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New Age Religion: the Body, Mind, Spirit Holistic Health and Modern Medicine

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New Age Religion: The Body, Mind, Spirit Holistic Health and Modern Medicine Just like the world has evolved through time in almost every aspect, religions have not stayed the same either, new religions have been created with their roots in old traditions. Different religions have been formed and established with this day and age. Some are science-related; some are traditional; other religion deviates from the norm; and some consist of combinations of traditional and new ideas. Example of this is the New Age movement. However, it is not a new religion it is considered old but became popular only in 1970s. It is a compilation of different practices, beliefs, teachings and religions that are being practiced by different ancient societies around the world. This religion treats the body, mind and soul as one entity and considered them interconnected. It promotes traditional medicine from different cultures, religions and beliefs found everywhere in the world. It can also be viewed as holistic healing of illnesses and diseases (Puttick 129). Russell Chandler described it as “A hybrid mix of spiritual, social, and political forces, and it encompasses sociology, theology, the physical sciences, medicine, anthropology, history, the Human Potential movement, sports and science fiction” (17). Although New Age main point is to be something relatively new, making it the third larges religious group, its roots are as old as the eastern religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the mystical oracles of ancient Greece and Egypt. New Age is a topic that does not quite have one particular meaning. Therefore, to simply define it would not offer the profound understanding of what “New Age” religion completely entails. Several characteristics of the New Age religion are rather interesting. According to Puttick (p. 129) New Age religion comprises of new religious movements, groups and individuals. Their main concern is personal development and spirituality. They share core beliefs and values but they do not have governing council nor leader and even a central organization or church. New Age movement is said to be started in the Garden of Eden, wherein the serpent told Eve to eat the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:4-5). They share their beliefs, experiences and spiritual journeys through published books and articles. Some of the principles and practices they share are Yoga, Near Death Experiences, Astrology, Aura, Black and White Magic, Psychic, Reincarnation, Tai Chi, Taoism, and Tarot Cards among others (Cornell University Website 72.). The beliefs and principles of New Age religion are so vast it covers almost all the areas in human life as well as the environment. Their beliefs and principles are contradictory with each other; however, there is no right, wrong or rules. People who are involved in this religion practices what they want and believe what principles they want to believe. It has great impact on society, culture, politics, music, business, science and medicine. It is already widespread that people are practicing or doing these beliefs and principles without noticing it. Some of the principles, beliefs and teachings of New Age religion involve conceptualization of mind, body and spirit as a whole and promotes wellness to mind, body and spirit as well as the power of mind. When a “New Ager” speaks about God, they are speaking about the God within them, also known as the total realization of human personal potential. Everything that the person can use its senses to initiate, perhaps feeling, seeing or hearing, all is considered perfect or as some may call it, almighty. God is the higher consciousness within them. One of the principles of the New Age religion believes that the mind body and spirit are interconnected. They treat the three elements into one or what they call wholeness. “The mind and body are increasingly considered to be single integrated entity called the bodymind” (Lloyd and Dunn 32). A person is considered healthy if the body, mind and soul are all healthy. They are interconnected with each other and greatly affect one another. Dr. Pert identified that the mind and body are interconnected via biochemical communications between the Central Nervous System, the immune and the endocrine systems. She identified the cells and glands where emotion exists. She is a research professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University and author of Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind Body Medicine (Lloyd and Dunn 32). This belief gave rise to mind body and spirit medicine. This treatment promotes the wellness of social, mental, spiritual aspect of a person to be able to have a good mind and spirit condition that will affect eventually the body. Having a good mind, positive disposition, good social interaction with the people around the patient, and healthy spirit will lead to a faster recovery of the patient. Treatment of the mind, body and soul uses traditional medicine because they believed that traditional medicine, or Holistic Health, is more effective than conventional medicine. Conventional medicines treat only the specific diseases and illnesses and can cause harmful side effects on human body aside from high cost while traditional medicines are focused not only on the body’s need but also the need of mind and spirit. Holistic health is the most prominent feature of the New Age religion. One understands the concept of “Holistic Health” through the restoration of health that existed before the arrival of modern medicine. Forty two Integrative (holistic) medical research clinics are all over the country and are held at the most prestigious of academic medical research academies: Harvard, Yale, Duke and the Mayo Clinic. In attaining a healthy body various practices and beliefs in the New Age religion promote the use of traditional medicine. “In the allopathic model the body is viewed as a self-contained machine or collection of systems that malfunction with age, injury, or when invaded by infectious microbes or germs. Allopathic health or modern medicine care practices developed a battery of defensive techniques for dealing with these causes of malfunction. In contrast, alternative health models see the body as one aspect of a whole person, along with mind and spirit. They view the illness as an imbalance between these three interdependent aspects of a human being, or between a human being and his or her environment” (Allison 1). Traditional medicine has been around for centuries and practice by different race and cultures. Examples of this traditional medicine are acupuncture, Chinese medicine, meditation and ayurvedic medicine, chiropractic, crystal healing, massage, bioenergetics, Reiki, homeopathy and shamanism. Other methods that are not so familiar include polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, reflexology and psychic healing According to Allison (p.1), Ayuverdic medicine originated from India and is believe to be 5 centuries old and considered the oldest. It promotes diseases prevention by encouraging the maintenance of health by focusing on the balance of one’s body, mind and spirit. It teaches patients to maintain proper lifestyle, diet, exercise, herbs and meditation. They consider a person healthy if a person has a positive thinking, diet and lifestyle to maintain a balance of life energies (p.5). Another technique worth of mentioning is shamanism. An ancient healing that permits the person to enter the world of spirits and interact with the unseen (Allison 18). Meditation is focusing on breathing, and thoughts that increases awareness and teaches to live life to the fullest. This practice is beneficial to person with depression, anxiety, psoriasis, chronic headaches, chronic back pain and hypertension (Lloyd and Dunn 32) Relaxation is the decreased sympathetic arousal when a deep state of physical relaxation. This is beneficial to persons with premenstrual syndrome, dysrhythmias, and people under medical procedures. (Lloyd and Dunn 32). Yoga, Tai Chi, Aerobics are physical activity for muscle toning and conditioning. People with depression, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic neck and low back pain in pregnant women, chronic fatigue syndrome, stroke, diabetes, asthma, fibromyalgia would benefit with this activity. Chinese medicine provides natural, herbal and effective medicines with a combination of acupuncture. It is used by ancient Chinese 2000 years ago. Acupuncture, originated also from China, is an alternative medicine using thin needles inserted in the acupuncture points in the skin to correct the imbalance flow of qi in the body. With this day and age where people are always on the go and different diseases and illnesses continuously develop, New Age religion provides answers to the different needs of humans. It has a wide array of principle, beliefs and teachings combined. It covers all the areas in people’s lives, societies and environment. The said group provides alternatives and wider options to people. It has all the teachings of different religion around the world. It promotes how we perceive things, how to react to life’s challenges and how to treat our body mind and spirit. New Age religion gives us wider options on health and wellness According to Sullivan modern medicine was created at the beginning to fight infectious diseases because at that time the higher mortality rate was due to those. Nowadays the challenge is another, the diseases taking our mortality rate up are chronic d like many types of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, which do not have a clear causal agent. Right here is where the combination of modern and holistic medicine takes place, it is proven that our modern medicine do not have a definite solution for these new killer diseases, instead, the holistic medicine presents a wide of alternatives that are proven to not only prevent but reverse some of this complications. New Age religion gives us not only options but teachings on how we can treat ourselves from illnesses and diseases. It opens doors to alternative treatment and holistic treatment and gives hope to those people who do not respond to conventional medicine. Sometimes when it seems that there is no hope for our health, New Age opens our minds and teach us to accept these things as part of our lives in order to live better. There is no doubt that the combination of modern medicine and New Age characteristics have a place in the world, not only as a new type of organization but also as the filler of the empty spots in the medicine field our society was feeling.

Works Cited Allison, Nancy, ed. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body-Mind Disciplines. New York: Rosen, 1999. Print. Chandler, Russell. Understanding the New Age. United Kingdom: Word, 1989. Print.
Cornell University Website. "The new age movement.". N.p., 2011. Web. 5 Apr 2012.
Idler, Ellen. "The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Spiritual/Religious Practices."Spirituality in Higher Education Newsletter 4 (Feb. 2008): 1-5. Web. 8 Apr. 2012.
Lloyd, Leslie F., and Laurie R. Dunn. "Mind-body-spirit Medicine: Interventions and Resources." JAAPA. JAAPA, 01 Oct. 2007. Web. 8 Apr. 2012.
Puttick, Elizabeth. "The Rise of Mind-Body-Spirit Publishing: Reflecting or Creating Spiritual Trends?" Journal of Alternative Spiritualities and New Age Studies 1 (2005): 129-49. Web. 8 Apr. 2012.
Sullivan, T.. "Modern medicine vs. alternative medicine: Different levels of evidence." Policy and Medicine, 2011. Web. 9 Apr 2012.

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