The title of Kelly Noonan Gores’ documentary, Heal, is extremely straightforward. And the truth that she’s trying to communicate to viewers is equally powerful in its simplicity: that humans are designed to heal, and that each of us has the power to help our own bodies and minds to achieve optimal wellness. But, as with anything in the health and wellness world, things quickly become complicated. There’s the clash between Western medicine and more holistic routes, the complex and often ignored mind-body connection, and the fuzzy understanding of the role that genes and “inevitability” play in all of it. But Gores believes the truth at the center of it remains the same, and she hopes her film will empower everyone who sees it to tap into their innate power and take back control of their health.
The first time that Gores had a “little light bulb” go off in her head was when she went on a camping trip as a child and returned with a terrible cold and swollen lymph nodes. The sickness went away, but her glands were still “hard as rocks” and protruding. She saw many doctors, took a course of antibiotics, even got a biopsy, but nothing worked. Months later, while at her mom’s chiropractor appointment, the chiropractor noticed her glands and told her to take a shot of flavored rice vinegar every day for a week. Six days later, her glands were back to normal. “It was just an infection that my body was having trouble clearing out,” Gores remembers.
This was the first time that she experienced the notion that sometimes (often!) the best course of action is simply to assist your body in healing, rather than resorting to the harsh measures often employed by doctors. “Western medicine just jumps to cutting or medicating or killing through antibiotics or whatever,” Gores says. “Sometimes it’s necessary, but for chronic conditions, just throwing everything at it to see what sticks can do more harm than good.”
As writer, director, and producer of the documentary Heal, Gores has spent a lot of time exploring this topic. One of the major areas she’s focused on, and one of the primary takeaways of the film, is the importance of the mind-body connection, the ways in which our thoughts and beliefs affect our physiology and biochemistry. She notes that, just as we try to remove physical toxins from our lives, we also need to be aware of screening out emotional, mental, and spiritual toxins, things like negative energy and stress.
One powerful source of emotional toxins, Gores says, comes from the subconscious mind. We all have certain “programming,” or entrenched beliefs that we’ve learned from those around us and internalized from a very early age. According to Bruce Lipton, one of the experts Gores spoke with for Heal, 70% of that subconscious programming is disempowering, and what’s more, “we’re not even aware that these beliefs are running our lives,” Gores says. One of the aims of the film is to help people become aware of this reality so that they can begin to process and understand the subconscious beliefs that may be driving you and that inform your health.
Indeed, says Gores, the role of the mind is far more important than that of the body when it comes to healing, especially from Chronic illness. In the film, she looks at a group of people who healed themselves from cancer, and explores nine things that they all did. Of those nine, only two things are related to the physical body. These two areas are, of course, important, but she uses this finding to drive home the fact that the Western/conventional route doesn’t address the human as a whole, and thus will miss the root cause of myriad conditions.
Most importantly, regardless of what type of treatment you seek for an ailment, Gores wants people to take back their power to heal. “We give all our power over to doctors because they’re the smartest people, because they’ve been through training,” she says. “But they’re all so specialized, they look at very specific things and don’t treat the person as a whole.” So each patient needs to do their own research, listen to their intuition, and tap into the body’s innate power to heal, rather than becoming limited based on what a doctor says is or isn’t possible. “So many people fall into a victim mode,” Gores says. “That victim mentality is not optimal for healing.”
Watch our full interview with Gores to learn about the enormous role of forgiveness in healing from disease, how one man healed a terminal illness through laughter, what the placebo effect tells us about the power of the mind over medicine, and much more.
Heal Documentary: Change Your Mind. Change Your Body. Change Your Life.