Health Diagnosis

My colleague from Florida, Robert Clark, wrote an insightful piece about the work of Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Last week Dr. Welch published an Op-Ed in the New York Times titled, If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K. (Click here to read it.) Here is what Bob Clark wrote (click here to read it on Bob’s blog):

Promoting Health posted on March 1, 2012 by Robert B. Clark

“The New York Times ran an editorial on Monday with this intriguing title, “If You Feel O.K., Maybe You Are O.K.” The author, H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is an author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health. Welch’s argument, summarized in his own words, goes something like this:

● “…is looking hard for things to be wrong a good way to promote health?

● “This process (over-screening of the apparently healthy) doesn’t promote health; it promotes disease.

● “For years now, people have been encouraged to look to medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that’s your job–you can’t contract that out.

“Welch is actually joining a chorus of voices within and outside of the medical pharmaceutical complex, encouraging individuals to take a greater level of responsibility for their own health instead of depending on an overly expensive and impersonal health care ‘system’ to do it for them. And not a moment too soon!

“The cost of systematized health care, and its emphasis on overdiagnosis, has already become unsustainable. Do we have to wait for our government to solve this crisis for us? I don’t think so.

“There are many different ways to promote health which don’t include looking for or expecting disease, and don’t need to include an over-reliance on medical systems and insurance models. For me, and a growing number of others, developing a stronger and deeper sense of spiritual health has been effective in promoting and demonstrating physical health.

“Promoting spiritual—and physical— health might include the regular and disciplined study of sacred texts, prayer, meditation, practicing gratitude by keeping a ‘gratitude journal’, making time to help/serve others in your neighborhood, etc. There are probably an infinite number of ways to practice spirituality and thereby promote health.

“Promoting health—and a healthy nation—can be done one individual at a time, one day at a time. We can begin now to become, not a nation of patients, but a nation of healthy, independent thinkers.”

Bob has decades of experience in the practice of Christian Science, which teaches the following about diagnosis: “The moral and spiritual facts of health, whispered into thought, produce very direct and marked effects on the body. A physical diagnosis of disease–since mortal mind must be the cause of disease–tends to induce disease.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 370 by Mary Baker Eddy)

Mrs. Eddy discovered more than a century ago that what we especially need is a diagnosis of our mental and spiritual condition. Rather than seeking out fear-producing physical diagnosis, we can search our thinking for any disease-producing thoughts. And we can destroy them. Spiritual healing occurs when we replace these beliefs with the truth of health.

As Bob wrote, we can find true health in our Scriptural sacred texts. The Bible teaches me that health comes from understanding God. The spiritual understanding of God establishes and maintains health and well-being. It is both preventative and curative. Science and Health states, “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (p. 120)

In summary, taking seriously the concerns raised by Dr. Welch in his Op-Ed would be one step in helping mankind to achieve successful reform that would lead to more cost-effective health care.

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