One might say Dr. Andrew Elliott is not your run of the mill MD. Before he sees any patient, Dr. Elliott says a prayer. He then begins each patient visit thinking about the importance of his own intentions in relationship to working with that individual. These steps alone push the time he spends with each patient beyond standard practices.
But, standard practices are different in the practice of holistic medicine – treating the whole person rather than isolated symptoms – such as Dr. Elliott practices. His practice is built on a fourfold conceptual model. It includes :
Physical; Energy; Soul; and Spiritual.
Though it’s been practiced in some form for hundreds, if not thousands of years, Holistic medicine emerged in Western thought in the 1920s. Medical thinkers began to view sickness and healing as having mental roots, rather than just being physical issues, according to Anne Harrington of Harvard University in her book The Cure Within.
Yet, it wasn’t until the 1970s, according to the history of holistic medicine in the US, that it gained significant foothold. Though not universally seen as a viable form of health care, holistic medicine has gained some acceptance within mainstream medicine.
Still, lots of things are changing in mainstream medicine, including the incorporation of prayer as a key healing agent. For example, Dr. Elliott sees the Lord’s Prayer, common to the Christian tradition, as a profound healing prayer because it begins with Our Father, which is an acknowledgement that all of creation shares a common relationship with the Divine.
Even before the development of holistic medicine, spiritual thinker and healer Mary Baker Eddy made the same observation in her book Science and Health:
“Only as we rise above all material sensuousness …, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord’s Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick.”
She also acknowledges that “The recuperative action of the system, when mentally sustained by Truth [God], goes on naturally.”
The spiritual underpinnings of health have deep roots in ancient times as recorded in the Bible. Hebrew prophets, Jesus, and his disciples and followers since then, practiced this natural form of health care over many centuries, with sure results.
This new/old practice of medicine, acknowledging wholeness and the spiritual nature of man, can upgrade health care from mere mechanistic treatment to a sense of connectedness to powerful recuperative energies, including divine Love.
It’s great to know that there are many health practitioners reaching beyond a mechanistic model and working to serve the fuller health needs of their patients.