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What do doctors believe about the healing power of prayer?

Harvard's Herbert Benson, M.D., is the founding president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Benson believes that humans are "wired for God" and through years of experiments is trying to scientifically measure the effects of praying for others. While Benson believes that religious beliefs should be used in conjunction with modern medicine, he and his colleagues have treated such conditions as hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia with his relaxation response, the common ingredient in his self-care program and prayer/meditation practices. They have successfully treated 75 percent of insomniacs, treated symptoms of depression in people with AIDS and cancer, and relieved nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy.

A revealing study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on doctors' renewed interest in spirituality's role in health. In a review of 27 studies, one researcher reported that in 22 of them, religious involvement had a positive effect on good health, including cases of cancer. In another massive study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers showed that heart patients who had someone praying for them suffered fewer complications than other patients. Whether it's God at work or just a good attitude, patients with rich spiritual lives may have a better chance of recovering from serious illness. Scientists tread lightly when offering explanations -- they shy away from attributing anything to a supernatural force. But they say that, for certain diseases, religious activity does seem to be associated with better health.
Miracle Touch: A Complete Guide to Hands-On Therapies That Have the Amazing Ability to Heal

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Miracle Touch: A Complete Guide to Hands-On Therapies That Have the Amazing Ability to Heal

Discover the Healing Power of Human TouchCurious about the benefits of touch therapy? Interest in hands-on therapies has skyrocketed, and even conventional physicians now embrace these treatments as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.