Blog Post

New Age "Mission Creep" - How to Stop the Spread of New Age Practices in Hospitals and Parishes

Susan left this comment on our blog: "I’ve been reading these posts for a while and I’m wondering how vulnerable, sick people who realize they need help are going to get the help they need when health care and self-help have become a minefield of New Age practices/products. . . "I get a magazine from our nearby Catholic (without-Catholic-in-the-title) hospital and it contains more New Age offerings than the magazine from the secular hospital. A nearby parish’s website is sponsored by 'LifeForce Chiropractic.' The ad mentions 'innate intelligence,' 'maximizing full human potential' and educating patients to be empowered 'to take charge of their health.' They offer coupons. "This Easter my sister told a story about a patient at the Catholic hospital. He was in major pain after surgery, pain which none of the doctors or pain specialists could solve, so they brought in an acupuncturist. And guess what? Miraculous recovery. "How is a Catholic to navigate this minefield while being responsible for their health when those we need to trust are not trustworthy? St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us." The only way to stop this is to COMPLAIN. Everyone hates complaints - whether it's a hospital or a pastor. It would be very easy for you to send this errant hospital a checklist of all the New Age practices they're offering and why all of them are nothing more than junk science. This list should include offerings such as Therapeutic Touch or Hands of Light, Reiki (if being used in a Catholic hospital, this should also be reported to the bishop), acupuncture, etc. You'll probably find all the "fodder" you need right here on this blog. Just search the Blog Index by Subject and see what's there. Even though we are a Catholic site, our blogs contain reputable research with links. Because so many of these "alternative" offerings are based in religions that are not compatible with Christianity, you should also ask the hospital what steps they are taking to fully inform their Christian patients that they are receiving not only an untested treatment, but one that is based on beliefs in gods other than Jesus Christ. If they're careful not to offend their Jewish or Muslim patients with Christian practices, you have the right to expect them to respect your belief system as well. Another point that is sure to garner a squirm or two is to express your concern that if they're willing to use this or that untested practice, what other quack forms of medicine are they using on their patients? Because of this, you and your family will be forced to go elsewhere for their healthcare needs. Let them know they're losing business over it! If the practices involve energy, such as the innate intelligence you refer to, send them our blog on What you Should Know About Energy Medicine which will inform them of the science (or lack of it) behind these practices. I'm willing to bet that the pastor of the parish who is sponsoring Life Force Chiropractics also has no idea that this energy is bogus, and that the Pontifical Councils have referred to it as the "new age god." Send him this blog. It could be enough to make him withdraw his endorsement. Our blog on chiropractics is also very informative. Another good question to ask a pastor who is allowing these practices to be offered on the parish property, such as at health fairs, (and one that makes them VERY nervous), is to ask who will be paying the damages if anyone is injured after receiving one of the dubious practices that they are hosting.  There's a lot we can do to put a stop to these things, as long as we do so respectfully and intelligently. Keep your letter or e-mail short, courteous and to the point - preferably in a bullet-point format because its' quick to read. And don't expect anything more than a form letter (if that) in response. Wait a year, and if nothing changes, write them again. Change may not come about right away, but you'd be surprised how many people will "cease and desist" after they've been given a few facts. It's worth the effort. In the very least, it will make a few people squirm and give others the chance to be exposed to the truth. Our Learn to Discern booklet series is comprised of pocket-size booklets explaining the dangers behind many of these practices. Click on the New Age Resources button on the navigation bar above for more information.