Words Have a Powerful Influence on Health

Words Have a Powerful Influence on Health

© GLOW IMAGES Models used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

A patient’s fear is an important consideration in treating disease, and the word cancer brings with it significant fear when used in patient diagnosis. That’s what scientists are realizing and why there is now a push to leave out the mention of cancer in diagnosis of certain precancerous conditions. In this way, scientists are hoping to “reign in over-diagnosis” in areas of cancer diagnosis, because less fearful patients are less likely to seek treatments that prove to be unneeded.

Dr. Otis W. Brawley, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, and Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth, both support this effort to end over-diagnosis. Welch explained, “The basic strategy behind early diagnosis is to encourage the well to get examined — to determine if they are not, in fact, sick. But is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health? The truth is, the fastest way to get [most any disease] is to be screened for it.”

Changing or eliminating fear words puts into practice the understanding of how fear affects the mind and the body. Fear is mental but often expresses itself in unhealthy bodily conditions. According to Lissa Rankin, author of Mind Over Medicine, when a person is fearful, the body is unable to repair itself.  Rankin and Dr. Larry Norton, a cancer researcher who offers “a potent drug of [invigorating] and pugnacious hope,” both feel a way to stem and dissolve fear is to encourage a patient’s spiritual identity. Norton also suggests that to take care of someone’s body and not their soul is not to take care of them fully.

Along this same line of thought, a 19th-century theologian and health researcher, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “…sickness is belief, a latent fear, made manifest on the body in different forms of fear or disease.” Patients can use a number of different tools to keep fear and its accompanying sickness from taking hold. Many find that prayer, and understanding their connection to the Divine, lead to a sense of peace and security that makes clear their spiritual identity. Patients can also actively exchange unhealthy thoughts, such as anger, resentment, and fear, for healthier thoughts, such as gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness. These spiritual thoughts provide additional mental and physical benefits and never come with unhealthy side effects.

Changing the language used to diagnose various conditions, as well as encouraging a patient’s thinking while treating the body, are positive ways of controlling fear. This nuanced name change is just one step toward the gradual understanding that mind is in control of the body. The results directly affect health.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Absolute Faith vs Blind Belief

college kids

© GLOW IMAGES Models used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Donna Clifton from Whittier, California.

I vividly remember the first time someone made a disparaging remark to me about the power of prayer to heal. Having been raised as a Christian Scientist, I was used to turning to God in prayer whenever a healing was needed. I took it for granted that my prayers—and those of my parents—would always be effective. As a child, long before I understood much about God’s law that governs us all, I simply trusted that because God is all-good, all powerful, and all-loving, healing would always result from my prayers.

So I was taken by surprise that day when someone I scarcely knew made a sarcastic comment to me about praying for healing. I was a freshman in college and had been planning to go somewhere with a group of friends but at the last minute declined because of a severe headache. A friend in the group who knew I was a Christian Scientist informed the others that I wouldn’t be going with them because I need to stay behind to pray for a healing.

Immediately one of the young men in the group that I had just met spoke up and said, “Well, pray hard!” in a very sarcastic voice. Several of the others laughed at his remark. I didn’t reply, not knowing what to say just then. But I did get healed through prayer that day, just as I had many times before.

Why is it so difficult for some to believe that prayer heals? I think it’s because 1) they don’t know what prayer is, 2) they have been taught that healing results from medical treatment, and 3) they don’t understand that “God is a very present help in trouble” as the Bible states (Psalms 46:1). Christian Scientists have learned that they can certainly trust God, not only with physical problems, but also with any problems that need healing – relationships, employment, bad habits, etc. We also know that it isn’t blind belief that heals. Neither is it repetition of words nor any “magic” phrases that bring healing.

In her book, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy describes prayer as an “absolute faith that all things are possible to God, —a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.” (S&H 1:2) She distinguishes between absolute faith that is based on an understanding of God’s power to heal and “mere belief” (or blind belief) which denotes no understanding and is not a reliable means of healing.

As a young child, I could put my faith in God through simple trust in His goodness and omnipotence. But as I grew older, I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of God’s healing power. And as I gain this understanding day by day, I continue to have healings. Once after a long cross-country flight, I again faced a debilitating headache that prevented me from even sitting up or eating anything. I asked my sister to read to me from Science & Health, and while I listened, I acquired a better understanding of how God’s law governs me and everyone, and that my health is not precarious.

Suddenly the headache was gone, and I felt strong and completely well. The healing was so instantaneous that it was as if a light switch had been flicked on and light flooded the room, vanquishing the darkness. I realized that listening for messages of healing and accepting them was a form of prayer, and that was what healed me.

This kind of prayer is based on the spiritual understanding of God’s healing power and of our true spiritual nature. And this understanding leads to healing.

Now that I’m wiser about how prayer heals, if I were to meet up with the same guy whose sarcasm had disconcerted me that day in college, I would reassure him that prayer really does heal, and that I am a living testament to that fact. Spiritual healing is the proof of God’s healing power.

Article originally published January 29, 2013

Absolute Faith vs Blind Belief

Absolute Faith vs Blind Belief

© GLOW IMAGES
Models used for illustrative purposes

A guest post written by Donna Clifton

I vividly remember the first time someone made a disparaging remark to me about the power of prayer to heal. Having been raised as a Christian Scientist, I was used to turning to God in prayer whenever a healing was needed. I took it for granted that my prayers—and those of my parents—would always be effective. As a child, long before I understood much about God’s law that governs us all, I simply trusted that because God is all-good, all powerful, and all-loving, healing would always result from my prayers.

So I was taken by surprise that day when someone I scarcely knew made a sarcastic comment to me about praying for healing. I was a freshman in college and had been planning to go somewhere with a group of friends but at the last minute declined because of a severe headache. A friend in the group who knew I was a Christian Scientist informed the others that I wouldn’t be going with them because I need to stay behind to pray for a healing.

Immediately one of the young men in the group that I had just met spoke up and said, “Well, pray hard!” in a very sarcastic voice. Several of the others laughed at his remark. I didn’t reply, not knowing what to say just then. But I did get healed through prayer that day, just as I had many times before.

Why is it so difficult for some to believe that prayer heals? I think it’s because 1) they don’t know what prayer is, 2) they have been taught that healing results from medical treatment, and 3) they don’t understand that “God is a very present help in trouble” as the Bible states (Psalms 46:1). Christian Scientists have learned that they can certainly trust God, not only with physical problems, but also with any problems that need healing – relationships, employment, bad habits, etc. We also know that it isn’t blind belief that heals. Neither is it repetition of words nor any “magic” phrases that bring healing.

In her book, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy describes prayer as an “absolute faith that all things are possible to God, —a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.” (S&H 1:2) She distinguishes between absolute faith that is based on an understanding of God’s power to heal and “mere belief” (or blind belief) which denotes no understanding and is not a reliable means of healing.

As a young child, I could put my faith in God through simple trust in His goodness and omnipotence. But as I grew older, I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of God’s healing power. And as I gain this understanding day by day, I continue to have healings. Once after a long cross-country flight, I again faced a debilitating headache that prevented me from even sitting up or eating anything. I asked my sister to read to me from Science & Health, and while I listened, I acquired a better understanding of how God’s law governs me and everyone, and that my health is not precarious.

Suddenly the headache was gone, and I felt strong and completely well. The healing was so instantaneous that it was as if a light switch had been flicked on and light flooded the room, vanquishing the darkness. I realized that listening for messages of healing and accepting them was a form of prayer, and that was what healed me.

This kind of prayer is based on the spiritual understanding of God’s healing power and of our true spiritual nature. And this understanding leads to healing.

Now that I’m wiser about how prayer heals, if I were to meet up with the same guy whose sarcasm had disconcerted me that day in college, I would reassure him that prayer really does heal, and that I am a living testament to that fact. Spiritual healing is the proof of God’s healing power.