healing partnerships and the wise use of alternativetherapies (Addison-Wesley, 1996). Dr. Gordon wrotethat medical education is long on technical masterybut short on issues of personal and spiritual growth.Dr. Gregory Plotnikoff, MD who is the medicaldirector of the University of Minnesotas Center forSpiritual Care and Healing advocates care for thebody and the soul (9). Timeless Healing: The Powerand Biology of Belief, by Herbert Benson, M.D.(Scribner, 1996) draws on Bensons work atHarvards Mind/Body Medical Institute. Bensonsprescription for doctors and patients contains threeingredients: 1. identifies each others importantbeliefs and motivations, 2. discuss and act on thosebeliefs, and 3. let go and believe. Religious belief andfaith are the vehicles for his prescription.Dr. David Larson, MD who is the president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research (NIHR),Rockville, Maryland awarded five $10,000 grants in1996 to Medical Schools to incorporate classes onReligion and medicine into their Curricula. He is theauthor of the 1995 book, The Neglected Factor. Dr.Ornish, MD has documented the reversal of coronaryartery occlusion by diet and meditation.This message-that health care has a spiritual com-ponent-flies in the face of modern Western healthcare culture, which holds to a biomedical model forhealing and recovery.Spiritual Medicine has two components: DistantHealing and Self-care (that is healing by patientsown efforts). Distant healing is defined as any purelymental effort undertaken by one person with theintention of improving physical or emotional wellbeing in another. In clinical practice, healing mayinvolve a mental effort in or out of the healers pres-ence, with or without his or her awareness, and withor without touch. This broad definition would alsoinclude petitionary prayer or Dua in which the prac-titioner generates a mental request for a particularoutcome or that Gods will be done.
What is spirituality
An individual has biological, psychological, andsocial dimensions and yet there is a spiritual dimen-sion, which connects to all of these and contributes toan individuals sense of wholeness and wellness.Experiences such as joy, love, forgiveness and accept-ance are manifestations of spiritual well being.Imbalance in one of the several dimensions led to dis-ease and exacerbating illness. It is known that the spir-itual elements also play an important role in the recov-ery process from acute or chronic sickness. Spiritualhealing techniques frequently can support or comple-ment conventional health care modality (3).Spirituality is often defined as the experience of meaning and purpose in our lives-a sense of connect-edness with the people and things in the world aroundus. For many, this connectedness encompasses a rela-tionship with God or a higher power. For manyAmerican, spirituality is experience and expressedthrough religiousness. The terms religiousness andspirituality often are used interchangeably.Religiousness is adherence to the beliefs and prac-tices of an organized place of worship or religiousinstitutions. Spirituality provides a sense of coher-ence that offers meaning to ones existence as a human being. Sometimes a patient may experiencestates of consciousness that have profound spiritualand transformative impact, including near-deathexperiences, mystical states, and delirious statesassociated with alterations of brain chemistry. Theseevents may have a positive impact on the individualor they may lead to distress. Reassurance and legit-imization of the experience by a health care providercan be very therapeutic (10). Physicians are helpingpatients look beyond the physical dimension to findcomfort, answers, and cures. The vast majority of Americans believe that spirituality influences theirrecovery from illness, injury, or disease, says onerecent poll. Two thirds of the respondents indicatedthey would like physicians to talk with them aboutspirituality as it relates to their health or even to praywith them.
Religion and health
Religiousness may contribute to the enhancementof well being in a number of ways.
The relaxation response
Abodily claim that all of us can evoke and thathas the opposite effect of the well-known fight-or-
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