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Book Reviews


Alternative & Mystical Healing Therapies:

Are They Medically Sound & Spiritually Safe?

Edwin A. Noyes, MD., M.PH., Xlibris, Bloomington, IN, 2015


It’s Not Quite All Hokus-Pokus


With one close relative of mine involved with yoga, two others with acupuncture, and still remembering my mother administering ‘cupping’ on my dad’s back when he had a doozer of a cold, I wanted to see what the medical profession had to say about these and other alternative and mystical healing therapies. Edwin Noyes’ book was just the ticket. Not only does it explain in detail what the mainline medical practitioners believe with respect to such therapies, but also describes the results of research carried out with regards to each type.

But Noyes went one step further as far as I was concerned. Writing as a Christian, he interweaves his understanding of what God and the Bible have to say on mystical healing therapies, carefully pointing out the dangers for the Christian believer.

Noyes is a balanced writer, pointing out that there are alternative & mystical therapies that actually do work, if not for everybody, for some. So, yes, there is power in many of these alternatives to scientific medical treatment. What worries Noyes and should worry us is the source of that power. Taking us back to the very beginning, this former U.S. Army physician and surgeon explains how evil does not want to defeat good in direct combat, but rather achieves its goal by convincing us to blend the “good” in such a way with itself so that the evil is often not even recognized and lingers around to create havoc for mankind.

The book is also very historical in nature introducing us to three world centers and periods of medical influence. Also, specific categories of therapy are described starting with their origin, the growth of their influence, as well as their modern age status and acceptance by the world including segments of the medical profession.

It turns out, as the author very successfully shows, that the “New Age” treatments are anything but new. Rather, they are a return to the “Ancient Age” of Eastern mysticism and beliefs held during the period prior to sound medical science and research. Most of the ancient Eastern religions and their origins play a prominent part in today’s alternative ‘healing’ therapies. Noyes also gives us evidence in writing of how the promoters of such therapies, in order to succeed in the West, keep quiet about their link to their religious or mystical sources and proudly claim they don’t have to refer to them. They know the spiritual effect will impact a participant over time without his knowing it. And before one knows, the idea that we all are, or can be, gods, will entice us to continue pursuing that state of perfect balance that each therapy claims as a condition of good health. For example, as you study and focus on the physical yoga position, you will eventually be ready to investigate the spiritual component, which is the “entire essence of the subject”. The list of therapies and practices covered is long. Noyes also focuses of the various requirements for magnetism, energy flows, thought processes, etc. required by most of them. He examines each and shares documented evidence which points to the fact that almost all are not effective as real alternative healing remedies – most having the same or less impact than placebos.

What surprises him is how many of these (yoga being the prime example, but there are others) are thriving in the Christian church; some with the blessing of some well-known pastors. Outside the Church, he takes on and exposes the likes of Deepak Chopra and Dr. Oz. He reserves even greater arguments for acupuncture, reflexology, and visualization techniques that are used widely today; the latter often in corporate business settings.

I remember several decades ago being in hospital with pericarditis (an infection and inflammation of the lining around the heart) and going through some pretty rough nights. One of the nurses practiced (without my consent) what was quite common in those days – the Therapeutic Touch therapy. Some of you may remember it or experienced it. Noyes explains it well. I can assure you, that is not what healed me.

And just when you thought the things you were allowing in your life may have escaped Noyes’ criticism, up come sections on herbology and flower therapy, crystals, homeopathy, divination, hypnosis, and biofeedback.

Let me conclude with one quote near the end of the book:

“This book does not present the idea that these methods do not work. The purpose of the book is to help us in answering the questions ‘Who makes it work?’ and “What power is behind it?’”

You’ll need to come to your own conclusion. But the book will stay on my reference shelf as an excellent tool to turn to for details about anything any one of my children, grandchildren, friends, or clients throw at me in support of why they swear by these alternative and mystical healing therapies.

   -By Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, May 13, 2016.



Review by Premium US Reviews:

The objective of this book is to present information that will enable the reader to differentiate between therapy which follows the known physical and chemical laws (God’s system) and the system of the great deceiver.

This examination of myriad medical and spiritual healing systems reaches back into ancient religions and cults, as well as up to the present day, into New Age and other philosophies that lay claim to non-scientific cures through dubious mental, physical, and magical practices. The author, Edwin Noyes, a retired physician who has done medical missionary work and conducts seminars on nutrition and preventive medicine, believes that human beings are easily deceived. Each step toward a non-standard method or technique offering relief from pain, illness, or anxiety is a step away from the truth of Christianity.

Noyes expends considerable effort exploring these alternative therapies, including Reiki, transcendental meditation, Rolfing, reflexology, therapeutic touch, shiatsu, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and others. For example, in speaking of mindfulness, a kind of meditative state first promulgated by the Buddha, Noyes notes that its goal is not thinking, making the mind a blank, so that it can be influenced and/or controlled by occult forces.

Noyes firmly believes that conventional scientific methods are most closely aligned with the laws of God and least likely to lead to false thinking and presents his information in an orderly, logical way, citing many useful sources and providing a helpful glossary.

Having worked overseas in Vietnam and Thailand, he has observed firsthand some of the spiritual healing practices he delineates in this thoughtful and thought-provoking work. Though some readers may feel uncomfortable with his basic premise, the unique and ultimate supremacy of the Christian message, there is no doubt that his views are sincerely held and carefully researched. The author’s Christian beliefs have informed this book, which seeks to inform readers of the dangers of alternative medical practices and lead them back to more orthodox and scientific methods.

This review was written by a professional book reviewer with no guarantee that it would receive a positive rating. Some authors pay a small fee to have a book reviewed, while others do not. All reviews are approximately half summary and half criticism. The US Review of Books is dedicated to providing fair and honest coverage to all books.



San Francisco Book Review


Alternative & Mystical Healing Therapies

Edwin A. Noyes M.D., MPH
TrXlibrisUS, $19.99, 396 pages, Format: Trade ade 4/5

Ancient medical practices have experienced a revival in the last forty years. So, too, have we seen a resurgence of medieval healing thoughts. In Alternative & Mystical Healing Therapies, Edwin A. Noyes, M.D. spells out from the Christian perspective to why these alternative therapies should be approached with caution and disregarded in most cases.

Noyes builds his Christian argument on the basis that most alternative healing therapies are built on pagan religious principals and the unifying notion of an “energy” that all matter has in common. When actual results are subjected to objective scientific research, they are not statistically significant, nor has there ever been scientific evidence of the “energy” that most alternative healing strives to “balance.” He carefully disassembles acupuncture, guided imagery, reiki, magnets, aromatherapy, martial arts, biofeedback, and many other therapies.

For example, yoga—meaning to yoke, originated as a way for Hindu priests to interact with the Hindu gods. Yoga poses, named after Hindu gods, allow the yoga practitioner to invite the god inside allowing the practitioner to get closer to the Hindu spirit world. A spirit world built on the idea of bringing forth the universal energy known as prana, or “the god within us to such a level it would allow us to interact with the spirit entities, and eventually, enter that same spirit state.” But you just like yoga for the stretching, you say. The author quotes several Hindu sources that claim there is neither Hindu without yoga nor yoga without Hindu.

Noyes also advises that any practice that has its origins in the zodiac is Satanic, since the zodiac is based on the planets, “with the sun as chief, and sun worship is Luciferic (Satanic) worship.” This includes acupuncture, **herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and others many of which are also dependent on the notion of an imaginary energy source that runs through all living things.

Noyes book is extensively researched and his arguments are eloquently executed. The book has a good glossary and an extensive index. For anyone doing research, it is a valuable tool. However, most of the yoga stretching and exercise this reviewer has observed is eons away from any sort of spiritual Hindu endeavor (more like a bad Laurel and Hardy skit). ***So, one would be reluctant to share Noyes’s views with one’s overweight Christian friends, who claim yoga is the only sort of exercise they have ever had any success with. One might find the need for a healer.

**Listing herbal medicine being presented as (Satanic) is in error.  The text speaks about mystical herbology but does not include medical herbology, and recommends two books on herbology and does not condemn.

***The reviewer herein demonstrates the lack of understanding of the issue and theme of the book.  The books goal and purpose is to expose the myth that one can participate in these therapies without spiritual influence.  Three points: 1)  The proponents of the alternative healing therapies make the claim that this avenue of healing is one of the most effective methods to effect change of worldview.  2) Testimonies given by individuals who practiced the varied mystical healing arts, changed to an Eastern worldview then later reconverted into Christianity, confess that it was the healing practices that first gained their interest, then on to accepting the philosophy connected.   3)  Over 50 years a steady change has been occurring in the worldview of society as a whole.  25% believe God is a Cosmic Force, not a living Being,  65% believe in reincarnation. The healing arts practiced, often without intent to accept Eastern world view, still have had an impact in such a change.


Edwin A. Noyes M.D.