Until about a year ago, Christine Bradstreet was a practicing chiropractor in Massachusetts. She also owned and operated a vitality center for natural health and wellness–offering an array of services such as chiropractic, massage and therapeutic body work, laser therapy, yoga, weight loss, body detoxification, and nutrition. The center’s purpose was “to facilitate healing, education and transformation.”
“I helped my patients challenge common notions about their health,” said Christine Bradstreet in a recent phone interview.
“While chiropractic looks more at the spiritual side of things as an alternative medicine practice, the missing link for me was always God,” says Christine. “I went to conferences about the power of positive thinking, but everything I was reading and hearing never referred to God.”
She found the missing link after a tour of the world-famous Mapparium in Boston at The Mary Baker Eddy Library. As she wandered through the library’s exhibits with her two teenage sons, she began to explore the concepts Eddy writes about in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,which is the textbook for Christian Science.
Christine said the ideas were “completely in line with my thought.” She remembers saying, “Wow, there’s really a religion that thinks this way?”
Even before she began studying Christian Science, Christine said she saw how a person’s thought contributed to their physical health. “When a patient came to me for treatment, it was clear to me whether they’d get better or not.”
She said it was difficult to see patients arguing for their limitations. “People would say‘My headaches, my fibromyalgia . . . ‘ They seemed to carry labels around like little pets. Sometimes I would want them to get better more than I think they wanted to. I remember thinking, ‘That’s what’s keeping them from healing . . .’ ”
Christine got a copy of Science and Health and a Bible right away and began reading. “I felt right at home with the ideas I was learning from these books,” she said. Although she had no formal religious training in her family, she said she always believed in God but just didn’t know how to foster a relationship with God.
Christine explains that chiropractic care for people is sometimes a last resort from a medical diagnosis without a cure–or it’s used for pain relief, or sometimes as a way of life. Patients who came to her would often say, “This is like getting a spiritual adjustment at the same time as a spinal adjustment.”
It was Christine’s own spiritual adjustment that was beginning to challenge the premise of her profession. In her words: “The only tricky part about my new spiritual study was the practice of chiropractic, which teaches that a divine life force is governing the body, but it can be blocked by your nerves. The belief is your life force is blocked by misalignments of the spinal bones.” On the contrary, Christine was learning that divine Life, or God, was all that governed the body and that Spirit would never operate in tandem with matter.
As she learned more about these ideas, she found she just couldn’t take chiropractic patients anymore. Eventually, she closed her business.
She continued her study of Christian Science, which resulted in some major turning points in her life including the disappearance of a lump in her breast, her son’s healing of a shoulder injury, and meeting a wonderful man whom she later married.
Christine says when it comes to healthcare she would love to see a paradigm shift in the public consciousness. Rather than looking to treatments where “bigger is better” or “modern is better” she hopes people will begin to take more responsibility for their own health, “to be a little more self-reliant, rather than trying to find health in a bottle, a pill or a cream,” she says.
As a step towards forwarding that progress, Christine is continuing with her goal of helping people find healing in their lives as she works to become a full-time Christian Science practitioner.