Clap health on, clap disease off

“If you’re healthy and you know it clap your hands….”

Are you clapping your hands every day? What if the whole world did that–would it be loud?

I think the sound of people standing up for their health and the care of their health is getting louder. I thought I knew a lot about health and spirituality until I started blogging about it. I was pretty comfortable with the spirituality side. I’ve been a writer and journalist for prayer-based health care for a number of years, and as a student and practitioner of Christian Science I’ve been interested in the intersection of consciousness and health on a personal level for even longer. I’ve seen results you can’t ignore.

It’s the side of health care where doctors and patients are beginning to question how things have always been done that’s both surprising and exciting. Because I think these medical professionals are hitting on an approach to healthcare that’s beginning to look at patients as more than just a collection of parts.

Take for instance this example from a doctor who is challenging that traditional approach to practicing medicine and instead looks at his patients as whole beings. One of his patients came to him after suffering a decade of health problems. She’d seen 12 doctors and was taking medication for every inch of her body. In his article, “Should you fire your specialist?”he logically claims that with that much medical attention she should have been the healthiest person on the planet. Except she wasn’t.

He treated her in large part to get her off of the multiple prescriptions she was on and get her on a healthier track. “There are more than 12,000 diseases known to medicine, but there is only one Evelyn. Instead of thinking about her as a hodgepodge of 29 different diagnoses, I shifted the paradigm.” In six weeks she was leading a healthier, happier lifestyle than she had in ten years.

He helped change her identity of herself from an unhealthy person to a healthy one. Not as a collection of diseases, but as a person who deserved to be healthy. And that’s something to clap about.

“One of the best ways to change health behavior, it turns out, is to change a person’s self-identity. When a smoker begins to view herself as a nonsmoker or a teen sees binge-drinking as something “people like me” don’t do, behavior change is typically more lasting than if the person’s sense of identity is not invoked.” (TEDMED: How the power of self-identity affects your health.)

These examples show how vital it is to consider a person’s concept of themselves–and to contribute to it in a health-giving way–if the result is to be a positive one. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the scientific system of healing I practice, said:

“A patient’s belief is more or less moulded and formed by his doctor’s belief in the case, even though the doctor says nothing to support his theory. His thoughts and his patient’s commingle, and the stronger thoughts rule the weaker.”

She ends with something that might sound startling to some: “Hence the importance that doctors be Christian Scientists.” (Science and Healthp. 198). As I see it, isn’t it important that doctors recognize the mental and spiritual nature of every case they treat if they want to have a positive, healing outcome? At a recent panel discussion I attended in Boston, I listened to a doctor who’d been practicing medicine for 40 years say that there’s no way we can possibly care for the world’s health problems without investigating alternative methods to traditional medicine.

A good place to start is to begin thinking of yourself as healthy. That’s a powerful thought.

Further study:


  1. Virginia McCullough says

    Very interesting and so genuine. I’m grateful to know this kind of thinking is going on. I find it interesting in Stevenson’s talk about identity that even tho his grandma spoke to all the grandkids, he took it to heart — reminds me of the seed falling on the good soil. This blog does make me take more notice of what I’m seeing as my identity. As you say, it is powerful.

  2. Ingrid Peschke says

    Hi Virginia, I’m glad you checked out the links and found them helpful! Pretty interesting stuff, huh?

  3. Virginia McCullough says

    Thanks so much for this blog. I found it very freeing. Thanks too for the links. What great examples. Both talks were inspiring and encouraging — Lissa Rankin and Bryan Stevenson. I was thinking about identity last night, so this is very timely for me.

  4. Ingrid Peschke says

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and posting on your FB pages! I’m glad the message is one you feel compelled to share with your network of friends.

  5. Sharla Allard says

    I’m also going to do a rare share on Facebook with this one. To think that we can, in all honesty, not think of ourselves as being a fearful person, not label ourselves a social misfit, or prone to falling down, or the many etceteras that come to us, is very, very freeing as well as good for our health.

  6. says

    Thank you, Ingrid, for the blog.

    I’ve noticed that whenever I’m enjoying what I’m doing and feeling God’s loving presence in the moment, I always feel great! When I’ve focused on what has happened or what may happen, then not so much.

    I find that gratitude is very like clapping. It’s very hard to be tired, depressed, or sick if I’m truly grateful.