Spirituality and Healing: What Works
- A study by Pressman in 1990 of elderly women who
had undergone surgical repair of hip fractures found that those with
strong religious beliefs were able to walk farther at discharge, and also
showed lower levels of depressive symptoms.
- At the Duke University Medical Center, Dr.
Harold Koenig, director of the Program on Religion, Aging, and Health, has
conducted nearly a dozen studies. In a 1992 review, Dr. Koenig concluded
that devout religiousness helps enhance health and well being, and helps
protect against both anxiety and depression.
- Another study by Dr. Koenig concluded that
religious older adults have lower blood pressure and lower death rates
from coronary heart disease than their nonreligious peers.
- After a six-month follow-up study of 200 older
adults in 1995, Dr. Koenig found that people who scored high in religious
coping were found to be less subject to depression.
- From the Dartmouth Medical School, a 1995 study
by Dr. Thomas Oxman found that, among 232 older adults undergoing heart
surgery, patients who were religious were three times less likely to have
died six months after surgery than those who were not religious. Of 37
patients who described themselves as deeply religious, none died.
- Duke University researchers found an association
between increased immune function and regular attendance at religious
services. The investigation, reported in the October 1997 issue of the International
Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine,
involved 1,718 men and women over sixty-five, and reported that those who
attended services at least once a week were about half as likely as
nonattenders to have high blood levels of interleukin-6, a protein that
regulates immune and inflammatory responses.
- Preliminary data from an ongoing study by the
Institute of Noetic Sciences suggest that enhanced spiritual well being
may help women cope with and even survive breast cancer.
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BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R.
Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R.
permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.
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