Is good health a mental discipline?

This blog, by Assistant District Manager, Melvyn Howe, appeared in the “This is” series.

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Health has pre-occupied much of mankind for most of its existence.

The passing centuries have, as a consequence, spawned many types of healing methods, all with staunch advocates but none with a 100 per cent success rate.

Most popular is mainstream medicine, with its archetypal doctor’s surgery and local hospital forming many people’s health landscape.

Given its pole position and the plethora of drugs prescribed annually, it is perhaps not too surprising that tens of thousands of patients in the UK suffer adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Tragically, more than 10,000 of these die.

The problem so disturbed a group of clinicians and scientists last year that they wrote an open letter to both the Prime Minister and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley saying the situation in Britain and across Europe had reached “epidemic proportions”.

But rather than being just a cause for concern, perhaps this is also an encouragement to look at a broader array of health care options.

For instance, recent research suggests spirituality and the power of thought can play a role in benefitting the sick.

A recent example is New Zealand’s Whanganui Hospital which is trialling Christian prayer and

traditional Maori healing as part of a natural therapy service.

According to an online report in a local newspaper they are focusing on “spirituality and the healing and the strengthening of the mind”.

Of course, hospitals and mainstream medicine will continue to play a central role in people’s health care for the foreseeable future.

But the call for change appears to be growing.

Dr Harold Koenig, author and a professor of psychiatry and behaviour sciences, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the relationship between spirituality and health and advocates much more study into the link between the two.

He is a keen advocate of one particular form of healing thought – prayer – and “absolutely” believes it can help people recover from even potentially fatal conditions.

He said he not only believes that to be the case “on faith”, but also “because I’ve seen that happen with people, including personal friends.”

I have certainly found a change in thought – and prayer in particular – can have a marked impact in restoring and maintaining good health, which means I don’t have to reach for a bottle of pills.

I have been healed of back problems, headaches, stress, coffee addiction and numerous aches and pains after calming my thought to feel a sense of oneness with the divine source.

As I have experienced it, aligning thought in that way can destroy negatives like hatred, ingratitude and selfishness and replace them with love, Forgiveness,gratitude and generosity.

Such qualities – which I think of as spiritual – have been shown by studies to promote good health.

And encouragingly, this approach to maintaining and restoring health comes without harmful side effects.

As studies continue to the power thought can play in our health care , the possibilities for weaning ourselves away from drugs becomes ever more promising.

Imagine then a future where good health is primarily – perhaps even exclusively – a mental discipline, and bad health is the thought you have just discarded.

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Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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