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.
“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.