The Circle of the Soul: The Role of Spirituality in Health Care

Abstract

This paper examines the critical attitude of behavioral professionals toward spiritual phenomena, and the current growing openness toward a scientific study of spirituality and its effects on health. Health care professionals work amidst sickness and suffering, and become immersed in the struggles of suffering persons for meaning and spiritual direction. Biofeedback and neurofeedback training can facilitate relaxation, mental stillness, and the emergence of spiritual experiences. A growing body of empirical studies documents largely positive effects of religious involvement on health. The effects of religion and spirituality on health are diverse, ranging from such tangible and easily understood phenomena as a reduction of health-risk behaviors in church-goers, to more elusive phenomena such as the distant effects of prayer on health and physiology. Psychophysiological methods may prove useful in identifying specific physiological mechanisms mediating such effects. Spirituality is also a dimension in much of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the CAM arena may offer a window of opportunity for biofeedback practice.

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Moss, D. The Circle of the Soul: The Role of Spirituality in Health Care. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 27, 283 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021013502426

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  • religion
  • spirituality
  • health care
  • biofeedback
  • complementary and alternative medicine