Three local business owners are selling only one product in their downtown office: Healing.
Donna and Larry Daigle and Marie Helm are Christian Science practitioners who offer prayer counseling as a cure for physical, emotional and mental ailments at Solutions Through Prayer, located in a small office on Front Street. However, this product comes at a price everyone can afford, they said.
According to Helm, healing through prayer works by keeping thoughts centered on spiritual qualities comprising a person's physical, mental and emotional makeup. By concentrating on positive qualities inherent to the client and helping the client understand why God loves him or her, Helm said prayer manifests itself physically and healing happens.
"We are much more than material beings," Donna Daigle said. "And God sends messages to us all the time. We pray for the patient or client to be receptive to those angel messages from God."
The company is affiliated with Juneau's First Church of Christ, Scientist, but is not funded by the church. The practitioners charge a $20 fee for healings but said they will make concessions for people who don't have the money. They said the fees generated go to the running of the business.
Christian Science as a religion is based on the teachings of the Bible explained by science. Most Christian Scientists follow the teachings of the movement's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote the book "Science and Health" in 1875, Helm said.
But the Daigles and Helm said they are not in the business of conversion and people of all denominations are welcome.
The company owners are certified Christian Science practitioners through the church, which means each has at least three documented and witnessed healings, according to the tenets of the church.
In addition to healing he personally has experienced, Larry Daigle said since opening the practice in September, his work already has helped people. He counseled a man who had no money and was living on the street. He said the man came back after his session looking clean and well dressed, wanting to look for work and to learn to read. Daigle said he considered this a healing.
Donna Daigle said though they have had many successes, as in any practice, they have lost some cases. She said the more receptive someone is to the help God is willing to provide the better the treatment works.
"People should expect the healing," said Donna Daigle. "It doesn't hurt. A receptive heart speeds the healing."
Helm said people come to the office or e-mail needing healing for a variety of reasons. But whether the ailment is emotional, mental or physical it is a spiritual healing power the company tries to invoke.
"The root of our health issues is the way we think about them. And what is a prayer but a thought," Helm said. "We try to help clients uplift that thought and when they do they feel a profound change in their physical well-being."
Donna Meiners, a registered nurse with Bartlett Regional Hospital, said this sort of company follows a trend in modern medicine that concentrates on the mind and spirit as well as the body of a patient. Meiners is one of several volunteer nurses and members of the public who participate in healing touch therapy at the hospital. This form of therapy manipulates the energy around a patient to speed physical healing and provide comfort.
"We live in a practical reality and alternative medicine falls outside of the way practical reality is supposed to work," she said. "But we should use whatever it is that gives us comfort and gets us feeling better whether it's through prayer or some other alternative. Whatever it takes to get somebody believing they are going to get better. ... It's a good complement to medicine."
Helm said as a Christian Science practitioner she concentrates with a patient on asking God to help the patient see himself or herself as God does. Through this method they believe God does the healing, she said.
Meiners said there's nothing wrong with people expecting prayer to produce miracles. Though she said not all physicians are on board with the ideas of alternative medicine, many doctors at Bartlett are incorporating healing touch and other alternatives into their practices.
"Truth is what a lot of people say it is," Meiners said. "If you have 10 people concentrating on you through prayer, that becomes reality. And in their reality there is divine intervention and in their reality that is the truth. ... Medicine also works in mysterious ways. ... We need to support these important links."
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.