Scientists have conducted research that has shown faith or spirituality has benefits in many areas such as cancer, hypertension, general health, heart disease, and other physical ailments as well as psychological, psychiatric and substance abuse problems. Faith and spirituality improves the immune system, enhances healing, reduces complications during major illnesses and much more. This positive impact of faith or spirituality on health then contributes to our having a much fuller life. The list of existing research is too extensive to include here. See this Faith and Health Fact Sheet from the Christian Medical Association for an extensive explanation of the faith or spirituality and health connection.
Quotes from Leaders in the Research, Medical, and Faith Community:
“Frequent prayer, whether public or private, is associated with better health and emotional well-being and lower levels of psychological distress.” “The evidence for a religious factor in health is, to quote another expert in this field, ‘overwhelming.’” Jeff Levin, Ph.D., M.P.H., author of God, Faith and Health
“Our research and amazing new scientific technology are continually adding exciting new evidence that our Great Creator God has equipped us with marvelous mechanisms by which, through faith in him, our spiritual beliefs and behaviors can actually help heal us.” Harold G. Koenig, M.D., author of The Healing Connection
“A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. It is in the unseen life that you become perfectly fit.” Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost For His Highest
“Belief adds to your ability to handle coping(with stress)… Belief gives you a world view to handle stress. Catastrophic events can bring on so much stress in your life that you end up with illness, so the ability to handle that stress with a world view that reinterprets it in a way that lets you say, “God is teaching me through this …” is beneficial. What I might view from one side as pain and suffering is from God’s side an opportunity for us to be closer to Him. If the situation is reinterpreted as something where I get to know God in a better way, or as a situation which deepens my spiritual life, that’s taking the cutting edge off the stress.” David Larson, Former President, National Institute for Healthcare Research.
The Research on Religion and Health – Additional Resources
The Landmark Spirituality and Health Survey – The University of Michigan. A Nationwide Face-to-Face Survey of 3,000 respondents. They are studying the effects of spirituality on people’s health, attitudes, relationships, and lives.
Learn more on our page dedicated to Articles About Spirituality, Religion and Health Research
Spirituality and Health – An Overview by Harold Koenig, M.D. in a 1 Hour Video
Read Dale’s Blog Posts about the Faith and Health Research.
The Research on Religion and Health – Helpful Websites
The Research on Spirituality, Religion and Health for the Layman at the Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22