Yes. And your book, The Hormone Fix, does such a great job that not very many people think about how our hormones are impacted by things like our relationships. And you beautifully illustrate that with regard to the love for nature and the disconnection from it. I mean, we are designed to eat things from the earth or animals, if you eat meat. I do. But take those from the earth. And you need a certain amount of sunlight and darkness, and contact with the earth of course. Every cell in our body has a clock. It's not just the circadian rhythm of sleeping and waking. Every cell in our body has a clock.

Razi Berry:
And I think of it like this, think about when animals are taken out of their habitat. So, think of an animal in the zoo, or in an aquarium, or a factory farm. They're totally deprived of their wild. They don't have the same contact with nature. They're not eating foods that come from nature. They don't have the sunlight and water. And they're crated together. I mean, socially, that's a funny word to use with animals, but even socially it's restricted. What happens to these animals? They become weak and sickly. They lose their instinct. They have trouble reproducing. Their sleep cycles are totally off as well.

Razi Berry:
So, that's what's happening to us as humans. When we speak about the disconnection from nature, we see it happening in the animal world as well. And we lose our instinct. We're constantly separated from all the cues that we get from each other and from nature. And we lose that ability to really feel within. It's often called intuition, but that can sound kind of milieu. A more scientific term for that is interoception. Interoception is a kind of scientific term to really feel your gut feeling or understand some body cues. Like we have this ability, this keen sense to really know what decision to make, what our body needs in any given moment. And, because we've disconnected in all these ways that we're speaking about, you lose that sense.

Razi Berry:
So, instead, we search like Google, and gurus, and influencers to see how to live my life, how to sleep, how to eat, what to eat, what kind of exercise to do. And there are so many great ideas out there. But, if we don't know how to love ourselves, how to listen to ourselves, then that's how we stay stuck in these patterns that take us away from helping towards disease, in my experience.

Dr. Anna:
Yeah, no, I agree. I agree completely. And bringing it into a broad awareness is that the intuition that we have, the ability to discern, and make our own decisions, and reclaim our power, because what has transitioned over the decades... I've been practicing medicine now for three decades essentially, is the giving your power away over your own body, mind, emotions, et cetera. So, it's critical that we reclaim that power because we have an intelligent design and creating the principles and practices to empower our body to heal itself intelligently, and how that can just transform, transform our lives.

Dr. Anna:
So, Razi in the Love is Medicine Project that you've just completed, now you have interviews from all over the world. And I apologize for not making it out your way to be part of it. I'm like, big regrets, big regrets. It's just been crazy post book launch. So, tell me some of the highlights of the project.

Razi Berry:
One of the things about the Love is Medicine Project that's really different from other docu-series is that there's so many amazing docu-series and I love them. And they tell you like how to eat, or how to sleep, or how to test for a certain disease, right? And they're very specific. And this is more about how to reconnect in those three ways that we speak about, so to each other, through nature, and talking to ourselves to really learn how to listen to that, take responsibility and take shelter in our own knowing.

Razi Berry:
We talk about the word [Latin 00:15:47] which is the root of the word doctrine. It means to teach. And how to really surround yourself with powerful, intuitive, integrative people that can guide you, but always use your own sense of intuition to really know what to do. Think about, if you've been creating books, and products, programs for many years and these always a percentage of people that buy a program, they're really excited, and then they don't start or they don't finish it.

Razi Berry:
The Love is Medicine Project will inspire and give people tools how to take those steps when they find something that resonates with them, like let's say it's The Hormone Fix. And just like people that like are still smoking, or still not eating right, or still aren't making their sleep a priority. It's less about a prescription of like exactly what to do and more it's lessons on how to become more self-aware, how to become more connected to yourself and to nature. I'm excited about that because I feel like it's going to take knowledge from people like you and everyone in our community and enable people who feel stuck to sort of get unstuck, and do the work, and be honest with themselves, and loving with themselves, and make choices that will really lead to success for them.

Dr. Anna:
Definitely. Tell us, what's one key tool that we can start doing right now?

Razi Berry:
So, there's a couple of really important ways to increase that interoceptive ability that I talked about, that ability to really pay attention to your body's signals so you can hone in on what's the right decision for you, how to take action, how to take healthy action for yourself. And these have been really studied. One sounds so simple, but we forget to do it, and it's called body scanning. Body scanning is when you scan through your body. And you can start from the top or start from your toes, and you move up and you think about like what's happening right now?

Razi Berry:
Like I fractured my tailbone recently. And so, I'm sitting on this pillow in a little bit of an uncomfortable position. And so, as I scan up, I feel like part of my leg is like a little bit off. Yeah. I need to get up, right? Or somebody might be scanning and feel like a little bit stress, or hunger, or thirst, or that their bra strap is too tight. All of these things seem so minute, but we often move through our world not paying attention to these little things and they add up. Like if you constantly don't pay attention to your thirst or your posture, eventually you're going to become dehydrated and that has its own cascades. And so, it might sound like a simple shift, but it's been studied again and again. Body scanning can improve that sense of interoception and also self-awareness.

Razi Berry:
Another one that I think is a lot of fun is called power posing. I feel like you and I have talked about this before. But it has been studied that power posing, which power poses are like standing with your feet like shoulder width and your hands propped squarely on your hips.

Dr. Anna:
Superwoman pose.

Razi Berry:
Like a Superwoman pose. That's one. Another one is like sitting back in your desk, your hands behind your head, and put your feet up on the desk. And it's kind of this pose of like it's easy breezy, I'm in charge, I know what to do. And so, that has shown clinically that it also improves extents of self-awareness and interoceptions, bodily self-awareness, and all the research on bodily self-awareness shows that leads to people making less risky choices that can lead to poor health and better self-care choices that lead to better health. And they're more able to like stick with programs or follow through on things.

Razi Berry:
So, my daughters have created a couple of silly ones. Sometimes we power pose at home. Like one of my daughters will like to sit like this, which I think is really cute.

Dr. Anna:
I love that.

Razi Berry:
Yeah. So, you can do that before... like let's say you're thinking something through or you're feeling some self-doubt and need to make a decision, you can do body scanning or a power pose to kind of help you get more centered and self-aware.

Razi Berry:
Some other things, because we know that self-perception only happens in context. So, the field of embodied cognition says that we don't just think with our brain. Our brain is inside our body. It's connected to our nervous systems, not system. And so, we use our whole body to think. So, think about how when people twiddle their thumbs or some people pace the room, or sometimes you look around when you're trying to remember something.

Razi Berry:
So, a few other things really increase that sense of self-awareness. One is, hearing someone else speak your name, which I think is amazing and shows the power of relationships and social connections. So, if you put this together with the research that also shows that touch, especially empathetic touch, and eye gazing, when you make eye contact with someone it helps shift you back into a state of self-awareness. These are just simple, simple shifts that you can do to sort of start feeling more confident and more present in your body so you can be more empowered in your health.

Dr. Anna:
I love that. I love that, from body scanning to the power poses, because you think, okay, get big before I go on stage. I have to do something scary, get big before I have a difficult discussion. Right? So, that power pose concept, I'll have to do that with my girls. I think that will be fun to do. I love that you're doing that with your daughters and your kids at home so that you're really instilling like this type of also playful strength that is powerful, right? And play is healing in and of itself.

Dr. Anna:
So, and then just the concept of what we're doing with that awareness, of what we are doing physically with our time too, mentally with our time and how that may distract or focus us, depending on what it is. And I think these are great, great tools that we can use.

Dr. Anna:
What was one of your favorite interviews, Razi?

Razi Berry:
Oh, that is so tough because there were just so many. I think one of my favorites was Dr. Charlie Cropley. He's a 72-year-old naturopathic physician who easily looks 20 years younger. And he has taught for such a long time about helping people understand the self-healing ability of the body. One of the things he talks about is honesty as medicine. Like really his experience in treating patients for many, many years is that often they aren't being honest with themselves, right? [inaudible 00:22:52] through your life and you continue to make choices and decisions that impact you and people around you. And, because we don't want to feel shame, we're sort of on autopilot about it.

Razi Berry:
And he talks about really loving yourself as being honest with yourself. And really sit with that, and it might feel a little bit uncomfortable, but it can really open up space for you to start loving yourself. Because, when we're not honest with ourselves, we're trying to protect ourselves from pain. But what's really happening if we're still making poor choices about our sleep, about how we eat, about our relationships, about our time management. We're really only hurting ourselves and causing our own pain. So, Charlie talking about honesty as a form of love and medicine, that's really powerful.

Dr. Anna:
I love that. Well, Razi, tell our listeners how we can get the Love is Medicine Project.

Razi Berry:
Yes. So, the Love is Medicine Project is at LoveisMedicineProject.com. On September 16th, it begins. It airs for seven days, seven one hour episodes. You can go there now or to the link in your show notes and sign up. And hopefully, people will be inspired towards connecting back to sources of love.

Dr. Anna:
And we can use a lot of that. So many great tools and I know that your speaker list is amazing, is amazing. And I look forward to being part of it in the future and promoting it. And I want to encourage all our listeners today that, check out the Love is Medicine Project, right? We need more. That self-awareness, part of reclaiming your power, reclaiming your energy, your drive, that inner voice, honoring it. And I love this concept and being honest with ourself. What's our next right step? So, check out the Love is Medicine Project with Razi Berry and everything she does is a work of art. I mean, it's expertise. And, as you can see from this interview, such a genuine heart, and spirit, and desire for each and every one of you to have more love in your life and experience it fully. So, the healing capacity of love.

Dr. Anna:
Razi, thanks for being with us on Couch Talk and for putting this amazing program together. I know it's amazing because this topic is amazing. And the people that you've brought together as well as your touch throughout it is genuinely something that will heal us. I'm looking forward to it. Thank you. Thanks for sharing it.

Dr. Anna:
Thanks to all our listeners today on Couch Talk. Check out the Love is Medicine Project. And we're going to make it through this hurricane. I will keep you informed. We're putting a lot of love out there, knowing that, no matter what, we are open and excited about what we'll make from it, whatever it brings us. So, I want to thank you all for listening and I will see you next week on Couch Talk.

Dr. Anna Cabeca
Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.