In my previous blog (4/29/17), I explored the possible reciprocal relationship between our spiritual behavior and our physical health. Because crisis can lead to a breakdown physically, perhaps spirituality can also play a role in restoring physical health.
Reported by doctors, we saw positive outcomes in physical health by practicing spiritual disciplines: meditation, church or synagogue attendance, and prayer/vizualization. But spirituality produces other positive health benefits. Here are three more.
What if you don’t believe in prayer? The mind-body connection nevertheless provides important clues to health. “People can eat perfectly, take all the best supplements, and exercise often, but there is still a nonphysical aspect of health that we often overlook in our secular world,” says Dr. William Cole, functional medicine practitioner. “My patients who have active, vibrant spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation tend to move through their health journey with more grace and purpose. It’s because of this power of prayer I have witnessed that I encourage all of my patients, even if they are not spiritual, to at least integrate mindfulness meditation into their lives.”
“I have seen (and felt!) many benefits from regular meditation,” adds neurologist Dr. Ilene Ruhoy. “Studies consistently demonstrate that mindfulness meditation can alleviate pain, improve memory and cognition, increase restorative sleep, and has even been demonstrated to increase the volume of brain tissue in the hippocampus. It can be very healing when made a part of a daily routine.”
5. Healing Our Spirit
“My patients rely and often depend on their spirituality to help them with their health,” says Dr. Taz Bhatia, holistic physician and founder of CentreSpring MD. “From meditation to help with weight loss to prayer and prayer groups to fight cancer, spirituality and its role in medicine is an integral part of my practice. Disease, according to our ancestors, was seen as disconnection from our spirit. Thus, reconnecting to our root, our core, and our universe was seen as essential in healing. I am often at a crossroads at times with my patients, when I know that their healing is more dependent on healing their spirit rather than their physical body. I look then to my network of energy healers to help me help them!”
6. Feeling Your Feelings
“… I do believe that healing and redemption are available to every human,” says Dr. Lissa Rankin, founder of Whole Health Medicine Institute and author of Mind Over Medicine, “if only we have the courage to dive into the deep end and milk adversity for all it’s worth. I’m not suggesting that we employ the ‘spiritual bypass’ and use our spiritual principles to avoid feeling the pain, fear, anger, frustration, and grief that accompany such traumas. By all means, feel what you feel—and feel it all the way. Don’t skip it. Feel it. But let the energy of those painful feelings move. Then…even if it’s slow and awkward…dance! Pray. Meditate. Rejoice with your whole heart.”
Here, then, are several physicians who, in their practice of medicine, vouch for the efficacy of spiritual disciplines of prayer, church attendance, mindfulness, and the positive attitude of joy to promote physical well-being. If you are a believer, what spiritual practices are you neglecting in your quest for good physical health? What will you start doing? If you’re not a believer, how can you use mindfulness meditation to enhance your body’s ability to fight disease and to promote well-being? How will you find out more about meditation and begin to implement its benefits to benefit your health?
[Sources: Editorial: “What Role Does Spirituality Play In Healing? Doctors Weigh In” file:///Current/How%20Spirituality%20Can%20Help%20With%20Healing%20-%20mindbodygreen.html Prayer/meditation photo: pixabay.com]