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healthy th(ink)ing by KeithWommack
Keith Wommack
Mar 28, 2012 | 1996 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Health & Fitness: Run, Swim, Pray, Dance
by KeithWommack
Jul 15, 2013 | 1167 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Apparently, there’s more to a workout  -- dancing, running, and swimming -- than just moving muscles.

While it seems you’re exercising a body, you might actually be flexing spiritual power. Why? Because, first and foremost, you may be more of a spiritual being than you know. Possibly, this is why when running, swimming, or dancing, you can experience greater freedom and release from disappointment, sorrow, jealousy, self-will, and pain.

Recently, I asked Leslie BakerGrace Duke, and Dr. Janice LaPointe-Crump about their thoughts on health and fitness, and whether spirituality plays a role in their training.

Leslie is a staff writer and self-appointed resident conditioning nag at the Dallas Morning News. She covers health and fitness.

Grace is a Certified Personal Trainer and regular blogger at Let's Get in Shape Together.

Janice is Professor Emerita at Texas Woman’s University and the author of In Balance: Fundamentals of Ballet and Jazz Dance: America’s Energy and Soul. She is a dancer and choreographer, and for 25 years was a graduate theory faculty member at TWU.

How long has fitness/dance been important to you? 

Leslie: Oooh, for eons! I played intramural sports in high school; not terribly well, but there were no other team outlets for girls. After college, I started walking for exercise and have probably only gotten more neurotic, I mean dedicated, since then.

Grace: Fitness has been a part of my life for the past 20 years. I started doing aerobic exercise after my daughter was born in order to improve my overall fitness. That evolved into more serious running and as I started doing local road races my competitive juices (which I didn't even know I had!) kept me going.

Janice: I began my dance education in my mother's studio in Chicago. After a short professional career, marriage and parenting helped me to refocus to teaching. I performed until the age of 46, after which I have continued to choreograph and co-teach summer dance workshops for the Greater Denton Arts Council.

How often do you exercise? What types of exercises do you do? 

Leslie: I exercise every day, reflecting my do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do philosophy. Taking a day off here and there is a very good thing to do, but I just feel lost if I don't exercise even a little. I've run every day for several years (2 to 10 miles). I've started swimming again, which I do about three times a week. I take a weekly yoga class, too. Plus I have a few strength-training workouts I follow.

Grace: I exercise about 4 times a week. I mix it up between running, yoga and weight training.

Janice: Today my dancing consists of giving myself a ballet or jazz class, dance and conditioning workouts, Pilates and easy yoga.  Usually 3 -4 times a week for at least an hour.

How do you get yourself back into a routine when you fall off the wagon? 

Leslie: Like I said, I'm kind of neurotic; I don't tend to skip workouts.

Grace: As a matter of fact, when I’m training for a road race, I have gone months without going into the gym or to a yoga class. When that happens, I know that my fitness level in these areas won't be what it was before I stopped, and so I scale it back and get back into the routine. Pretty soon I'm back where I was. Unfortunately I don't advance too far with this approach! But the point is I get back to it. I don't let the lapse keep me from starting back up.

Janice: When it's a month or so since I’ve danced or moved in a meaningful way, I feel a level of frustration and mind games that play with my sense of self. If I let go too long, say a month when other things seem to take over,  depression and discouragement set in. It's then that mindfully and prayerfully, I have a good self-talk, after which I arrange a movement/dance appointment and get back into the swing of moving. During this private talk, I'm reminded about how dance brings an inner peace and fulfillment after which my spirit and body feel renewed. Dance, Pilates and yoga are totally different conversations with the world and with myself. The result of getting back to class is a rhythmic happiness, energy and alertness -- a bliss.

Does prayer or spirituality play a role in how you keep fit? 

Leslie: Oh, sure. I pray for strength before I work out, and say thank you when I'm finished.

Grace: A large part of what I enjoy about yoga is the spiritual nature of the practice. The concentrating on the breath, and being present in the here and now, and the resulting inner peace. You can also find this solace when running.

Janice: Absolutely. I find that phrases from the Bible come to mind and energize my movements. For example: "In thine hand is the power and glory" turns into scooping and curving actions as I feel God's love wrapping and sustaining me. Statements from Mary Baker Eddy’s writings on health and spirituality also help me. She states, "God, divine Mind, governs all." When moving, I am in tune with God governing me metaphysically. When Eddy speaks about a rose, for example, I see it in my mind’s eye and smell its sweet fragrance. She writes, "The joy of its presence, its beauty and fragrance, should uplift thought."  This inspires certain kinds of movement patterns and feelings. The result is that when dancing with body, mind and spirit connected, tension, daily issues, worries and so on wash away, replaced by a spiritual identity.

Do you believe your mental health affects your physical well-being? 

Leslie: One hundred percent, yes. They play off each other, really. When I work out, I feel healthy; when I feel healthy, I feel emotionally ready to take on challenges. If you can achieve a goal in fitness, whether running a marathon or working out for 10 minutes every day, that has to seep out into the rest of your life's hurdles and challenges.

Working out regularly and steadily helped me deal with my father's death last summer. Without fitness, I truly think it would have been even harder than it is.

Grace: Absolutely. I am a strong believer in the power of the mind. If you tell yourself you can't do something (like a head stand, or run half a marathon), then you physically won't be able to do it. Conversely, if you believe you can, you will get there. Looking at it differently, I also believe that being physically active helps your mental health. There is nothing like a good walk, run, exercise class or workout session to boost my mental state of being.

Janice: Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. When I move creatively and richly and repeat movements or exercises as a kind of unifying ritual, I’m able to balance the human pressures and elevate thought. Afterwards, I feel great. My body feels full of energy and enthusiasm. Often I’m better able to deal with family issues, challenges and problems after focusing on the simplicity and discipline of moving correctly and completely. The joining of God's mind with one’s body and thought processes brings release and freedom.

Does spirituality help you mentally and physically? 

Leslie: Of course. It helps me feel as if I'm not handling, nor do I have to handle, everything myself.

Grace: I believe that spirituality helps us mentally. When we get out of "our own heads" and realize that there is a vastness outside of us, then the little issues that we obsess over dissolve. When we let go, and stay in the moment, our minds are freed from the stress and worry that bogs us down and keeps us "small".  As our mental health affects our physicality, then spirituality would affect us physically as well.

Janice: Moving is a prayerful moment in which I transcend my human physicality to feel my spiritual and perfect nature.

It seems that Leslie, Grace, and Janice understand that there’s more to a workout, more to life and health, than moving muscles. Broad spectrums of people now recognize that mind and body are under the amazing government of a divine presence.

And the qualities that constitute the best workouts just might be joy, enthusiasm, confidence, vigor, stability, and dedication. Don’t these define, from a divine standpoint, a Spirit, which you express?

Perhaps, because you are a divine expression, you run, swim, pray, and dance. And as a result, your mental and physical health is improved and maintained.

-- Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

 

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Health regardless of lifestyle, diet, and genes?
by KeithWommack
Jun 10, 2013 | 1245 views | 0 0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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If you had lived in Roseto, Pennsylvania, between 1955 and 1965 most likely you’d be Italian. Roseto’s residents, during this time period, were mostly immigrants from Roseto Valfortore, Italy.

Not only were most of the residents in Roseto, Pennsylvania, Italians, they were consistently healthy.

During that same time period however, residents of the nearby town of Bangor didn’t have such a consistent picture of health. A mile separated them from predictable wellness – the Roseto Effect.

Because Roseto’s residents were so surprisingly healthy compared to the rest of the United States, researches, once they learned of the health differences, began to study every aspect of the residents’ lives to find the cause of their good fortune.

Joe Stampone, a relative of one of the founding fathers of Roseto, Pennsylvania, explains why early researchers were so intrigued: “Virtually no [resident] under 55 died of a heart attack; for men over 65, the death rate from heart attack was half that of the United States as a whole; and the death rate from all causes was 35% lower than it should have been. There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and little crime to speak of. No one was on welfare and no one even suffered from peptic ulcers. These people died of old age. That’s it!”

So, what kept these Italians so healthy?

After intensive studies, researches concluded that the residents’ health wasn’t due to lifestyle, diet, or location.

In The Mystery of the Rosetan People Dr. Rock Pasitano details why the immigrants’ lifestyles and diets were not the key: “They smoked old-style Italian stogie cigars. Both sexes drank wine with seeming abandon. Rosetan men worked in such toxic environs as the nearby slate quarries …inhaling gases, dusts and other niceties. Rosetans fried their sausages and meatballs in lard. They ate salami, hard and soft cheeses all brimming with cholesterol.”

Researches then looked into their family gene pools for extraordinary health tendencies. They examined the lives of other immigrants from Roseto Valfortore, Italy, who were residing throughout the United States. These Italians living outside Roseto, Pennsylvania, were no healthier than the average American. “Genes” were scratched off the list of potential causes.

Next, researchers looked at the Roseto “water supply” and “quality of medical care” for the difference, but came up empty. Roseto’s water source was the same as the neighboring towns of Nazareth and Bangor. As well, all three communities shared the same hospital.

In the end, researchers concluded that the Roseto Effect had no medical or physical explanation. Dr. Pasitano stated: “Rosetans were nourished by people. In all ways, this happy result was exactly the opposite expectation of well-proven health laws.”

Joe Stampone (the great grandson) reasoned: “It was Roseto itself. The Rosetans visited each other on a daily basis stopping to chat or cooking for each other in the backyard. Extended family clans were the norm, with three generations commonly living under the same roof. They went to Mass and saw the calming and unifying effect of the church.  There were 22 civic associations in a town of less than 2000 people.”

Sadly, Roseto’s oasis of healthy living faded. Extended family clans gave way to single family homes, and helping others gave way to self-absorbed living. As social ties weakened, so did the Roseto Effect. Soon, the physical health of the Rosetans mirrored the rest of Americans.

But, questions still remain.

If the Roseto Effect existed once, couldn’t it occur again? Can you experience health regardless of your lifestyle, diet, environment, or genes?

The Roseto story certainly pokes holes in the theories that hygiene, physical fitness, and diet regulation are what ultimately keep you healthy. A wise health expert is quoted as saying, “I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing?” – Jesus.

In the final analysis, was it love and heartfelt consideration from others and for others that made physiological difference in the Rosetans? Did people nourish people? Or was there something more? What drives people to care for others? What is the source of family and community spirit?

Families don’t create the love they lavish on others. They reflect it. Possibly, the Roseto Effect could be experienced if it was understood that each identity is where and how God’s nature is uniquely expressed.

Just maybe, when the cause of love and life is seen to be divine, the effect will be consistent health and happiness.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

Twitter: @KeithWommack

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Health alerts that make you sick
by KeithWommack
May 20, 2013 | 1500 views | 0 0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Have you ever listened to an advertisement listing the possible side-effects of a drug and then felt queasy? Reading about those effects can make you feel ill, as well.

Dr. Lissa Rankin’s recently published New York Times bestseller, Mind over Medicine, in part, examines this disturbing phenomenon.

Reading Rankin’s thought provoking book reminded me of Fiona Macrae’s 2009 Health post The health alerts that make you ill: Negative thoughts ‘can induce sickness’.

Macrae wrote for the Daily Mail:

 A series of studies from around the world has shown that if you believe something could make you ill, it might well do just that.

Simply reading the side-effects on a bottle of tablets raises your risk of experiencing them.

And, taken to its extreme, patients who believe they will not survive surgery, are more likely to die on the operating table.

It’s now evident that if you're taking medication, you could have concerns. While it’s important to use medicinal products wisely, studying their labels can cause you more problems. It seems you’re in trouble no matter what you do.

Doesn’t this dilemma tell you something? Doesn’t it show that your health is mental in nature? And if what you think causes what you experience, shouldn’t exploring a new way of thinking be considered?

In her 1875 guidebook on spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy relates:

A man was made to believe that he occupied a bed where a cholera patient had died. Immediately the symptoms of this disease appeared, and the man died. The fact was, that he had not caught the cholera by material contact, because no cholera patient had been in that bed.

Eddy described the incident to educate her readers to the mental nature of health. But she didn’t just stop there, for she had found there was no healthier way to think than with a spiritual mindset.

While health alerts and a diseased-centered focus can make you sick, pondering spiritual things, — a divine power and presence, enables you to experience improved and more consistent health.

The inspired prophet, the apostle Paul, understood this, and counseled:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  (Philippians 4:8)

Again, it’s important to use medicinal products wisely. But, perhaps, more importantly, if you want to be healthy and stay that way, watch what you read, consider, and ponder.

If you ask me, there should be health alerts that remind you to maintain a consistent spiritual mindset.

Instead of scaring and causing you even more suffering, these alerts, if adhered to, could make positive differences in your physical well-being.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com    

Twitter: @KeithWommack

 

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6 Simple Things - help fill an empty heart
by KeithWommack
Apr 24, 2013 | 911 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Do’s and don’ts to regain the joy of life.

1) Stop being critical. Criticism closes your eyes to the good that has always been yours. Critical states of thought lead to critical mistakes, as well as cause critical states of the body.

2) Stop keeping score. It is not what others do but how much divine goodness you express that will ultimately satisfy you.

3) Stop trying to prove you are right. Instead of telling others you are right and they are wrong, live what is right and your life will begin to sparkle.

4) Start forgiving. Forgiveness means starting over with love. It wipes the slate clean. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiving others is about your peace of mind, not about absolving someone else’s responsibility for wrongdoing.

5) Be grateful. Be grateful for everything good in your relationships and in your home. Gratitude completes the circuit in healing. It awakens you to the magnitude of your divine life. Pain and gratitude are incompatible.

6) Be honest. Honesty allows you to be at peace, even in the middle of unrest. It keeps you strong. “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help.” (Mary Baker Eddy - Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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Did Your Prayers Go Out To Louisville’s Kevin Ware?
by KeithWommack
Apr 04, 2013 | 1977 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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The jubilation from Louisville’s victory over Duke’s basketball team was overshadowed by Kevin Ware’s on-court injury on Easter Sunday. Ware a 6-foot-2-sophomore guard broke his leg in two places.

It was a disturbing picture. Players and fans immediately started praying. Across social media, people spontaneously began sending Ware messages of support. Professional athletes joined the chorus.

Michael Jordan tweeted, "Prayers go out to Kevin Ware. No athlete wants that to happen to anybody."

Robert Griffin III tweeted, “Prayers up for Kevin Ware, his teammates, & family.”

When accidents and tragedies happen, the use of the word “prayer” multiplies. This begs the question, “Does prayer help or is it just a kind word we utilize in times of suffering?”

It’s been reported that forty-nine percent of Americans say they pray when it comes to health issues. Thirty-six percent say they‘ve witnessed the healing of an injury or illness because of prayer.

Since there seems to be a correlation between prayer and physical betterment, hopefully, when “prayer” is mentioned, people will follow through by actually praying.

This brings us to the next logical question, “What is prayer?”

“There are four basic prayers,” Rabbi Marc Gellman once said, “Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow!” Wow is a prayer of praise and wonder at the creation. Oops is asking for forgiveness. Gimme is a request or a petition. Thanks is expressing gratitude.

In order for prayer to improve health; it seems logical that prayer be tied to something wiser and superior than our own minds. Some find it helpful to consider that prayer is the utilization of the love in which God loves us.

My friend Cory and his family certainly do.

Cory, a sophomore pitcher from The University of Texas Longhorn varsity baseball squad was a student in my Christian Science Sunday School class. I had the opportunity to watch Cory pitch several times. One day, during a game, a ball was hit directly at him. Cory caught the line drive with his bare hand.

The next day a coach noticed that his hand was swollen and he couldn't grip the ball. An x-ray revealed a fracture. Cory was scheduled to pitch again in four days. He wanted to be healed, and knew from experience that a prayerful, spiritual approach could enable him to quickly recover. His family prayed for him. He prayed too.

Cory had planned to take a seven-hour trip to his girlfriend's cottage. Despite the injury, Cory followed through with his plans. While he travelled, he prayed, and as he did, he was convinced that changes were taking place. When he arrived, he knew the healing was complete. He went swimming and fishing, and wrestled with his girlfriend's brothers.

To satisfy his coach, he went back to the doctor who had x-rayed the hand. The doctor said he’d never seen anything like it. The hand was totally healed. When he pitched a few days later, he struck out seven of the eight batters he faced.

Cory and his family have confidence in spiritual power to be able to care for bodily needs. People of many faiths take solace in Biblical promises. The book of Jeremiah assures, “I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal,
says the Lord.”

When others are in need of help, if you move beyond merely social pleasantries, regardless of the kind of prayer you utilize, it appears as if you have the opportunity to watch God’s love at work. You have an opportunity to really pray.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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Guilt harming your health?
by KeithWommack
Mar 26, 2013 | 1274 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Know anyone who doesn’t feel bad about something they’ve said or done? Guilt tortures the best of us. Unfortunately, the discomfort is not limited to mental agony alone. Intense regret can bring physical torment, as well.

Sometimes, the pain is self-inflicted.

Studies show that people occasionally attempt to free themselves from guilt through pain. And they are not always aware that they’re harming themselves.

Since the human mind is where guilt begins, to get at the source of the problem, the medicine must be mental. In other words, in order to heal a body affected by guilt, a mind must change.

An example:

In 2005, I delivered a lecture titled Spiritual Solutions to Crime and Violence in Dearborn, Michigan. Before the lecture, I was speaking with the woman who was to introduce the talk. She asked if I remembered her. I told her, “No.”

She explained that she’d been at another of my lectures in Trenton, Michigan, three years earlier. She’d been in a wheelchair at the front of the auditorium. After she related this, I remembered her.

She described why she’d been in the wheelchair.

Believing that a traffic light had turned green, she’d accelerated her car through an intersection causing a collision with another vehicle. A young woman in the other car was killed. She, herself, was badly hurt. No one expected her to live, either.

She did pull through, however. And she told me that she believed it was the spiritual treatment she’d received that enabled her to leave the hospital, albeit in the wheelchair. She was grateful for the progress; yet, she was still experiencing mental and physical pain as she was wheeled into the Trenton lecture.

She’d always tried to be as conscientious and loving as possible. Therefore, the thought that she was responsible for a young woman’s death was crushing her.

My lecture in Trenton was titled Regaining Our Joy. In this lecture, I quoted from a book that describes how a spiritually changed thought helps us physically.

The author, Mary Baker Eddy, states in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures“We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind?  Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. …The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models.”

The statement continues, “To remedy this, we must …form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.”

During the lecture, I asked everyone in the audience to stand up. I had them shake their heads and stomp their feet. I wanted the audience to consider how they, with divine help, could express mental force, spiritual dominion. Possibly, they could shake off fear, guilt, or whatever plagued them.

With her son’s help, my introducer made it to her feet. She shook her head and gingerly stomped her feet.

After the lecture, she went home and examined her thought. She saw there an aggressive suggestion that claimed she was ignorant. Ignorant for assuming the light had turned green. This suggestion had been haunting her. She told me that instead of “continuing with the pity party,” she began to affirm that she was not stupid. She took her stand. She began to think of herself and the young woman who passed away as she thought God would be lovingly considering them. She was convinced that God knew each of them as being spiritually innocent, divinely alive.

During the next few days the pain disappeared. She got up out of the wheelchair. It was no longer needed. God’s love was the medicine that changed her mind and healed her physically.

The introduction this woman gave to the audience at Dearborn was special. She spoke with profound grace and joy. The spirit behind her words set the tone for the day. I believe it helped the audience recognize that spiritual solutions could help their city.

If guilt tortures you or your loved ones, something should be done. If possible, utilize what can free heart and soul, both mind and body.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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More to medicine than medicine
by KeithWommack
Mar 04, 2013 | 1204 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Today, some health care providers are realizing there is more to medicine than, well, medicine.

For example, there is Mehmet Oz, best known as Dr. Oz. Oprah crowned him America’s doctor in 2004. He is a heart surgeon and the host of the weekday hit TV program, “The Dr. Oz Show.”

Oz entered medical school believing that traditional medicine had all the answers and he just needed to discover them. But the limits to this approach began to dawn on him while in medical school and as he began to talk with patients.

Michael Specter in a recent The New Yorker exposé on Dr. Oz, quotes Oz as stating, “Ultimately, if we want to fix American medicine we will need skeptical and smart patients to dominate. They will need to ask the hard questions, because much of medicine is just plain old logic. So I am out there trying to persuade people to be those patients. And that often means telling them what the establishment doesn’t want them to hear: that their answers are not the only answers, and their medicine is not the only medicine.”

Oz is bringing a much broader perspective on health to his viewers.

Yet, Dr. Oz and just about every practitioner trying to change perceptions have critics. Specter writes, “Much of the advice Oz offers is sensible, and is rooted solidly in scientific literature. …Oz is an experienced surgeon, yet almost daily he employs words that serious scientists shun, like ‘startling,’ ‘breakthrough,’ ‘radical,’ ‘revolutionary,’ and ‘miracle.’”

Oz tried to explain, “Medicine is a very religious experience. I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean. …You find the arguments that support your data, and it’s my fact versus your fact.”

Some critics say that those who suggest alternatives to traditional medicine are detached from reality. But, perhaps, those suggesting alternatives are gaining a connection to what is mostly unknown, therefore, unconsidered.

My day in a dental office might offer an insight into how a nontraditional method can have an effect.

My wife is a dental hygienist. Several years ago, she asked if I could do her and her employer, Dr. Steve, a favor. She explained that their receptionist, Annette, was sick and they needed someone to man the front desk the next day.

At first, I thought she was kidding. But, she wasn’t. They couldn’t find anyone else. I was their last resort.

I didn’t know how it was going to work, but I was willing to try. So, I agreed to help, but told them I’d need to be able to answer my own practice calls too.

Besides being a syndicated columnist, I am a Christian Science practitioner. I help people with mental and physical problems with prayerful, spiritual treatments. Most of my patients ask for treatment by phone and email.

Joanne assured me I’d run the front desk and be able to use back office for speaking to my patients.

My job at the dental office was to have scheduled patients sign in, answer the phone and get the name and number of patients waiting to schedule an appointment, and gather information on emergency patients that called or walked in. I didn’t have to answer any questions.

I arrived for work at 8 AM. I sat dutifully at the front desk. Scheduled patients arrived and waited for their appointments. Joanne or the assistant ushered patients to operatories to be treated. The patients received care and then left.

I took my calls and prayerfully treated my patients. But a funny thing happened. Or, I should say, didn’t happen. Dr. Steve’s office phones never rang. No new patients called. There were no emergency calls. Nobody called to schedule an appointment. Nothing. This had never happened before.

I’d discussed the mental and spiritual nature of healing physical troubles with Dr. Steve many times. He was always respectful of my work and I of his. Both of us wanted to alleviate and prevent the suffering of patients. Our approaches were just different.

Dr. Steve treated each problem as a physical one needing material adjustments. I approached each problem as having a mental/moral cause and a spiritual solution.

In my mental treatment, I attempted to see the present spiritual strength and health inherent in each patient. I connected them with the divine. This allowed what was spiritually true of them to remove what was offensive. I’d learned that seeing people in this Christly way made them feel physically better.

My spiritual approach was good for my healing practice, but, apparently, not so good for business at the dental office. Did my expectation of health keep prospective patients from needing the doctor’s care?

Dr. Steve recognized the effect on his balance sheet at the end of the day. He looked at me and, with a twinkle in his eye, asked, “Could you go stand in Annette’s front yard?”

The evidence or data was clear. No new appointments and no income from emergencies that normally walk in the door.

This type of data may never be peer reviewed by “serious scientists.” It will be considered anecdotal. Funny, the “anecdotes ”have a way of consistently appearing. Some experiences and cures through what are called alternative methods may even be deemed “startling,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” a “miracle.” Though, I believe they are quite natural, even scientific.

Perhaps, both Dr. Oz and Dr. Steve realize there is more to medicine than, well, medicine.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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Tips For a Wise Health Consumer
by KeithWommack
Feb 19, 2013 | 1798 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
GLOW IMAGES - Model used for illustrative purposes
GLOW IMAGES - Model used for illustrative purposes
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If you’re a wise consumer, you shop around to find what you need. Today, there’s a product for every taste and helpful advice for just about every inquiry.

For example: If you don’t want to be noticed, Japanese professors have created glasses they say will prevent you from being identified by facial recognition software.

Questions about car buying? Even Oprah has a few answers for you on her website.

But then there’s health.

When it comes to health care, being an intelligent consumer requires even greater diligent examination.

Since February is National Wise Health Consumer Month, you may have noticed various published tips to guide you.

Most of these recommendations focus entirely on the utilization of conventional medicine. But, if you have ever been curious about spiritual options for healing and health, below are a few word-to-the-wise ideas for those contemplating the use of spiritual/thought-based care.

  1. Many are finding that prayer-moments improve them mentally and physically. Therefore, take time to connect with the divine and with those who can support you with spiritual care. Your friends and relatives may already know this. Ask them. It's been reported that 88% of Americans pray; 82% believe in the healing power of prayer; and 79% say praying speeds recovery.
  2. A better understanding of God has been found to help people experience better health. Therefore, preparing yourself by learning more about the divine could be considered a wise activity.
  3. Daily, take the medicines of honesty, humility, love, and forgiveness. Studies show that these spiritual attributes make and keep you healthy. Each canalleviate stress, which benefits mind and body.
  4. Those utilizing prayer as a first choice avoid unnecessary and expensive tests, and dodge the harmful effects of medical overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Consistent quiet moments of spiritual introspection can keep mind and body approximating a divine, healthy standard.
  5. The Bible is well stocked with spiritual truths capable of healing mind and body. Not only do these truths improve health when used in spiritual treatments, they have been shown to give relief from the tremendous financial burden imposed by other forms of care.
  6. As you experience improvements and cures through prayer, you will recognize the importance of having a health plan that covers spiritual benefits. The Scriptures describe how Jesus consistently and, as some say, scientifically, effected cures with divine power. And many feel that today’s mental and physical improvements show the present reliable tendencies of spiritual care.
  7. The link between mind and body, -- what you believe and your physical well-being, is documented. Spirituality improves bodily conditions because the essential nature of being is thought. And prayer with divine power behind it changes thought as nothing else can. Therefore, cultivate a deeper spiritual sense of things.
  8. The needs of your mind or body should never be neglected. Dependable help should always be sought. And those utilizing spiritual care should find it helpful to keep a list of those who can support them with prayer.

This being February and National Wise Health Consumer Month, this month and every month, take care of yourself and your family. Be a wise health consumer. Learn how spirituality can be a key to maintaining and improving your health.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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Reducing stress the military way?
by KeithWommack
Feb 04, 2013 | 1496 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Marine Lance Corporal Carlos Lozano drops from a helicopter during a simulated raid, confronts mock Afghan villagers, and is rocked by loud explosions. Then, obeying orders, he sits silently and stares at his boots.

The Marine isn’t happy about stopping to meditate. But it just might be for his and the entire Marine Corps’ good.

The Associated Press spoke with Lozano about his training exercise:

“Lozano said he and fellow Marines were skeptical at first. Some wondered why their rigorous combat training was being interrupted by a class asking the warfighters to sit in silence and stare at their combat boots, becoming aware of how their feet touched the classroom floor.”

Jeffery Bearor, the executive deputy of the Marine Corps training and education command in Quantico, Virginia, told the AP, "This is not tied to any religious practice. This is about mental preparation to better handle stress."

Marines are taught to quiet the mind in order to reach an inner calm.

Many are finding the mind to be the door to improved mental and physical health. Those utilizing mindfulness, meditation, or prayer-moments, to control and calm thought, claim these methods reduce stress and increase productivity.

4 years ago, Time reported that the Army intended to train its “1.1 million soldiers in the art of mental toughness.” The Defense Department hoped that “giving soldiers tools to fend off mental stress would toughen its troops at war and at home.”

Years ago, I had the opportunity to unofficially introduce prayerful reasoning to a member of a very selective federal law enforcement agency.

In 2001, I was flying in a prop-plane from Dallas to Waco, Texas. I asked the man sitting next to me about his business, and he mumbled his answer. I thought, perhaps, the noise of the propellers made it difficult to hear. "What?" I asked again. He repeated softly, "Secret Service."

Turns out this man guarded the President of the United States. President George W. Bush was about to travel to Italy to attend the 27th G8 summit, to meet with Pope John Paul II, and to meet with President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. A majority of the passengers onboard the plane were also agents on their way to Bush’s ranch near Waco.

I asked the agent if he knew that people prayed daily for the safety of the President and for those guarding him. He told me, "I can feel their prayers and they are greatly appreciated."

I asked him, “What is the biggest challenge of your job?” He told me, “Fear. Fear would paralyze me and keep me from making immediate and correct decisions."

I didn't think it was a good idea to pry too much, but I did share with him what has helped me. "I give talks on the connection between health, thought, and spirituality," I said. "Even when I'm confident about talking in front of an audience, fear will start to sneak in. But if I quickly recognize that the fear is not really mine -- it has nothing to do with me -- then it actually lessens or even disappears and things go better."

The agent was still with me although not saying much, so I continued.

"Now, of course, standing in front of an audience is quite different from keeping the President from harm. But, there is a principle governing both of our thoughts and actions. And, I'm learning that this wise and operative principle is the Supreme Being."

He turned to face me, listening openly to what I was sharing. I explained that this principle constantly maintained his wellbeing and intelligently ordered his daily movements. Just as the principle of mathematics keeps the rules and outcomes always consistent, this divine Principle was ever at work governing his life, enabling him to protect the President.

To remind him that he wasn’t working alone, I suggested that before each activity, he prayerfully cherish the divine guidance he inherently possesses. Finally, I told him I was confident that his intelligent decisions and quick, fearless responses while guarding the President were, and would be, evidence of this spiritual Principle at work.

When the plane landed, all the agents exited first, walked down the ramp to the tarmac, and started getting into limousines. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, the agent I had spoken with left the others, walked up to me, stuck out his hand, and shook mine with a strong clasp. Looking me in the eye, he said in a heartfelt tone, "Thank you very much."

Today, the mental and physical toll that stress causes is immense, and fear is a major stress factor. However, meditation and prayer, humbling our mind to the divine, may be solutions that can help the military, security agents, and the rest of us.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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The elephant in the room (about your health)
by KeithWommack
Jan 28, 2013 | 481 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

They can’t ignore it. It’s there. Doctors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies can’t escape it. You can’t either. What is it?

The placebo effect.

The placebo effect is the health response patients experience when they believe they’re receiving a drug or surgery but are actually being given dummy drugs or simulated treatments.

Dr. Lissa Rankin writes, “The placebo effect is real, it works about 18-80% of the time, and it’s not just in your head – it actually dilates bronchi, heals ulcers, makes warts disappear, drops your blood pressure, and even makes bald men who think they’re getting Rogaine grow hair!”

Yet, there’s more.

Since there are two sides to every pancake, let’s also look at the nocebo effect:

Rankin states, “The same mind-body power that can heal you can also harm you. …If you tell a patient treated with a placebo he might experience nausea, he’s likely to feel nauseous. If you suggest that he might get a headache, he may. Patients given nothing but saline who thought it was chemotherapy actually threw up and lost their hair!”

How does this happen?

A recent editorial for Global Advances in the Health and Medicine by William Scott included a conversation with Dr. Alex Cahane, an internationally recognized anesthesiologist and pain specialist who leads the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Washington.

Scott quotes Cahane as saying, “The biomedical model is unlikely to adequately provide an answer to the placebo question: How is it that the patient's belief affects the body? It remains one of the ‘elephants in the room’ that exists in all fields of medicine.”

A pioneer in the mind/health connection in the late 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy, confronted this very question. She experimented with differing healing methods, including homeopathy and the use of placebos.

During her research, Eddy discovered that as medications were diluted by attenuation, patients’ improvements increased. She eventually came to the startling conclusion that drugs and surgeries had no intrinsic abilities to heal on their own. The human mind empowered them both.

And, simply stated, a patient's beliefs, along with others’ thoughts, affected his or her body because life was ultimately mind or consciousness-based.

This revelation led to more questions. Such as:

If expecting health leads you to good health and expecting illness turns you away from good health, is there a rudder that can keep expectations on a straight course, pointed “due” health?

Attempting to answer this question, Eddy’s research went further. The human mind could do marvelous things. However, she learned it was also the cause of most pain and disease.

She eventually concluded, through trial and error, that the needed rudder was the spirit or mind of God (Christ). Her experiments with healing showed her that both the human mind and body are, in the long run, subordinate to the divine.

Since, Eddy’s early research, the acknowledgement of a place for spirituality in health care has been expanding. In 2001, a survey showed that “of the curricula in the 144 medical/osteopathic schools in the United States,” 101 were found to have “courses, classes, and topics (required and elective) in spirituality and health.”

Today, people across the globe are learning about, teaching, and utilizing spiritual methods for healing.

For example:

A doctor’s diagnosis of an internal kidney deformity closed the door on a friend of mine ever having children. It was explained to Kaye that it would be a threat to her life if she tried to carry a child for nine months.

However, Kaye’s husband, Jim, had a calm way of handling the news. Throughout his life, he had experienced the benefits of relying on the divine for healing.

Motivated by his confidence, Kaye began to read the Scriptures and pray daily. Significant changes took place in her thought. She felt freer of the belief that she was bound by the original diagnosis.

Then during their second year of marriage, Kaye became pregnant. A gynecologist confirmed the sense of freedom she had been feeling. He found no evidence of the deformities previously diagnosed.

Kaye now has two healthy, grown boys. She is quite convinced that spirituality changed her thought, body, and life for the better.

The placebo and nocebo questions (elephants) are still in the room. They can’t be ignored. However, many health care professionals are becoming aware that a thought-rudder can steer patients away from harmful beliefs and in a healthier direction.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com

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