I come from a family of physicians and dentists. I believe in the great advances of modern medicine. Heart surgery alone should convince everyone that modern Western medicine has made incredible progress and advanced human health in many ways. Furthermore, I do not reject the role that medication and drugs can have in the healing process. But I do question our almost total reliance upon these accepted patterns of treatment without being open to new science.
Anyone who reads the history of science in general, and the history of medicine in particular, knows that a great deal has been advanced, accepted and then changed over the years. This is the nature of real science and thus a major part of what makes it so exciting for earnest researchers and practitioners.
To site just one example, there was a time when electrotherapy was used extensively in treating various illnesses. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, when batteries, and other similar devices, were being developed to produce energy, medicine tried to produce machines that used energy to heal the human body. Popular magazines touted what was called radioesthesia. By 1894 over 10,000 physicians were using this science. But the ideas proved unsuccessful and were ultimately abandoned based on the evidence that little good was actually being done.
In 1895 D. D. Palmer created a science that we call chiropractic. I grew up hearing that chiropractic treatment was pseudo-science, and thus mostly bogus. I understood next to nothing about chiropractic so, like many Christians who know so little about what they so often pontificate about, I rejected chiropractic as heresy. But D. D. Palmer’s basic ideas have proven, over the past 100-plus years, to be extremely useful, and very popular in the last twenty years. His theory was based on the flow of energy in the body. He focused on the vertebral column as the conduit through which the spinal nerves passed and thus provided information to the body. He developed skills by which he could assess and fine-tune this flow of information by adjusting tensions in the backbone which relieved pressures and allowed the body to heal more naturally.
The medical profession rejected D. D. Palmer, much the same way they rejected homeopathy and radioesthesia. Why? The answer is complex, and thus defies simple answers from either side, but surely we can assume drugless practitioners were threatened by this new science. By 1910 the Carnegie Foundation published a famous report that called for all medical practice to be based on “proven science.” Bruce Lipton, once a professor of mainstream medicine at the University of Wisconsin, is a physician who has changed his thinking about this new medicine. Lipton writes: “Because physicians had not yet discovered the quantum universe, energy medicine was incomprehensible to science (Lipton, The Biology of Belief, page 119). Thus the AMA denounced everything from chiropractic to all other questionable forms of medical practice based on energy-based theories.
But now the medical world is changing, sometimes in ways few of us can keep up with from day-to-day. In 1990 chiropractors won a lengthy court battle with the AMA, proving that the AMA had engaged in illegal attempts to destroy their profession. Since 1990 chiropractic has spread rapidly. Now many insurance companies cover it and an increasing number of hospitals and physicians recommend it. And despite the discredited claims of radioesthesia in the late 1800s neuro-scientists are conducting some pretty amazing new research in the whole area of vibration (energy) therapy. Could it be that the brain, long known to be a mysterious electrical organ, is in fact subject to energy in ways that we do not yet understand? I think the answer is obvious.
While I was reading Dr. Lipton's engaging book I did my own Internet reading and came across a number of attacks upon the man and his work. Some of the criticism is fair and needed. Some of it is predictable and common from the medical community. Lipton is seen by some, if you care to go further with his name on the Web, as a quack. Here is how one mainstream scientist describes him and his work:
"Dr. Lipton claims that illness can be cured by mere belief. This isn't only nonsense; it is incredibly unprofessional and irresponsible. This is the equivalent of a TV Evangelist banging his palm against the foreheads of cancer patients, pushing them back down in their seats and proclaiming them cured, only to then say later to an investigating reporter who mentions that the patients later died that the Lord's magic stopped working because doubt entered into the hearts of the disbelieving patients. What an incredibly cruel sentiment. "
If this critic had read Dr. Lipton then I think this is not what he would have discovered. I read him and do not hear him saying this kind of thing at all. He sells his views with the passion of an evangelist, like so many in his field, but he has discovered some things that excite him. The thing that truly makes him an outsider is not his zeal, or even his mistakes about subjects like water, but his rejection of the "medical model" that is accepted by the establishment as settled fact.
Lipton believes that what is needed is serious interdisciplinary research in this new field of science. But this will not happen over night. Lipton believes this research needs to bring quantum physics to the table, as well as chemistry, biology and electrical engineering. (That doesn't sound like quackery to me.) I think he has to be right about this, at least in general. Such research has the promise of healing our bodies without all the dangerous side-effects of some drugs. Please note: I do not reject the use of drugs. I use them, but with more discernment and care than I once did. I recommend the same to you. Become genuinely proactive in understanding what a drug does and how it can harm you. (Those nasty "side effects.") By the way, use vitamins, minerals and herbs with care since they all have side effects. We are a pill-driven society and many of us have simply replaced pharmaceuticals with vitamins and herbs in pill form.
This all seems rather obvious to me now but this is still not so with many scientists. And this is especially the case with some Christians who have not thought about this deeply enough. We are no
t simply inert material bein
gs! Lipton says what I feel so powerfully that I can do no better than to quote him: “When I gave up the view that we are inert matter, I realize not only that the science of my chosen career was out of date, but also that I needed to promote more constructive interference in my own life” (Lipton, The Biology of Belief, page 121).
Lipton's sentence literally jumped off the page at me when I first read it. I now realize that I need to promote “more constructive interference in my own life.” I need to address how I use my mind, what kinds of energy I expend it on, and how I can/should take responsibility for my own health in a new, pro-active, way. A physician interviewed me recently for a course I am going to take in July that relates to this whole subject. He asked me a powerful, but very simple, question: “What is the difference between taking a pill and taking a training course on your health?” I answered: “Taking a pill is entirely passive. Taking a course that has action steps is taking personal responsibility.” I then realized that if I had not answered his question in this manner he would not have deemed me ready to learn what he will now teach me.
By the way, I think every minister ought to stop preparing pills for their people who passively listen to them talk. We who care for souls should begin to equip and train people in how to understand and use the great truths given to the people of God by the dynamic power (energy is the Greek word here) of the Holy Spirit. We can all begin by “more constructive interference in [our own] life.” I am trying to do that. I am finding that it forces me to make some hard choices that ultimately have a huge benefit.