Meet the Flipsters

Conversations on the Bridge

A Conversation with Dr. Christiane Northrup
(The complete Flip interview, with only minor edits, not found in the book)

Christiane Northrup, M.D. (, an obstetrician and gynecologist, is an internationally known visionary in women’s health and wellness. As a practicing physician for more than twenty years and former assistant clinical professor of ob/gyn at Maine Medical Center, Dr. Northrup is a leading proponent of medicine and healing that acknowledge the unity of mind and body, as well as the powerful role of the human spirit in creating health. Her pioneering work has shown that conditions such as PMS, endometriosis, breast symptoms, and uterine conditions are the language through which women’s bodies speak of the wounding they have experienced in a culture which has been unsupportive to women and to those values we call “womanly.” Her years of clinical experience have taught her that life-threatening, chronic, or acute illness is often a catalyst for significant inner growth and change.

We were first curious to know the roots of Christiane’s pioneering perspective. “I grew up in a holistically oriented family,” she recalls. “My dad was a dentist who believed that you could tell someone’s state of health by looking into their mouth. He used hypnosis way back then. He knew that people hated to have dental work done because the mouth was the center of the personality and they didn’t like him rooting around in there. He also believed in organic gardening and living close to the earth. If one of us had a bug in our cereal or a piece of food fell on the ground he’d say, ‘Pick it up and let the earth pass through you and then you’ll be immune to everything.’

Around 1982, I joined the board of the American Holistic Medical Association, shortly after getting through my residency. I began to hang out with like-minded colleagues who understood the importance of nutrition and exercise. Also, over the years, I met with a number of different healers. Meanwhile, I had a conventional practice and I saw the efficacy of that approach but without the spiritual component, without understanding vibration or the effects of beliefs and behavior.”

Christiane remembers when she began to look differently at the typical health problems of women. “I was seeing all these women with chronic pelvic pain, vaginitis, PMS, or uterine problems. And I would see that these problems were associated with what the women believed about their own bodies, like, ‘My period is a pain in the ass,’ or ‘My period is the curse of Eve,’ and by gosh, that’s exactly what their experience was. Eventually I would just sit and ask my patients what was going on in their lives. And guess what? They all knew that it was just a matter of needing to change their conscious thoughts and beliefs. But first they had to be willing to feel the pain of the past and deal with it. They had to own those emotions and begin to let love and compassion into their hearts.

“So, my initial working thesis was that the very common gynecologic problems that I was seeing every day were associated with the wounding of women and the feminine in our culture. All you have to do is look at domestic violence statistics. About 40 percent of women have experienced some kind of domestic violence, one in three will be raped over her lifetime, and so on. I began to put two and two together and ask questions. I started to pick up on patterns and archetypes. For instance, women with breast cancer would often come in alone. Or they’d come in, and the breast cancer would be quite advanced, but they hadn’t told their families yet because they didn’t want to bother anybody. There appeared to be a clear association with martyrdom and accepting crumbs instead of the full meal. Soon I had concluded that, indeed, what I thought was going on was going on. So I left my conventional practice in 1985 to found Women to Women.”

We asked how this move was received by Christiane’s peers. “At first some of my more traditional – especially male – colleagues expressed concern that I was moving way out into left field. The concept of treating only women was somehow ‘unbalanced.’ Some thought that the patients I was describing must be abnormal. In fact, I believe the reason these doctors weren’t encountering the same problems with their own female patients is primarily that they weren’t having the necessary conversations with them. Until you have an open mind, you’re not going to see much.

“When I started to talk about these things, I had to close my office door. I was afraid I would lose my license. I was afraid to talk about nutrition to women who had cancer, let alone their belief system. That’s how bad it was. That’s why I decided to start a practice that would honor what it is that I think is really going on. And that’s when I began working with some like-minded colleagues, women delivering women’s health care to women.

“One of my goals has been to find a language that will bridge the dualistic, reductionistic, mechanistic approach of traditional medicine – which can work so well if someone is bleeding to death, or has a broken bone – and this feminine vibrational/emotional aspect. I sensed that the result would be a whole medicine, not conventional and alternative, but just good medicine that acknowledges the truth that the body, mind, and spirit work as an integrated and inseparable unit.

“If you look at what’s really killing people, it’s not the diseases and emergencies that traditional medicine can triage so effectively. It’s the lifestyle stuff. It’s obesity. It’s high blood pressure. It’s lack of exercise. It’s the lingering effects of childhood abuse. It’s lack of hope.

“Lifestyle is the most important determinant of how well a person is going to age. The wellness revolution is the next trillion dollar industry. There are huge amounts of money to be made. Economics is what drives everything, but economics is always emotional.

“Unfortunately, the quick fix mentality is not going to go away overnight. As compelling as the research may be on our body’s responsiveness to thoughts, emotions, and prayers, the fact remains that none of these things can be put into a pill. They can’t be administered in five minutes or written on a prescription pad and pushed across a desk.

“Research doesn’t change culture. Innumerable studies have confirmed the superiority of breast feeding. Are women breast feeding more than ever? No! First emotions have to change. And then what happens? Once the heart changes then the intellect will find the data to support what it already wants to do.”

Does Christiane see a flip in women’s medical care happening within her lifetime? “I think we’re seeing the last gasp of the old order,” she muses. “There’s no other way to go but toward greater consciousness, individual responsibility, and mind-body medicine. But you don’t change a system from inside. You change it from outside and then its internal paradigm shifts gradually. I learned that years ago. It was not obstetricians that offered natural childbirth to women. When I started my career, they were still putting women to sleep to have babies, and it was women themselves who wanted something different. Currently, there’s a C-section rate of 30 percent. It’s insane. No woman would subject herself to that if she understood that there are other choices, or if she believed that her body would know how to give birth.

“It’s quite a journey. It’s not easy. Still, we’re starting to get it right. Women got the right to vote in 1920; that’s not very long ago. I think it’ll probably happen in less than a decade.”

Many of the opportunities – and benefits – transcend gender. We asked Christiane if she is seeing traditional gender roles blur and how this is impacting her patients. “What the Baby Boomer generation has done is go out and get it,” she replied. “Women have developed their yang energy. We’ve gained all this power in the outer world. But we’re missing the traditional yin partnership within our homes. Many couples now approach having a child as though it’s a PHD to be earned – wrong energy! That doesn’t work because the whole process of conception is yin. It’s about sitting in your power and letting it come to you.

“So, yes, there’s been evolution. We’ve made collective strides, but we’ve also paid some heavy tolls as individuals. Now we need to achieve balance between the masculine and the feminine. I think that balance has to begin within, and then we’ll be able to manifest it outside of ourselves.”



The Flip, by Jared Rosen and David Rippe, illuminates a clear path to a vibrant enlightened world where millions of people already live and thrive. It describes in vivid detail and real examples evidence of an upside down world in decay and a Right Side Up world of authentic beings bright with possibility.
The Flip is an owner’s manual for the twenty-first century full of insights, conversations with recognized experts, thought leaders, and visionaries, and actionable exercises and tips you can use to begin your own personal flip.

To read more about The Flip and additional interviews from other luminaries, experts and bestselling authors, please visit

The Flip is available at your local bookstore or online at, Barnes & Noble, Joseph-Beth, and Borders.


Home | Excerpts | The Authors | Meet the Flipsters | Contest | Press

Copyright © 2006 The Flip. All Rights Reserved.

Web site by Celestia International

To view corrections, click here.