More About Wholeness Care

Wholeness care?

So, what does wholeness care mean to you? Biblical wholeness is so much more than the absence of sickness. It is completeness, well-being, peace, holiness, health and salvation. A human person is a unified whole where the body, mind, and spirit are inseparable, interdependent, and intermingled. Thus, effective care should apply to an individual’s total being – mind, body and spirit.
In fact, more than thirty years of scientific research has proven that people who maintain spiritual practices, pray regularly, attend worship regularly, volunteer or serve others, and have a social network of friends, stay healthier, have fewer hospitalizations, fewer surgeries, and recover more quickly after hospitalizations. Yet, there are few instances in our country where healthcare and ministry work together to effect sustained whole-person health.
To address the obvious need, ACMin has launched The Wholeness Care Project, a collaborative study with faculty from the University of Georgia (UGA), the Athens College of Ministry (ACMin) that explores the effects of intentionally incorporating biblically-based Christian faith practices with mainstream medical approaches for the purpose of building a strong understanding and practical strategies for improving whole-person care. By studying the effects of fully integrated faith and healthcare, the project aims to develop effective pathways for improving patient health and wholeness through a comprehensive team approach, which equitably incorporates physical, mental and spiritual interventions of care.

Wholeness Care Stories

        Gregg Braden says beyond anything else that we may actually do in our lives, the beliefs that precede our actions are the foundation of all that we cherish, dream, become and accomplish. This axion is just one of the many insights into the integration of mind, body and spirit Braden discusses in his book, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief. In it, Braden tells a story about his grandfather and how as a young man he had worked in a grocery store during the Great Depression and although he did everything humanly possible to bring food home to his new wife and extended family, in his mind he believed that he had failed and in his heart, he felt guilty for his failure. Sixty years later, when his wife, Braden’s grandmother, became hospitalized for a cancerous condition, his grandfather once again experienced the unresolved helplessness to do anything for the woman he’d loved for more than 50 years.  The circumstances of Braden’s grandmother’s illness and her subsequent death brought all the old memories of inadequacy from the Great Depression years right into the present. It was then that the chronic sense of helplessness that the grandfather had worked so hard to suppress became a literal expression of his body manifesting in the condition known as myasthenia gravis. According to Braden, this condition makes itself known when a person’s body becomes unresponsive to the intention to move muscles, stand up straight, or even hold up the head. Medically, the condition is defined as an autoimmune disorder that results when the substance that normally carries the instructions between a person’s nerves and muscles (acetylcholine) is absorbed by a special chemical – one produced by the person’s own body. Braden says, quite literally, his grandfather’s body became the helplessness of his belief.
         While Braden’s grandfather is just one story and certainly not a definitive cause of Myasthenia Gravis, it is material for our contemplation regarding whole person health – mind, body and spirit. How are our own beliefs manifesting themselves in our emotions, in our physical bodies and in our walk of faith… Certainly worth considering!