Whether you are a skeptic or a true believer, spirituality is an indispensable facet of the human experience. From the most ancient rituals for healing to the modern day clinical trials on the power of prayer, spiritual healing does have a legitimate place in our pursuit of health.
Here’s how my nursing textbook, Medical-Surgical Nursing: Clinical Management for Positive Outcomes (8th ed.) defines “Spiritual Healing” under the heading of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM):
This is the direct interaction between the healer and a client with the intention of improving the client’s overall or specific condition or potentially curing the disease. The treatment itself can occur through personal contact or from a distance. Several variations of this therapy exist, including Reiki, intercessory prayer, faith healing, and therapeutic touch…The primary claim of healers seems to be the promotion or facilitation of self-healing and well-being. (p 54)
Nearly 50% of Americans have used some form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), and that figure continues to grow. Why? Desire for control over decision making, desire to avoid synthetic medications and invasive procedures, restraints on access to health care, and the general “increased interest in preventive strategies and holistic approaches to health such as eating a more nutritionally sound diet, maintaining fitness, and reducing stress are among the top reasons for choosing CAM.
Perhaps you are still skeptical, and like all of my readers, YOU want REAL proof…okay. Here are the results of several clinical trials published on cancer.gov:
- Religion and spirituality have been shown to be significantly associated with measures of adjustment and with the management of symptoms in cancer patients. Religious and spiritual coping have been associated with lower levels of patient discomfort as well as reduced hostility, anxiety, and social isolation in cancer patients [1–4] and in family caregivers. Specific characteristics of strong religious beliefs, including hope, optimism, freedom from regret, and life satisfaction, have also been associated with improved adjustment in individuals diagnosed with cancer.[6,7]
- Spiritual well-being, particularly a sense of meaning and peace, is significantly associated with an ability of cancer patients to continue to enjoy life despite high levels of pain or fatigue. Spiritual well-being and depression are inversely related.[12,13] Higher levels of a sense of inner meaning and peace have also been associated with lower levels of depression, whereas measures of religiousness were unrelated to depression.
- Positive religious involvement and spirituality appear to be associated with better health and longer life expectancy, even after controlling for other variables such as health behaviors and social support, as shown in one meta-analysis.
- Another study  found that helper and cytotoxic T-cell counts were higher among women with metastatic breast cancer who reported greater importance of spirituality.
- Other investigators  found that attendance at religious services was associated with better immune system functioning.
No matter what your faith affiliation or specific religious beliefs or practices, deepening your sense of purpose, of meaning, and your relationship with a higher power has visible, measurable, and powerful benefits. Connecting with your center, with inner peace, with your sense of simplicity helps you cope with stress and increases your confidence in your own inner resources.
Winter Retreat 2014
From Sunday, February 23 to Saturday, March 1 the Holistic Homestead will be hosting our first annual online Winter Retreat. Every day you will receive specific (multi-denominational) exercises and meditations to enhance your spiritual practice – think of it as a prescription for the spirit. To join us, you can register for free here, or click on the “follow” button at the bottom right of the screen to receive updates and posts automatically via e-mail.
Thank you for reading, sharing, joining and healing!