Finally getting to the Bottom of the Christian Yoga & Reiki Debate: The importance of Adaption

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Finally getting to the Bottom of the Christian Yoga & Reiki Debate: The importance of Adaption

A phenomenon of the new age movement is a renewed interest in shamanic and indigenous healing practices. Faith healers and the Tree of life are also the subjects of much new age interest. Wise men and prophets rely on spiritual insights and power similar to shamans and medicine men. Jesus’ life is marked by operation in these supernatural insights and healings. Like today, these mystical and healing acts upset the pharisaical and religious leaders, “The Pharisees were left sputtering, “Hocus-pocus. It’s nothing but hocus-pocus. He’s probably made a pact with the Devil” (Matthew 9:34). This is a common accusation of evangelicals against all forms of non-traditional spiritual and mystical practices in the new age and Pentecostalism.

Like a shaman, Jesus casts demons out of the madmen in Mark 5. Jesus was also accused of practicing black magic when operating in the supernatural: “Jesus delivered a man from a demon . . . But some from the crowd were cynical. ‘Black magic,’ they said. ‘Some devil trick he’s pulled from his sleeve.’ Others were skeptical” (Luke 11:14-16). Jesus admonished this religious Spirit when he said, “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me” (John 5:39-40). In John 8, Jesus said, “‘I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.’ That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the temple” (John 8:48-59). Jesus was capable of readings minds when he was once more accused of using black magic:

Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces. If Satan cancels Satan, is there any Satan left? You accuse me of ganging up with the Devil, the prince of demons, to cast out demons, but if you’re slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil who kicks out devils, doesn’t the same mud stick to your own exorcists? But if it’s God’s finger I’m pointing that sends the demons on their way, then God’s kingdom is here for sure.”
(Luke 11:17-20)

That same pharisaical Spirit present in today’s fundamentalist yogaphobic and anti-CAM culture had him turned over to the Romans for crucifixion (Matthew 27). It is essential to uphold sound biblical doctrine and avoid judging this religious Spirit. That said, Jesus was straightforward with this group, and the Church has a long history of crusades, witch hunts, and inquisitions. Christians must remain vigilant in avoiding religious multiplicity and moral pluralism. However, it is also crucial for the Church to find more productive ways to manage theological disagreements about the Spirit’s CAM and gifts. An example that comes to mind is the fundamentalist accusations that the Pentecostal movement uses black magic to produce modern-day miracles and healings. This same Spirit often disapproves of all CAM due to its spiritual origins.

This supernatural power continued with the disciples, “Right and left they sent demons packing, they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.” In Acts 8, Paul laid hands on a man, and he was healed. In Acts 16, a psychic fortune teller followed Paul around, telling everyone he was working for the most-high God and laying out the road to salvation. Eventually, Paul cast the Spirit out of her when she would not stop. Ironically, he was operating in similar power as she was. What appears different was from her was his source of healing and intention. Operating in the supernatural was outside his pharisaical background but ordinary in his ministry after his supernatural conversion experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5). Stephen, who would eventually end up martyred, practiced the unmistakable signs and mystical workings (Acts 6).

Astrology, Solstices, and New Moons

Astrology, new moon, and solstice celebrations are suspect in evangelical circles for understandable reasons. However, they are another common topic of interest in the new age movement. Jung et al. (2018) was interested in astrology as a spiritual mechanism for understanding the unconscious. He considered it the summation of the entirety of the psychological knowledge in antiquity (Jung et al., 2018). Astrology is regarded as one of the sister sciences of yoga and Ayurveda. It can be viewed as another prophetic gift often used to listen to God. Although by no means a science, the Bible mentions the spiritual influence of the heavens on the earth in Job 38: 31-33:

Can you catch the eye of the beautiful ​Pleiades​ sisters, or distract ​Orion​ from his hunt? Can you get ​Venus​ to look your way, or get the ​Great Bear​ and her cubs to come out and play? Do you know the first thing about the sky’s ​constellations and ​how they affect things on earth​?

Likewise, the wise men used this study of the stars to locate Jesus after his birth (Matthew 2). Luke 21:25 stated, “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars​.” The new moon, a central part of astrology, is discussed and sometimes used as a central part of worship: “Also at times of celebration, at the appointed feasts and ​New Moon​ festivals, blow the bugles over your Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings; they will keep your attention on God.
I am your God” (Numbers 10:10).

The Bible seems less concerned with the possibility that the heavens might provide spiritual insights into our lives on earth. Instead, the Bible is abundantly clear that believers cannot adopt the pagan practices of worshiping the sky (Deuteronomy 4, 17, 2 Kings 21, 2 Kings 23, Jeremiah 8, Isaiah 47). Believers are further warned to rely on God for the final say in direction and guidance about their lives and futures; 2 Kings 21:11-15 stated,

He worshiped the cosmic powers, taking orders from the constellations. He built shrines to the cosmic powers . . . He burned his own son in a sacrificial offering. He practiced black magic and fortunetelling. He held séances and consulted spirits from the underworld.

Crystals, Gemstones, and Precious Stones

Crystals are a common phenomenon in spiritual and new-age tourism destinations. Evangelicals often assume spiritual seekers are worshipping crystals, but often these are simply another spiritual tool created by God and therefore adaptable. Furthermore, they are mentioned in the Bible and used in worship: In Exodus 25, the Ephod is set with various crystals, anointing oil is used in worship, and incense is ritually used in worship. “Now make a(n) . . . Ephod . . . Mount four rows of ​precious gemstones​ on it. First row: carnelian, topaz, emerald. Second row: ​ruby, sapphire, crystal​. Third row: ​jacinth, agate, amethyst​. Fourth row: ​beryl, onyx, jasper.​ “Set them in ​gold​ filigree. The ​twelve stones​ correspond to the names of the Israelites” (Exodus 28: 15-20). In Ezekiel 28:14-16, it says, “You were in Eden, God’s garden. You were dressed in splendor, your robe studded with jewels: Carnelian​, ​peridot​, ​moonstone, ​beryl​, ​onyx​, and ​jasper​, ​sapphire​, ​turquoise​, and ​emerald​, all in settings of engraved ​gold​.”​

Incense, Herbalism, and Anointing Oil

The use of incense in spiritual practices is a typical new age practice. Likewise, the inclusion of various phytotherapy remedies and their more subtle derivatives is another shared interest of the new age. Naturopathy, homeopathy, and herbalism have experienced a CAM resurgence due to their spiritual and natural roots. Some of these modalities use biomedical approaches to health, while others rely on extraction and manipulation of the subtle energy field to promote healing. There are 146 references to incense, herbs, and essential oils in the Bible. In Exodus 30, 1 Chronicles 29, 2 Chronicles 16, and Ezra 6, anointing and oil and incense are used as integral parts of worship.

In 1 Chronicles 3, 2 Chronicles 9, 2 Chronicles 32, Ezekiel 1, Isaiah 54, Revelation 22, and Revelation 4, crystals are mentioned as integral parts of worship or spiritual experiences surrounding the throne of God. The Bible makes further mention of crystals, “The leaders brought onyx and other ​precious​ ​stone​s for setting in the Ephod and the Breast piece. They also brought ​spices​ and olive oil for lamp oil, ​anointing oil​, and ​incense​” (Exodus 35:27). “​On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense​ and ​myrrh​” (Matthew 2:11).

Meditation and Mindfulness

​CTs encompass a myriad of mindfulness practices, such as postural yoga with roots and intentions focused on meditation. Although the Bible does not speak to the modern phenomenon of postural yoga, it does speak to its end goal and roots of meditation. It appears that the practice of meditation itself is entirely biblical. Notable verses on meditation include the following: “​Be still and know that I am God​.” (Psalm 46:10), “May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD” (Psalm 104:34, New International Version), “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (Psalm 119:15, English Standard Version), “I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:12, NIV), “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening” (Genesis 24:63, ESV), “God deals out joy in the present, the now” (Ecclesiastes 5:20, MSG), Isaiah 43:19, “Be alert, be present,” and Matthew 6:6, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”

Other biblical perspectives on meditation include 1 Corinthians 14:13-17: “I should be spiritually free and expressive as I pray, but I should also be thoughtful and mindful as I pray. Mary and Martha are examples of contrasting the practices of being with Jesus versus doing” (Luke 10).

Laying on of Hands, Healing Touch, and Reiki

            Reiki is a Japanese word that describes an Eastern interpretation of the laying on of hands practices that support spiritual and emotional healing. Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry is a Christian-adapted form of Reiki for Christians. It attempts to manipulate biofields and subtle energy like acupuncture without the needles. It operates on a more subtle realm than indigenous shamanic practices. Meditation is a primary goal of Reiki as well. This CAM modality is often highly suspect in evangelical circles due to the eastern variations of the methods. In Mark 10, Jesus said, “Your faith has saved and healed you.” He healed those who need it (Luke 8). Yet, the practice of Laying on of Hands​ is also quite biblical and central to Jesus’ ministry:

She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with. At the same moment, Jesus felt ​energy​ discharging from him. He turned around to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”​
(Matthew 5:29-30)  

This Greek word for energy is dunamis (δύναμις). It is used 120 times in the Bible (Strong, 1890). Strong defines it as a “force (literally or figuratively); especially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself)” (p. 1411). This force, power, or energy appears to be the same biofield subtle energy at the heart of most CAM practices today. Jesus seemed to operate in the same capacity at his transfiguration in Matthew 17. This force emanates from Jesus in Luke 6:18-20, “Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much ​energy surging from him, so many people healed!” (Luke 6:18-20).

Furthermore, “God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul!” (Genesis 2:7). This breath of life appears to be consistent with the subtle life force energy that underlies the basis of most CAM practices. It appears to permeate the flesh, or dirt, man was formed out of and animate the human spirit. Although this is far from a direct correlation to life force, it does seem entirely biblical that humans have a spirit that leaves the body upon physical death. This breath of life, or subtle energy body, is what differentiates a deceased human corpse form an animated living human being. This breath was given to humanity by God as a central portion of the creation narrative.

Table 7 shows pertinent biblical references to New Age and CAM principles.

Christian Adaption

Table 7

New Age Biblical References




  Ezekiel 26:1, 29:17 Haggai 1:1 ​Genesis 1:14 Psalm 148:1-6  Psalm 147:4-5  Psalm 19 1 Peter 2:4-5  2 Chronicles 2:4 Nehemiah 10:33 Ezekiel 44:24, 45:17 ​  Luke 2:1-12  Leviticus 23:1-2 Leviticus 23:4  Genesis 8:22  Psalm 74:17  Amos 8:5  Nehemiah 10​:31  Numbers 10:10,
28:11-15 1 Chronicles 23:31  2 Chronicles 8:13, 31:3 Ezra 3:5, Job 38:31-33Ezekiel 46:1, 3, 6  Colossians 2:16  Acts 18:21; 27:9  1 Corinthians 5:7-8
  Exodus 24:10, 25:7, 28:9, 17, 31:5, 35:9, 35:27, 39:10-13 2 Samuel 12:30  1 Kings 10:2  1 Kings 10:10  1 Kings 10:11  1 Chronicles 20:2  1 Chronicles 29:8  2 Chronicles 3:6  2 Chronicles 9:1  2 Chronicles 9:9  2 Chronicles 9:10 2 Chronicles 32:27 Song of Solomon 5:14 Isaiah 54:12  Ezekiel 27:22  Daniel 11:38 Revelation 18:12  Revelation 18:16​ Revelation 21:11, 18-20  Psalm 19:14 Psalm 49:3  Psalm 104:34  Genesis 24:63  Joshua 1:8 Psalm 1:2 Psalm 39:3  Psalm 48:9  Psalm 77:3  Psalm 77:6 Psalm 77:12 Psalm 119:15 Psalm 119:23  Psalm 119:27  Psalm 119:48 Psalm 119:78  Psalm 119:97  Psalm 119:99  Psalm 119:148  Psalm 143:5  Psalm 145:5  John 14-12  Luke 4:40 Matthew
8:14-15 Mark 1:40-42  Luke 5:12-13 Matthew
20:29-34  Mark 6  Mark 8:22-25  Mark 7:32 35  Luke 7:12-15  Luke 8:49-55  Luke 9:1-2  Mark 6:5-6 Matthew
13:10-11 Mark 4:10-12
& 34

Complementary therapies should not be wholesale accepted as already Christian appropriate due to the Hindu and Buddhist-adapted versions of the practices present in CAM. However, they should also not be wholesale rejected given the merit of the mechanism of action and the tools to be Christian-adapted. Instead, many of these practices can be redeemed, and many are even biblical. Yet, discernment is mandated for all Christians. A Christian-adapted, biblical perspective of these practices accepts that these practices and tools are spiritually neutral by their merit of being created by God, and therefore redeemable. Christians must prayerfully pray and seek wise counsel regarding what needs adapting and how. It would behoove them to consider the advice of 2 Kings 21:1-6:

He worshipped the cosmic powers, taking orders from the constellations . . . And he built shrines to the cosmic powers and placed them in both courtyards of the Temple of God. He burned his own son in a sacrificial offering. He practiced black magic and fortunetelling. He held seances and consulted spirits from the underworld.

Colossians 2:6-8 admonished, “You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ and the emptiness of life without him.” It could be possible for Christians to adapt spiritual practices like astrology by only taking orders from and worshiping God even if they choose to celebrate monthly New Moons. Note, astrology is not included in this list of expressly prohibited practices. Although Christians are quick to consider it fortune-telling, the prophets could be likewise considered fortune-tellers. Christians might instead prayerfully consult the Holy Spirit about one’s future and listen carefully to the Holy Spirit about making sure they are receiving proclamations about their fate and destiny only from God.

Astrology itself is more interested in aiding adherents in cultivating self-realization as a sister science of meditation than dooming a person to a dark fate outside of God’s will and plan for a person’s life. Jeremiah 29:11 stated, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” A horoscope simply shares the spiritual weather in a similar way a weather forecast predicts the future. Preparing oneself for inclement spiritual weather could leave room for Christian debate and openness to listening to the Holy Spirit. Dooming a person to a hellish fate through fortune-telling is strictly prohibited.

This process is an example of what and how to adapt a CAM practice. Paul stated, “God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house” (1 Corinthians 5:12). The Christian community would be an ideal place to have hard conversations regarding what and how to adapt these practices in light of scripture and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It would behoove Christians to support one another in increasing the discernment of what and how to adapt CAM without wholesale accepting or rejecting it and then placing their convictions on others.

In summary, these tools are neither inherently Christian nor non-Christian in the same way money and sex are neither Christian nor non-Christian. Christians might utilize these tools, but they can be misused. It is therefore vital that Christians seek wise counsel, pray, consult Scripture, and stay in the Christian community regarding what and how to adapt neutral spiritual tools such as meditation. Although the practice might absolutely be adaptable, the discerning Christian should understand that the version of CAM they are encountering may need adapting. Furthermore, pastoral counselors should be on the lookout for opportunities to educate congregants regarding how to better adapt spiritual tools with Christian integrity.

Delimitations and Limitations


The primary weakness of this study is the inability for a single, novice researcher to adequately survey enough data. Meta-synthesis traditionally requires a research team that can help survey much more data. It also helps overcome researcher bias. In this case, the greatest limitation is that the nature of metasynthesis relies heavily on the researcher knowing what they are looking for. In this case, the researcher brought the following experience and bias to the research. That said, this bias presents an incredibly unique lens which might also be the research’s greatest novel contribution as well. The bias is narrated as an N = 1 case study, but no actual case study was conducted.

Case Study Narrative

            The researcher is a 33-year-old female from a small farm in the Midwest. She was raised in a Lutheran home with conservative Christian values. She gave her life to Jesus at an evangelical Bible camp at age 9, and read her entire Bible by age 10. She attended a fundamentalist church alongside her Lutheran church thereafter. She was confirmed Lutheran in eighth grade and joined the worship and leadership teams of her youth group. Around age 15, she began struggling with symptoms of developmental trauma. At age 17, she experienced a traumatic event at her evangelical church which precipitated her attending a marriage and family therapy with a Christian psychologist. During this time, she brought her family of origin with her to therapy for treatment. To cope with her symptoms, she turned to CAM modalities. These modalities proved vital to managing her worsening symptoms of developmental trauma. Given the questionable nature of CAM, she was required to meet with both her Lutheran and Evangelical Free pastors to justify her choices.

            After this, she joined the United States Army National Guard to work as a Chaplain’s Assistant in order to escape the negativity. During her time in active duty, she experienced ongoing revictimization and assault which later resulted in an extreme exacerbation of her symptoms which became unmanageable. She struggled with chronic relationship chaos, anxious attachment issues, and divorce. Her symptoms interfered with her work and education, but she persevered in school. In 2011, she moved to Redding, California, to attend Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry. Shortly thereafter, she discovered the internationally known spiritual mecca of Mount Shasta, California, about one hour north of Redding. New age seekers from around the world flock to the community to frequent the myriad of crystal shops, health food stores, and alleged supernatural experiences.

            Over the next 10 years, the student author embarked on a journey of reconciling her faith with her new age spiritual practices. She went on to take classes and obtain alternative medicine certificates in yoga teaching, reflexology, Reiki, Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry, astrology, massage therapy, yoga therapy, and Hawaiian shamanism. She also obtained two regionally accredited academic degrees. The first degree was an undergraduate Biblical Studies and Theology degree from the University of Northwestern, Saint Paul, MN. The second was a graduate Transpersonal Psychology degree from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now called Sofia University) in Palo Alto, CA. She wrote her capstone papers for both degrees on the Christian-adapted CAM topics contained in her doctoral dissertation on Christian-adapted CTs for ministering to adult survivors of familial trauma. She was ordained by an independent Christian organization in 2017. She has served as an intermittent volunteer staff member at an Assemblies of God Church in Mount Shasta, CA, since that time, and currently works and resides there. Her small healing ministry was launched in 2013 as a small yoga and Reiki practice. It has since evolved into a Christian-adapted CT practice with a heart of outreach to the new age community of Mount Shasta, CA.


The study was limited to N = 500 research articles for inclusion for practical purposes. The study was also limited to N = 35 articles for the meta synthesis for practical purposes as well. Another delimitation was the analysis of the data. Given the quantity of data and the nature of meta-synthesis, a myriad of possibilities for data synthesis exists. For the purpose of this study, the third-order information that emerged was focused on as a starting point for the conversation. Given the limitation of a single, novice researcher, the study is limited. Yet, this delimitation was overcome in part given the length of this study was a doctoral dissertation. Considerable time and energy were able to be poured into the qualitative synthesis portion through the use of Atlas.ti software.

Recommendations for Future Research

Furthermore, it would be advisable for a large team of researchers to embark on their own journey of metasynthesis pertinent to the topics at hand in this study. Ideally, more quantitative data is needed especially in validating Christian sensitive and adapted methods for healing trauma. Additional research is needed on what and how to adopt CTs for Christian use. It could be advisable for other researchers to analyze the Atlas.ti results and findings in this study to come to their own conclusions about the data set. Most importantly, the dissemination of what and how to adapt CTs for use in ministry settings is paramount. Ideally, more focus needs to be placed on how to effectively oversee and manage the training of lay ministers. Although there is a great need for empirically validating Christian fourth-wave trauma treatments, there is an equal need to assist in more streamlined processes of training for those who are not clinicians. The results of the findings greatly impact lay ministers, pastoral counselors, and counselors needing practical answers for healing individuals and families. The following section describes a possible draft outline for how to evolve the process of leveraging evolving research on these topics to the end of assisting growing ministries.

Contemplative Christian Healer (CCH) Practitioner and Teacher School of Ministry

It would be advisable for researchers to spearhead and oversee a research team that informs a continuing education certification course for CCT providers in partnership with an organization like CCHA. This organization would be a non-clinical organization with a general overlap with CCBT. This organization would focus on streamlining the training and certification of CCHs. It would train practitioners and teachers who could offer CCH in their communities. In addition, it would provide various levels of accreditation for Christian Contemplative Healers (CCHs) of all kinds.

Introductory Training

This level of training might include an introductory 50-hour, on-demand, online training course that teaches the basics of the contents of Christian-adapted CTs for familial trauma. This course would seek to streamline the currently arduous process of learning the basics of Christian CTs for implementation into the various clinical, practitioner, educational, and ministry settings. For example, a Christian yoga teacher might take this introductory course to learn how to successfully Christian-adapt their classes. It might also provide evangelical CT practitioners, and teachers needed for community and direction. A Christian pastor might take this course to learn how to address the issue of CTs from a decidedly Christian standpoint.

Intermediatory Training

The second course might be a 200-hour certification similar to Yoga Alliance’s standard 200-hour yoga teacher training. This certification could provide a solid foundation for researchers, teachers, pastors, counselors, ministers, and practitioners of all sorts to integrate contemplative Christian CTs into their existing offerings and specialties. This process could parallel how a clinician might train in DBT even though their graduate degree is in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Advanced Training

            The third level of training might mirror the structure of lay-ministry training and Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry or the International House of Prayer’s Forerunner School of Ministry. This program could be a year-long practitioner training with different specialties such as worship, creative arts, and meditation. The curriculum could potentially attempt to work with Yoga Alliance to offer continuing education credits for a Christian meditation teacher (CMT) program. Ideally, candidates for that program would have already completed a Yoga Alliance approved 200-hour teacher training program.

Department of Education Accredited Certifications

Finally, a graduate certificate program and AA program through an accredited university such as Liberty might be a long-term goal to suitable means distribute these teachings to those who want to become a teacher of the method. This program could be offered at the associate’s level as a certificate program (500 Hours) for healers, CT practitioners, and lay counselors. The program could be provided at the graduate level as a certificate program for clinicians, pastors, and professors. The curriculum could include a myriad of training such as Christian yoga, meditation, and laying on hands in conjunction with the what and how’s that need adapting in secular and common CT modalities in the culture currently.

Although the specifics for such a concept remain malleable, the need remains evident. Evangelicals are being faced with a need for their voice to be heard in an ever-changing spiritual climate. Although a Catholic meditation organization exists, there is a clear need for an evangelical protestant organization focusing on healing ministry to emerge. Furthermore, the organization of a formal method would allow Christians the opportunity to stay relevant in this ever-changing world of Christian spirituality and healing. Although these steps are ambitious, they are possible.

The following diagram (Figure 9) presents the reader with a flowchart of the overview of the findings.

Figure 9

Flowchart of Findings Overview


I contend that meditation represents the essence of the mechanism of action on trial in American evangelical Christian culture:

  1. It has been established that the benefits of practicing meditation are superior to not practicing for both health and spiritual reasons of union with God.
  2. Appropriation implies misuse of a culture’s tradition and intellectual property theft, but meditation is the property of no religion.
  3. Yet, because it is a tool for spirituality used by all religions, it makes sense that evangelicals must guard against Hindu and Buddhist adaptions of meditation present in American culture today. This concept aligns with Brown’s (2018) admonitions.
  4. Yet, Brown (2018) and Knabb et al. (2021) advocated for the release of Christian-adapted mindfulness and yoga and instead contend for Christian sensitive practices.

Therefore, I contend that Christian-adapted CTs:

  • Can be adapted because they are essentially public domain tools (Jain, 2012).
  • Need to be adapted to a Christian worldview instead of accepted wholesale
    (Brown, 2018).
  • Are consistent with the third and fourth waves of behavioral therapies’ integration of meditation and CTs treatment of complex and familial trauma (Knabb et al., 2021).
  • Are potentially superior in treating familial trauma than psychotherapy or pharmacology as standalone treatments.
  • Beneficial to evangelical Christian’s walk with God instead of treating those who partake as second-class spiritual citizens.


  1. Christian meditation and Christian yoga are different than Christian Hinduism or Christian-Buddhism/mindfulness (oxymorons) as they have other intentions that point a tool to Christ (such as Christmas).
  2. Christians have many choices for their health in American culture like whether or not to attend a yoga class or whether or not to attend Church (Jain, 2012).
  3. Therefore, it would be wise to continue to identify which mechanisms of action are empirically effective in treating familial trauma and thereby continue clarifying the nuances of what needs adapting and how without policing other evangelicals.


An exciting point Paul made was, “The law always ends up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it” (Romans 8:4). Luke 9:24 stated, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” The new age has an abundance of interest in finding this true self through some of the aforementioned spiritual practices. However, it fails to focus on grace, self-sacrifice, and true healing only found in Jesus. Practices that claim the self to be God, or encourage adherents to worship the self, must be rejected by discerning Christians: “He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves” John 1:12. This verse represents a distinction used to determine the ability of spiritual practice to be redeemable.

As Christians, one needs to be diligent to avoid using the commands of the law listed in the Old Testament to police the convictions of fellow believers about CAM. The underlying issue is the heart. Furthermore, believers must allow the iron to sharpen iron regarding these subtleties and nuances according to Proverbs 27:17. An evolved ability to accept the realities of a new age of Christian spirituality with discernment and spiritual maturity will allow pastoral counselors to become more extraordinary thought leaders in engaging the third and fourth waves of behavioral therapy in the spiritual and healing potential of Christian-adapted complementary therapies for healing family trauma.


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Want to learn more about Christian meditation? Take the course!


Brees, Amanda Lynne, “The New Age of Christian Healing Ministry and Spirituality: A Meta-Synthesis Exploring the Efficacy of Christian-Adapted Complementary Therapies for Adult Survivors of Familial Trauma” (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3168.

*Please note that all of these blog posts are reposts of my already published dissertation and are subject to copyright.

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Contemplative Neurotheolgian, Yoga therapist, pastoral counselor

Hi, I'm Dr. Amanda -
Yoga Therapist & Pastoral Counselor

I'm here to help you streamline the work of trauma healing using faith-based contemplative methods grounded in science. Working exclusively with brokenhearted adult women means I already speak your language & know what's working in the world of recovery. 

Every client I work with is anchored in 10+ years of higher education & practitioner experience, which means things don't just look pretty & sound good - they actually work!

Get to know me