Q & A with Bernie – March 12, 2012

Question for Bernie:

japanese classic pictureDr. Siegel, thank you for providing this space to ask questions. I would like to ask if you can conceive of a miracle in which the people of Japan can live with the radiation of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. My wife’s parents are from Fukushima and most of her relatives live there, so I end up thinking about this a lot. The Japanese government has allowed a threshold of 20 mSv/year before requiring evacuation. My understanding is that this is 4 times higher than the threshold that the Soviets had for mandatory evacuation, and 20 times higher than the threshold for voluntary (and compensated) evacuation.

Given that some studies estimate the extra deaths from Chernobyl have been around 1 million, the prospects for Japan appear to me to be dire indeed. It would then take a miracle for Japan to live with radiation with even that level of mortality, let alone a pre-Fukushima level. So basically, my question is if you have a sense of how far healing techniques can work in the face of radiation.

Thanks again.

Bernie’s Answer:

I am a believer in the miracles that people create by understanding and working with their own Mind-Body-Spirit connection.

There is specifically what is called “survival behavior.” It is based on our knowledge that people’s minds play an enormous role in how the body responds. In medicine, this is called the “placebo effect.” There are solid scientific studies that support this phenomenon.

One striking example of the placebo effect that I witnessed myself occurred when some patients underwent what they thought was their radiation therapy for a full month, including suffering side effects. At the end of that month scans of the tumors in some of these patients showed marked shrinkage in size. The very remarkable thing is, however, that during that whole month the radiation therapy equipment actually had no radioactive material in it due to a repair mistake, but the patients and doctors did not know that. This incident is evidence that the will to live plays a part in who does well and who does not.

To help yourself and also your relatives and friends who are living with the concerns you describe, please read the list on my web site for developing an Immune Competent Personality. It can help protect you all. You will find the Immune Competent Personality on my website by going to the top Home Page menu item “Resources” which will take you to a list from which you will pick “Organizations and Websites.” Click on that and then go all the way to the last entry which is the “Immune Competent Personality Test.” Click on that and go through the questions and read what I have written about how to develop and keep your immune system in the best shape. Here is the direct link as a shortcut:




Question for Bernie:

My 73-year-old mother is fighting for her life. In December of 2011, her six-year-old niece passed away. Her grief was devastating.

One month later Mom suffered a perforated bowel and was rushed to emergency surgery which she barely survived. She was one month out of surgery and recovering well when on February 23, 2012, she suffered a massive stroke.

She is still with us, mentally coherent but paralyzed on the left side. Obviously her heart was broken by the child’s death and her mind and spirit caused her body to break down. Please tell me, her daughter, what I can do to help her heal and come back to us. She is greatly loved, and we will all do anything we can to “love her back to life”.

Bernie’s Answer:

Please read her my book, Buddy’s Candle.  It is written for people who lose loved ones.

Then just keep loving her by telling her stories that you know she will smile and even laugh at from the past. Also, tell her you need her wisdom to help you with a problem. This will remind her how very important she is in your life and the lives of other family and loved ones.

African-Violet-PlantOffer her massages—you might go to a store that specializes in massage creams and ointments which smell fresh and feel very good on the skin if she doesn’t have any objection or sensitivities to them. Gentle massage even without anything other than your own hands, however, could be very soothing. Some people really love foot massage, especially when they are not ambulating much or at all.

I don’t know where she is living now while recovering from the stroke, but if it is with you and there is a beloved pet in the home, help her notice how much animals can teach us about living in the moment. If she is living in her own home and is an animal lover, bring over some special magazines about dogs, cats, or whatever animals she especially loves and go through them with her. Concentrate on the positive stories about animals if they become a part of her therapy.

Even some rehabilitation facilities will allow fish if family and friends visit often and keep the bowl clean and make sure the fish are well. Generally, a nice, healthy, well-potted plant is welcome at the bedside in a skilled nursing facility. It will remind her that she needs to see to its care—she’ll have a connection and a sense of responsibility. Just make sure to clear all ideas with the staff before you bring anything to your mother in those settings. She doesn’t need additional disappointment now.

If you think your mother would respond to it, I recommend getting a visualization CD or any other you find in my Catalog on the website that seem helpful. Listen to whatever you get for her first so that you can suggest a couple of things she might want to think about when listening/meditating/visualizing. Tell her you know she has the potential to heal completely and that you are going to find everything you can to help her get her mind and body working together to make that happen.



Question for Bernie:

I really like your book, A Book of Miracles. Each time I read a story, it gives me peace and hope. I would like to know how I can help someone with depression.

I have been close to this person for several years, and I feel unable to help him get out of his depressive state. Please give some suggestions. Thank you and have a great day.

Bernie’s Answer:

Man and woman carrying canoeHere is an approach that may help him get some perspective on how the mind and body work together:

Ask him if he gets depressed when he is hungry for some food. He will probably say, “No, I get something to eat.”

Then ask him what kind of nourishment he needs in his life to eliminate the depression. Depression represents a hungering for something to feed the mind and spirit.

Offer to help him find a good CD to listen to that could help him feel better about himself and start to really love himself. Tell him that you want him to see all the positive things about him that you see, but he must find a way to discover those things for himself. Only then can he really believe it when you or anyone else in his life compliments his work or anything about him.

Help him make a list of all the positives in his life—however big or small. You might start off with the fact that he has such a long lasting friendship with a caring person like you.



Question for Bernie:

Can you offer me any advice on overcoming years of anorexia? I know I have the “perfectionist” personality and long to be loved by a father, issues I have tried to address.

Please offer me any assistance you can so I can finally let go after years and years of struggling. I am unable to even identify the cause at this point, so how can I ever address it? Thank you!!!!!

Bernie’s Answer:

drawing self portraitThe first step I would like for you to take is to draw a picture of yourself. When you finish the picture, look at it closely and see how you portray yourself.

I have worked with anorexics who were starving to death, yet draw pictures of themselves looking like they were pregnant.

The next step is to start behaving and acting like the person you want to be. Ask the people who care about you to coach and direct you in the process.

The key is to love yourself, and one way to help achieve that is to put your baby pictures as well as some “mottoes to live by” up around the house as little shrines. Each time you see a picture or read a motto, you will focus on your desires and how to achieve them by loving yourself and your life.

Abandon the wounds and messages of the past because what you heard as a child somehow made you feel unworthy of love and approval.

So now it is time to re-parent yourself to become the new person you want to be. That “new you” has all the goodness of the little one in your baby pictures, all the bright promise of happiness in life, and all the strength to live up to her “Mottoes to Live By.” But the “new you” also has one all important addition—she knows how to love herself and her life now.




Related posts:

  1. Q & A with Bernie – February 13, 2012
  2. Q & A with Bernie – January 30, 2012
  3. Q & A with Bernie – January 2, 2012
  4. Q & A with Bernie – November 21, 2011
  5. Q & A with Bernie – January 9, 2012
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