Pioneers in Health are Vital to New Ways of Healing

Pioneers in Health are Vital to New Thinking


by Don Ingwerson

Many are welcoming reports that the practice of medicine is changing. How much and how fast is still anyone’s guess. One article profiling this change is “More hospitals offering alternative therapy services,” written by Los Angeles Times seasoned-reporter Duke Helfand. Hefland writes that alternative therapies, including meditation, relaxation training, homeopathy, and chiropractic care, are being offered at more hospitals, mostly in response to patient requests. This is up from 37% in 2007 to the current 42%. In “More doctors going the alternative route,” written by Janice Neuman and published in the Chicago Tribune, Neuman highlights that even in their own lives physicians look beyond Western medicine.

What is alternative medicine? NIH studies in 2002 and 2007 listed ten alternative medicine therapies and the percentage of individuals using each of these alternatives. What was interesting is that prayer for self was by far the most used form of alternative therapy. The 2002 study found that 43% of the participants used prayer for health purposes; by 2007 this had increased to 49%. Another important aspect to this trend is that 40% of Americans spent out-of-pocket to obtain alternative therapies, at a cost of $34 billion in 2007. Brian Berman, Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine located at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, also notes a change in attitude by the medical profession when it comes to alternatives. He commented that he used to have trouble getting any referrals from other physicians for alternative treatments, but now patients have to wait as long as two months to begin their referral treatments.

The best part about the most used alternative – prayer – is that there is no wait time for the person using it. I have found that my own experience in using alternative medicine in the form of prayer has freed me from many of the modern-day living challenges, such as tension, friction, and pressures – all which have been found to negatively affect health.

As more people turn to alternatives, I am reminded that obtaining and maintaining health through alternatives is not new in the annals of history. Jesus’ restoration of health resulting from prayer during his short life span was unparalleled – and scientists and religious scholars continue to explore methods to understand how to solve health concerns through prayer. I like what Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld said in a Huffington Post article, “Progress only comes through the work of visionaries, of pioneers who are not afraid to step outside the ‘status quo’ so that society can benefit from expanding knowledge in new and more efficient ways.”

When discussing the impact that her book would have on the search for health, Mary Baker Eddy, modern-day religious leader and author stated in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer has accomplished.”

As the nation addresses the health needs of the public, individuals should have the freedom and encouragement to become pioneers for their own health care.

Article originally published October 15, 2012 and first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.


  1. Belle says

    I had a protestant friend tell me, after hearing a Christian Science lecture, that Christian Science was simply “ahead of its time.” It’s good to see the times catching up.

  2. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    These are all heartening ideas particularly the no-wait time for prayer. Love it.

  3. says

    I like your direct references to prayer as an available resource and a powerful one. In that sense, when approached with the understanding of what is spiritually true and possible, one can think of prayer as a primary and fundamental form of care rather than just an “alternative”.

  4. Elizabeth Anne Nelson says

    On one occasion I invited a friend, who was of another faith, to a Christian Science lecture. After the lecture, my friend stated, ” If my mother had known about Christian Science, she would be alive today.” I began truly appreciating Christian Science as a religion which not only brings redemption in healing of sin and in advancing peaceful living, but also healthy living. In a Blog in the Huffington Post, Ingrid Peschke, C.S. writes about Mary Baker Eddy, the health care pioneer and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Christian Science textbook : ” She tried diets, hydropathy, homeopathy and what are now known as placebo treatments — and she found some relief. But her most important conclusion from all of her investigations was that what a patient believes is directly related to the healing results they see.” In this transformational textbook, she writes, ” Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind.” (p. 120). Realizing this has given me a new way of checking on health condition by examining thought, not the body. Mrs. Eddy once said, ” We must know that the world is ready for Christian Science,” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Vol. II., p. 286). Elizabeth Nelson

  5. says

    What a thoughtful, balanced report on this subject. It’s encouraging to see how right ideas whispered into consciousness manage to bear fruit that can’t be seen on the surface, but is growing just the same.

  6. Rhonda says

    Always enjoy seeing the statistics! Thanks for the research. (=

    P.S. Just figured out how to use the spellchecker. Just right-click your mouse over the word. Thanks for that useful feature. (=

  7. Anne Hughes says

    How encouraging that prayer is the most popular alternative to traditional medical means for health. Prayer is completely accessible 24/7 and requires no one else to participate, although loving, supportive prayer by and for others adds comfort and assurance. Many alternative treatments have their roots in centuries of people’s best efforts to help each other. With “modern medicine” so inaccessible to much of the world, it makes sense to have other resources to rely on for health care, most especially prayer.

  8. Pamela says

    Love statistics like this. It shows our world is waking up more and more to the fact of being that man is spiritual. Thanks Don!