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The medical benefits of spirituality

Jenny G.

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Article from today's news:

Spirituality, which is broadly defined as an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life, protects us against end-of-life despair, depression, and hopelessness.

Researchers from Fordham University determined that no matter what their religion, terminally ill people who had been given less than three months to live but had a sense of spiritual well-being, were less likely to spend those last months in a state of despair. They were also less likely than non-spiritual people to feel hopeless, want to die, or consider suicide.

Previous research has shown time and again that spirituality can greatly ease the mental and emotional anguish that accompany a host of medical ailments or the loss of a loved one. In this study that involved interviews with 160 terminally ill people, spirituality was measured in two ways: Inner peace and the comfort and strength they got from their religious faith.

When someone is terminally ill, it is quite common to feel despair in the final days of life. But Reuters reports that even when patients were depressed, they only tended to want to die if they had a low sense of spiritual well-being. Spiritual people who were depressed by their illness did not wish for a hastened death. "Spiritual well-being is a really crucial, central aspect of how you cope with death," study author Dr. Barry Rosenfeld of Fordham University in New York told Reuters.

What's the takeaway? Developing our spirituality now may help us enormously later in life. And for those who are already ill, "meaning-centered" therapy could provide a critical boost during the last months of life. "It may be more important as you get older and closer to death, and have a more reflective perspective on life," Rosenfeld said, noting that even those with just a few months to live can benefit from trying to find the meaning and value in their lives. He insists it's never too late. "I think you can gain something up until the very end," Rosenfeld said.

The study was published in the medical journal The Lancet.

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Large hospitals on the east coast and west have done studies on prayer and its benefits as far as illness , wellness. They have done double blind studies. One study was done on victims of heart attacks. They assigned people to pray for some and not for others. The group that were prayed for had fewer complications and survived longer, and had less reoccurance. The group that was prayed for did not even know they were being prayed for. Most hospitals have chaplains, if not, all of the nurses I know have been taught that part of a patients care is providing physical , emotional and "spiritual" care. People with spiritual "health" do better.

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This is precisely why we are going to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

It is the answer to a prayer. A prayer for someone, somewhere and a place where they would treat Mike like a sick man, not a dying man.

They offer pastoral care....to help the "spirit".

They offer counseling and group support....to help the "mind".

They offer naturopathic medicine and nutrition....to help the "body".

They offer conventional medical treatments...to treat the "disease".

And are we NOT more than the disease? We are body, mind and spirit.


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