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New Site Combines Spiritual and Medical Guidance

Monday, 29 Sep 2008 11:54 AM

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

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Doctors and patients looking to augment traditional medical care with a dose of spiritual healing can turn to a new Web-based resource that offers a mix of advice, references and even actual prayers.

Spirit-Health Connections (www.spirit-health.org.), a project of Temple Foundation Press, brings together resources for those interested in the connection between spirituality and healing. Patients, medical professionals, spiritual care providers, researchers and students will all find cutting edge research and other information that will help them integrate health and healing into their professions and personal lives.

The site’s founders say the site offers much needed support, especially in a place as spiritual as the U.S. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 94 percent of Americans believe in a higher power. When Americans become ill, 75 percent want their doctor to include spiritual aspects into their medical treatment. And nearly half want their doctors to pray, not just for them, but with them. Some 43 percent of doctors admit they pray for their patients privately.

Many studies have investigated the impact of spirituality on health. Although the results are often controversial, some studies have found that those who participate in organized religion are healthier and live longer. Prayer has been shown to restrain the growth of cancer cells and promote healing, and some studies have even shown prayer to be effective when the subject is at a great distance.

Despite that success, discussing prayer and religious beliefs can be a very difficult subject for both patient and doctor. In order to help bridge that divide, Spirit-Health Connections provides:

  • Links to recently published articles on health and spirituality.

  • Prayers of support for health providers of all faiths, including Christian prayers from several denominations appropriate in the death of a child, and Buddhist prayers for the sick.

  • “Ask an Expert” section which allows readers to email questions on spirituality and health that will be answered by experts.

  • A calendar of events lists lectures and conferences across the nation along with contact information.

  • Links to centers and universities worldwide that study health and religion

  • Excerpts from books for medical professionals, spiritual advisors, and researchers that explore spirituality and health.

  • A media section which features video and audio files that can be downloaded free of charge.

    Although some scientists say there is no rational explanation for how prayer works, others counter with the fact that aspirin was used effectively for hundreds of years before science figured out how it works. “Yesterday’s science fiction often becomes tomorrow’s science,” John A. Astin of the California Pacific Medical Center told The Washington Post.

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