Is It Safe for You to Trust Your Health to the Holistic Health Practices of Today? – Program 2

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?

The Power Behind the Cure


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?

Ankerberg: Welcome. In a moment, we will begin our discussion. But first, one doctor recently stated that there is a paradigm shift taking place in medicine today. What kind of shift was he talking about? It has to do with how doctors do medicine and the religious worldview they hold. These are inseparably joined together with the new methods and treatments that they’re using. Now, here are a few clips from last week’s program where we learned about how some of our most highly trained and accredited doctors practice medicine. I think you’ll be surprised. First you’re going to hear from Dr. Norman Shealy, who is a neurosurgeon and former professor at Harvard University; and then you’ll hear Dr. Robert Leichtman, a well-known doctor, who approaches medicine in a very different way. Listen.

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: When you’re communicating with the spirits, Cayce got wrong information sometimes. 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?
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: Now, how widespread is this kind of thinking among doctors? Well, that’s what this series of programs is all about. Will this new wave of medicine eventually affect how your doctor does medicine? It very possibly could if your doctor accepts the same kind of thinking and philosophy. And it could cause him to prescribe for you one of the new medical therapies. Maybe this has already happened to you.
Well, let’s go to our program today, and our topic is: what is the mysterious energy that almost all holistic health medical therapies rely upon to heal? How does this energy work? Is it real? Then we’re going to talk about one specific holistic therapy widely used today, namely, Therapeutic Touch. I’d like you to listen.

Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re talking about a very interesting topic: “Should New Age holistic health techniques be cataloged as quackery or the new wave of medicine?” We have five doctors on the platform—four medical doctors and a PhD research doctor concerning Eastern religions. And I want to start this program in talking about the many different kinds of therapies, such as Therapeutic Touch that the nurses are using, acupuncture that we hear on the news all the time, polarity therapy and reflexology and iridology and homeopathy and Rolfing. And as far as we can get, we’re going to go at it here, so hang in there with us.
But all of these things revolve around what is called “energy.” In the New Age Movement, in holistic health, the belief in the flow of what is called a cosmic, universal energy that heals is basic to almost anything we’re going to talk about next. But because it has no specific scientific basis, it’s got various names. You’ll hear it under the “vital force,” “cosmic energy,” the Hindus called it “prana,” the “kundalini,” the “universal energy,” the “chi life force,” “biomagnetic,” “bioplasma.” William Reich called it “orgone energy.” The American Indian called it “arinda.” Mesmer, from where we got hypnotism, called it “animal magneticism.” George Lucas in his movie Star Wars that was put out by Spielberg, called it “The Force.” So now I think we all know what we’re talking about.
Dr. Weldon, in your book you said about this universal energy, “It is at the root of all healing, all psychic abilities, all so-called miraculous occurrences. By whatever name one uses, it certainly pervades the new medicine, the holistic health medicine today.” Now, why did you say that?
Weldon: I think there are a number of things that we need to understand about this energy, and this is really the bottom line. This is where the rubber meets the road. And this is perhaps the most single crucial issue involved. If we can determine what this energy is, how it operates, then we’ve answered an awful lot about New Age medical techniques.
Number one, it has never been scientifically established that this energy works in the manner claimed or even that it functions in the manner claimed.
Number two, it is indistinguishable from the occult power claimed to be given by spirits and demons from magicians.
Now, it is accepted by everyone that this power can be used for good or evil. You mentioned Star Wars. Well, the Force could be used for good or evil. It’s used in black magic; it’s used in Satanism; it’s used in black witchcraft. It’s used in voodoo; it’s used in human sacrifice where at the point of sacrifice the person gets high off the death energy. It’s used in a variety of what can only be termed “evil occultism.” This power, this energy, is amoral. It can be used for evil just as quickly and easily as it can be used for good. Now, this energy also acts independently, it has intelligence, it can enter a person and it can cause the development of psychic powers, spirit possession. It can change the world view. There can be a transformation.
Ankerberg: Hang in there. Let’s go over to Dr. Shealy.
Shealy: My interest is in what I would call “God,” period; and the spiritual power of God; and it’s not in any of this other stuff. And I think, again, it’s the intent of the person and how you focus your energy and what you yourself are up to and doing good for other people.
Ankerberg: But you would agree that there is some—I’m going to try and use the terms I heard in your book—well, I’ll use the ones that Carolyn Myss used, “There is an energy flow”—this universal cosmic energy—“that flows through the top of our head all through our body,” okay?
Shealy: I think this is God.
Ankerberg: Okay. And that’s why I say, “energy,” “universal energy, “prana,” “life force,” whatever you want to do. But then it’s interesting that down through the years the different systems, whether it be Hinduism, Buddhism and so on, now holistic health, is the reason you have disease is you have a blockage in the body of this life force, this energy somehow. And so… I’m getting ahead of ourselves here and what all the different methodologies are. Let’s take one, okay?
Let’s take Therapeutic Touch. How does the life force, this universal energy, work in terms of Therapeutic Touch? I’ll give you the top thing. Time magazine, December 1987, had a big article on Delores Krieger, RN, PhD, who teaches all of the nurses at New York University, Frontiers in Nursing, “The Actualization of Potential for Therapeutic Human Field Interaction.” She talks about putting her hands over the patients. And, Dr. Reisser, what does she do?
Dr. Paul Reisser: Well, she does a kind of scanning technique of attempting to determine where she feels the energy—in this case she calls prana—is either condensed or hot, cold, ruffled, or somehow out of balance; and then through a kind of a meditative state attempts to smooth that out again by hand-passes over the body in different ways. In attempt to, what her view is, “normalize” the flow of prana that may be for whatever reason not flowing properly. This is again, the same term that you just mentioned is related to the flow of the energy in the body that is described in your book, Creation of Health, in the chakra system. Am I correct? I don’t want to misrepresent what you’ve written.
Shealy: I think that’s so.
Reisser: It’s a reasonable representation. But I think there’s a really critical question that comes down to, again, I mentioned this in the last program, the map we’re looking at; the guideposts. How do we formulate what the energy represents? You equate the energy with God. This is God flowing within the individual. Is that a reasonable assumption?
Shealy: Yes.
Reisser: Is it possible… because many people, you see, who are coming from a more evangelical standpoint, many people who believe in the God who is out there and not necessarily inside, also practice this kind of therapy. They believe in it. Do you think those two viewpoints are compatible?

Ankerberg: Now, before we hear what else Dr. Shealy and the other doctors have to say, let me comment from a theological point of view about the holistic health practice of Therapeutic Touch. If you are ever in the hospital and you discover your nurse asking for your permission to perform this treatment on you, where she passes her hands along and a few inches above your body remember this. Therapeutic touch is assumed to be a form of non-physical healing. It’s practiced by at least 30,000 nurses in America and thousands more in other countries. Here’s what I want you to keep in mind.
It was developed by spiritist Dora Kuntz, president of the occult Theosophical Society, and a nurse by the name of Delores Krieger. Krieger combined Dora Kuntz’s occult approach with other eastern beliefs, such as manipulating prana, the supposed cosmic life energy that permeates the universe.
Now, how does Therapeutic Touch supposedly work? Well, it claims to work by channeling psychic energies from the nurse to the patient for healing. But despite its growing popularity, Therapeutic Touch is not a scientific practice. We provide the documentation for this in our book Can You Trust Your Doctor?, where we list many of the latest scientific studies. In reality, Therapeutic Touch is an occult form of healing and should be labeled as such.
Now, again, Dr. Weldon and I admit that we are not medical doctors. We received our doctorates in theology and philosophy. But on the basis of scientific research that we have read, and the warnings found in the Bible in Deuteronomy 18 against occult involvement, our advice is that Therapeutic Touch should be viewed as neither a safe nor legitimate scientific medical practice. Now, we’ll return to our discussion with the doctors.

Reisser: Many people who believe in the God who is out there and not necessarily inside, also practice this kind of therapy. They believe in it. Carolyn, in her writing, states actually right out that this kind of belief inhibits holistic therapy because it seems to slow people up; because they think God is out there either making them sick or making them well and that’s going to slow them down. Do you think people can still believe that and still manipulate energy at the same time?
Shealy: I think you can do both. It depends on the attitude. See, basically I think whether or not you are healthy or diseased has to do with whether you’re forgiving, whether you’re tolerant, whether you’re compassionate, whether you’re charitable, whether you’re wise and whether you have love and use love. And love is the desire to help others, to do good to others, period. If that is your purpose, then I think you have good coming out of what you do.
Weldon: I would have to disagree with Dr. Shealy that a Christian can be involved in this whole New Age world view or technique. There are two fundamental different positions toward God, toward the world, toward individuals, toward health.
Ankerberg: What are they, quickly?
Weldon: Pantheism is the belief of the New Age Movement/New Age medicine. That teaches that God is everything; or a form it—panentheism—the universe is God’s body. I am sitting on God. If I look at you, I say, “God, would you please repeat the question?” Christian theism teaches that God is distinct from the creation. If you were completely destroy the universe, in Christian theism you would not touch God. If you were to completely destroy the universe in pantheism, you would destroy God.
Now, these systems have consequences depending based upon their premises. And if everything is ultimately God, then you have a real problem in determining something that might be spiritually evil. And so many people are getting into New Age medicine thinking everything is goodness and light that they’ve completely ignored this tremendous history of occult dangers that exist.
And the fact is that there is a demonic reality; it’s not nonsense. People are actively involved in Satanism and voodoo and witchcraft. I don’t think you can say that a New Age worldview and a Christian worldview are in any way compatible because they aren’t.
Shealy: I can say whatever I choose. I happen to be a Christian, an Episcopalian, and my belief systems are totally compatible with the Episcopal faith. And whether you choose to put demonism and that sort of thing into it is beyond me. I think that those people who speak of and are preoccupied with negativity attract it.
Ankerberg: Okay, would you say that there is a difference between Carolyn’s views that there’s an all-pervading energy in the universe and we’re all tied together, and the scriptural point of view that you as an Episcopalian hold to?
Shealy: I think that there is a great deal of similarity in our views. And from talking with many Episcopalian ministers and bishops, the concept of God as an anthropomorphic entity is not mainstream Episcopalian belief.
Ankerberg: How about this. Is Jesus Christ God in the flesh?
Shealy: That is Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Man manifest is the word, I believe.
Ankerberg: Okay. Would you say that He is separate from His creation, or would you just say that Jesus Christ is God like you’re God and I’m God?
Shealy: Well, I think the manifestation in Jesus is more pure of the spiritual principles than other people have been able to achieve.
Ankerberg: Take Jesus’ words: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” [John 14:6] He’s the only one out there. He’s the only God going. He’s it. Solid Episcopalian view.
Shealy: That is part of Episcopalian belief, but not essential to it.
Ankerberg: Okay. So you don’t think that’s essential to Episcopalian belief. Would you say that that is in conflict with Carolyn’s belief of the all-pervading energy and God being that all-pervading energy?
Shealy: No.
Ankerberg: Okay. Would you say that if Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and God Incarnate, and that He’s the only way, would you say that His instruction, Deuteronomy 18, other instruction that we have in Scripture, His talks with Satan, His powers over the spirit entities that were at that time, and His warnings to us to stay away from that would have any bearing on our conversation here?
Shealy: Well, I think it has great bearing upon our conversation, but I also remind you that He said these things and greater can all people do. [John 14:12]
Ankerberg: Dr. Weldon, do you think that was what Jesus was talking about in John 14?
Weldon: Well, I think the problem is that too many people today take that statement of Jesus out of context and use it to justify the occult.
Ankerberg: Well, give me a good solid scriptural reason why that wouldn’t be true.
Weldon: Well, number one, people do not have these innate occult powers that the New Age claims that they do have. The biblical philosophy on man is that man is not God; he is a creature of God in need of redemption.
Ankerberg: Alright, for the folks that are watching, you’re waiting for me to get to acupuncture, 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.

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