During the several years I suffered from chronic ankle pain, I tried almost everything – orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, physical therapy, nutritionists, healing prayer, herbalists, traditional Chinese medicine, and more. Like the people described in Candy Gunther Brown's book on Christians and alternative medicine, I found myself increasingly drawn to forms of alternative medicine that incorporate some element of spirituality into treatment of the body.
In her interview with CT, Brown warns that Christians who involve themselves in alternative medicine for health benefits can unwittingly immerse themselves in unwanted religious associations. Similar warnings have issued from others about the potential for practices such as yoga or acupuncture being occult or idolatrous.
These are important conversations. But they don't address the reason so many Christians are turning to these alternative treatments. Why are we so attracted to yoga, acupuncture, and the like? As people of faith, we recognize that we are multidimensional beings. We know that we are more than just a body, but exist as bodies, minds, and spirits, and all parts of us need attention.
Conventional Western medicine fails miserably at considering this holistic view. So engrossed with what can be numerically measured and scientifically proven, it often neglects the human spirit, treating patients as bundles of body parts and malfunctioning cells sitting in an isolated exam room. To be sure, there are individual doctors whose compassion and care challenge the system, but as a whole the system leaves little room for the time and heart it takes to treat patients holistically.
There is no doubt that the advances of modern medicine have vastly ...1
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