ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: The Christian Handbook
Some Christians have feared the growing interest in alternative medicine, thinking that the Bible condemns techniques such as biofeedback, meditation, herbal remedies and acupuncture. This comprehensive guide should put their minds at ease. Geared for Christians with little or no experience of alternative therapies, this book examines chiropractic care, hypnosis, T'ai Chi, yoga, visualization, homeopathy and aromatherapy, among other practices. O'Mathúna, a professor of bioethics and chemistry, and Larimore, a physician who hosts a nationally syndicated television program, navigate a middle ground, approving of some therapies while advising caution on others. The Hallelujah Diet (a popular vegetarian Christian diet), for example, earns high marks for its emphasis on biblical nutrition, while marijuana is not recommended, despite beneficial results in treating some diseases. Yoga is fine as a complementary practice that "can improve general well-being," but it "is antithetical to biblical Christianity" when used "as a deeply religious practice with the goal of union with the divine." Throughout, the authors discuss affinities between alternative and traditional medicine, showing, for example, that prescription drugs are sometimes derived from herbal remedies (such as aspirin from willow bark). They caution readers to give more credence to therapies that have been clinically tested in randomly controlled trials. Always, they promote the theological idea that Christians' bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Many readers will appreciate straight talk on health that is informed by both medical science and the Bible. (June)
Forecast:Larimore's name recognition as host of the cable TV show Ask the Family Doctor (America's Health Network) should boost sales for this manual, which taps into a growing market in Christian health books. Expect to see knockoffs from other Christian publishers.