The Art of Harmony

Performance artist Marina Abramović tells Purist about how life-changing encounters with Dr. Linda Lancaster, author of the newly published Harmonic Healing, have transformed the way she relates to her body. With an introduction by Amely Greeven.
Photograph courtesy @abramovicperformance

Almost 20 years ago I began working on my health with a legendary, but famously understated, holistic doctor from New York and Santa Fe who would go on to shape my approach to wellness. Dr. Linda Lancaster’s protocols helped me easily become pregnant at the “advanced” age of 39, and as her writing collaborator when I interviewed her colorful array of patients for Harmonic Healing (Rodale), the long-awaited book in which she shares her profound healing knowledge of “subtle medicine” for the first time, I was blown away by just how many of them said the same four words: She saved my life. Here, long-time patient, artist Marina Abramovic, offers her recollections of the yogi-turned-natural doctor, whose book offers a unique and loving approach to staying well in a challenging time. —Amely Greeven

I first met Dr. Linda the way many people meet her: I ran into some friends who looked so great I stopped in my tracks and said, “What’s happened to you?” They said, “We’ve found a miracle worker! It’s this incredible healer called Dr. Linda who’s put us on an eight-day goat milk diet to help us cleanse our bodies.” They were on day seven of the diet and about to go to a red-carpet event, and were clutching thermoses full of milk to sip during the dinner.

I thought, This is pretty radical, even for me. I want to meet this woman. So I went for my first consultation, in which she evaluates the energy field of the body using a technique called radiesthesia, checking the vitality of all the organs and systems, and detecting imbalances caused by pollutants, radiation and parasites. (The last is what the goat milk fast addresses.) It was an important time for me: I’d been preparing for a year to launch a performance art piece at MoMA called The Artist Is Present in which I would be sitting for eight hours a day, with no food and no bathroom breaks. It would be one of the most difficult projects of my life and I knew I needed to completely make over my whole body and cleanse my system of chemicals, metals, bacteria and viruses in order to get ready—I had to elevate my health to another galaxy!

Dr. Linda took the job of preparing me for the performance very seriously, tending to my physical and mental-emotional balance, and detailing the foods I was to eat each day. The result was phenomenal: I was strong, steady, and clear throughout. The process led us into a really good friendship in which I am also a student, constantly learning from my teacher.

Dr. Linda helps me to maintain my health year-round. If she detects parasites in my system—which are incredibly common, believe it or not—she has me do a cleanse. I also do her naturopathic baths, which use kitchen ingredients to balance out the effects of chemicals, metals and radiation on the body. Through my education and healing with Dr. Linda, I have come to see myself in a hugely different way. I’m much more aware of my body as a tremendous but delicate system in which everything is interconnected.

So many doctors are always giving you something new to take. Dr. Linda is the opposite—she takes things away! Her approach is to help the body heal itself, and to take this process slowly and steadily. What’s the rush? She’s taught me about the vitality of fresh whole food that nourishes the energy field of the body. When you’re her patient, you eat slow-cooked lentils, tomatoes from the garden, the best quality olive oil and a dash of salt—everything that’s normally piled on top gets stripped away to help the liver rejuvenate and allow your energy to return—and the taste is out of this world; you fall in love with food again!

Dr. Linda’s mission is to return us to harmony in body, mind and spirit and to treat our bodies like the treasures they are. It’s the time for it—now or never. We are losing our spiritual center; we’re struggling to listen to our bodies, to understand who we are and what our function is in society. It’s like our natural connection to the unseen has been reduced to zero and it’s swung too far!

Dr. Linda puts all this back together in a really old-fashioned, simple way. She teaches that less is more—I always say, we need to have more and more of less and less! We need to be reminded of how we are created to function and how good we can naturally feel. She is the one who reminds us, and that’s what the great teachers do. Harmonic Healing: Restore Your Vital Force for Lifelong Wellness by Dr. Linda Lancaster (Rodale) is out on April 16.