Is It Safe for You to Trust Your Health to the Holistic Health Practices of Today? – Program 1

By: Dr. Norman Shealy, Dr. Robert Leightman, Dr. Jane Gumprecht, Dr. Paul Reisser, Dr. John Weldon; ©1994
How effective are some of the unconventional health practices being used today? Upon what basis should these practices be evaluated?

Unconventional Health Practices


Today on the John Ankerberg Show, four medical doctors and a Christian theologian will debate the question: Is it safe for people to trust their health to the new unconventional medical therapies? The New England Journal of Medicine reports that one-third of all American adults now seek out and use unconventional medical treatments and holistic health practices. By definition, an unconventional medical therapy is a practice that not in conformity with the standards of the scientific medical community. But if so, how can the public know which therapies are safe? Who has tested the principles upon which each holistic health practice claims it can cure illness? And what about harmful spiritual effects? Haven’t some holistic health treatments incorporated parts of occult belief and practice?

During this series, doctors representing all sides of these issues will discuss the individual holistic health practices by name, and express how they may impact your physical and spiritual well-being.

My guests are: Dr. Norman Shealy, the founder of the holistic health medical association in America. He is a neurosurgeon and former professor of medicine at Harvard university; Dr. Robert Leichtman, a medical doctor, who is also recognized as one of the premier psychics in America; Dr. Jane Gumprecht, a Christian doctor who has warned the public about many holistic health practices; Dr. Paul Reisser, also a Christian doctor, who has written extensively on the medical dangers of unconventional health methods; and finally, Christian theologian Dr. John Weldon, who did his Ph.D. work on the beliefs and practices of the eastern religions. We invite you to join us as we investigate the question: is it safe for you to trust your health to the holistic health practices of today?

Many listeners throughout the years have asked me, “John, what about this holistic medical therapy? What about that one? It sounds real strange, but my friends have tried it and they say it works; and I really need help. What does your research show?” well, since my doctorate is in theology and not medicine, I’ve invited four fully accredited medical doctors to come and answer your questions, two of whom will represent the holistic health medical association right here in America. Now, it is going to be impossible for us to answer all of your questions, but in the weeks ahead, we’re going to give the pros and cons concerning some of the most frequently used holistic health medical therapies today.

Now, what’s our bottom line? Well, it’s our own personal contention that most of the holistic health medical therapies are not effective; few if any have been scientifically validated; and many, but not all, have incorporated occult philosophy and practice. As a result, most are a waste of your money; they could be dangerous to your physical health, and they could be deadly to your spiritual well-being. Now, if you disagree, that’s okay, and that’s why we’ve taped these programs, so that you can hear both sides.

Now, some others of you may be saying, “John, my doctor would never treat me with a New Age holistic health technique.” Well, you’re probably right. But how would you know if he did? The statistics show that there are many doctors in America who have the best education, are fully accredited, yet they are still diagnosing and treating patients with these untested, unconventional therapies. In fact, today you’re going to meet two of them. One doctor has actually been a professor at Harvard Medical School and he’s a neurosurgeon. Both of them have the best medical education, and yet they do not hesitate to use a few of the unconventional medical therapies they happen to believe in. So, isn’t it true that because you assume your doctor would never treat you with a non-scientifically validated medical treatment, that you accept and you do whatever he says? And, isn’t that the reason people get into problems? Well, let’s go to our program right now. Our topic for today is: “Is it true that some accredited medical doctors are treating patients with unconventional medical therapies?”

Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome. We’re glad you’ve joined us this week. We’re talking about a very interesting topic. And the topic is: “Should New Age holistic health techniques be cataloged as quackery or the new wave of medicine?” And we’ve got five doctors on the platform. Let’s start off with a definition, folks, of, “What is holistic health?” so the folks in our television audience can understand what it is. And I’m going to ask the founder of the American Holistic Medical Association—because if he doesn’t know, we’re in trouble—What is the key definition of, “What is holistic health?”
Dr. Norman Shealy: Well, holistic health is a state of harmony—of body, mind, emotions, environment and spirit.
Ankerberg: Okay, tell me a little bit how you and Ms. Myss work together. I think the folks would find this fascinating that you work with a medical clairvoyant who’s not even in your office but eleven or twelve hundred miles away in New Hampshire. Would you take them through what you actually do. You see a patient in your office and you’re in what?
Shealy: Springfield, Missouri.
Ankerberg: Okay, you’re in Missouri, and you diagnose what is wrong with the patient. Correct?
Shealy: Yes. And 90 percent of the time it’s very obvious; probably another nine percent of the time it’s fairly easy to find out. Most of the time when I call Carolyn or Bob and ask them for help, what I’m looking for is a way of getting the patient’s attention to look at their spiritual roots for the disease.
Ankerberg: Okay. But now you call her on the phone, and what information do you give her?
Shealy: I just say, “I have sitting in my office Bob Jones. He is 53 years of age.
Ankerberg: Okay. And then she hasn’t met him; she hasn’t seen him—she’s eleven or twelve hundred miles away. And what does she do?
Shealy: She goes through a sort of systematic way of saying, “I don’t sense anything wrong with his brain.” She does a physical-intuitive impression. And then, if she finds something, she’ll dwell upon that. And she says, “But the real cause is—as I see it—of his problem is that he had a child out of wedlock,” let’s say. “And that’s been the problem for these ten years and he’s not dealing with that.” Now, when someone a thousand miles away picks up something of that magnitude, which often the patient hasn’t told me, that allows the patient to begin to deal with the problem and be ready to face the problem.
Ankerberg: Okay. Now, she actually does this, she says in the book, by checking out the seven chakra points on a person’s body. And checks out the energy that she sees there—the different kinds of energy—and then she’s got this all mapped out in your book as to what that tells her. Let’s hold on to that thought because I want to go into a little bit more. But I want to come to your buddy right next to you there.
And, Bob, I was absolutely fascinated with a book, Edgar Cayce Returns. And let’s tell the folks about this one. You say in the front here that you were sitting there; you were thinking about writing some biographical sketches about some famous people in the past, such as William Shakespeare, Edgar Cayce, Carl Gustav Jung, Helena Blavatsky, Thomas Jefferson and so on. But you got the idea that—and I quote here— “I was struck with the most singular thought. Rather than just write biographies of these people, what if I could actually interview them?” Well, that caught my attention right there.
And then you went on to say, “Both Dave Kendrick Johnson”—your friend who is an extremely gifted medium—“and I are capable of direct clairaudient communication with spooks, a term of affection I have long used for referring to human beings who have left behind their physical bodies. In fact, both of us have been quite friendly with a wide range of spooks for many years and have come to highly value the friendship, camaraderie and wise guidance of many such dead people. But instead of clairaudient communication, we decided it would be much more satisfactory for Dave to go into a mediumistic trance and allow the spirit of each person to speak through him one at a time while I conducted the interviews. So it was that we settled on the format that we have used in this series.”
And then, what you did is you actually did the conversations and you wrote it down—word for word—of basically what these folks said to you. And quite fascinating reading. One is about Edgar Cayce, and I want to pick up on Cayce, and then I want to talk to you and Norman about something that you said here.
When you’re communicating with the spirits, Cayce got wrong information sometimes, okay? For example, he got information in one of the writings that exists, that at that time Adolph Hitler, who was coming to power, was essentially a good man, okay? He said that New York City and Los Angeles were going to drop off into the oceans and wouldn’t exist. And the city of Atlantis would arise. Those things haven’t happened.
Now, some of his biographers, for example, even Jeff Stearn, who wrote Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet, have said, “Yeah, he was wrong. They gave him wrong information. In fact, they even ripped him off a couple of times. He made some financial deals on the advice and it was wrong advice. He himself lost money.”
Now, realizing that, okay, you can see where I’m going now. You’re taking advice and putting it into practice, and Norman, you’re checking out with Carolyn and we’re getting this information. How do you know you can trust that information, because it’s not scientifically based? That’s my long question, but can you see why it’s so important?
Dr. Robert Leichtman: I think that total infallibility is not a proper criteria for any diagnostic instrument, whether it’s X-ray or a lab test, or talking to a consultant, or even talking to a spirit. What you have to look at is, what kind of results do you get after you do a hundred cases, or a thousand cases? And I think that is certainly true for X-ray and certainly true for a lab test. My own personal experience is that with selected spirits I work with, we usually get valid information which can be checked out eventually.
Ankerberg: Dr. Gumprecht, you haven’t gotten into the conversation yet. What do you think about that? Would that be risky as far as you’re concerned in your family practice?
Dr. Jane Gumprecht: Well, I think so. It’s not based on data that you can quantify and that you can subject to double-blind random studies which is the criteria for scientific validation.
Shealy: It is true, though, when we walk into the room and when we’ve read a case history on paper you get a different feel once you see the patient and you hear the few words out of their mouth. But I think of that as a different kind of intuition in a sense, or a different sizing up based on still what I see and hear and the movement and body language than the kind of intuition that you’re describing which really is, to me, a very different “quantum leap” kind of change from what I see walking in the room and I’m trying to size up how sick somebody looks or what I think may be the problem.
Dr. John Weldon: Well, I think there’s a very big different between the kind of intuition that all of us experience occasionally and what is being termed “intuition” in the New Age Movement. Now, I approach this quite differently from Dr. Shealy.
Intuition today in the New Age Movement is being used as a euphemism for mediumism and spiritistic inspiration. Now, Ms. Myss has a spirit guide named “Genesis.” Norman here has contacted many spirits, and yet this is called intuition. If you go back 20 or 30 years in parapsychology or in psychical research what this is termed is “mediumism.” It is contacting a distinct spiritual entity. It is not part of your own psyche or emotional makeup or whatever, and that is really where the source of power comes from. It comes from these spirit entities. To call it intuition tends to normalize it and naturalize it and make it something innate that all of us possess. But really the only people that have these powers are the ones that are in spirit contact. And what concerns me is that there is a tradition of occult history that indicates that these things are potentially quite dangerous.
Ankerberg: Well, let me work back with you on that and with Robert sitting next to you there. Andrija Puharich, a man who’s a medical scientist, got 50 patents out—you folks probably know him—said concerning his experiences and his spirit guides and so on, he said, “Considering that I have had two years of intermittent experience of contact with them, I am remarkably ignorant about these beings. On the other hand, I have complete faith in their wisdom.” He says, “My lack of hard knowledge about them is a kind of deficiency, but it does not erode my faith in their essential pursuits of the good, the true and the beautiful.”
Now, I find that interesting, especially among you guys that have gone through medical school and you’ve developed a whole life of being skeptical about the evidence until it’s proven to you, that if there is a danger and if Cayce was led astray by the spirits’ information, aren’t we dabbling on ground that’s got a big question mark over it when spirits give us information? How do we know those spirits are giving us good information? How do we know that we ought to use that and how do we know that there’s not another purpose behind it?
Leichtman: What keeps me straight, I hope, is that when I work as an intuitive diagnostician, at least I’m a physician. I know about disease. I know about psychological problems. If I get some impressions, I can decide myself if this is something that’s too far out, that doesn’t fit the client.
I would add something that you said a moment ago, too. It has to do with the fact that lots of times when I work intuitively and also in Carolyn Myss, we’re not in physical contact with that person at all. We don’t see their body language; we don’t see how they’re dressed; we don’t see that they’re scowling; we don’t see they’re limping. We just get a name and age and what city they’re in. And if you can pick up a profile that fits their character and pick up something about their physical illness that you have no way of knowing, because all you have is the name and age, I think that validates the fact that you are picking up useful information.
Weldon: I think that validates the fact you’re picking up information, but I don’t think that it can be trusted for a number of reasons. Number one, this is psychic, mediumistic, spiritistic diagnosis. It is not a conventional medicine. And there is a vast, vast difference.
Ankerberg: Hang on to that. Let’s go hear what Norm was saying.
Shealy: The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course, and I do this with the patient’s approval. The patient is in the room with me. I would never think of asking this kind of information without the patient’s permission. And, basically, it is only something which the patient then can tell me is true. I’ll give you just one example of a woman who came to me, and again, had not told me what the basic problem was. She had pain in her pelvis. And Carolyn says, “Did she tell you about her two abortions?” And I’m sitting on the phone and I say, “Look, hey, you didn’t tell me about your two abortions.” She breaks into tears and that allowed me to help her deal with the problem for which she came but was not able to tell me. It sped up a process by about two months.
Ankerberg: Okay. Now, the fact is, I think we all agree on stage that it “works” to some extent. Now, the question, how do we know we can trust it? Dr. Weldon, put it into two minutes, please.
Weldon: John, I think many things “work,” and yet nevertheless, they are dangerous. Cocaine works. Heroin works. Prostitution works. Nuclear bombs work. The criteria of whether or not something works are not the only criteria that we should use to judge a particular practice. We have to look at the history of something. The history of mediumism and of spiritism is really littered with human wreckage.
And I think in the Scripture, in the Bible, we find some warnings about that. For example, in Deuteronomy 18 it says, “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire”—that was human sacrifice practiced back then—“one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft or one who interprets omens or a sorcerer, one who casts a spell or a medium or a spiritist or one who calls up the dead; for whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out from you.” [Deut. 18:10-12]
Now, the question is, why does God take such a hard stand against spiritism and mediumism which is being practiced so commonly today even in the medical profession? And it’s because God knows what is involved in these practices.
These spirits are not who they claim to be. They have a history of taking people over, of speaking through them, and speaking lies through them. Much of what they say is true, but that’s basically a “confidence gain” in order to get people’s attention and trust such that in the long-run greater destruction is done. And you can find that repeatedly in the lives of mediums—from Edgar Cayce, to Arthur Ford, going all the way back to the first mediumistic revival in this country in 1848.
Ankerberg: Alright, for the folks that are watching, you’re waiting for me to get to acupuncture, Therapeutic Touch, reflexology, iridology, Rolfing, and we’re out of time this week. But I guarantee you, if you come back with us next week that’s the topic next week for the whole half hour. So please join us then.

Testimony and further refinement of statistics given in a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Health and Long-Term Care in 1992, given by Dr. John Renner, MD, head of the Consumer Health Information Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, showed that: Of the 630,000 MD’s in America, 6,300-12,600 MD’s engage in purely quack activities. An additional 12,600-31,500 MD’s use some kind of unproven alternative technique in their medical practice. And further, 31,500-63,000 additional MD’s occasionally use an unproven alternative technique.

Read Part 2

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