Posts filed under ‘Mary Baker Eddy’
It’s hard to imagine that administering routine medical tests would have negative consequences, especially when the test in and of itself is completely harmless. Checking to make sure there aren’t problems lurking in our bodies makes perfect sense. At least until the consequences of doing so are carefully examined.
Here’s what’s happening: a lowering of the threshold of indicators when tests are called for. In fact, some tests are being administered at the onset of some general risk factors that everyone will experience at some point in their life, such as their age.
Examining this issue carefully in her book Overtreated, Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, Shannon Brownlee points out that:
Today, the number of tests has exploded, and doctors no longer just treat the sick but instead go looking for disease among the well. (p. 200)
Why? Looking for disease so you can catch it before it becomes a big problem. At least that’s the argument. But it’s not the end of the story.
The increase in testing has caused another phenomenon. In his Op-Ed piece in the L.A. Times (May 6, 2011) Dr. H. Gilbert Welch argues that, not only testing but “treatment thresholds are too low.” He goes on:
We look harder for things to be wrong. We test more often, we are more likely to test people who have no symptoms, and we have changed the rules about what degree of abnormality constitutes disease.
Diagnostic thresholds that are set too low lead in turn to a bigger problem: treatment thresholds that are set too low.
This means we are treating as disease conditions which we used to consider normal. This triggers a whole host of problems for our medical system which are now coming to light. But more importantly, Brownlee points out:
…many other tests, which have their place if a patient has symptoms, have had the perverse effect of benefiting only a small minority when they are given routinely to apparently healthy people in the name of prevention — while exposing the majority to invasive, often dangerous treatment they don’t necessarily need. (p. 200)
Even the humorous comment, “Now I can do all the things I did before, but with the assurance that I am doing them while medicated,” is offset by the serious claim that health is not benefited by over treatment.
Simply put by Welch, “low thresholds have a way of leading to treatments that are worse than the disease.”
These revelations might well be disconcerting to those relying on multiple medical tests for reassurance that they are healthy. There is an alternative worth considering.
Richard Schiffman writes in the Huffington Post (January 18, 2012) that …
“regular prayer and meditation has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy.” Schiffman discusses the underlying research and surveys that support this conclusion.
I’ve found that to be true. Regular prayer, along with well balanced living, has been invaluable in maintaining my health without a host of low-threshold medical tests. Mary Baker Eddy figured this out over 140 years ago and wrote about it in her book Science and Health. I daily use prayer and her system of health maintenance.
The test that I’ve found to be essential is an examination of my consciousness. I look to see what unhealthy attitudes are lurking there, and treat those–with dismissal. There are no negative side effects from finding and eliminating unhealthy thoughts. This process doesn’t result in a cure worse than the disease.
This form of health care can effectively achieve and maintain health. That’s been my experience for many years.
Yes, there is danger in lowering the threshold for medical tests and treatment. But I’ve yet to find that there can be too much prayer and reflection as long as it leads to real change in my thinking and my life.
by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
Health anxiety. Boy, that’s a big issue. It’s a condition I’ve seen in many people over the years. Parents worrying about each symptom experienced by their child. Adults obsessed with every the latest malady reported in the news.
Have you ever paid attention to the conversations around you at work? A day doesn’t go by without someone talking about his latest health issue, what his doctor says about it, her concerns about it spreading or getting worse, and so on. They talk about what pills they’re taking, how many, what color, how expensive.
The technology explosion, though presumed to be a benefit to mankind, may actually be a curse for the common citizen fearful about her health. On the internet you can find every conceivable disease or body malfunction known to man. You can find all the symptoms that go along with these conditions, and possible remedies. You can find out what medication you should be taking or what surgeries can solve the problem. This information only adds to the fear one may be harboring about their health. It’s conveniently called cyberchondria.
Wendy Glauser brings out an important point in her article “Health Anxiety” in the spring edition of Canadian Health. “At least 5% of the Canadian population is estimated to suffer from severe health anxiety, with a greater percentage of milder cases. Health anxiety can be triggered when …Internet websites match perceived symptoms to scary disorders or when physical symptoms persist that doctors can’t explain.”
And I’m certain that a much larger percentage of the population actually experiences sickness due to disease descriptions in the media and Internet. The idea is suggested to the mind and then the condition manifests itself in the body.
Dr. Herbert Benson, a renowned physician and researcher on the mind-body connection, has coined this phenomenon the “nocebo effect”. A more common term is psychosomatic disorder, i.e., symptoms of a disorder caused by one’s thought. His research for over 30 years has clinically proven that one’s thinking can have a healing or negative effect on one’s health.
Benson, Glauser, and those Glauser interviews for her article, report on a physiological basis for understanding and addressing these conditions. This approach will always have the limitation of the human body and brain. It relies on altering the neurological functions of the brain through thought, or through relaxation techniques, counseling, and in some cases, medications.
Interventions that heal the body through altering brain functions are limited by the body’s limitations. There’s no way around it.
As a practicing Christian Scientist I’ve found that healing goes beyond the brain and body, and comes through an understanding of spiritual nature. This understanding releases me from anxiety and any concern about my body. Rather than search the internet for a name or symptoms, I revel in the freedom that comes with focusing my thought on God as my creator, and the wholeness and harmony of His creation.
The press unwittingly sends forth many sorrows and diseases among the human family. It does this by giving names to diseases and by printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought. A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it. A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort. What a price for human knowledge! [pp. 196-7]
And she goes on to say:
The physical affirmation of disease should always be met with the mental negation…If you believe in inflamed and weak nerves, you are liable to an attack from that source… If you decide that climate or atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be so to you. Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take. [p. 392 ]
It’s liberating to know that we don’t have to be fearful about our health, and that peace of mind comes from a decision to recognize the natural healthiness of all that God made, including me and you. We can learn to meet health anxiety at the door of thought, before it gets its mental foot in the door, with a “no admittance”. God cares for His creation and keeps it well. That’s real freedom.
by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
There are those times in our lives when we meet remarkable people. The last two years have been one of those times for me. You see, I get to meet with Christian Science college students at the University of Oregon every week. They’re incredible. Their insights and understanding of the principles underlying the practice of Christian Science are unparalleled. Two of them, Lauren and Denise, recently took the time to talk with me about what Christian Science means to them, and how they use it in their life. I know you will enjoy watching this video discussion as much as I did making it.
disclaimer: This was a low budget taping session. One stand alone iPhone for the video and audio, and two everyday lamps for lighting. But the message comes through loud and clear.
So just how does “sin” affect our health? And just what is sin? My colleague and friend, Keith Wommack, from the great state of Texas, has an interesting discussion on this topic. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
By Keith Wommack, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Texas
If I wanted to shoot hoops today, but the only sneakers I could find were a pair of size 8½ red high-tops, I’d be frustrated. I wear 9½, and that garish crimson just won’t do. However, if I went ahead and wore them for a game, how do you think my feet would feel afterward? Likely, I would pay a price the following day.
In the above example, we could call the impulsiveness and impatience a sin; and it illustrates the way in which sin impacts health by causing physical and emotional suffering. Anger, hate, envy, dishonesty, and all selfishness have unpleasant consequences. And sin causes more than blisters on toes. The entire body is affected by thought. For example, many are studying the role stress and emotions have on cardiovascular disease. (See WebMD article) How we feel is connected and subject to how we think.
Both sins and mistakes cause trouble. But the two are dissimilar: A mistake is an unintentional action caused by ignorance, whereas sin is more than a mistake. It is a conscious course of wrongdoing.
Mistakes can be corrected by knowledge. However, sin is erased by a recognition that our actions were wrong, coupled with a refusal to ever again think and act unloving and self-destructive. Didn’t Jesus heal by exposing and destroying sin?
Every selfish, sinful thought is self-destructive. It leaves Spirit, God, out of the picture. This is inevitably bad for health, for without Spirit health becomes vulnerable. Why? Because there is an indissoluble connection between Spirit and health. The more I deny Spirit by my thoughts and actions, the more I deny this valuable connection and my health becomes subject to change. More and more, studies and articles are showing the connection between Spirit/prayer and health. (For example: How Prayer Leads to Better Health and Longer Life)
In a broad and general sense, sin is accepting something less than a good and ever-present God as well as denying His ability to care for mankind’s needs. In a specific sense, sin is thinking and acting in an immoral and unloving way.
Back to shoes and toes. I’m learning that when I try to put something too big (toes) into something too small (8½ shoes), pain is eventually going to show up.
However, isn’t that what I do? Aren’t I constantly thinking about myself rather than Spirit? Thinking I’m matter-based when Spirit made me spiritually? Attempting to live life small or limited when Life is really God, big, infinite and dynamic?
Yet, the more I understand Spirit and my spiritual nature, the fewer mistakes I will make and the greater dominion I will have over the temptation to sin.
Again, to overcome a mistake, knowledge is needed. To stop each sin’s impact on health, the sin must be stopped.
Where do I begin? First, I must know myself as the spiritual child of God, made to express goodness and grace. Second, I must recognize the weaknesses and sins I’ve accepted as a part of myself. Then I must use the truth of the first to remove the aggressive lies of the second.
I believe that God has given you and me the power to subordinate thought and body to our spiritual understanding. As we express our God-given dominion, we can erase sin and remove its impact on our own health as well as on the health of others.
In this blog post my colleague, Steve Salt, Committee on Publication for Ohio, talks about a topic that I have long been interested in. Just what are hard and fast facts? And how do they stand up against the test of time and new technology? What does this have to do with Christian Science? Interesting questions and an interesting discussion by Steve. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
Solid, factual, and truthful is how we like things. Get to the point. Be genuine. But in the daily grind of evaluation and information processing we are often treated to jello-like truthiness. Things are not always as solid as advertised. That proclivity makes life trying.
A current ad on TV by a major electronics retailer magnifies the difficulty when purchasing “the latest” gadget or entertainment system. The promises are exciting…the reality disappointing. The moment you buy into the hyperbole, your cutting-edge thingamajig is obsolete. And you are left holding the bag…so to speak.
We should be watchful for the same tendency in other departments of life too, those that have an even greater impact on our lives.
In the area of science a constant stream of hypotheses are repetitively set forth to be confirmed or disproved. The public often embraces these theories as fact. More often than not they’re fable. In physics, for example, the model is constantly changing. What’s true today won’t be necessarily true tomorrow.
Variable truth cannot be regarded as truth, can it?
Consider medicine. One day salt is not so good for your health. But then it is. Ditto for eggs. For the longest time drinking too much coffee was considered harmful to health. A new report just out reverses that finding and points to its disease-fighting potential. Vitamin supplements have been popular for years. Now, their value is in question.
In a story in The New Yorker, “The Truth Wears Off”, it is related that the data presented at a meeting of neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and drug-company executives pointed to a strange occurrence, the declining effectiveness of a specific class of drugs. “It’s as if our facts were losing their truth,” the article reports. That raises the question, is truth fickle?
I study various branches of physics and enjoy reading the results of research in this discipline. It’s fascinating to me. But, I know not to stop there. Scientists will be the first to admit that stubborn adherence to a single criterion can impair thought and limit scope to the detriment of truthful outcomes. Think of it as putting all your eggs in one basket.
That is why I study Christian Science. No, those two terms are not incongruent. Christian Science is a dynamic approach to understanding the fundamental laws of the universe, not bounded by the restraints of matter. Skeptical? Good. I’m a questioner myself. That’s what hard science is all about.
There’s plenty of information about Christian Science and its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, on this website. Look at the research accomplished by ordinary folks like you and me. They have been finding proof of its efficacy for generations through healing and enhanced well-being. Its findings are observable and repeatable by those sincere in their efforts. It’s not difficult. It’s fundamental.