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healthy th(ink)ing by KeithWommack
Keith Wommack
Mar 28, 2012 | 1657 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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31 Orange Jumpsuits – new beginnings
by KeithWommack
Dec 31, 2012 | 3758 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

It was 3:30 in the afternoon. A squirrel rested, unaware he was about to be an afternoon snack for an approaching owl. So, I started my rent car, which startled the squirrel, and he dashed to safety.

My actions saved one, yet, irritated another. Then I wondered about the actions that had landed the young people, I was about to meet, into trouble. What had caused them to act or react?

I was sitting in my rental in the parking lot of a baseball field near the Barbara Culver Juvenile Detention Center in Midland, Texas. I had arrived early and decided to take thirty minutes to collect my thoughts, a little spiritual reasoning.

I was told I would be at the Center for about an hour. Yet, I had no clue about how many people I’d be speaking with. Would it be two or three? Maybe it would be 4 of us, around a table.

I pulled into the center’s lot, parked, and announced myself into the speaker. The door opened and I walked through the metal detector.

A guard brought me to the classroom where I’d be speaking. I asked, “How many will be here?” He said, “Thirty-one.” I thought, “Wow, you have trouble talking to your own two kids.”

At the front of the empty classroom I paused to get my bearings. My prayer went something like this, “Well, here I am. Thank you for leading me, animating me. Show me how I express your wisdom. Keep reminding me that each one that comes into this room belongs to you. Please, put your words in my mouth.”

Then the procession began. Thirty-one of them, hands behind their backs, slowly made their way to rows of chairs. Thirty-one orange jumpsuits. 4 young women. Twenty-seven young men. All in their teens, except two boys, age ten.

Thirty-one. Not one smile. Not one hello. Their body language screamed, “Disdain.”

I was introduced: “This is Mr. Wommack. He’s here to talk with you. Listen up. If you make a noise, disrupt, slump in your seats, or are in any way are out of order you will lose all privileges the rest of the day.” I felt like the vulnerable squirrel.

A quick battle took place in my thought. “What chance do you have in helping these kids? They’re just losers. You’ll never get their attention, don’t kid yourself!”

An angel message took over, “Are they really losers? Haven’t you been learning that each child of God is really spiritual, and spiritually dynamic? Each expresses divine dignity?”

I began to speak, trying to look past the orange. I told them about myself. Then I was lead to challenge them. I challenged them to be a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermometer just rises or falls according to what is happening around it. However, a thermostat, on the other hand, regulates.

I challenged them to be healers, spiritual healers. I explained that by what they will learn in their spiritual journeys they could be regulators, thermostats. They could turn situations higher, holier. Everyone they will meet would be happier and healthier because of having met them.

I told them that Peter, one of Jesus’ followers, healed others when his shadow fell on them. Just so, the shadow or powerful mental weight of their growing spiritual maturity and understanding would help others. The more weight they put into the side of good, the more good they will do. They will use laws, spiritual laws, which heal minds and bodies.

The next hour and a half flew by. What started out as 31 orange jumpsuits, turned into 31 precious friends. They smiled, they laughed, and they clapped.

At the end, a young man asked, “What is it like to come in here and change someone’s life?” This dear one, when he first walked in, looked like the most defiant and difficult. The way he sat, arms folded and scowl on his face, I thought he’d by the last to ask such a question. Yet, what a question!

The smile on his face and tenderness in his eyes told me that he was taking up my challenge.

As I drove away from the Center, I was filled with a spiritual sense of life. I felt and understood that each life was a blessing. Life doesn’t have to be vulnerable or confined. Life is about new beginnings. We have choices.

(First published January 3, 2012)

– 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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Unwrap the gift of health this holiday
by KeithWommack
Dec 17, 2012 | 1010 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

If you’re like me, your search for what can heal you and keep you healthy continues.

Perhaps, you’ve been hearing a lot about health reform and new models of care. The National Institutes of Health reports that 40 percent of Americans are actively seeking alternative approaches.

Possibly, you like the thought of a patient-centered approach. The idea that you can have more control over your mental and physical wellbeing might appeal to you too.

In addition, you’ve noticed that more and more items on the grocery shelf claim to be good for your health. And this being the holiday season, perchance, you’ve looked up at the mistletoe hanging from doorframes and wondered if that sprig, as well, has possible medicinal benefits.

However, you can forget about the mistletoe.

After some investigating, it appears that no measurable evidence exists to support claims of a healing effect or improved quality of life from the use of mistletoe extract.

If you’re like most people, when it comes to mistletoe sprigs, you are probably just looking for a kiss.

Nevertheless, if you are wondering whether a kiss has any health benefits, actually, you would be on the right track. Frequent kissing has scientifically been shown to stabilize cardiovascular activity, as well as decrease blood pressure and cholesterol.

It’s also been reported that those who kiss their partner goodbye each morning live five years longer than those who don’t.

But, what if a mistletoe sprig isn’t handy or you’re without a partner at the moment?

Most kisses are motived by love, and research shows that it is actually love that promotes health. It is love, not the kiss, which leads to healthy outcomes.

Perhaps, the kiss could be considered a symbol, an act that reminds us of the love that is truly medicinal. Danny Deza in a Foxnews.com article recently wrote, “Love does indeed impact our bodies in measurable ways. You feel different and are different.”

If love changes bodies, this medicine’s ingredient is more than human emotion. It must be something divine, spiritual, for love cannot be squeezed from a flower or synthetically created.

At the Christmas season, love motivates us to give gifts. Christians do this in honor of God’s gift to mankind, the gift of His son Jesus. They believe Jesus’ compassionate example set the standard for what love is and can accomplish. The spirit of Christ that Jesus so naturally reflected heals.

Maybe you have experienced love’s healing benefits. I have, several times.

For example: After carrying and sorting two large pallets of cookie dough for a fundraiser, one of my shoulders and my back were in pain. I couldn’t move. I was afraid I would be immobile for days. However, right then, I began to prayerfully ponder what a healing, powerful thing love was. I knew my actions that day had been motived by love. And as I prayerfully reasoned, my suffering ceased. I was free.

One minute, I was in pain. The next, love, the spirit of Christ, inspired my prayer and healed my body. However, this love didn’t start with me. It was divine. You could call it our Father-Mother Love.

As your search for what can heal you and keep you healthy continues, perhaps you might consider what a wise physician is reported to have once said to a patient:

“I have been practicing medicine for 30 years, and I have prescribed many things. But in the long run I have learned that for the most of what ails the human creature the best medicine is love.”

When asked, “What if it doesn’t work?” The physician answered, “Double the dose.”

For that reason, during this holiday season, you can nail up the mistletoe and grab a kiss or two, however, for your health’s sake, don’t forget the love.

[First published in The Washington Post]

– 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). All of Keith’s columns can be found at: KeithWommack.com

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Too Much & Too Little – For your health
by KeithWommack
Dec 10, 2012 | 1463 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Too much & Too little. They sound like characters in a Dr. Seuss book, don’t they?

Unlike the lovable and rambunctious Thing 1 & Thing 2 in The Cat in the Hat, when it comes to health care, Too much & Too little are not at all amusing.

It’s important that if you are suffering, you should receive immediate and responsible care. However, it seems that getting the desired care, and a healthful amount, can sometimes be as difficult as balancing yourself on a ball while holding a teacup, a cake, three books, a fish in a bowl, a rake, an umbrella and many more items.

Seuss’ Cat in the Hat accomplished this tremendous balancing feat, but of course the story is a fictional cartoon. Since Too little can keep us from receiving all the care possible and Too much can be equally harmful, when it comes to our physical and mental care, I believe, a healthy balance can be achieved.

In my own experience and healing practice, I’ve found that when you and I are completely absorbed in what our bodies are doing, we usually don’t give much consideration to the spiritual nature of our life and health.

Could it be that when the spiritual is neglected, the quality of care giving and receiving is at risk of becoming Too little? Let’s consider how the spiritual can help bring more balance.

Research is confirming the impact that spirituality and prayerful treatments have on physical health.

KidsHealth, part of The Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media, explains: “Doctors and scientists once avoided the study of spirituality in connection to medicine, but findings within the past 10 years have made some take a second look. Studies show that religion and faith can help to promote good health and fight disease.”

A New York Times article Overtreatment is Taking a Harmful Toll recently reported that “an epidemic of overtreatment — too many scans, too many blood tests, too many procedures — is costing the nation’s health care system at least $210 billion a year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and taking a human toll in pain, emotional suffering, severe complications and even death.”

Authors of a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examined the details of over-doing-it. They explained, “We estimated the magnitude of overdiagnosis from randomized trials: about 25% of mammographically detected breast cancers, 50% of chest x-ray and/or sputum-detected lung cancers, and 60% of prostate-specific antigen–detected prostate cancers.” They described “overdiagnosis” as “the diagnosis of a ‘cancer’ that would otherwise not go on to cause symptoms or death.”

The authors concluded their report by stating, “Whereas early detection may well help some, it undoubtedly hurts others. In general, there is no right answer for the resulting trade-off—between the potential to avert a cancer death and the risk of overdiagnosis. Instead, the particular situation and personal choice have to be considered.”

There are many reasons why patients are prescribed multitudinous tests and procedures. I won’t attempt to explore them here. But, perhaps, since a more patient-centered care that includes “personal choice” is gaining more acceptance in health care, better informed patients will be moving themselves away from both Too much & Too little.

Lissa Rankin, MD, an integrative medicine physician, in How Being An Empowered Patient Might Save Your Life writes about a woman who asked her doctor’s permission to establish a new kind of relationship.

Rankin, described this new collaboration as: “One that allowed [the woman] to become an equal partner in her own care and empowered her to speak her truth and question anything that didn’t feel spot on, one that left an opening for the mind-body medicine ideas she was increasingly embracing, one that would take some of the pressure off the doctor because she was willing to bear more of the responsibility herself, one that left her feeling like, instead of handing her body over to her doctor the way she would hand her Toyota over to the car mechanic, she might play a bigger role in educating herself, making the right diagnoses, and instituting treatment plans aligned with her intuition.”

Many are discovering that for each look at the body, a more holistic or spiritual view of the patient is needed. Perhaps, this missing treatment could touch deeper than where pills and even surgeries can reach.

However, it's important to remember, when it comes to each patient’s wellbeing, care should never be thought of as a competition. Shouldn’t the aim of every healer be an absolute cure or, at least, a significant lessening of suffering?

Health care is not a challenge, not a contest to discover whether one healing method or another is more powerful. It is not a test to discover whether the physician or the patient can dominate.

Healing is much more about how proficient we are at tenderly caring. For a patient’s quality of life to improve, the form of care should never be discovered as Too little.

When not enough or more than enough govern and injure, we are called to rely on experience, earned wisdom, and sound intuitions. More than ever, it seems that common sense, informed choices, and spiritual considerations are being called upon to prevent harm and heal hurts caused by Too much & Too little. And this is a good Thing.

– 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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Longer, healthier living
by KeithWommack
Nov 19, 2012 | 944 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

After examining what some believe leads to longer and healthier living, here are at least eight approaches I have found:

FastingCastration

A Mediterranean-style dietFaith in God

Wild women and whiskeyLocation and income

Being marriedA positive outlook

Perhaps you have experimented with one or more of these? I’ve tried several. I’ll let you guess which ones.

The wide variety of these contradictory theories reveals the sweeping net society is casting in its search for lasting health. The theories also indicate an abundance of misinformation and fears about aging.

Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D, a gerontologist, writes regarding the signs of those afraid of getting old and those afraid of the elderly. Two misconceptions he lists are:

If young is good, then old is bad

If the young have it all, the old are losing it

Research and my healing practice have led me to believe just the opposite, that it may be possible for you and me to exchange decline for continued health and advancement.

Conformation that our health could be extended, regardless of age, can be found in the evidence that links thought to a life that approximates ageless living.

Many years ago, The Lancet, one of the world's leading general medical journals, described the experience of an English woman. The woman became insane and lost track of time because someone she loved abandoned her. Believing she still lived in the same hour that her lover departed, she never appeared to age.

Mary Baker Eddy, an early pioneer on health, thought, spirituality, and the powerful connection they have to each other, detailed the English woman's experience.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy wrote, “Having no consciousness of time, she literally grew no older.  … When she was 74 ... she had no care-lined face, no wrinkles nor gray hair. … Asked to guess her age, those unacquainted with her history conjectured that she must be under twenty.”

Eddy surmised:

“The bodily results of her belief that she was young manifested the influence of such a belief. She could not age while believing herself young, for the mental state governed the physical. … The primary of that illustration makes it plain that decrepitude is not according to law.”

Besides Eddy, other voices in the discussion on health and aging suggest that spirituality has an impact.

Dr. Mimi Guarneri, author of The Heart Speaks: A Cardiologist Reveals the Secret Language of Healing, in an interview with Spirituality and Health was asked, “If you had to pick one alternative practice for this entire country, what would it be?”

Dr. Guarneri answered: “Meditation. Because I firmly believe when people have peace inside, when they go in and they feel connected to something larger than themselves. …They start to have healthier behaviors. I have really changed from looking at health from a physical outside-in to a spiritual inside-out.”

Gertie King, a friend of mine, had confidence in a “spiritual inside-out” approach. Her spiritual method enabled her to remain healthy and active. She was 108 when I asked her how she got to Texas. She replied, “Covered wagon.”

I heard Gertie tell others that once when she suffered with a physical difficulty, she told herself, “That’s against the law!” She was immediately free of the difficulty.

Gertie was a Christian, a woman of great faith. She expressed dominion, and had a deep conviction that health was a spiritual phenomenon. She felt that there was a divine law behind it. To her, sickness was against the law. She refused to act unlawful, and instead, she took control of her thought and body through her maturing spiritual sense. She was convinced that spiritual authority enables each of us to do so.

Shouldn’t age be thought of as the years when wisdom and dominion rule instead of a time when decline occurs?

Despite prevailing assumptions about life and age, Gertie agreed with Mary Baker Eddy's end analysis:

"Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by [God], is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.”

You and I could try fasting occasionally, but more importantly, a diet of spiritual optimism seems to be doing wonders for longevity and wellness in lives around the world.

You and I could also chase after wild women, but, chasing after spiritual discoveries and adventures will enable us to experience longer, lasting health.

As society pushes toward achieving consistent well-being, perhaps, a more thoughtful and spiritual approach to life just might help us to exchange decline for dominion.

– 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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Are you sick of politics? No, I mean literally!
by KeithWommack
Nov 05, 2012 | 1425 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Overdosed on campaign rhetoric? Tired of political advertisements? You're in luck. Official vote counting is about to begin.

As tired of this long political season as you may be, there are some who are actually sick and tired. The stress over political battles has impacted their health.

It's good to be an involved citizen, but, nasty politics can cause extremes in thought and unpleasant physical symptoms. It seems the more negative a political campaign gets, the more illness is experienced.

While you should support and vote for candidates you truly feel can best govern, getting caught up in the anxiety and anger of opposing sides won’t help. It will only add to what harms.

I received this email from a friend: "4 years ago we put a couple of political signs in our yard during the presidential campaign with no negative repercussions. About two weeks ago we put up a political sign on our property, and already two of our customers have terminated their service with us because they don't agree with our political stance. Both sent us angry letters railing against the candidate we were supporting, and we were both shocked and saddened that something like this could actually happen in this day and age. About three days ago I began having symptoms of a cold--- and I know it's about my reaction to all of this."

Dr. David B. Samadi, in a FoxNews.com health column, recently wrote, "Perhaps the most shocking fact about stress is that it can affect all parts of your body, not just in one area."

Since your mental state affects your physical body and quality of life, it's important to garner healthy practices that can lower and erase stress. One such practice, some would describe as also absolutely necessary, is to recognize Spirit as the defining essence of our identity.

If you merely medicate the body to get relief from troublesome symptoms, you haven't really addressed what produces the symptoms. No one is suggesting that you stop being politically aware and active. Perhaps, being more spiritually aware and active will cause you to be healthier as well as more politically astute.

It is a spiritual sense of life that allows you to express, to some degree, the heart and mind of Jesus, the master healer and teacher. Divine awareness enables you to remain calm in the middle of emergencies or to regain a healthy peace if you've lost it.

The Apostle Paul utilized Jesus' Christian method of healing. The Contemporary English Version of the Bible, in part, translates one of Paul's letters to the people at Philippi: "Because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel."

After I received my friend's email, both she and I prayed to recognize she belonged to Christ. In other words, we prayed to deeply understand how she was spiritually made and governed. We cherished the fact that both her thought and body were expressing God's tranquility and order.

The symptoms of the cold quickly left her and she stopped stressing about her business and the over-the-top political posturing. She found her peace.

Quality of thought is reflected in quality of life. The type of thoughts you think either invite you to be afraid or they enable you to banish fear. Since fear is a root cause of the stress that leads to sickness, it is imperative that you wisely begin to address it.

Are you fearing another's hate or honoring the magnitude of an ever-present divine Love? Have you been caught up in the excitement of a candidate rising or dropping in the polls, or have you been confident that there is a wisdom greater than your own that guides the affairs of men and nations?

Since you are more than meets the eye, you can express a mental strength that conquers fear and reduces stress. This is the best way, I know, to relieve and refresh a tired mind and sick body.

My friend later mentioned to me, “My husband exchanged a few more emails with one of the customers who dropped us. In the last one, my husband told the customer there were no hard feelings, and wished him a happy holiday season. The customer's tone changed, and he agreed they should put away their political differences.”

My friend continued, “This same customer's house had been for sale for months and had not yet sold. That same day he told my husband that the house had just sold and that he would give the new owners our business card if they needed our services. The next day the new owner called us, and now we have the job back again! Pretty cool, huh? Love's power works, no matter who's party you belong to!”

Again, no one is suggesting that you stop being politically aware and active. Perhaps, being more spiritually aware and active will cause you to be healthier as well as more politically astute.

– 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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Rescuing Healthcare - Escaping Pain
by KeithWommack
Oct 15, 2012 | 576 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
While reading reviews for the new film <a href="http://www.escapefiremovie.com" target="_blank"><em>Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare</em></a>, I thought of my own recent release from pain.

Two weeks ago, as I stood outside and reluctantly prepared to mow my yard, my neighbor’s yardman pulled up with his trailer full of yard equipment. I was reluctant to begin working because my back was aching. It had been hurting for several weeks and I was having trouble bending over.

While watching the yardman drive his riding mower off the trailer, I thought perhaps he could help me. I didn’t realize just how much help he would be.

I walked across the street to ask if he had time to mow my yard too. Knowing that my wife and I always cared for our own lawn, he stopped what he was doing and asked, “Are you feeling OK?”

I told him about my back. He smiled and said, “Sure. I will mow it.” Then, with a compassionate, caring tone, he described exercises I should try. Apparently, at one time, he’d been a massage therapist. He said that if I would do the exercises, I’d feel better.

I thanked him and walked back to my house. However, as soon as I closed the door behind me, I began to feel better. Even though he suggested exercises, they weren’t needed. It was my reaction to his genuine compassion that facilitated my escape from pain.

Then, last Monday, when he returned to mow the neighbor’s yard, I told him how his caring had helped me find complete freedom. He smiled and said, “I just don’t like to see anyone suffer.”

There are a lot of people who don’t like to see suffering. This is why many are hoping to see changes in healthcare. The filmmakers of <em>Escape Fire</em>, a film released on October 5, realize that society needs a paradigm shift when it comes to providing people with better care.

A <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-escape-fire-20121005,0,1968361.story" target="_blank">Los Angeles Times review</a> of the film states, “What we have now, Dr. Andrew Weil and others in the film attest, is actually not a healthcare system but a disease management system. It's a system that believes drugs are the only way: We spend as much on them as the rest of the world spends combined. It's a system, these folks say, that does not want you to die or to get well; it wants you to keep on spending. And spending. If milk prices had risen as astronomically since 1945 as drugs have, a gallon of milk would cost $48.”

A <a href="http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/reviews/specialty-releases/e3i288622941cb02e8996d0b9580055db0a" target="_blank">Film Journal review</a> says of <em>Escape Fire</em>, “There’s a lot wrong in the current state of American medicine. And this film devastatingly points out the reasons why, including an overreliance on pharmaceutical solutions rather than preventive care; the pernicious effects of bad lifestyle choices; the system of hospital and physician reimbursement that accentuates profits and volume rather than maximum attention; and the lack of regard for alternative medical treatments, among many others.”

An <a href="http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/review-escape-fire-the-fight-to-rescue-american-health-care-paints-a-portrait-of-a-broken-system-and-a-hopeful-humanist-solution-20121005" target="_blank">Indiewire review</a> describes part of the film: “We follow one soldier, Robert Yates, on his way home from Afghanistan.  …His journey towards recovery illustrates how the military, out of sheer pragmatism, has turned to healing techniques such as acupuncture, meditation and yoga in order to relieve the stress and pain of these men. Not only are they curbing narcotic dependency and teaching them empowering techniques to heal themselves for a lifetime, but these procedures are relatively low-cost and low-tech.”

My back pain paled in comparison to many others’ intense sufferings. Yet, the experience confirmed for me that health is a mental and spiritual condition.

Again, even though my neighbor’s yardman suggested exercises, it was my reaction to his genuine compassion that facilitated my escape from pain. Years of practicing a spiritual-based form of treatment has taught me that aligning consciousness with God’s love results in physical improvements. The yardman’s heartfelt caring touched me, and it served as the catalyst I needed to prayerfully conquer the pain. His care made God’s care real to me. And I quickly responded.

An <a href="http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/rel-3-2-67.pdf" target="_blank">American Psychological Association study</a> released in 2011 stated that more Americans than ever are using prayer as an alternative for health concerns. The authors of the study found that in 1999 13.7 percent of the people surveyed used prayer, while by 2007 the percentage had risen to 49 percent.

A film guide for the <a href="http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/120104/escape_fire_the_fight_to_rescue_american_healthcare" target="_blank">Sundance Film Festival</a> states, “Destined to be hailed as the definitive film on American healthcare, <em>ESCAPE FIRE</em> offers a way out—a primer on how to save the health of a nation.”

Saving the health of a nation starts with recognizing that it can be done. Identifying and utilizing effective healing systems is a good start. As innately caring and spiritual people, we can and will make it happen.

<em>– 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: <a href="http://keithwommack.com/" target="_blank">KeithWommack.com</a></em>

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Loneliness a health risk
by KeithWommack
Oct 01, 2012 | 556 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

There are too many of us feeling isolated. And, unfortunately, loneliness can be unhealthy.

The conclusion from a study by the University of California, San Francisco, supports this: “Among participants who were older than 60 years, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death.”

Since a majority of the baby-boomer generation is over sixty, there is a great focus on elder health care. However, you don’t have to be sixty or older to experience the influence loneliness can have on emotional and physical health. Sadly, we all can suffer.

If loneliness is a health risk, shouldn’t the easy answer be to get a friend? Apparently, it’s not that simple.

Often, people suffering from loneliness keep to themselves if they feel rejected rather than accepted by others. It is hard for these solitary ones to make acquaintances or cultivate friendships, especially when they are feeling unwanted, uncared for, or estranged.

You’d have to assume that this mental detachment compounds the problem, for it promotes an even greater sense of loneliness. Because of this, the unhealthy cycles of isolation keep spinning.

An Associated Press article recently stated, “Having a positive attitude about getting older affects how long you will live. In a study of 660 Ohioans by professors at Yale University, people with more positive perceptions of their own aging lived an average of 7½ years longer.”

This is good news for the confident and assured, but just more bad news for the isolated souls who are suffering.

Having others interested in your well-being can be helpful. However, might there be a possible connection between the healthy outcomes of those who identify themselves as having friends and those who regularly attend religious services?

Dr. Jeff Levin, in a 2002 noteworthy publication, shared data from a wide variety of studies regarding the physical health benefits of attending faith-based services. He wrote, “Attending services at least weekly reduced by almost 50 percent the risk of death the following year.  …[One] study found that …frequent religious attendance in 1965 was still reducing the risk of dying in 1994.”

Having friends contributes to health, and, apparently, attending religious services does too, so what’s the connection?

Some feel that it’s the support found in church fellowship that promotes health. In other words, noticing and acting on another’s emotional, physical, or financial needs, leads to positive health benefits for both parties.

However, more than psychological coping mechanisms are in operation. Studies also show that embracing love, forgiveness, and patience can contribute to healthier outcomes.

Therefore, it’s not just friendships or the time spent at religious services that are the answer for the loneliness that undermines health and longevity. I believe, there is something more impacting health.

As we cultivate a greater spiritual sense of life, the heavy burden of loneliness can be thrown off.

If you and I took a deep dive into what affects mankind the most, we would soon discover that there is a fundamental, spiritual principle or divine being responsible for happiness and health.

Perhaps, this is why the most common type of Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment that mid-life women in the United States use to maintain their health is prayer.

Not long ago, Dr. Graham, President and C.E.O. of the Institute for Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, told me about the 3,000 and more Randomized Controlled Trial studies in medical literature that show a 66 percent positive correlation between spirituality and health. The Institutes purpose is to educate health care professionals about the role of spirituality in health care.

So when evidence reveals loneliness as a health risk, and when some of us struggle to cultivate human friendships, it’s important that each of us learn that we have access to and are worthy of the love and care of a divine being who never leaves us alone.

– 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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9/11 - courage and sorrow; Cross & Crown - healing
by KeithWommack
Sep 11, 2012 | 1194 views | 1 1 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

9/11. Its a simple symbol made of 4 quick touches of the keyboard. Yet, what this simple symbol represents still weighs heavy on sad hearts and minds. To some it means courage. To others, vulnerability, fear, uncertainty, and sorrow. Yet, there is another symbol. A symbol, I've found, that can help. It can help heal the pain and anguish caused by the misguided actions of others.

The Cross and Crown, I've learned, is a symbol of meekness and might. Combined, these qualities heal long lasting wounds.

The cross symbolizes sacrifice, selfless acts, and tender, powerful love. Eleven years ago, first responders at the World Trade Center expressed these qualities. When lived, these qualities enable us to utilize what the crown symbolizes -- an innate spiritual power and dominion. People around the world are embracing their God-given authority to mentally rule out evil and banish hate and fear.

Jesus sacrificed himself. He carried the cross to his own crucifixion. Then he thoroughly overcame evil when he rose from the tomb. It could be said that he wore a crown of victory. And yes, because of Jesus' actions, the Cross and Crown used together are considered a symbol of Christianity. However, unselfed love and moral and spiritual might are a part of most belief systems. The Christ, which Jesus completely embodied, is God’s healing power. The Christ enables us to be and do good.

9/11, often seen as the symbol of a select few who refused to love or respect life, should be exchanged for the symbol that represents the highest sense of sacrifice and love.

Therefore, today and every day, I will love more, and to some degree, embrace the spiritual authority of Christ. I will stop being afraid. I will stop hating. Yes, I will try. I hope you will too.

– 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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laselva
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September 11, 2012
A very touching article and I'm in agreement with the overall sentiment. However, I do take issue with calling anyone "evil." Those who attacked us on 9/11 considered the United States "evil," to justify their horrible act of terror. President Bush used "evildoer" many times as justification for pre-emptive strikes which have killed hundreds of thousands and has cost our people trillions in wasted war dollars. The terrorists used their religious beliefs to lash out against a perceived enemy, and we must take care not to do the same. If we truly believe in a peaceful world, then we cannot fall into the trap our enemies did. Bombs and bullets do not bring peace.

The following information can be easily found on Google: The Christian use of the cross did not begin until the time of Constantine, three centuries after Christ. Archaeologists have not found any Christian use of the symbol before that time. The cross as a "Christian" symbol was taken directly from the pagans.

The New Testament does not specifically describe the instrument upon which Christ died, though Acts 5:30; 10:39; and 13:28-29 refer to it as a "tree." The Greek word xulon, translated "tree" in these verses, can mean a stick, club, tree, stake, or other wooden articles.

The ancient cross was considered a sign of peace, and those who worship Jesus would do well to appreciate that.


Dallas Cowboy says - “Pain is just mental”
by KeithWommack
Sep 05, 2012 | 509 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Let the real games begin. No, not the Olympics, we’re talking football. Goal line stands. One-hand catches. Last second touchdowns.

College spring practices and intersquad performances are finished. The preseason NFL (National Football League) games are finally over. It’s good to get back to contests that matter.

Although I spend more time watching games than I would like to admit, I spend even more time helping to heal the pain and suffering of others. Therefore, it caught my attention last season when Dallas Cowboys' safety, Gerald Sensabaugh was quoted as saying, "Pain is just mental."

The news report I was reading stated that there were only a small number of football players who were able to complete a game with a strained arch and as well, play another game five days later. However, after Sensabaugh helped his team defeat the Miami Dolphins last Thanksgiving, he was added to the list.

"I don't take any medications,'' Sensabaugh apparently told reporters. "I've dealt with all kinds of illness without medication. I remember one time I had the flu real bad and didn't take anything. Pain is just mental. If I know it's nothing structural, I should be able to ride through it.''

"That's how I was growing up, that's how I've raised my kids,'' Sensabaugh said. "If you fall and bust your head, get up and play. It's not that bad. Usually they get up laughing.''

Pain is a real battle for many people. However, there are those like Sensabaugh who have found that how they think controls how they feel. Studies at Stanford University's Neuroscience and Pain Lab show that redirecting one’s focus can lead to over 40 percent less of an awareness of pain.

Several years ago, I was working on an amplifier with a long-handled screwdriver. The screwdriver slipped, got turned around, and scratched my eye. At first I felt no pain, but then suddenly the pain was severe, and all light was painful. I put on a pair of sunglasses, closed my bedroom curtains and called a friend to pray for me. I’d found prayer to be enormously beneficial before, so this was a natural first resort.

I recalled how in the past I’d felt a confident sense of control rather than helplessness because of prayer, and the spiritual peace that permeated my consciousness through prayer gave me a realization of freedom as well.

The pain immediately stopped. I opened the window and took off the glasses. I was pain-free for several days, -- the scratch had completely disappeared. The only problem left was the eye was slightly out of focus.

Then, to my surprise and disappointment, 4 mornings later it seemed I had returned to the old condition. The extreme pain was back.

I called the friend who had prayed with me to give her the news. She asked, "Have you ever been to Moscow." I said, "No." She responded, "If you've never been to Moscow, then you can't return."

I laughed out loud because I knew what she meant. If those prayers had truly been effective then there was no basis for returning to the former condition. As I thought about her point, I noticed the pain had just as quickly disappeared, and the eye came into focus. That was the end of it.

What Sensabaugh stated, I found to be true: Pain can be just mental.

Does this mean we simply ignore it? Just tough it out?  No.

Every physical or mental trouble should receive some method of immediate and responsible treatment. For example, concussions suffered during sporting events are finally receiving the important attention needed. And the Dallas Cowboys have one of the finest medical staffs in America.

The point here is that today there is a growing awareness of the other methods being used to treat pain and its causes. In my practice of spiritual healing, I've see pain successfully eliminated.

Along with Gerald Sensabaugh, we all have the authority to take control of our thought by changing our focus. Instead of pain restricting or dominating us, we can live (and play) with dominion.

– 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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How do negative suggestions influence health?
by KeithWommack
Aug 27, 2012 | 1126 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Suggestions change people. They do. Whether they are mental or audible suggestions, behavioral and physical modifications take place.

Take for example, a shy friend. He loosens up immediately and becomes the life of the party when wine is set in front of him. The transformation takes place before the alcohol ever reaches his lips. The expectation or suggestion of relaxation frees him.

Then there’s pain. It can disappear when sugar pills are ingested or after someone undergoes <a href="http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa013259" target="_blank">a fake surgery</a>. Of course, this phenomenon is the placebo effect. The suggestion of relief can alleviate pain.

Most likely, we’ve all been affected in some way by the power of a suggestion. And it is this power that is stirring up questions about honesty and ethics in health care.

In a recent article from <a href="http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/21/3/151.abstract?etoc" target="_blank">Current Directions in Psychological Science</a> psychological scientists, Maryanne Garry and Robert Michael of Victoria University of Wellington, along with Irving Kirsch of Harvard Medical School and Plymouth University, explored the influence and relationship between suggestion, cognition, and behavior.

The article states that during early collaborations, the scientists confirmed a significant observation to one another. They “realized that the effects of suggestion are wider and often more surprising than many people might otherwise think.”

When a suggestion is made, we begin to anticipate it. Our anticipation and expectation cause our thoughts and behaviors to actually aid in bringing the outcome to fruition. However, the effects of negative suggestions can be harmful.

A <a href="http://www.netdr.com/news.html?id=6782" target="_blank">study of the nocebo effect</a> confirms that a negative suggestion can be unhealthy. Winfried Häuser and his colleagues at the Technical University of Munich observed that a “Negative suggestion can induce symptoms of illness.”

They found that “Nocebo responses can, for instance, be brought about by unintended negative suggestions on the part of doctors or nurses, e.g., when informing the patient about the possible complications of a proposed treatment.  …Patients may develop symptoms and side effects purely because they’ve been told about them.”

In a <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_128145.html" target="_blank">National Institutes of Health article</a> Ted Kaptchuk, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, is reported to have praised Häuser’s findings but wondered whether giving less information to patients raised ethical questions. "If we don't tell patients about adverse effects, we are unethical and not transparent and not (providing an opportunity for) full informed consent," he said. "But if we tell people, it actually may produce harm."

What a quandary.

Yet, an early researcher into the question of the influence of suggestion on behavior and health believed she found a possible answer to this very dilemma.

In the late 1800s, after experimenting with different modalities, <a href="http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science/a-closer-look-at-health/mary-baker-eddy-pioneer-on-health" target="_blank">Mary Baker Eddy</a> discovered what she felt was a spiritual method of health care. Eventually, she surmised that any system that intensely focused on the body and physical causes would be reinforcing disease by its unavoidable suggestions and advertisements of symptoms and suffering.

Eddy felt it was more ethical and honest to share spiritual facts with her patients. This was important because she also felt that spirituality was the key ingredient to their health and the actual foundation of their existence.

Interestingly enough, she found that her spiritual care didn’t ignore health conditions but changed them, not through suggestion, which was liable to be altered by another suggestion, but by understanding.

Understanding the spiritual nature of health, the suggestion of disease and suffering would have less of an opportunity to influence and be less likely to be expected or manifested.

Today, studies show that spirituality heals and contributes years to life expectancies. But, is humanity, as a whole, ready to utilize a divine method?

So, where does that leave us?

Those administering medical treatment should be considering the choice of full disclosure (which carries the possibility of harm) versus portioning information to patients.

As well, those administering spiritual treatment should consider the patients’ needs. They should inform a patient that it is fine to use spiritual care as a first choice, but this doesn’t insure success if they are utilizing it unthinkingly because of dogmatic reasons.

Patients should always have the final say in which form of care they wish to use. They should always feel in control. <a href="http://www.pbs.org/remakingamericanmedicine/care.html">Patient centered care</a> is an emerging aspect to health care.

Hopefully, we will hear more about patients taking control of their care by advising medical physicians about how much information they wish to hear; and equally advising spiritual practitioners if they wish to try other methods.

These steps just may reduce the influence negative suggestions have on society.

<em>– 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: <a href="http://keithwommack.com" target="_blank">keithwommack.com</a></em>

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