The biology of prayer and healing essay

The patient prayed often to receive healing. Arguably, the patient believed that God is the cause of everything and has a purpose for doing so. Since God has the power over everything, he can facilitate healing just as he makes a person fall ill as a form of punishment.

The biology of prayer and healing essay

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Religious traditions across the world display beliefs in healing through prayer. The healing powers of prayer have been examined in triple-blind, randomized controlled trials.

We illustrate randomized controlled trials on prayer and healing, with one study in each of different categories of outcome. We provide a critical analysis of the scientific and philosophical dimensions of such research. Prayer has been reported to improve outcomes in human as well as nonhuman species, to have no effect on outcomes, to worsen outcomes and to have retrospective healing effects.

For a multitude of reasons, research on the healing effects of prayer is riddled with assumptions, challenges and contradictions that make the subject a scientific and religious minefield. We believe that the research has led nowhere, and that future research, if any, will forever be constrained by the scientific limitations that we outline.

We do not intend to belittle any religion or the religious practices of those who pray, nor do we deny the medical and psychosocial benefits that have been identified to result from religious affiliations and practices. People pray for good health and for relief from illness.

Prayer may result in health and healing through one or more of several mechanisms. We briefly consider these mechanisms. Meditation has been found to produce a clinically significant reduction in resting as well as ambulatory blood pressure,[ 23 ] to reduce heart rate,[ 4 ] to result in cardiorespiratory synchronization,[ 5 ] to alter levels of melatonin and serotonin,[ 6 ] to suppress corticostriatal glutamatergic neurotransmission,[ 7 ] to boost the immune response,[ 8 ] to decrease the levels of reactive oxygen species as measured by ultraweak photon emission,[ 9 ] to reduce stress and promote positive mood states,[ 10 ] to reduce anxiety and pain and enhance self-esteem[ 11 ] and to have a favorable influence on overall and spiritual quality of life in late-stage disease.

Regression to the mean describes improvement that occurs as a result of random fluctuation in the severity of illness; in clinical trials, because patients are usually preselected for greater severity of illness, such fluctuations usually occur in only one direction i.

Nonspecific support can reduce anxiety, depression, pain and similar constructs. Spontaneous remission and regression to the mean may occur coincidental to prayer. Nonspecific psychosocial support related to prayer may arise in group prayer settings.

Improvements in all these contexts are true improvements. In contrast, in randomized controlled studies on the efficacy of prayer as a treatment, rated improvements that are not true improvements may also occur; explanations for such improvement include the Hawthorne effect and the Rosenthal effect.

The Hawthorne effect refers to change that occurs as a result of the act of observation or measurement,[ 2728 ] whereas the Rosenthal effect refers to change resulting from observer or rater expectancy. With regard to the latter, the tendency of the rater to expect symptom attenuation across time may result in the attachment of lower significance to reported symptoms.

Prayer may result in benefits that are due to divine intervention Although the very consideration of such a possibility may appear scientifically bizarre, it cannot be denied that, across the planet, people pray for health and for relief of symptoms in times of sickness.

Healing through prayer, healing through religious rituals, healing at places of pilgrimage and healing through related forms of intervention are well-established traditions in many religions.

What about divine intervention as a mechanism of recovery of health through prayer?

The biology of prayer and healing essay

This has also been seriously investigated. A total of 23 trials involving 2, patients met the inclusion criteria and were subjected to analysis.

The methodological limitations of many of the studies, however, made it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of distant healing. Of note, Astin et al. Therapeutic touch and Reiki were both included in the definition; as both of these may elicit an expectancy response,[ 31 ] it becomes even harder to draw definitive conclusions about the literature that Astin et al.

In another systematic review, Crawford et al. There were 90 identified studies of which 45 had been conducted in clinical settings and 45 in laboratory settings. Major methodological problems of the identified studies were an inadequacy of blinding, dropped data in laboratory studies, unreliability of outcome measures, infrequent use of power estimations and confidence intervals, and lack of independent replication.

In the present article, we present a purposive, qualitative review of the scientific literature on possible paranormal healing through prayer. We then critically evaluate the scientific and religious implications of such research. Most recent studies on prayer and healing have adopted this design.

What is prayer supposed to accomplish? | Aeon Essays

In such studies, commonly, a group of intercessors prays for the health of patients who are randomized to the intervention group.

These patients do not know that they are being prayed for, and the persons who are praying do not come in contact with the patients for whom they pray.

Medical outcomes in these patients are compared with outcomes in patients randomized to the control group who are not prayed for.

Finally and importantly, the medical treatment team is also blind to the prayer group status of individual patients. Thus, these studies are triple-blind. In this purposive review, we illustrate the nature of the research in the field by presenting one human and one nonhuman study on improved outcomes associated with prayer, one study showing no difference between prayer and control conditions, one study showing worse outcomes with prayer and one study suggesting that prayer may have a retrospective healing effect.

We then provide a detailed, critical evaluation of the scientific and theological implications of such research.Essay about The Biology of Prayer and Healing - The Biology of Prayer and Healing “When we set ourselves to the work of collecting or re-collecting the scattered pieces of ourselves, we begin a task which, if carried to its natural conclusions, ultimately becomes prayer.”.

Prayers Essay. Words Feb 28th, 5 Pages. Adherents, most often than not, come to the Lord with legitimate requests for healing, change and/or is done more regularly than being in the presence of God, asking for forgiveness or expressing our thanks for another day of our lives, praying for those who do not have that.

The healing power of prayer essay. 5 stars based on reviews Essay (0 votes, average: out of 5) You need to be a registered member to rate this topic. Loading Recommend this topic References for The healing power of prayer essay. Topic Category - General. Previous Topic.

In petitionary prayer we ask for something for ourselves; in intercessory prayer we pray to a higher power for the benefit of other people (either living or dead).

In praying for other people and for ourselves we ask a higher power to bring about a particular result. Prayer is central to the Christian way of life, just as Jesus always prayed to his Father in Heaven, so he taught his followers to pray.

Prayer Is Central To Our Lives As Christians Religion Essay. Print Reference this. Published: 23rd March, If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on. This essay explicates points proving the essence of prayer for healing. Firstly, prayer leads to healing because it is not restricted by distance.

The biology of prayer and healing essay

This is a significant point when exploring the effects of prayer concerning faith. Williams (), advances an experiment that was carried out .

Prayer: A Challenge for Science