Health Without Side Effects

Today’s News & Culture update:

I read a recent Boston Globe article, Warning Patients of Drug Side-Effects May Trigger Symptoms, that puts a twist on drug side-effects related to the nocebo effect, sometimes referred to as the “evil twin” of the placebo effect.

Globe health reporter Deborah Kotz writes, “Recent research has demonstrated that when doctors and nurses inform patients about a laundry list of symptoms that a drug can cause — such as headaches, anxiety, dizziness, and nausea — they may unintentionally trigger these symptoms via the power of suggestion . . .”

We’ve all watched commercials for drugs that list possible side effects. I recently saw an ad where the voice-over litany of horrible side-effects never seemed to stop while happy people danced in a field and carried on with a normal life in the background. The side-effects sounded far worse than the targeted problem. I could see viewers thinking, “Um, no, thanks, I’d rather just live with my condition.”

But for anyone willing to take those risks with their health, you have to wonder why? And what if they could trust in a solution that came with no side effects?

The solution is right at hand if you consider the impact of prayer and spirituality on health. According to Discovery Fit and Health, “Prayer is the number one complementary medicine for Americans,  more than vitamins, herbs or therapeutic exercise like yoga.” And studies show that at least half of the American population prays about their health. (Read:  The Positive Health Effects of Prayer, Huff Post.)

As always, I want to know your thoughts and experience on this issue. Please share!






  1. Dave says

    This blog reminded me of a dear friend that is struggling mightily. She has multiple health issues, and has consulted her physician about finding some answers. The doctor’s answer was multiple pills, which has landed her in even a worse spot. The medications have changed this dear one’s personality so much that she identifies herself as a pathetic mess. I’ve know her for years, all the way back to my school days, and this is so far from that girl, who was always up and smiling. I simply will not accept that for her. I’ve discussed on occasion with her what prayer can do, but so far she seems reluctant to listen very far, but God speaks to all of us, all the time, and I’m sure that a break-through will come.

  2. Virginia McCullough says

    Thanks for this blog and the links. Russ Gerber’s blog is so encouraging. I grew up thinking medical care was the only way to go and remember lots of ear aches and lots of penicillin shots. When I was about 30 years old I found Christian Science and that was the last time I took any drugs or went to a doctor for myself. My son was healed of an ear ache through prayer in Christian Science and his step daughter was also later on. That’s the only times that I know of that ear aches bothered my children or grandchildren.

    Although it isn’t always easy turning to prayer for healing, I love the side effects — better health, greater trust in God as healer, more freedom and so much more.

  3. Sharla Allard says

    I, too, would love to hear how, for example, a Muslim prays about a personal issue. Or a Baptist, Lutheran, Unitarian, Jew . . . I know I would find it helpful in my own prayers, sometimes when I’m awakened by the problem in the middle of the night!

  4. Anne says

    I could go on and on about this topic in my own experience, but I will just say that when I was growing up, drugs were given to me to alleviate mostly the fears of my mom, but for the most part they just had worse side effects than benefits for me.

    Then, as a teen I found out about Christian Science. As I began to follow its teachings and pray, I had better health and was infinitely happier.