Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler


Holistic Health Studies


Religion and the Church; medicine and healing. Interconnected before the time of Descartes, these integral domains have experienced significant change in recent decades as people have become disillusioned with conventional biomedicine and institutional Christianity. More people are seeking holistic forms of healing—perhaps once again reuniting body, mind, and spirit, as a bone resetting from a centuries-old fracture or dislocation. The purpose of this research is to explore the use of Eastern and energy-based forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by Christian religious professionals. Based on a qualitative culture of inquiry, we conducted 10 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with individual clergy members, chaplains, spiritual directors, and religious educators/professors, representing diverse denominational affiliations. Following thematic data analysis, results suggest some Christian professionals experience a significant paradigm shift in their spiritual lives concurrent with their CAM use, as they embrace a more open view of spirituality. Results also indicate an increased awareness of the interconnectedness of mind-body-spirit, and a greater propensity for self-care. Implications for future research include expanding the sample size of participants and widening the scope to include more diversity, as well as implications for churches and clergy health are also provided. The findings provide insight for the trending phenomena of medical and spiritual pluralism.