Tag Archives: Science and Health

ESCAPE FIRE: Expanding Our View of Healthcare Without Fear

How much airtime does an issue need before that sets fire to our commitment for change?

(Photo: ©Glowimages.com / Stock photo)
(Photo: © Glowimages.com / Stock photo)

The award-winning documentary movie Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare, until recently, has received relatively small attention. Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said, “The physical health of our nation and the cost of healthcare, impact every current fiscal challenge we face.  This compelling film gives us an explanation of some of the factors that have contributed to our broken system and explains why we urgently need to fix it.”¹

CNN, which picked up the U.S. television broadcast rights to this movie, aired it Sunday night and will air an encore presentation Saturday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET and then again at 11:00 p.m.

(© GlowImages / Stock photo)
(Photo: © GlowImages / Stock photo)

The inspiration for the title of the movie comes from an incident in Mann Gulch, Montana where a forest fire trapped a group of firefighters. Their foreman, Wag Dodge, intentionally lit a fire in front of him and then stepped into the newly burnt area. The fire went around that area since it was already burned out and Wag Dodge survived.

The phrase “escape fire” is now sometimes used as a metaphor for getting out of a desperate situation by looking at – and doing – things a bit differently. The trailer for this movie by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke echoes this, saying, “There’s a different way of doing things that’s possible”.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sees the gradual adoption of an expanded view of health by the medical community in America in a forecast of health and health care (page 346 of the forecast found on page 362 of the PDF file): “The first shift is from rigid adherence to the biomedical model to an expanded, multifactorial view of health. While the scientific model looks only at biological indicators of health, the expanded model goes beyond this to include social, mental, and spiritual, as well as physical, health. This shift in focus will lead to the regular provision of psychosocial and other services that currently are not in the health care mainstream.”

Our current system resists needed changes, perhaps fearing them. New ideas and alternative treatments, including spiritual ones, will help rescue American healthcare and can be considered and utilized without fear.

In a heart-warming example of this here in Michigan, last year NBC-TV Channel 4 in Detroit aired a segment entitled, “Alternative treatment helps local doctor beat infertility”. The doctor – who was the patient here – said that this experience solidified her belief that alternative medicine definitely has a role in treatment.

2007 survey² on complimentary and alternative medicine conducted by researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego reported that the third-most commonly used CAM approach during the previous year was prayer for health (29%).

An acquaintance of mine used our conventional medical system for her healthcare. Then, while listening to new ideas about the spiritual nature of health during a train ride, she found herself healed of a headache. Pursuing these ideas further, she began to rely on this approach more and more, and subsequently was healed of severe anemia. In her groundbreaking book about the role spirituality plays in health, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When outgrowing the old, you should not fear to put on the new.”³ My friend certainly found this to be true.

Our choices for healthcare will likely differ. But maybe – just maybe – this movie will light a fire in our collective consideration of our healthcare system and spur us to new views that will yield better healthcare – and better health – for all.

To view the movie trailer for Escape Fire, click here and to visit its website, click here.


¹  CNN Films: ‘Escape Fire’ Debuts on CNN on March 10 at 8pm ET. Note: the encore presentation will be aired Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. PT.
²  Ryan B. Abbott, Ka-Kit Hui, Ron D. Hays, et al., “Medical Student Attitudes toward Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 985243, 14 pages, 2011. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep195
³  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 452.

Must we ingest something to achieve health?

“Dr. Viggiano, noting that the act of taking a pill is often just an external trigger to what she describes as an internal or ‘central’ healing response, wonders what this tells us about our thoughts in terms of their effect on health and healing.”

Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson

This observation comes from Dr. Darlene Viggiano at the Saybrook School of Mind-Body Medicine in a thoughtful Washington Times article last week by Eric Nelson of Los Altos, California. Nelson interviewed three doctors who work at Saybrook University in San Francisco, the only institution in the U.S. offering advanced degrees (PhD, Masters) in mind-body medicine.

The article includes two very interesting accounts, one of a young girl suffering anxiety attacks learning to rely on thought-based coping skills and another of a patient who suffered declining health as a result of misinterpreting something his doctor told him.

Nelson concludes by discussing the need for “an individual willingness to adopt a higher, more inspired view of health.”

Definitely recommended reading: The success of mind-body medicine depends on us.


Need an emancipation proclamation for your health?

Abraham Lincoln statue, Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, USA (© Stock photos/Glowimages.com)

Do you sometimes feel like a slave to disease? Or to its treatment? Or know someone who does? How do chapped lips, Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and a case of poison ivy shed light on needed emancipation?

Abraham Lincoln made only one visit to Michigan – to Kalamazoo in 1856. Why did he make that visit? To address slavery, of course.

A recent article¹ in the Kalamazoo Gazette, no doubt spurred on by the new Spielberg movie entitled, “Lincoln”, relates that Lincoln told the crowd in Kalamazoo, “This is the question: Shall the government of the United States prohibit slavery in the United States?”

Of course we know how this turned out: with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 during the Civil War and the eventual end of human slavery in this country.

But there is another kind of slavery. Many suffer a form of slavery to disease. And others, seeking relief, all too often end up exchanging slavery to disease for slavery to drug-based treatment.

In the past, illnesses tended to be ‘acute,’ meaning that they occurred and were treated, and the patients either got better or died. But today, most illnesses are chronic and complex.” “… [The] condition will be with him for life and will need multiple treatments, many medications, and probably a number of hospitalizations…” according to Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D. in The Future of Health Care Delivery²

In light of the connection between thought and the body, might we find freedom by exploring how our thoughts either enslave us or through an understanding of spirituality free us? It’s a growing field of medical research but not really something new.

Shortly after the Civil War, Mary Baker Eddy, a pioneer in researching the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, wrote this: “Legally to abolish unpaid servitude in the United States was hard; but the abolition of mental slavery is a more difficult task.” And she shares this insightful observation, “I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.”³

An experience I had taught me about the mental slavery of illness and what happens when you become a slave to the treatment as well.

As a child, I suffered often from chapped lips. It was especially troublesome in the Michigan winter. I used a lip balm (Chap Stick) and I got to the point where for years I used it year round. I fell into a habit of licking my lips, getting chapped, applying the lip balm, and then licking my lips again. This went on all day long, all year long. I carried a tube of lip balm in my back pocket year-round.

I was essentially a slave to chapped lips and to an ointment that wasn’t solving the problem.

After a number of years of this, one day, when I came down with poison ivy, I prayed to God for healing. I found comfort from Biblical statements in Genesis that caused me to feel God’s love and care for me. Through this prayer I also came to realize that this plant did not have dominion over my body, but that my thought – through connection with the divine – was empowered with dominion over my body and over the plant. This resulted in quick and permanent healing of the poison ivy.

But what I find really interesting is where this realization led next. I then saw that just as I was free from mental slavery to poison ivy, on the same basis I could also be free from the mental slavery of thinking I was dependent on lip balm. This was like an emancipation proclamation for me. I threw out my tubes of lip balm and have been free, still living in Michigan, ever since.

Perhaps this is the kind of freedom Jesus was referring to when he said, “… ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”4

I wonder if the question Lincoln presented to the Kalamazoo crowd could be paraphrased to ask, “Shall we prohibit all forms of slavery, including mental slavery?” Shall we? Can we? The answer is “yes”.


¹ When Abraham Lincoln came to Kalamazoo; The Kalamazoo Gazette, by Louise Knott Ahern of The Lansing State Journal, November 10, 2012.
² Excerpted on kevinmd.com in A sick care system instead of a health care system from The Future of Health Care Delivery by Dr. Stephen C. Schimpff, MD, March 1, 2012. Here’s a short video of Dr. Schimpff discussing these issues (or click here).

To view all three video clips on his media page, click here.
³ Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pages 225 & 226.
4 KJV John 8:32.

Does love affect health?

(courtesy of Flickr user nyoin)

Two groups of children receiving different levels of hygiene and nutrition and different levels of loving care. The ones being loved fared much better.

Anne Harrington is a Harvard College Professor and Professor for the History of Science, specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind and behavioral sciences. In her book, “The Cure Within – A History of Mind-Body Medicine”, she shares a 1945 study (on page 191) by psychoanalytic psychiatrist Rene Spitz in which one group of babies was cared for with good hygiene and excellent physical care but received little if any individual love or attention. This group became physically and emotionally stunted. Most could not walk or talk even at the age of four. “Within two years 37 percent … had died from infection.

In contrast, a second group of babies was cared for in a prison nursery that was “far dirtier” but received loving affection from their mothers each day. “Not a single one of the second group of children succumbed to infection during the five-year period of Spitz’s study.

Continue reading Does love affect health?


Caregiver placebo effect

Placebos by Akacio S. ( /photographyk )

The placebo effect is usually considered to be the curative effective resulting from patients equipping a sugar pill with their belief in its ability to help. But it turns out that the placebo effect can result from the thought of the caregiver as well.

“Belief in or expectation of a good outcome can have formidable restorative power, whether the positive expectations are on the part of the patient, the doctor or caregiver, or both…” says Herbert Benson, M.D. writing (with Marg Stark) about what he calls “remembered wellness” in his book “Timeless Healing – The Power and Biology of Belief”.

Continue reading Caregiver placebo effect


Easter’s blessing every day

by Callmetim

One of the Easter hymns in my church says, “Let us sing of Easter gladness that rejoices every day…”¹

Jesus’ resurrection has meaning for us every day. It shows us, among other things, that the real essence of our being is spiritual. And this leads to more health and happiness.

It’s clear that Jesus’ resurrection showed us that true life is eternal. But a material mortal has a material birth, a temporary material life and a material death. So what kind of being has eternal life? Not a material being. So if our true life is eternal, our true being is spiritual. The resurrection reveals that we’re really eternal, spiritual beings.

Continue reading Easter’s blessing every day


What’s prayer got to do with it?

Picture by Ryan Harvey

The short answer is…. plenty!

So, how was weight loss accomplished through prayer ?

Healing in Christian Science is not faith healing through the human mind or a blind faith. It’s not New Age thinking or positive thinking. It’s not visualization, seeing yourself the way you want to be.

It’s seeing yourself as God sees you, as God made you.

Continue reading What’s prayer got to do with it?


Is God ever uncaring?

“Would Americans, in the face of unemployment, home foreclosures, two wars and an uncertain economic future, describe the Almighty as a wrathful, cold critic of our failings, or maybe a distant, uncaring force?”

The answer?   “For Americans today, God, quite simply, is love.”

This is Cathy Lynn Grossman’s synopsis of contributions from readers sharing their concept of God in her 12/19/2010 article in USA WEEKEND entitled, “How Americans imagine God.”  She pointed out that the responses are personal and individual.  “Still, one gleaming, common thread weaves throughout: For Americans today, God, quite simply, is love.”  Her readers “describe a loving presence”.

So, how does Christian Science imagine God?

Continue reading Is God ever uncaring?


A Relevant Social Network Christmas

This video below showed me that the Christmas story can be told in the language of today’s Social Media and still share the same message.

Here’s the YouTube video entitled Social Network Christmas by Ignitermedia.com

So here’s a question: does something have to be new and popular to be relevant?

Continue reading A Relevant Social Network Christmas