Posts tagged ‘human’
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.
What impact will health care reform in the United States have on the health care delivery system in Oregon? I’ve been watching this pretty closely. One trend, even before the current reform began, is the shortage of care givers. Now, with reform, there is increased access to care making the shortage worse. Availability of good health care is a concern to patients, policy makers, and legislators alike.
In a recent article, Joe Rojas-Burke of The Oregonian points out that one way to meet this need is through nursing.
“As the U.S. extends health coverage to 32 million people… nurses are likely to be key in areas of medicine with too few doctors, such as primary care, obstetrics, geriatrics and mental health.
“‘Nursing is absolutely critical to help fill the void,’ says Michael Bleich, dean of the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.” 1 [link]
Some years back, long before this anticipated shortage of health care providers, an incident made me realize the important role nursing plays in any health care system. Before I began my practice of Christian Science, I needed medical intervention because of a serious farming accident. Nurses were an important part of my initial care. Later, through marriage, medical nurses became a part of my extended family. I saw their commitment to their profession and the care they provide to patients.
I imagine many don’t realize that nursing also has a role in the practice of healing through prayer, or spiritual health care. As I talked with legislators about why, as a Christian Scientist, I am interested in health care reform, some were surprised that there are Christian Science nurses. Many policy makers view nursing exclusively as part of the medical system. Since they hadn’t thought of health care in the context of spiritual care, this was completely new to them.
I have also come to appreciate what nurses do within the practice of spiritual healing. Christian Science nurses don’t administer medications or perform medical procedures. But, while the patient is healing, they take care of everyday concerns for cleanliness, bandaging, cooking, assists in lifting and walking, housekeeping, and the like. Unlike the point that Rojas-Burke makes, a Christian Science nurse isn’t filling a void created by the lack of another care-giver, but rather he compliments the patient’s practice of healing through prayer. This would also involve the work of a Christian Science practitioner who is actively affirming God’s power to heal through prayer. At the same time the nurse through her own prayers, maintains an atmosphere around the patient that allows healing to be a natural outcome of the patient’s recognition of his or her innate spiritual wholeness.
Because the service they provide is “up close and personal,” nurses have to have special qualities that facilitate healing, besides their technical training. Mary Baker Eddy, who provided for Christian Science nursing, clearly understood the healing qualities a nurse should possess. She says, “The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, — receptive to Truth and Love.”2
These qualities aren’t a substitute to fill a void left by a shortage of anything. They have always been essential to the healing process.
1. Rojas-Burke, Joe. The Oregonian. “Health reform likely to expand role of nurses; Oregon, Washington ahead of most states.” Tuesday, May 03, 2011
2. Eddy, Mary Baker. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston. p. 395
John D. Clague, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Oregon
This post is by my friend and colleague, Keith Wommack, Committee on Publication for the great state of Texas. I love this post because it introduces us to a truly enlightened individual in the medical field. Thank you Keith for sharing your conversation with Dr. John K. Graham!
By Keith Wommack, Chrisitan Science Committee on Publication for Texas.
Last week, when our meeting first began, I had the feeling I was in the presence of a new friend. I was right.
Dr. Graham is both a physician and a priest. The Institute’s website states that he received his M.D. Degree from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans and is board-certified in two medical specialties – otolaryngology and plastic and reconstructive surgery.
The website also states that in 1990, Dr. Graham left the practice of medicine and responded to God’s call to the priesthood. He attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA and received his Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. In 2001 he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. For twelve years (1998-2010) he served as Sr. Associate Rector at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
As soon as we sat down in his office, Dr. Graham explained the mission of the Institute. He said, “Its purpose is to educate healthcare professionals about the role of spirituality in healthcare.”
He told me about the 3,000 and more Randomized Controlled Trial studies in the medical literature that show a 66% positive correlation between spirituality and health. One study showed that if a person attended religious services once a week or more, his or her longevity increased by 7 years. Dr. Graham explained that attendees of regular religious services had measurably lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improved immune response (IL-6 levels) as well as maintenance of the proper Serotonin levels in the brain.
Dr. Graham feels that spiritually sensitive care is ethical care; and that people want spiritually sensitive health care.
Knowing that I was in the healing practice of Christian Science, Dr. Graham stated that people were just beginning to discover what Christian Scientists have known for years.
So, what have Christian Scientists known for years? Well, they have been learning that not only is spirituality important to health and well-being, but health is really Spirit-based, God endowed and maintained.
That feeling I had about being in the presence of a new friend, a kindred spirit, was right. As I was getting ready to leave, Dr. Graham grabbed a copy of his book, Graham Crackers & Milk: Food for the Heart & Soul, and wrote in it, “To Keith, I thank God for you and your ministry to bring health and healing to God’s people”. Hopefully, we will be speaking often.
The importance of spirituality, as revealed in the phenomenon of Christian healing, is a fact of being rather than a philosophical postulate. I’ve found that Christian, prayer-based healing is natural and effective. Prayer, in Christian Science, is usually more than a petition for betterment. It is a powerful treatment that utilizes spiritual laws.
Yes, the name Christian Science can appear confusing, at first. However, it is Christian, Bible-based, redemptive, and a responsible system of healing and living. It is a Science, provable and reasonable. It is a patient centered care, — a complete, spiritual approach to healthcare.
Spirituality enables treatment and care to reach down from God’s sovereignty rather than up from humanity’s limitations. By it, practitioners and patients experience and witness the healing benefits of glimpsing the wholly spiritual nature of health and being.
I am grateful to have met Dr. Graham and to have learned of the Institute’s mission: To educate healthcare professionals about the role of spirituality in healthcare.
I’m confident that humanity is moving closer and closer to understanding that spirituality in healthcare is important. I’m also confident that humanity is moving closer to the paramount fact that spirituality and health are inseparable.