Archeologists and anthropologists have reported that various forms of spiritual healing have been practiced since human beings have been on planet Earth. Many of these have been revived in modern culture through “alternative” medicine—such practices as acupuncture, qigong, homeopathy, body work, yoga, music therapy, imagery, naturopathy, shamanism, Ayurvedic, and other integrative and holistic practices.
Since the 1980s, research into these healing modalities has been condoned by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the name of CAM, complementary and alternative medicine. Overseen thereafter by doctors and experts in scientific medicine, millions and millions of dollars have been granted by the NIH and benevolent foundations, with the goal of “proving” once and for all whether or not these therapeutic modalities “work.”
Soon, it was noticed that the “data” obtained through these studies of alternative healing modalities was not producing the “statistically significant” results that would be required by biomedical science to assure the same reliable “proof” required of traditional or standard medical and surgical practice. At about the same time, a new term was invented: “evidence-based” medicine. This meant that the usual requirement for scientific “proof” could be made less stringent, needing only “the best evidence available.”
Prayer is a good example of a healing modality that was studied with the scientific method. Early studies seemed to indicate some slight improvement in patients who had been prayed for, and numerous articles and books proclaimed a new era in medicine. However, after many more carefully constructed research studies only one scientific conclusion could be reached: prayer had no effect upon the healing of the human body, and, in fact, some patients did worse when prayed for.
However, there is another conclusion that can be reached: Ordinary biomedical science is inadequate to measure the effects of prayer on healing.
Is it possible that there could be a new methodology, one that would not try to reduce either traditional or CAM healing to ordinary biomedical science, but that would include the spiritual within the method itself?
Mike’s new book, a memoir Nobody’s Boy: An Old Doctor and a New Science is now available on Amazon.com!
A heartwarming medical memoir, telling of the author’s lifelong quest for unification of spirituality with science in the healing arts. Doctor Mike Denney, surgeon and psychologist, tells dramatic and inspirational stories of his childhood, medical education, and years of practice, which offer paths toward a new science of the 21st century, a transformative science in which the spiritual is integrated within the research, education, and practice of all the medical healing arts, conventional and alternative.
Mike Denney’s Teaching Schedule:
Pacifica Graduate Institute, Chronic Illness, Terminal Illness, and Conscious Dying, DPS 951, Spring 2015