|April 09, 2012||Stop "I can't"||1 comments|
|April 07, 2012||Health: Just like Texas||no comments|
|April 03, 2012||Master and Commander||no comments|
|March 29, 2012||Hit ‘em with a prayer not a chair||1 comments|
|March 28, 2012||60 Minutes – Explosive – What mind can do to affect health||no comments|
It isn’t just the world-class competition, or the crowning of champions, that makes me excited to watch events like the upcoming Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It’s seeing barriers get broken—shattering common expectations—that brings me to my feet.
But you don’t have to witness a standing back full twist on the balance beam to feel that same breakthrough excitement and come out a winner.
Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language and then hit a barrier? Couldn’t take it to the next level? Maybe it was the guitar or piano you were practicing, and then found yourself stuck. That happened to me.
Several years ago while practicing the guitar and learning languages, I noticed a phenomenon: While diligently trying to master a guitar riff or learn a German phrase, I struggled for days or weeks with no progress. Then, out of the blue, I had a breakthrough. One minute I couldn’t, the next, I could. This happened over and over.
My forays into learning showed me that often we do not gradually improve as we work at things. Sometimes we just suddenly just get it. We inexplicably leap from a lower plateau to a higher one, instead of just inching our way up.
Due to the suddenness of this improvement, it seems that the only real barrier was a belief—going from believing I can’t to seeing that I can! Instantly, what couldn’t be done before now seems natural, as if we always had the know-how.
I believe this shows, in a small way, the mental nature of things. It tells me that those who refuse to yield to discouragement are rewarded for their persistence. This enlightened stubbornness helps erode the seeming solidity of the I can’t belief.
Which raises this question: what would happen if we started earlier with the confidence of I can?
As I’ve done this and seen what can happen, I’ve learned that life is even more of a mental experience than most of us realize. Yet this phenomenon of sudden breakthrough is not confined to languages, music, and sports. I’ve learned an even larger lesson on barrier-breaking as I observe the effect of spirituality on health, my own and others.
The capacities you and I are endowed with, at this time, are barely being realized and employed. The practice of breaking beliefs which cause pain and disease, is, today, taking place because of spiritual understanding. It may be occurring in a very small degree, but the momentum behind such advancements is beginning to be noticed.
The ill-health that seems so unyielding and the health that seems so unattainable at present, perhaps, is not that far away. I’ve seen in my own healing practice of Christian Science how the breaking of one belief changes everything; changes everything for the better.
Yes, in regard to spiritual healing as well as music, languages, and sports, barriers are breaking, and, instantly, what couldn’t be done before now seems natural, as if we always had the know-how.
The sudden transition from I can’t to the seemingly impossible I can is exciting. It always brings me to my feet. But even more so, is the thrill of shattering the belief “I’m not well,” and being able to honestly hear and say: “I am well and I know it.”
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He is a legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s syndicated columns originate at: http://texashealthblog.com/
When people around the world think of Texas, I have found that images of Dallas, oil fields, and cattle ranches come to mind.
However, there is much more to our grand state than cattle barons and oil tycoons.
Citrus groves thrive in south Texas and the tall Piney Woods flourish in the east Texas red soil. Sand dunes and beach houses line the coast from Galveston to Post Isabel, and I haven't even mentioned the Chisos Mountains in the Big Bend National Park.
Texas is big and there are a lot of big things in it. And health is one of them. Yet, just like Texas, there is a lot about health that is relatively unknown.
That is why I enjoy talking with Dr. John K. Graham.
Dr. Graham is President and C.E.O. of the Institute for Spirituality and Health (ISH) at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. He is both a physician and a priest. He received his M.D. Degree from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans and is board-certified in two medical specialties - otolaryngology and plastic & reconstructive surgery.
In 1990, Dr. Graham left the practice of medicine and responded to what he describes as God's call to the priesthood. He received his Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. For twelve years he served as Sr. Associate Rector at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.
During my first meeting with Dr. Graham, and as soon as we sat down in his office, he explained the mission of the ISH. He said, "Its purpose is to educate healthcare professionals about the role of spirituality in healthcare."
He told me about the 3,000 and more Randomized Controlled Trial studies in the medical literature that show a 66 percent positive correlation between spirituality and health. One study showed that if a person attended religious services once a week or more, his or her longevity increased by 7 years. Dr. Graham explained that attendees of regular religious services had measurably lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improved immune response (IL-6 levels) as well as maintenance of the proper Serotonin levels in the brain.
Dr. Graham believes that people want spiritually sensitive healthcare, which he feels is ethical care.
As I was getting ready to leave, Dr. Graham, knowing that I was in a Christian healing practice, grabbed a copy of his book, Graham Crackers & Milk: Food for the Heart & Soul, and wrote in it, "I thank God for you and your ministry to bring health and healing to God's people."
He knew I had been learning that not only is spirituality important to health, but health could be thought of as fundamentally Spirit-based, God endowed and maintained.
I am grateful for having met Dr. Graham and look forward to another discussion with him this week when the ISH sponsors a talk by Dr. Jeff Levin in Houston.
I hope to have a few minutes to talk privately with Dr. Levin. He is a biomedical scientist and a religious scholar. He is one of the first few to have researched and written about the relationship between consciousness, spirituality, and health. He holds a distinguished chair at Baylor University, where he is University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Professor of Medical Humanities, and Director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at the Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Healing Connection.
I'm confident that Texans, as well as the rest of humanity, are moving closer and closer to understanding that spirituality in healthcare is vitally important.
I'm also confident that they are moving closer to realizing that just as Texas and big are inseparable, so are spirituality and health.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Health Blogger, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He is a legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s syndicated blogs originate at: healthy th(ink)ing
Apparently, our beliefs can help us. It’s been proven. If we believe we will be healthier, we can be.
Patients in a Baylor School of Medicine study were divided into three groups. Dr. Bruce Moseley performed surgery on the first group. With another group, he utilized a different surgical technique. Both were standard treatments for arthritic knees.
The third group, however, received a fake surgery. They were sedated, and the doctor talked and acted as if there was a real surgical operation taking place. He even splashed salt water, simulating the sound of a knee-washing procedure. Each of the groups was prescribed the same postoperative care, including an exercise program.
This was a designed randomized, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of arthroscopy for osteoarthritis of the knee.
In The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Conscious, Matter & Miracles, Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., professor and cell biologist, describes the outcome of the study:
“The results were shocking. Yes, the groups who received the surgery, as expected, improved. But the placebo group [the patients who received the fake surgery] improved just as much as the other two groups! …the results were clear to Moseley: ‘My skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.’ [Later, Television] footage showed members of the placebo group walking and playing basketball, in short doing things they reported they could not do before their ‘surgery.’ The placebo patients didn’t find out for two years that they had gotten fake surgery.”
Yes, apparently, our beliefs can help us. However, it seems, what we believe can harm us, as well. This too has been proven.
In 1974, Dr. Clifton Meador began treating Sam Londe for cancer of the esophagus. A condition considered 100 percent fatal at the time. He received the treatment even though everyone in the medical community believed the cancer was unbeatable. And no one was shocked when Londe passed away just weeks after his initial diagnosis.
It was when an autopsy found no trace of esophageal cancer that the shock set in. Dr. Lipton, in The Biology of Belief, also quotes Meador as saying, thirty years after Londe’s death, “I thought he had cancer. He thought he had cancer. Everybody around him thought he had cancer… did I remove hope in some way?”
Yes, evidently, if others and we believe we are on the decline or suffering with a disease, these sickly beliefs can cause us to suffer further and even die.
Don’t these two situations hint to how, ultimately, the body is thought driven, and perhaps, thought manifest? If this is true, how do we keep from harming ourselves? As well, how do we stop others’ beliefs from impacting our own health negatively?
Lipton, in The Biology of Belief, writes, “Learning how to harness your mind to promote growth is the secret of life. …Of course the secret of life is not a secret at all. Teachers like Buddha and Jesus have been telling us the same story for millennia. Now science is pointing in the same direction. It is not our genes but our beliefs that control our lives.”
So, if our beliefs control our health, isn’t it important to know how to regulate our beliefs for the better?
Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian healer and teacher in the early 1900s, investigated how beliefs alter health. Her examination of the mental and spiritual nature of existence led her to discover we can harness our mind through improved spiritual understanding.
Her take on this was: Watch what you believe and gain each day a greater spiritual sense of life.
We must admit that we often allow our minds to be filled and governed by fears, hates, and stress. Each of these can apparently impact our bodies in harmful ways.
Understanding that to be healthy, one must utilize spiritual understanding to stay mentally vigilant and active, Mary Baker Eddy encouraged others to “Blot out the images of mortal thought and its beliefs in sickness …Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made [you] capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on [you].”
Yes, what we believe, we experience. Shakespeare even claimed, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
With this awareness, can we afford to sit back and let beliefs wreak havoc on our bodies? I don’t believe we can, not when it is possible to correct harmful beliefs with spiritual understanding.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist & Blogger, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He is a legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s syndicated columns/blogs originate at: http://texashealthblog.com/
Everyone seems to have a chip on his or her shoulder. From the Occupy Wall Street protesters to the Obama-haters, aggression is in the air. Hate appears to be the flavor of the day.
This hate is causing an accelerated polarization of society. But it is causing something more. Are we hearing the warnings that hostile hearts can jeopardize health? Besides straining relationships, hate is a mental poison that causes bodily harm.
Deborah Smith, staff writer for Monitor on Psychology (a publication for the American Psychological Association), in her post Angry thoughts, at-risk hearts, writes “Research findings indicate a clear pattern -- being an angry or hostile person is bad for your heart.” She goes on to cite several studies that prove the point.
It’s my experience as a Christian healer that hateful thoughts can be harmful not only to the heart but to every part of the body. Therefore, if hate is a poison, what is the antidote?
The antidote would need to be a remedy that reaches thought and radically transforms it. Could the antidote be prayer? Can certain forms of prayer steer and mold thought which in turn heals the body?
I recently heard an example of this type of transformation. Pat shared with me how she and her son were helped. She said, “At the time, I was a Registered Nurse and a new mother. Unfortunately, my newborn son was paralyzed on his right side. He also had a large tumor on his neck. Doctors told me he would not live very long. In order to care for him while he was still with us, I brought him home.”
“During my pregnancy I had hated a family member who had spread lies about me regarding drug allegations. The accusations could have had immediate consequences on my nursing career. Every time this woman would call, if I answered, I would quickly pass the phone to someone else. I couldn’t stand talking with this woman. I couldn’t forgive her.”
“Then my in-laws asked me if I would like them to pray for me. Not knowing what that really meant because they were Christian Scientists, but wanting to be polite, I accepted their offer. The next morning, I answered another call from the woman I couldn’t stop hating.”
“This time, however, rather than passing the phone off to someone else, I was led to talk with her. The other woman was a new mother too. Not only had I hated her, I had also been jealous because the woman had given birth to a girl. During my pregnancy, I had yearned for a girl, not a boy, so I was genuinely surprised to be asking about this woman’s baby.”
“After hanging up from the shockingly pleasant phone conversation, I started walking toward my baby’s room. As I walked, the thought came, ‘Go ahead, try. Try and hate her.’ I tried, but suddenly I couldn’t. The hate was gone. Then I opened the door and looked at my baby. He was wiggling all his arms and legs. The paralysis was gone. I looked at his neck. The tumor was gone, as well. My son was healthy.”
Would hate continue to increase if it was understood that hostile hearts carry health risks? Would society continue its destructive polarized path if prayer was found to be an effective remedy for the mental poison that causes so much harm?
Is hate an natural quality of thought? I believe not. I am also convinced that we can normally reject it because our true nature is spiritual. Therefore, if we wish to administer an antidote for hate, perhaps we can do so with a prayer strengthened by a double–dose of tenderness. How significant it would be if we could improve our own health by loving more and had the opportunity to help others, as well.
Whether it is one political party versus another, one faith group versus another, or one ethnic group versus another, tempers are reaching the boiling point faster than ever. Some believe that polarization supports a conviction of beliefs. They consider this a good thing.
I admit that strong convictions are needed to weather storms. Yet, it is harmful for a conviction to be based on arrogance or bigotry. This type of unyielding stance allows hate to inflict damage.
Hate is a danger to us all. What is its antidote? Possibly, tenderness and compassion expressed in our lives is the most effective remedy. Brotherly love should be our flavor of the day.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Health Blogger, Christian Science practitioner, husband, and step-dad. He is a legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith's posts: healthy th(ink)ing
On February 19, CBS Television News magazine, 60 Minutes, aired a segment that correspondent Lesley Stahl described as “explosive” in promos for the piece. The segment discussed the new scientific research that is creating a stir in the medical community.
Stahl interviewed psychologist Irving Kirsch, associate director of the Placebo Studies Program at Harvard Medical School. Kirsch’s research challenges the effectiveness of antidepressants. He said the difference between the effect of a placebo and the effect of an antidepressant is minimal for most people.
His specialty research has been the study of the placebo effect, -- the usage of an unmedicated pill. Apparently, the fake pill creates an expectation of healing that is so powerful, symptoms are actually alleviated. During the segment, Stahl also spoke with psychiatrists who disagreed with Kirsch's findings as well as another doctor whose own studies confirmed Kirsch’s analysis.
During the Kirsch interview, Stahl asserted, "But people are getting better taking antidepressants, I know them. We all know them."
Kirsch responded, "People get better when they take the drug, but it's not the chemical ingredients of the drugs that are making them better. It's largely the placebo effect."
The segment illustrated how powerful the mind is over the body; and some patients with cases of osteoporosis and Parkinson's disease even experienced improvements. Patients who took placebo pills actually had changes in blood pressure and brain chemistry.
As well, the segment touched on placebo surgery and its startling success. This surgery is a faked operative intervention without the actual surgical corrective step thought to be therapeutically necessary. Also, mentioned was the fact that positive physical changes even took place when doctors merely showed genuine care for patients.
Is this report “explosive?” Yes, because 17 million Americans take antidepressants. It puts a billion dollar pharmaceutical industry under a microscope.
And, yes, as well, because the report is quite thought provoking for those in the scientific community who have never before recognized the broad impact the mind has on physical health. However, it is not so explosive for those who already had indications of this phenomenon.
For quite some time, physicians and researchers have noticed and studied, in limited degree, expectations of betterment (the placebo effect) and fear of suffering (the nocebo effect) and how they influence health for better or worse.
Perhaps these revelations could point researchers in new directions. It could be asked, “To what extent does consciousness affect health? Are there limits to the mind controlling the body? And, is it possible to govern thought so that one could expect health on a consistent basis?”
A pioneer in the mind/health connection in the late 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy, confronted these questions. Her final analysis, many feel, was also quite explosive.
Kirsch challenging the effectiveness of antidepressants and uncovering the human mind’s role in healing is big, but just think of the debate that took place, and is still taking place, when it is suggested that spirituality has a part in health care.
Eddy, years ago, experimented with differing healing methods, including homeopathy and the use of placebos. During her research, she discovered that as medications were diluted by attenuation, patients’ improvements increased. She recognized that the drug had no intrinsic power of its own. The human mind was empowering the medication. Eddy’s and Kirsch’s findings seem to be similar on this point.
Yet, Eddy’s research went further. She felt there was something missing. And she felt that she uncovered the missing key during her own struggle with a serious physical challenge. She realized that the human mind could do marvelous things. However, she also felt it was the cause of most pain and disease. The real cure she said was in the spirit or mind of God (Christ) that Jesus utilized. She discovered during her own healing that both the human mind and body are subordinate to this divine mind.
While putting into practice what she learned, Eddy became known as a Christian and mental healer. Cures of acute, chronic, and organic disease as well as functional difficulties were documented. She taught others to heal. She then began calling her wholly mental and spiritual system of healing Christian Science.
Lesley Stahl’s 60 Minutes piece also brought up a moral issue. While promoting this story, Stahl was asked, “Should doctors be prescribing sugar pills?” Stahl said that she had asked this question throughout her reporting, and had learned it would not be an ethical practice.
Eddy, answering this question years ago, deepened the discussion when she wrote, “The only objection to giving the unmedicated sugar is, it would be dishonest and divide one's faith apparently between matter and mind, and so weaken both points of action; taking hold of both horns of the dilemma, we should work at opposites and accomplish less on either side.”
Stahl’s 60 Minutes segment will cause much discussion. This is a good thing. Hopefully, we can glean something new from the conversation. For some, it will be that the human mind governs our bodies more than we knew. For others, it might be an introduction to how mind/thought governed by the divine is even more helpful. Each has broad impacts on everyone’s physical care.
-- Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Health Blogger, Christian Science practitioner, musician, and step-dad. He is the legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith's posts: healthy th(ink)ing