How a Doctor Cured Her Autoimmune Disease with Functional Medicine

Episode 74 1h 20m


Think about how different our medical system would be if all doctors were required to have an extreme health crisis before practicing medicine. It’s through those toughest times with our own health that many of us turn to Functional Medicine, as we realize conventional care isn’t getting us what we need. But sometimes, being so involved in treating others’ diseases makes it difficult for doctors to even see our own symptoms for what they really are.

This week’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy, Dr. Cynthia Li, is here to share her personal journey through autoimmunity and realizing her symptoms had deeper meaning. Dr. Li received her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She’s practiced as an internist in many settings, including Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, and St. Anthony Medical Clinic serving the homeless. She currently has a private practice in Berkeley, CA and recently published her first book which I highly recommend, Brave New Medicine: A Doctor's Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness.

I know you’ll appreciate Dr. Li’s insightful and inspiring story as much as I did, I hope you’ll tune in.


This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market, and SomniFix. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • How Dr. Li came to discover her autoimmune disease

    (4:09 - 8:05)

  • The sigma of being a “difficult patient”

    (17:44 - 21:39)

  • My parallel health experience to Dr. Li’s

    (20:15 - 24:12)

  • The steps Dr. Li took to heal herself

    (25:44 - 31:01)

  • Dr. Li’s experience removing gluten from her diet

    (36:15 - 42:08)

  • The overwhelm that resulted from Dr. Li’s exposure to treatment options

    (44:18 - 50:05)

  • How Dr. Li learned to tune into her own intuition and use it to guide her

    (50:03 - 55:17)

  • What would medicine look like if serious illness were a prerequisite to entering medical school

    (1:01:08 - 1:06:26)

  • Using release instead of optimism to manage hope fatigue

    (1:05:09 - 1:10:35)

  • The 15 steps for healing Dr. Li shares in her book Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness

    (1:07:40 - 1:13:30)

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Ep. 74 - How a Doctor Cured Her Autoimmune Disease with Functional Medicine