Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Heals?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What Heals?

Article excerpt

HEALTH professionals are once again being forced to consider the impact of mental and spiritual factors in the treatment of disease. In 1979, Norman Cousins heightened interest in this subject with his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration. And today he is followed by such bestselling authors as Dr. Larry Dossey, who looks directly at spiritual faith and its relation to health. The illustrations such writers give of recovery through factors beyond drug therapy or surgery should give pause to all thinkers. Whether the example is of the placebo effect, optimism and hope, homeopathy, or spiritual faith, the fact that even incurable diseases respond to the mental state of both patient and physician is, at a minimum, arresting. Apparently the body is not as material, mechanical, or biological as it would seem. If cancer, multiple sclerosis, and fused bones respond to "mental" treatment or religious faith--as such books show they do--we need to ask ourselves, What is the real nature of the body? Of health? Is there an underlying law that makes such treatment dependable? This was the issue that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrestled with for many years. She had seen a severe case of dropsy healed through the use of placebos. This exposed the essentially mental nature of disease to her, but that was not sufficient. She yearned to find the underlying science of such practice, and as an intensely religious woman, she instinctively turned to the Bible and the life of Christ Jesus for answers. At a time when her own life was endangered, she turned to the Gospels, and at that moment her years of prayer, searching, and reason suddenly bore fruit as the divine Principle of Christian healing was revealed to her. She discovered that the operation of the human mind is not a factor in healing. Rather it is the action of God, divine Mind, on the human mind and body that heals. …
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