Integrative Medicine at Crossroads
410-997-5191

Spiritual Practice in Health and Healing

Quick links

Seminar Videos

Foundations of Health and Healing

Fuctional Balance of Health and Healing

Hormonal Balance

Cardiovascular Health

Bone and Joint Health

Women's Health

Support for Chronic Illness

Immune System/Colds and Flu

Spiritual Practice in Health and Healing

The actualization of spiritual values has been proven to enhance health and promote healing. A study published in the Journal of Mind/Body Medicine looked at the effect of psychological and spiritual practices on the outcome of patients with terminal cancer. The researchers divided the patients into three groups. One group received no intervention. The second group were given information on mind/body practices and encouraged to practice the techniques. The practice effort of this group was minimal. The third group was given information on mind/body practices and supported in an intense level of practice. The outcomes supported the benefit of psychological and spiritual practice on health outcome. All of these patients were expected to die from their disease. All of the patients continued to receive conventional medical treatment for palliation (symptom management). The group that had no practice had no change in life expectancy. The group that engaged in a moderate practice was able to double their life expectancy. The group that embraced the practice was able to triple their life expectancy. Two members of that group had a spontaneous remission of their cancer (their cancer disappeared). The patients engaged in activities such as relaxation training, imagery training, individual and group therapy where appropriate. This is a preliminary study; however, it confirms the idea that efforts at mind/body integration can have a desirable effect on health outcomes. There are 25 years of scientific observation on research on this subject. There are stories and observations since recorded time describing the journey an individual takes when confronted with a chronic illness. The willingness of the individual to participate in their healing has a profound effect on their subsequent health.

Spiritual practice is often confused with religious affiliation or belief. I would suggest that there are spiritual practices that are common to all religions and beliefs. When an individual engages in these practices they are addressing the core of religious values and enabling the healing process. There are concepts such as belief in a higher power, prayer, hope, introspection, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, generosity, determination, courage and wisdom that can be enacted in our daily lives. The practical enactment of these concepts in our daily lives is the essence of spiritual practice.

Making the effort to practice these concepts brings healing and wholeness to the individual, the family and the community. Cure of a disease is not always possible. Creating a healing in the face of adversity or tragedy is always possible.