Do you know your limits? Do you have a sense of yourself, of your inner life force?
Dr. Marc Siegel says your "inner pulse" can alert you to what's going on in your body, its positive and negative effects on the mind, illness and healing.
Siegel, associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and a Fox News senior correspondent, says heart disease, cancer, even death can be prevented if you understand that "inner pulse."
He is the author of a new book discussing "The Inner Pulse: Unlocking the Secret Code of Sickness and Health" (Wiley, John & Sons).
And he has said: "You don't have to get sick, don't have to die and can rise out of your wheelchair to walk again. Prayer counts, meditation matters, exercise is crucial and understanding your inner pulse can allow you to master your body and defeat many illnesses, which modern doctors will tell you are incurable. You can defy the odds by learning to know your inner pulse and responding to what it tells you. Disprove anyone who would write you off too soon."
Q: Is this an alternative medicine book?
A: No! A lot of alternative healing is unproven. I am endorsing a more open-minded approach, more listening to the patient.
Q: You are talking about patients who defy the odds. People like Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, for example. Are you talking about prayer and faith?
A: You may have it -- an indomitable spirit -- and not know it.
For example, you suddenly have seizures and are in the hospital and the doctor says you have two weeks to live. A different doctor, with a different lens, says we should operate because this woman has a strong will to survive, even at 86. The will to survive and a positive life force play a role. Sometimes a patient is aware of it, sometimes it's the family.
The art of medicine, frankly, is knowing when to give up on a patient. I think patients owe it to themselves not to be written off.
Q: You write that a strong inner pulse is your radar that you will survive; a weakening inner pulse warns you your health is deteriorating.
A: The inner pulse cannot be measured but it can be sensed. Intuited, if you will.
It comes down to, how strong is your will to live? Look for a doctor who believes in your intuition and your will to live.
Q: Are you also talking about faith, as in faith in God?
A: I'm not ruling out that faith plays a role. But I am a doctor trained in a very empirical model, a traditional model. And I'm also an author. I came to notice that every patient is different, every solution different. A good doctor knows that.
There are patients who defy the odds and they have a common thread. The physical repetition of exercise gives them a liberation, a routine, a better ability to sense they are improving. And meditation can put you more in contact with your inner pulse.
Q: You share life and death stories from you patients. Is death a defeat?
A: Not at all. But a strong inner pulse can help people overcome some life crisis events and recover their inner strength.
The important point is for you -- and your doctor -- to recognize your inner pulse and what it tells you about your own health and wellness.
Q: Personal intuition?
A: Your inner pulse is the most powerful force in your body. It can be your radar to good health. Or it can be the signal of impending illness.
What I hope this book does is give you a deeper understanding of how the mind relates to disease.