The Discussion Continues on the Power of Prayer

The Discussion Continues on the Power of Prayer

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by Don Ingwerson

There’s a growing debate among the medical community and the public as to whether faith and prayer should be partnered with medical treatment in healing. NBC recently did a segment on the power of prayer, with some interesting thoughts for and against prayer in the medical setting. It’s a great leavening of thought to have more people receptive to God’s message – in any setting. And just possibly more people will find that healing through prayer is not a miracle, but divinely natural.Continue Reading

Prayer and the Placebo

Prayer and the Placebo

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by Don Ingwerson

When the subject of placebos enters into the conversation, what’s the perception? That the brain can fool the body? That doctors sometimes use it to convince the patient that a substance or pill will change the existing conditions of the body? Are there ethics guiding the use of placebos?Continue Reading

Time to Rethink Health Care?

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

Where to start when thinking about health? Everyday there seems to be a new twist on ways to gain the promise of better health or ways to overcome health problems – and many of these ideas seem logical, requiring only modest changes in lifestyle. But it’s easy to get hooked on a new fad, which is soon forgotten when a new idea comes knocking.Continue Reading

To Present a Clear View of Health Care Treatments, Prayer Should Be Included

To Present a Clear View of Health Care Treatments, Prayer Should be Included

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by Don Ingwerson

I’ve found that prayer is crucial to everything I do and believe. So you can imagine how interested I’ve been to find prayer surveyed and reported as part of national studies on alternative and complementary therapies. A 2007 report indicated that 77% of the public used prayer in connection with their health and that prayer was among the 10 most common complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies.Continue Reading

Creating the Right Environment for Health

Creating the Right Environment for Health

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by Don Ingwerson

Would practicing alternative medicine allow her to spend more time with patients and, thus, lead to an environment more conducive to healing?

This final question came from a young lawyer turned physician who, like me, attended a RAND Corporation meeting on alternative health care.Continue Reading

New Approaches in Health Care

New Approaches in Health Care

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by Don Ingwerson

In a professional meeting a while ago, I listened to a consultant talk about the effects of fear on the body. He asked each of us to hold a thermometer between the thumb and forefinger for a few minutes and then read their thermometer’s indicated temperature. After this initial reading, he guided us to think about something very stressful and fearful while holding the thermometer as before. After a few moments, he asked us to read the thermometer again. I found that my temperature reading had dropped 4 degrees!

The consultant explained that the body responds to situations where fear or tension is created by blood gathering around the heart in order to have the strength and energy to “push back” against the object creating that fear or stress. That leaves less blood circulating through the extremities of the body – so those areas become colder. It was a great exercise to see how one’s mind affects the functions of the body.

This demonstration would be referred to today as an example of mind-body connection. The mind-body connection has led to developing alternative therapies, which are rapidly being considered by the public as effective ways to maintain or improve health. Researchers studying these trends in health care are using terms such as alternative, integrative, or CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). Whatever the name, there is a growing interest on the part of the public to find effective ways to maintain their health.

Spirituality and prayer are also included among alternative approaches.

Professor David G. Myers shared data of just how important this topic has become to the public in “Spirituality and Faith”:

Of America’s 135 medical schools, 101 offered spirituality and health courses in 2005, up from 5 in 1992.

Since 1995, Harvard Medical School has annually attracted 1000 to 2000 health professionals to its Spirituality and Healing in Medicine conferences.

The National Prayer in Medicine Survey reports that:

Across multiple studies and polls, most Americans report that they believe in a higher power (90% – 96%). Therefore it is not surprising that the rates of prayer are also high among Americans. The World Values Survey data from 2006 report that 84% of Americans pray and other surveys report that out of those who pray, up to 81% pray a few times a month or more frequently. Among those who pray, the belief that prayers are answered is also high. The 2007 Pew Forum study reported that 80% of respondents reported that they had received answers to prayer and a second study by Magaletta reported that 44% of subjects described personal healing through prayer at least once. Clearly, spiritual beliefs and prayer are important among Americans.

For me personally, I have found turning to prayer a great help in resolving family, health, and professional needs for the past couple of decades.

These trends in health care are truly fascinating and the researchers who are reporting this expanding field are providing the public and professionals alike interesting information from which the public can make informed choices.

Article previously published December 11, 2011.