By Valerie Minard
If you haven’t seen Pharrell Williams’ music video of his “happy” song, you’ll enjoy this parody of it with lyrics by James McCormick advising viewers to think twice about health care before taking a pill or getting a medical exam. It’s part of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign, which educates both doctors and patients to question medical tests and treatments as a protection against over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
The campaign comes none too soon, in light of the increased use of highly addictive prescription painkillers for chronic pain—which continues to be one of the leading reasons for doctor visits. While the Medical world still regards opioids as one of the most effective pain treatments, Americans are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine for relief. This might include using acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, or prayer.
In fact, research team Jegindø EM, Vase L., and others were curious to measure how effective prayer could be for pain relief. In their study, they exposed twenty religious and twenty non-religious healthy volunteers to painful electrical stimulation during “internal prayer to God, a secular contrast condition, and a pain-only condition….Prayer reduced pain intensity by 34% for religious participants” but not for their non-religious counterparts.
While some readers might be skeptical of such results, Iain Napier’s experience supports their findings. He had been diagnosed with depression at age 17 and prescribed tranquilizers and sleeping pills. But he dreaded taking them for the rest of his life. He feared the drugs would rob him of independent thinking– so he decided to drop the meds.
Although he came from an agnostic background – where even the word “God” gave him the creeps – he found one book with insights on the scriptures and how Jesus healed. It opened up different views of the Divine for him and resolved many of the issues he had about religion.
“God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?” writes the author of that book Mary Baker Eddy. “God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend?”
The idea that the “divine Mind and intelligence exist independently of the brain,” said Iain, really resonated with him. Through continued diligent prayer and spiritual reasoning, he found relief, deep-founded joy, and, ultimately, healing.
Although not everyone may choose prayer as an option, the Choosing Wisely campaign is encouraging patients to get second opinions, make healthier lifestyle choices, and explore healthcare treatment they may not have considered before.
This excerpt from James McCormick’s lyrics gets at the heart of the “Choose Wisely” campaign and it’s focus on eliminating unwarranted testing and medical procedures.
It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Less is more can often be the best way.
There are tests, treatments, procedures you don’t really need
While some are very useful some at best mislead.
We’re choosing wisely
Ending unneeded medical procedures will benefit us individually and as a society. Adding “spiritual reasoning” and a better understanding of the Divine will bring us greater health.
Valerie is a self-syndicated columnist who writes about the connection between spirituality, consciousness, and health. She is also a Christian Science practitioner in Collingswood, NJ. Email her at: email@example.com. Tweet her at: @valerieminard.