“Metaphysical Healing and Health in the United States”
Hendrickson, Brett. “Metaphysical Healing and Health in the United States.” Religion Compass 8/11 (2014): 347–355.
Hendrickson discusses the American history of metaphysical healing practices from Native Americans to the present and identifies characteristics of diverse types of healing. The transcendence of the mind and consciousness over the material aspect of life define metaphysical healing for many healers. The 19th century saw the rise of Transcendentalism, which, while not focused on healing, influenced later healers with their ideas glorifying the power of the ‘Mind.’ Mesmerism, Spiritualism, and Quimbyism were also popular. Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science are discussed within the context of Quimbyism and New Thought, with the distinction made between the Christian basis of Eddy and the more materialistic, secular basis of the latter. “Eddy taught that the Christian God is an omnipresent reality … called ‘Love’, ‘Truth’, ‘Mind’, or ‘Principle’. … Physical complaints were powerful illusions that could be eliminated through focusing on the reality of the divine Mind and uniting one’s human mind with [this] spiritualized God” (349). Through the influence of Christian Science and New Thought, positive thinking and New Age practices flourished in the 20th century. Issues in the study of metaphysical healing include concerns of appropriating non-Western rituals and sacred knowledge, terminology and how practitioners define themselves, and the overwhelming Christian context.