Let’s Talk About Intuition

Jul 15

Let’s Talk About Intuition

I am remarkably intuitive. I am also a scientist. Are these two things oil and water for a physician? Well, one of my favorite foods is fresh greens with mustard vinaigrette. So – yes – I think they can coexist peacefully.

True for you too?👇🏼 I see you 👀

It has been both good and bad.

Now here’s the thing. Having this skill and being in clinical medicine is awkward because no one talks about it. Most everyone has had an unusual aha moment. That moment when goosebumps arrive or an internal voice tells you to “call the patient back” or add one more test that turned out to be life-saving. But we don’t talk about it for fear of being judged.

It was not taught in the standardized patient workshops in medical school. And while it is essential to learn basic skills, I realized that clinical wisdom includes intuition as I moved further in my career.

So I got curious one day and searched PubMed on the neuroscience of intuition. I’m a nerd like that. As you might imagine, a paucity of information existed around the clinical decision process for physicians; however, the nursing journals had hundreds of articles exploring it. There is a divergent conversation here around gender, but I’ll save that for another day.

However, the literature was not devoid of research on this subject. One study from Horr et al. noted that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is thought to be crucial to intuitive processes, but its specific role has remained unclear. Their research suggested that the (left) OFC activation is linked to an initial feeling of “coherence” that guides subsequent decisions and actions.

Horr describes that “intuitive decisions are made immediately, without conscious, reasoned thought. They are experienced as decisions based on hunches that cannot be explicitly described but, nevertheless, guide subsequent action.”

Where did I learn how to manage it?

In Ayurveda.

When I took off 3 years from clinical practice to study with Dr. Vasant Lad, I finally understood what was happening. So while we are still working on the how in modern science, I found that Ayurveda holds profound wisdom on caring for intuition and cultivating it.

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Dr. Siri Chand 


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*Please note as an amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases which means I will receive a small fee if you purchase them. I have only included things I truly use. This post is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. For my full Disclaimer, please go here.

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