The New Year is off and running. So too are the health resolutions many of us made when we were basking in the after-glow of the Christmas Season and feeling somewhat virtuous about our plans. You know the kinds of things you promise yourself. “This year I will make better food choices. I will consume less and exercise more. I will go to bed earlier. I will try not to worry so much.” They all sound like excellent intentions. But like a precarious house of cards, many of them have already fallen down and now lie in a heap on the table.
There are numerous reasons for our failure to implement, or live up to, our high goals for self-improvement. In his Huffpost Healthy Living blog , Leslie Spry, M.D. offers this insight. “Resolutions can get a bad rap. They often aren’t specific enough, making them unrealistic and unattainable.” That’s why his number one New Year resolution is very specific. “Think twice before you reach into your medicine cabinet and check both prescription and over the counter (OTC) drug labels to evaluate the risks and benefits before taking a particular medication.”
It’s good advice. Over-medicating with pain killers can lead to serious health problems. However, there are other drug-free ways to treat pain and stay safe during the New Year. These include acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, herbal remedies, massage, and mind-body therapies, to name a few. Prayer is also a popular method. According to research, “Among all forms of complementary medicine, prayer is the single most widely-practiced healing modality (Glazer, S. 2005).”
At the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Life Science Foundation, prayer is described as having “a very personal meaning arising from an individual’s religious background or spiritual practice. For some, prayer will mean specific sacred words, for others, it may be a more informal talking or listening to God or a higher power. … Prayer is rooted in the belief that there is a power greater than oneself that can influence one’s life. It is the act of raising hearts and minds to God or a higher power. … Prayer is important in a healthcare context simply because it is used so widely.”
In addition to general prayer for healing, there’s another system that’s receiving interest. It’s biblically-based, spiritual in nature, and systematic in its approach to prayer. The form of treatment employed seeks to move beyond the human mind’s influence on the body, to a divine intelligence, or Mind, and its power to heal the body. And it’s proving to be both practical and successful.
I was a former migraine headache sufferer. After seeking medical help for this condition over many years, the headaches were permanently cured solely through metaphysical, prayer-centered treatment – without the inclusion of painkillers or other remedial means. This healing made me look seriously into the connection between religious thinking, prayer, and bodily health.
In order to understand what had occurred, I read, studied, took a course, and joined an organization that encouraged and supported the practice of spiritual healing on a daily basis. Around the same time, I also witnessed firsthand how pink flavouring was the sole element responsible for alleviating one man’s headache pain. This incident, along with others that I observed, led me to conclude that a person’s thought played a significant part in a drug’s usefulness. An inanimate drug or additive didn’t know what to do. It had to be the person’s belief in it that determined what effect it had.
This illustration of the placebo effect might be mistakenly thought of as a recent phenomenon. Yet a 19th Century American woman who observed this effect in herself and others over many years wrote, “The only effect produced by medicine is dependent upon mental action. If the mind were parted from the body, could you produce any effect upon the brain or body by applying the drug to either? Would the drug remove paralysis, affect organization, or restore will and action to cerebrum and cerebellum?” (Eddy, Science and Health p. 401)
It’s commonly accepted in many circles that a patient’s thought can play a significant role in relieving pain. Such a conclusion can open the door to finding a drug-free solution – including the use of prayer. The opportunities exist. So maybe a “specific, realistic and attainable” New Year resolution might be: to go out and explore the spiritual opportunities that exist for pain relief, before reaching for what’s in the medicine cabinet. Year-round pain relief may no longer be likened to an unstable house of cards waiting to tumble down. Spiritual healing prayer could just be the panacea many of us are looking for in 2013.