Spirit and Health
For most of human history, medical thought has been holistic. The holistic viewpoint considers it self-evident that matters of the mind and spirit are intimately related to our diseases. The modern Western medical view, however, is largely material, seeing the human body as a machine, the sum of its physical parts and nothing more. Most of us have a sense that on a deeper level, we’re more than that, and many research studies agree.
Many studies show an improvement in outcome for patients who are actively prayed for, even when the patients themselves aren’t aware of it. People who regularly attend spiritual services are sick less often and recover more quickly than those who do not. And what about spontaneous healing, where patients with a clearly defined disease process suddenly heal for no apparent medical reason? There are plenty of reported cases, but little attention is given to the subject in medical circles.
The placebo effect also shows us that there is more to healing than pills and scalpels. People who are given a sugar pill but told they’re getting real medicine show improvement in their condition about 30% of the time, no matter what the condition. There’s nothing in the pill that causes the improvement. The patients get better simply because they believe they’ll get better. Is there a difference between the placebo effect and faith healing? What if we could harness the power of that belief without the pill?
The interconnectedness of our faith, our mental attitude, and our physical diseases is mysterious but unmistakable. This reflects the holistic view that our spiritual nature is not something separate from the physical.
There is an entire chapter in Journey to Hope on the subject of Spirit as it relates to our health. Just because Spirit is a mystery, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. And just because we don’t know how it works, doesn’t mean we can’t learn to work with it. When we leave our spiritual nature out of the human it’s impossible to solve the equation.