Spirituality and Health
What’s The Connection and What
Impact Does It Have on YOU?
As a minister, people often ask me if spirituality and health are related. The bottom line answer is yes.
Spirituality and health are so related
that you could not separate them if you tried.
How can I say that with such certainty? Because you are not just a human being made up of flesh, blood, organs, and cells. You are a being who has a spirit which impacts every aspect of your life including your health.
I’m sure you have heard the term mind body connection. Many doctors talk to their patients about this during office visits. Doctors are beginning to understand how much spirituality and health are connected to each other. They recognize that what goes on in a person’s mind – their thoughts, feelings, and emotions – has a profound impact on their physical health. Many doctors are realizing that in order to help their patients heal their physical bodies, they also have to address the spirit of their patients.
Studies on Spirituality and Health
There are several recent studies that demonstrate the impact that spirituality can have on an individual’s personal well being.
Self Help for Depression
There is recent research from Rush University Medical Center which indicates that when people who are diagnosed with clinical depression believe that there is a personal God who cares about them, they have better mental health outcomes.
Stress and Spirituality
Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered that when individuals believed in God, it had a positive impact in reducing their levels of stress and anxiety. When scans were done, they found that those who believed in God and those who didn't, had very distinct differences in their brains. This
Relaxation Kit can help you get control of your stress.
Healing Power of Prayer
In his ground breaking book Healing Words, Dr. Larry Dossey documents evidence that prayer can result in statistically significant improvement in patient outcomes compared to patients who were not prayed for. His research was so impressive that nearly 80 percent of the medical schools in the United States now teach courses in how religious practices and prayer affect health.
Christian Science Practitioners are trained to do physical healings based on prayer. The connection between spirituality and health is so well accepted that many insurance companies will reimburse the prayer treatment work of Christian Science Practitioners because of the positive results that have been demonstrated. Licensed Religious Science Practitioners are also trained in the healing power of prayer, although their treatments are not currently reimbursed by insurance companies.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The concept of Spirituality and Health is so mainstream that the National Institutes of Health has a section called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to see what affect these spirituality based treatments have on an individual’s physical health.
Some of the treatments/practices that are researched include:
This ancient Chinese system of healing is based on the concept of the harmony and balance between yin and yang. Yin and yang are considered opposing but interrelated forces that comprise an individual’s life force or qi (chi). When the qi is out of balance, illness can result. Acupuncture brings an individual’s qi back into balance.
This is an ancient practice that focuses on the union of mind, body spirit. There are many spirituality and health
benefits of yoga
. I personally began to practice yoga when I went to my doctor complaining of chronic pain in my upper back. Instead of giving me a muscle relaxer or a pain killer, he told me to do yoga.
can be a great way for you to do something positive for your body, help you calm your mind, and also connect with your spirit. A kit like the
Basic Level OM Yoga in a Box can help you get started with a yoga practice.
Reiki and Healing Hands Massage
The natural energy healing system of Reiki and healing hands massage can help release negative emotions that may be trapped in your body and restore your spirit and body to health.
Holding grudges towards others can have a profound negative impact on your health. If you are constantly angry and resentful about what someone has or has not done then it is very likely your body is going to pay the price for it. Strong negative emotions cause your body to produce very powerful chemicals which can bring on a variety of illnesses to your body. The spiritual practice of forgiving others helps you to release these negative emotions and this can bring your body back to a sense of peace and well being.
They Go Hand in Hand
So you can see that spirituality and health are intertwined. Each one affects the other. When you are experiencing any illness it can have a negative impact on your spirit. When you are feeling at peace and in balance spiritually, it can have a positive impact on your health.
My recommendation is to work on both. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and also a regular spiritual practice. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and learn to relax. You can also meditate, pray, read inspirational books and get involved in a spiritual community. Then you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
One of the masters who understands the connection between spirituality and health is Deepak Chopra. Check out his program on this topic. I've enjoyed it and there's a good chance you will too! Click the picture for more information.
If you enjoyed this article, why don't you check out these articles too.
Stress Management Tips - Learn 7 simple things you can do to take care of your stress.
Yoga Props - Discover the different types and how they can make your practice safer and more enjoyable.
Body Work - Explore this mind body activity to find out how it can help your entire being.
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