About this book
From the ancients to the Renaissance, religion and medicine worked hand in hand to heal the people, until the scientific minds of the Enlightenment created a physical model of illness without a spiritual component. In this century, spirituality is gaining recognition as part of individuals’ psychological makeup and capacity for meaning-making, and gaining currency as part of holistic concepts of wellness despite resistance from many in the scientific community.
Prayer: Investigating Its Impact on Quality of Life brings science and spirituality together, pointing out thought-provoking parallels and asserting that each can enrich the other. At the book’s center is a detailed study of a randomized double-blinded trial that added intercessory prayer (i.e., prayer for others) to conventional cancer treatment, with findings relevant to conceptions of prayer as intervention. In addition, a review of salient medical literature (including complementary and alternative medical journals) contains both positive and negative studies, encouraging a vigorous dialogue about methodology, endpoints, and whether metaphysical phenomena can—or should—be studied using scientific methods. Among the topics covered:
· The role of spirituality in illness.
· Prayer as complementary or alternative therapy.
· The relationship between spiritual wellbeing and quality of life.
· Instruments for assessing religious and spiritual belief.
· A randomized blinded study of intercessory prayer in patients with cancer.
· Possible directions for further research.
Prayer: Investigating Its Impact on Quality of Life should interest readers on all sides of the debate, including doctors, practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others involved in holistic treatment of patients.