Posts tagged ‘cure’
by John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
When I was a young boy my grandparents seemed really old. I laugh at that because even though I’m now their age, I still think of myself as young. I’m sure there are a lot more like me, and the number is growing.
But can the fact that I think of myself as young actually affect the aging process? Recent research on aging points in this direction, and considering the demographics it’s no wonder why the conversation has begun.
The Congressional Research Service estimates that the percentage of US citizens 65 and older will swell from 12.4 to 20.2 percent of the total U.S. population in the next 40 years. How we deal with aging boomers has become the question of the decade.
Potentially this could present a significant challenge to the health delivery system — one that already seems to be maxed out. And pharmaceutical companies already see this as an opportunity to develop new markets for their products. Pfizer started its “GetOld” initiative to promote “what role the company and its partners can play to help people live longer and better lives.”
Each of us, as the years go by, will need to confront our own thoughts and attitudes about aging. Research shows that how we think about getting older is as important as the fact itself.
Just last week a septuagenarian friend of mine was lamenting his view that he isn’t as mentally ‘on top of things’… like memory, as he used to be. But should we accept the notion that as we age we lose our mental capacities? Columbia University assistant professor Jennifer Mangels, PhD, might have some food for thought for my friend.
“Those who believe that intelligence is something that can be acquired through dedication and hard work demonstrate more vibrant memories of things past… such flexible thinkers have better memories because they are less concerned about forgetting.”
And Ellen Langer found in her research project that expectations played a significant role in how elderly people felt and behaved. In her book Counter- Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility she tells us that “It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits.”
In other words, our attitudes appear to play a decisive role in determining our physical and mental well-being. But could it also be a factor in how long we live? Becca Levy found that to be the case in her research. She tells us that “older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging… lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging.” These perceptions were measured up to 23 years earlier.
It’s interesting to me that this contemporary research is affirming what was described more than a century ago by Mary Baker Eddy in her medical experiments and research.
Eddy’s view throughout her work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is that spiritual and mental beliefs influence physical health, and that thought and expectations are the force behind our experience, including how we respond to aging. It’s noteworthy that Eddy, at the age of 86, founded the Christian Science Monitor at a time when living past 70, let alone accomplishing something significant, was noteworthy.
Another friend of mine, a centenarian seemed to understand this point. She lived alone in an upstairs apartment with no elevator until she was 100. She even commented that she didn’t like to spend much time with her 60 year old nephew because “he was so old”.
To be honest, from time to time I have to challenge my own thinking about getting older. Hardly a day goes by without someone suggesting that there are predictable and unavoidable outcomes to this process. I’m learning to question assumptions behind many drug ads for seniors, and society’s stereotype of what is appropriate for me ‘at my age’.
Being a baby boomer, being of the generation that didn’t typically accept the status quo, has served me well when confronted with these suggestions. It has helped me to think and feel younger than my ‘age’.
First published on OregonLive
What I know of Christmas today is certainly different than what I knew as a child. I was really caught up in the magic of the holiday: the Christmas tree, decorations, presents, special treats, and being out of school for two whole weeks. It was a magical time of year.
As a child I was clueless about the sometimes unfortunate backstory of the magic. Stress, lack of money to buy gifts (or even to eat), being alone when you’re supposed to be with family and friends, broken relationships, overindulgence in alcohol and so on. This special time of year turns out to be the most dreaded for some. It doesn’t have to be the case, though, even in the most dire circumstances.
A different perspective on this season has emerged gently in my thought, and it continues to grow. You might think that my Christian affiliation means Christmas to me is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But really, that is only the most familiar symbol of what Christmas has to offer.
A passage in the Bible in the book of Isaiah really tells the whole story of Christmas. It is the promise of hope fulfilled. In Isaiah it says that..
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. ( Isaiah 9:2)
What do we hope for? It can mean repaired relationships, finding companionship, financial needs being met, and health restored. Restoring and maintaining health perhaps has been the biggest quest of mankind. The human race has devoted untold resources to alleviating pain and suffering, and prolonging life.
Modern medicine makes the headlines, but the ability to heal one’s self and others through prayer has been around for thousands of years. Christ Jesus taught how to change thought in order to bring healing, and this power is still available for everyone. The promise is for all time and there is current evidence that the promise is being fulfilled.
I found the story of Gabrielle Giffords’ remarkable recovery this year to be a great example of the power of the right mental atmosphere in healing. Not only is Gabby someone who never gives up, but her husband, Mark Kelly, and mother, Gloria, also knew that Gabby would recover as well. They saw that she was surrounded by love and a positive and unlimited attitude. This is a story of strength and courage, living out the fulfillment of the promise.
The backstory of Christmas isn’t hopelessness and despair. It’s fulfillment of the promise. Health is the best gift, and we all have more resources than we know to achieve it. Better than seasonal magic is the hope that Jesus brought to 2000 years ago. And the promise is being fulfilled.
“Medical pot clinic manager gets prison term”
This headline in an Oregon newspaper isn’t particularly remarkable. Everyday the news carries stories of crime and punishment. Here the defendant illegally provided marijuana to people.
If we peel back the layers of this headline we begin to see a different issue than what’s on the surface. It really isn’t just about crime and punishment. It’s about humanity’s yearning to relieve pain and suffering.
Sixteen states and D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana for medical reasons. Oregon followed California, the first in the country, by passing its own law in 1998 along with Alaska and Washington. The prescribing physician and the patient must be registered with the state. And, its use is limited to treating suffering caused by debilitating medical conditions.
I used to think that the number of people using medical marijuana was relatively small, comprised mostly of hippies and the fringes of society. That’s until I looked up the numbers. In Oregon over 55,000 people have a medical marijuana card, and over 1,900 physicians supervise these patients. These numbers aren’t small potatoes.
When I was a young man marijuana was used exclusively for recreation. Somewhere along the way, however, it joined the ranks of pharmaceutical drugs. For some, it’s the medicine of choice for addressing symptoms caused by medical conditions that haven’t been healed. Some might consider this form of health care to be radical and groundbreaking.
Here’s the rub, though. This isn’t a paradigm shift. What was once exclusively an illegal drug has simply been moved into the realm of conventional medicine. Patients not achieving their health through conventional pharmaceuticals are just turning to another familiar drug with a different history to relieve their suffering.
Isn’t there a better way? Has marijuana permanently improved the quality of life for its users? I suspect not, given the number of people continuing to seek relief. But doesn’t the use of a consciousness-changing drug hint at some inner understanding that a change of consciousness is needed to be truly free of pain and remain healthy?
A growing trend in mainstream medicine is showing glimmers of hope that the medical establishment does recognize there are non-pharmaceutical alternatives for achieving health.
In Oregon, Dr.Barry Oken of the Oregon Health and Sciences University is a physician that conducts research on alternative health care. He’s director of the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine In Neurological Disorders (ORCCAMIND). Though his research is narrowly focused, his work is making progress in the area of alternatives to conventional health care practices. It was his interest in yoga that originally got him to look at alternative health care.
Another physician, Mitchell Krucoff, MD tells Web MD that he has been studying prayer and spirituality since 1996 – and practicing it much longer in his patient care. He says that “…we’re seeing systematic investigations – clinical research – as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, federal subsidies from the NIH, funding from Congress”. “All of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.”
Even though prayer might be seen as “medicine nouveau” by some in the medical establishment, it’s been around for along time. I’ve practiced it, as have many others, with great success in permanent pain relief. When systematically used, the results are consistent, avoiding invasive procedures, huge medical bills, and nasty side effects.
Legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes really isn’t breaking new ground. If I could tell those holding marijuana cards one thing, it would be this: There is a better way to relieve pain and suffering, and there’s a better way to achieve health. Look toward mind and away from matter.
Keith Wommack is my friend. He’s also the Committee on Publication for Texas. He wrote this excellent blog on a topic I’ve been thinking about. Keith presents the issue so well that I wanted to share it. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
By Keith Wommack, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Texas
I respect the great heart, the motive, of every physician and healer. For, I believe, they yearn to improve their patients’ quality of life and care. Yet, is this what’s taking place? Perhaps not — because when it comes to health care, we are learning more is not always better. Sometimes more means that quality of life suffers.
For example, many American primary care physicians believe that their own patients are receiving too much medical care. This was the take-away from a survey of primary-care doctors conducted in 2009.
The most important factors physicians identified as leading them to practice more aggressively were malpractice concerns (76%), clinical performance measures (52%), and inadequate time to spend with patients (40%). Physicians also believe that financial incentives encourage aggressive practice: 62% said diagnostic testing would be reduced if it did not generate revenue for medical subspecialists (39% for primary care physicians). – Archives of Internal Medicine
My heart goes out to the physicians facing this dilemma. I know they want to help and heal.
Where does the patient stand in all this? According to over one hundred new articles recently released, excessive medical testing is a problem. Excessive testing can lead to diagnosing conditions that never would have caused problems. This leads to more treatment with its own special side effects and complications. The cycle continues with even more tests and drugs prescribed. No wonder quality of life is declining and health care expenses are ballooning.
However, there is a method of care that has no side effects, and its costs are minimal. This care is spiritual in nature. This responsible, spiritual care may be viewed as just another short-lived alternative method; yet, it was successfully practiced 2,000 years ago.
I believe Jesus knew what he was doing. He knew how to supply others with real quality of life. He knew how to heal. He didn’t over-treat. And he taught others to heal.
Many are beginning to recognize that Jesus utilized specific, spiritual laws in order to heal. This is why he could teach others. His healing ministry was not a one-shot divine wonder. He told everyone who would listen, “Follow me. Heal the sick.”
I have found, in my own practice, that this type of spiritual care physically restores without undermining quality of life. For example: Glen collapsed in his home. After a friend found him, he was rushed to a hospital, where he lay in a coma for two weeks. Doctors believed he would never revive. Yet, Glen’s family and I prayed.
To the surprise of the medical staff, Glen awoke. He was told that he had a serious kidney problem and would require regular dialysis and medication for the rest of his life.
Doctors wanted to begin treatment immediately, but Glen was used to using prayer as an effective treatment. So, he called me and wanted my continued spiritual care. I assured him that God was in complete control and nothing could impede his progress. I knew God would inspire Glen spiritually and restore him physically.
The next day there were already signs of improvement, and the doctors were willing to give him three days to gain even more significant progress. He, his family, and I continued to pray for his health. Glen told me that he had never prayed so diligently and sincerely. The doctors commented on the remarkable recovery taking place.
On the third day, the healing was complete. The kidney was fine. There was no need for dialysis or medication. Glen was released from the hospital.
Again, the motive of every healer, I believe, is to improve his patients’ quality of life and care. Quality of life and care are essential. Is this what you are experiencing?
While many people face over-the-top testing and costs, I have found that there is a method that can be practiced where more is always better.
My colleague, Bob Clark from Florida, has written a thoughtful blog challenging the notion that with maturity comes debilitation. He shares a healing of Alzheimer’s disease achieved through spiritual means alone. Whether or not you are a “senior”, this is a blog worth reading. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
By Bob Clark, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Florida
I live in an area with a lot of wonderful older people, “seniors” as they’re often called. I love seeing seniors walking on the beach, fishing off the piers, driving convertibles, playing golf and generally enjoying life in their later years. These are the true “senior moments”.
So it bothers me deeply when I read about Alzheimer’s disease threatening to demote seniors from their well-earned place and status to a lower level where their “senior-hood” can become a curse rather than a blessing.
Here are some startling statistics from American Family Physician, “The financial and social costs of Alzheimer’s disease are staggering. In the United States, the disease accounts for about $100 billion per year in medical and custodial expenses, with the average patient requiring an expenditure of about $27,000 per year for medical and nursing care. In addition, 80 percent of caregivers report stress, and about 50 percent report depression.”
Is there an alternative to the unjust sentence this disease imposes on our seniors and their families? Is there a way to control or even avoid its collateral costs and damage? Yes. Fortunately for all of us, there is.
As health care reform lumbers forward and costs spiral upward we are seeing increased coverage of alternative approaches to health and healing. The number one alternative, according to NIH, the National Institutes of Health, is prayer. Surprised?
Well, prayer, as it turns out, actually works, even for incurable, degenerative diseases that baffle medical experts. Below is an outstanding and inspiring example of how prayer was used to completely overcome Alzheimer’s. In this case, after a medical diagnosis, every conceivable remedy was applied: Chinese herbalism, homeopathy, ayurvedic medicine, and yoga, all in addition to the most up to date pharmaceutical remedies. After all else failed, this woman found prayer to be the only effective and permanent alternative. Hers is a must read story.
Her prayer-based triumph over Alzheimer’s is just one example of thousands, offering proof that medical diagnoses are not always final and that there is a practical spiritual alternative to forfeiting the joys of senior-hood.