Health practitioners that specialize in holistic healing believe they can help to heal the whole person, meaning a person’s mind, body, and spirit. For those who may not be familiar with holistic healing, other names for it include complementary therapies, natural healthcare, alternative medicine, and integrative medicine.
Some specific types of healing methods and techniques they incorporate into their regimens include acupuncture, massage therapy, aromatherapy, essential oils, chiropractic medicine, and energy therapies, such as Reiki. The goal of these types of treatment is to embrace natural healing, avoid prescription drugs at all costs, and focus on healing the whole person.
While all of this sounds good, it does beg the question, should Christians embrace or reject holistic healing? When asking this question, a believer in Christ needs to first look at where this type of healing came from and if it strays from the Bible.
Before going any further, the Bible does say that Christians should seek healing for their bodies. For example in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 it says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Also, in certain passages, the Bible says to use oil or wine for healing and for curing certain ailments. One example would be, “He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.” Luke 10:34
These types of treatments would certainly be considered natural remedies. However, in order to heal the whole person, Christians should be looking to God for healing in every area of their life. Only God knows what His children truly need.
If a believer is stressed or anxious, it may simply mean they need to take time to rest, which is one of His commandments. If there is a medical condition, it’s important to pray for God’s guidance when making the decision to see a medical doctor or to take a more natural approach to healing.
If they do see a holistic health practitioner, Christians should be aware that some techniques used might be in opposition to the Bible and others can open the door for negative spiritual consequences.
Much of what goes on with holistic healing is rooted in ancient healing traditions that began 5,000 years ago. In China, it started with Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in India with Ayurveda. Since that time, holistic health educators have taught that there is an interconnection of mind, body, spirit, and environment. Socrates, a man who is considered the father of western philosophy, warned against treating just one part of the body.
Others who are considered important in the formation of holistic healing, include Hippocrates, who encouraged self-healing efforts, and more recently, Jan Smuts, who coined the term holism in his book, “Holism and Evolution” which he wrote in 1926. Today, some of the most popular holistic practitioners that embrace New Age components of holistic healing include Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Oz.
It is okay for Christians to see a chiropractor for a backache or a massage therapist to help release tension in their muscles. But when Christians begin seeking holistic healing as a way to heal everything that is wrong with them, it can become easy for a Christian to become less dependent on God.
Also, Christians need to be aware of practitioners who use methods that don’t line up with Scripture. When deciding if a holistic healing method has more in common with Eastern religions rather than Christianity, some terms to be on the lookout for include life force, chi, meridians, chakras, energy points, channels of energy, yin-yang, the God within, and Christ consciousness.
Christians should also be aware that many of the techniques used by holistic healers have not been FDA-approved, nor have they have been backed up with science. More often than not, the “proof” that holistic healers have regarding the effectiveness of their treatment is based on experience only. Usually, what works for one does not work for others.
Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age (CANA) says, “Many cited studies to support these methods are flawed, short-term, based on anecdotal evidence, conducted by believers in the techniques, & often are not published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.”
There is much homework to be done when it comes to holistic healing. Christians need to exercise caution and discernment when it comes to embracing or rejecting holistic healing practitioners and the methods they may use.