Natural Medicine & Holistic Lifestyle Strategy
This strategy centres around safeguarding the membership and raising awareness about regulated and safe health interventions.
Launched in 2011 of the BUC Health Ministries Natural Medicine and Holistic Lifestyle Strategy was developed to balance the message about the use of contemporary medicine in chronic and acute cases of illness and the safe and effective use of natural medicines for some conditions.
As part of the strategy launch, guidance was issued on these issues to Health Ministries leaders, Pastors, conference workers and the membership at large. A full statement is accessible via the BUC website on the web page for the Health Ministries Department.
Key messages reiterated in the development of this strategy are these:
- We believe that members should not be reluctant to seek medical help in terms of elective surgery and use of medication for the treatment of serious or life threatening conditions
- Individuals taking prescribed medication or undergoing medical treatment must consult their practitioner before undertaking any alternative or complimentary medicine. This is to ensure that there are no contraindications, negative drug interactions or serious side effects as a result of additional non-medical treatments
- It is advisable to use only alternative or complimentary treatment or therapy that has a scientific validation and is deemed safe and effective for use
- As far as possible seek to ensure that a qualified health professional forms part of the church health ministries team. Where this is not possible we advise contact with an area medical or scientific personnel to oversee health programs and workshop content and be present at events where health programs are presented
Essential to maintaining the integrity of health ministry practice in the BUC and encourage evidenced based interventions, professional delivery and high standard service from qualified and skilled individuals who are specialists in their field is crucial. The specific guideline in relation to this is posted on the Health Ministries website.
In light of the unfortunate death of a young child in 2012related to extreme health advice and practice, the BUC health guidelines on Natural Medicine and Holistic Lifestyle was re-emphasised to the membership and published In MESSENGER magazine.
Some key aspects of the Strategy and important messages related to safeguarding the membership are further highlighted:
- Inform pastors and health ministries leaders that if alternative or complimentary products / therapies are mentioned or presented as part of a program it must first be vetted by a health or scientific personnel for accuracy and presented within the context of a wholistic lifestyle in good health maintenance. It should not be presented as a sole treatment for any one ill
- If the above is presented as part of a program it must be clearly stated by the presenter that these products are not being presented as a ‘cure’ or replacement for essential medical treatment. Additionally though some benefit may have been reported by some individuals undertaking these products this should not be used as an example for every case and automatically for those with serious illnesses
- Encourage pastors and elders not to allow the promotion of any brand name products, network marketing schemes as a means of drawing membership or sales. It should also be clearly established by the leaders that no marketing techniques will be used in health presentations
The aspect of health practices, dietary guidelines and anxiety over unregulated therapies and their conflicts with Adventist belief are valid areas of concern. We advise those in leadership positions to only accept health presenters who are in good and regular standing and who do not hold extreme health views which are in conflict with our world church health ministry department.