Posts tagged ‘good’
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
The Institute of Medicine released a report in June describing the prevalence of chronic pain in America. They report that it “affects at least 116 million American adults—more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Pain also costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity.”
These astounding numbers are so large that finding a solution for this health problem should be a high priority for the health care community. The report offers many recommendations but little was offered in how to eliminate pain.
One approach to treating pain and other maladies, is the use of placebos. Some researchers see evidence that it rivals more traditional medical treatments in effectiveness, and yet is less expensive and doesn’t carry with it negative side effects. Jane E. Allen of the ABC News Medical Unit writes in a July 14, 2011 article “Placebo Effect Rivals Steroid Benefit for Asthmatics”:
“In the newest demonstration of how healing can be triggered by patients’ expectations of what medical attention can do for them, placebo treatments were as good as real medication in making asthmatic patients feel they were breathing more easily.
Daniel E. Moerman, an expert on the placebo effect at the University of Michigan-Dearborn said “patients’ feelings about what helps them feel better trump the judgment of the physician.” In those cases, he wrote, dummy pills “can be as useful as ‘real’ ones.”
On one level it’s encouraging to see the scientific community recognize, in this limited way, that the mind of the patient has an affect on his health. That’s clearly what’s at work when placebos are effective in treating physical conditions, including pain. The medical research makes this point. We should not, however, see the use of placebos in treating pain, or any other medical condition, as the final solution. But it can point researchers in new directions for more effective pain care.
In my exploration of how consciousness and spirituality, as practiced in Christian Science, affect health I’ve found that positive results extend far beyond the possibilities described by those who do research on placebos. I’ve come to realize that the conscious application of spiritual laws can bring healing to many medical conditions. I’ve personally experienced it and seen it proven by others. Many of these accounts of healing are reported in Christian Science literature, and on the Christian Science websites. Click here to read one such account where the writer is permanently healed of cluster headaches.
Anecdotal evidence? Perhaps. But maybe “eyewitness evidence” would be a better term. In a legal courtroom it wouldn’t be discounted as illegitimate or irrelevant.
Because placebos involve some deception, the placebo shouldn’t be seen as the answer to the question of “how does consciousness affect health?” Rather, it should be taken as evidence that consciousness does affect health, but the extent to which this occurs goes far beyond the use of “fake” medical treatment. It’s through exploring, and coming to understand, the spiritual nature of man that permanent healing of pain, not just temporary relief, can be brought about.
To me, spirituality is the endgame, which not only makes the patient better physically, but also benefits him mentally and spiritually. Patients then feel as if they have been, not just tricked into health, but made new from the inside out.
Keith Wommack, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Texas, shares an inspiring blog post on the health benefits of attending church. I want share it here so that my readers have the benefit of Keith’s thoughts. John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon.
By Keith Wommack
You say you were dragged to church every week? You didn’t want to go? Your mother insisted it was good for you?
Well, she was right. And in even more ways than she imagined.
Turns out, if you’re concerned about your health, church is the place to be.
Jeff Levin in his book, God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality Healing Connection, explains:
1. Data on Mexican Americans … found that frequent church attenders were more likely to rate their health as good or excellent, report higher levels of well-being, and experience less disability, fewer days in bed in the previous year, and fewer physical symptoms.
2. A Scottish study found that active churchgoers, regardless of religious affiliation, had fewer physical and mental symptoms than people who affiliated with a religion but did not participate in church.
3. Scientists from the Universality of Michigan … found … church attendance more than once a week offered an additional 31 percent reduction in risk above and beyond weekly attendance.
4. Scientists at John Hopkins University … found that less than monthly religious attendance doubled and even tripled the risk of death due to arteriosclerotic heart disease, pulmonary emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and cancers of the rectum and colon.
5. A follow-up study found an actual dose-relationship between deaths and frequency of religious attendance. … Each level of frequency reduced deaths incrementally; attending services at least weekly reduced by almost 50 percent the risk of death the following year.
Levin goes on to say:
There is increasing evidence of religious effects on objective measures of more physically observable phenomena, such as functional disability and mortality. This effect also apparently extends decades in the future.
Psychiatrists know of few it any other factors that exhibit protective effects extending so far ahead in time. For sure, there is no medication that can work so effectively for so long.
The best study conducted to date on the topic of religious attendance and health also found the most amazing results. It showed that the protective effects of frequent participation in church can last a lifetime. … Published in the American Journal of Public Health, [one] study found that frequent religious attenders had greater survival rates — that is, lower mortality — that extended over a twenty-eight-year period. Frequent religious attendance in 1965 was still reducing the risk of dying in 1994.
Again, if you’re concerned about your health, it seems, church is the place to be.
Yet, what is it about religious attendance that causes a reduction in disease and death?
Many feel that the supportive relationships found in church fellowship likely lead to the health benefits of attendance. An attender’s fellowship with others, — their caring for another’s emotional, economic, and physical needs, is important. Yet, there is something even more significant that enables attenders to experience health benefits this dramatic.
In my healing ministry and years of active membership in churches, I’ve found that an attender’s relationship with God is what enables him to experience health and longevity. It’s this relationship with God that makes all the difference.
There is a law of God behind the health benefits that are found in the studies that Levin describes. Regular church attendance helps bring people under this law. God’s law of health is actually available to all, everywhere. However, those consistently attending services experience the effects of God’s laws.
Could it be time to start listening to your mother? Time to discover the health benefits of religious attendance?
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.
By John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
It was another night of disagreement between my parents, which led to my father’s inevitable drinking. He marched out to his truck with his rifles, saying he was going to kill himself. “You don’t love me. Just wait until I’m gone, then you’ll be sorry.” As the oldest of three sons I once again was put in the position of the “adult”, intervening, taking away his guns, and telling him to go back into the house. I had become “the man of the house” at the age of fifteen.
I don’t remember feeling close to my father, nor looking up to him as a role model or as my hero. As a very young child I know I did, but as I became more aware of him as a real person and not an ideal, I sensed the vacuum in my life– but I didn’t understand it. I knew I wanted to do better in my relationships with my spouse and children than my father did in his.
Soon, my parents separated and I felt lost in terms of what a “man” was supposed to be.
When I found Christian Science in college and began to study its principles, I got a better understanding of who I am as a man. I began to see that I am not the product of the gene pool I came from, nor is my identity rooted in patterns of behavior passed on from generation to generation. I could be something other than the byproduct of expectations placed upon me by society, culture, my parents, or even myself.
The Bible calls man, male and female, the reflection of God. I discovered that I could possess all the qualities that I associate with God and this is the true identity of all of God’s children. I could even see my dad in this light. Because my inherent nature is a reflection of God’s qualities, it is not my responsibility to try and be something other than what God made me to be. Since I consider God to be good, then I must be good as He made me. I strive to live up to His model, rather than follow my father’s patterns.
My true nature, my true manhood, also includes qualities that might commonly be thought of as feminine. By reflecting God, not only do I naturally possess the qualities of strength, courage, endurance, and responsibility, but I also cherish in myself the ability to be loving, kind, gentle, and appreciative of beauty and art. And I see these characteristics in others–both men and women. Since these qualities are expressions of God, they are available to each of us as His creation, not just a chosen few.
Tomorrow we celebrate fathers. To me, everyday is the time to acknowledge the essence of true fatherhood as I see it in God, and to practice this higher manhood as an expression of God’s goodness. God’s fatherhood continues to bless my happy relationship with my own sons.