A guest post written by Bob Cummings, media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Michigan
“Your mind can cut your chances of catching a cold by 40 to 50 percent.”
Really? Yes – according to a recent ABC News report by Susan Ince entitled, “15 Ways To Prevent Colds and Flu” which lists meditation along with other methods of prevention such as exercise, getting enough sleep, and frequently washing one’s hands.
Here’s some interesting numbers on the effectiveness of different methods of preventing colds and flu:
- Meditation and mindfulness (according to study mentioned below): 40 to 50 percent
- Exercise (according to study mentioned below): 20 to 30 percent
- Hand washing (according to the World Health Organization): 16 to 24 percent
Ince writes, “Your mind can cut your chances of catching a cold by 40 to 50 percent, according to a 2012 University of Wisconsin, Madison, study. Fifty-one people who used mindfulness techniques logged 13 fewer illnesses and 51 fewer sick days than a control group during one cold-and-flu season, probably because meditation reduces physical effects of stress that weaken the immune system.”
Lead author Dr. Bruce Barrett, a family medicine physician and associate professor at the School of Medicine and Public Health there, conducted the study cited by Ince. It found that symptoms were reduced by 40-50 percent for the group that received mindfulness training and by 30-40 percent for the group that received exercise training. However, it is important to note that this study is quite new, is just one study and it used a fairly small sampling.
Still – it’s something to think about.
Prayer is a type of mindfulness practice commonly used by many people to improve their health and wellbeing. In fact, almost half of Americans use prayer for health concerns, a percentage that has been increasing over the past decade according to the American Psychological Association 2011 Psychology of Religion and Spirituality report.
The Bible offers this assurance: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”¹
If our thoughts can reduce the chances of cold or flu, then availing ourselves of divine aid and comfort through prayer should have practical results. And that’s definitely something to think about.