The Healing Power of Prayer

In turning its attention to alternative solutions for pain relief, USA Today delved into another very effective and completely healthy remedy -- the healing power of prayer. Americans certainly believe in prayer, even if conventional medicine doesn't get it. A joint poll conducted with ABC News and Stanford University found prayer (90 percent) worked slightly better than prescription drugs (89 percent) to control pain.

I was particularly interested in the comments of one health professional who also serves as pastor of an Arkansas church. He believes prayer works hand-in-hand with faith to decrease one's perception of pain in order to gain control of it as well as reduce stress.

The "so-called" experts on the conventional side of medicine, however, find it difficult to assess the beneficial effect of prayer. A Columbia University psychologist says prayer is no better or more useful than any other activity designed to distract a patient from his or her pain. That opinion flies in the face of a recent study of sickle cell patients that found those who attended church weekly had the lowest pain scores.

But I was also a little surprised a discussion of prayer's effectiveness danced around the obvious connection between emotions and physical health. Fact is, conventional medicine has done a masterful job of not fully appreciating its influence on your health. They simply don't understand how powerfully negative thoughts and emotions can damage your body in profound ways.

USA Today May 10, 2005

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