Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Path to Healing Chronic Illness

In this video, Dr. Cynthia Li, an internist and author, shares her personal journey of overcoming chronic illness and reimagining medicine. She discusses the challenges of being a patient with mysterious symptoms that traditional medicine couldn’t explain, as well as the frustration of being labeled as a difficult patient. Dr. Li explains how she discovered functional medicine and integrative approaches to healing, including dietary changes, detoxification, and embracing intuition. Her book, „Brave New Medicine,“ provides hope and guidance for those navigating chronic illness and seeking a different approach to healthcare. Ultimately, Dr. Li’s story emphasizes the importance of personalized care and addressing the root causes of illness.

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Key Insights:

  • Chronic illness often leads to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Learned helplessness can be perpetuated when patients are constantly referred from one doctor to another without finding a solution.
  • Traditional medicine often dismisses symptoms that are not easily diagnosed, leading to patient frustration.
  • Dr. Cynthia Lee’s journey towards healing involved going back to basics, such as sleep, diet, and finding balance in life.
  • Developing intuition and releasing grief played an important role in her healing process.
  • Functional medicine is a powerful model that looks at the body as a system and focuses on root causes of disease.
  • Doctors should prioritize empathy, belief, and validation when treating patients with chronic illness.
  • Sharing personal experiences as a doctor can help build trust and connection with patients.
  • Practicing pleasure and joy is an important part of the healing process.


One of the themes that comes up over and over again with chronic illness is reaching a point of hopelessness or helplessness. It’s a learned helplessness that occurs when you’re passed from doctor to doctor without finding answers. The question is, are we perpetuating illness by dismissing patients or not knowing how to help them?

Welcome to The Doctor’s Pharmacy. This is Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s pharmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, a place for conversations that matter. If you’ve been ill or know someone who’s been ill, if you’ve struggled with chronic disease like I have and like our guest has, then this show is going to help you figure out a different way of thinking about it and give you hope.

Our guest today is Dr. Cynthia Li, a physician who has reimagined medicine for herself and others. She shares her journey of healing from chronic diseases in her book, „Brave New Medicine.“ Dr. Li discusses how she discovered the world of functional medicine and integrative care, and how it transformed her own health.

Throughout the conversation, Dr. Li emphasizes the importance of asking new questions, exploring different treatment options, and listening to intuition. She breaks down her 15 steps to healing, which includes resetting your inner clock, healing your gut, detoxifying your environment, and much more.

Dr. Li’s story is inspiring and offers hope for anyone struggling with chronic illness. She encourages a shift in mindset, urging individuals to believe in their own ability to heal and find balance.