A Pill, a Prayer or a Practice
Dr. Marcia J. Hootman
You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “There’s an app for that.” Seldom used, yet just as true is the statement, “There’s a pill for that.” Do you have restless leg syndrome? There’s a pill for that. Have trouble sleeping? There’s a pill for that? Feel as if you are eating too much? Fatigued? Anxious? Depressed? There’s a pill for almost every condition.
Most TV commercials for prescription medications show happy, healthy looking people frolicking through a meadow or walking dogs. Then, very quickly, no doubt by design, the announcer informs us of possible side effects, most of which sound horrendous, and some worse than the condition the pill was intended to improve.
In his book, Death by Medicine, Dr. Null wrote, “Out of 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes (in the United States), approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use “.The most startling statistic in that statement is that over 700,000 people die from “conventional medicine mistakes.”
This news is not intended for you to throw away needed medication the doctor has prescribed. Do not stop taking any prescription without first consulting with your physician. This is simply an attempt to open your mind to other ways of healing.
Spiritual healing has been around for centuries. Jesus was said to heal with a few words or a touch. Curanderos, (sp. for healers), witch doctors and medicine men, still serve their communities with alternative therapies such as poultices, specially concocted food or drinks, laying on of hands, or incantations. Lourdes in the French Pyrenees attracts millions of pilgrims each year who come to pray to a sacred statue. John of God, a medium in Brazil sees thousands of people each week, some of whom receive psychic surgery, including author Wayne Dyer. And thanks to technology, John of God now offers distant healing.
Meditation, which began long ago in India, gained popularity when the Beatles introduced it to the Western world in the 1960s. Now, in the 21st century, the practice has grown massively in popularity. Both scientists and sages proclaim the many physical and emotional benefits of meditation. And one of the most important goals of meditation is awareness – the ability to be conscious of something without having to understand it.
Some practitioners believe everyday awareness is the key to healthy longevity. Lifestyle, or alternative healing has come into great prominence lately. From Dr. Dean Ornish. “Awareness is the first step in healing. When we become more aware of how powerfully our choices in diet and lifestyle affect us—for better and for worse—then we can make different ones. It’s like connecting the dots between what we do and how we feel.”2
Dr. Andrew Weil founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, an organization that combines alternative and conventional medicine. On his daily blog,3 he talks about nutrition and exercise, but also advocates meditation to calm the seas of your mind. His philosophy is that we are all different and what works for one may not work for another, so experimenting with healing modalities is best.
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Whichever healing method you prefer is certainly your choice. The intention of this writing is not to steer you to one or the other, but to open your mind to the possibility that there are alternative modes available today and getting information has never been easier. Be aware that you have the power to decide how to live your life. Whatever decision you make will be the right one for you. I trust it leads to a long, healthy, joyous life.