To Our Readers

Studies show that in recent years a growing number of people have turned to alternative methods of health care. In many cases, something about the traditional, mechanistic systems of material medicine had left them unsatisfied and unhealed. Some have felt that the mechanics, drugs, and chemicals were simply missing an essential part of their whole being. It somehow just didn't feel natural.

What is natural? What not only promotes health and healing but also brings a new view of our life and purpose? What is the truly natural way of healing that cures sickness and at the same time provides peace, joy, spiritual regeneration? In our Cover Story this week, Nathan Talbot explores these questions in "Natural and good medicine." His answers open us to the possibility of "discovering a whole new way of nourishing ourselves": a way of healing that "literally changes our thought—even the way we look at life itself."

In an accompanying sidebar, Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School comments on a recent report from Columbia University that raises issues for the medical community about the appropriate role of religion in conventional medical practice. This is a subject that will continue to spark debate among physicians and researchers in the years ahead as both patients and health care providers seek a more satisfying healing method.

May 10, 1999

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