The growing interest in spirituality and health
It is indisputable that there is a growing interest in spirituality. A look at business practices, booksellers’ lists and medical conference agendas readily bears this out. Len Tischler of the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania posited that the growing interest in spirituality in business is attributable to increased economic prosperity, which has shifted the focus from survival to the ‘higher order needs’ [Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 12 Iss: 4, pp.273 – 280. 1999].
On the 2008 New York Times bestsellers’ list covering various categories, 17 of the books were connected in some way to spirituality. As far back as 2007, a poll among American university and college students showed 41% indicating they were becoming more interested in spirituality.
The growing interest in spirituality within the practice of medicine may be attributed to the fact that medical studies and research reveal that the religious faith of a patient impacts positively on their recovery from surgery, and is beneficial in reducing ailments related to stress such as high blood pressure and depression. In recent times, some medical practitioners have indicated they may take the religious beliefs of patients into consideration during a medical course of treatment.
Dr. Galanter et al. of NYU School of Medicine, New York concluded in a 9/1/2008 article titled Addressing patients’ spirituality in medicine, that progress is being made in ‘translating a growing interest in the medical field in spirituality and religion into interventions that may be effective and possibly become part of standard medical care’.
The importance and efficacy of religious faith or spirituality in health is not new. It dates back to Biblical times, with the exemplary healing ministry of Christ Jesus setting the standard. Centuries later, in 1866, Mary Baker Eddy discovered the divine law underlying Jesus’ method of healing, and thereafter, based on her own healing ministry spanning almost forty five years, came to the conclusion that spirituality directly improves health.
In her internationally acclaimed book on spiritual healing titled Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, Eddy writes that the body improves under the same regimen which spiritualises thought. She found that there is a science to this spiritual activity, which is the basis of its efficacy. Today, individuals studying this Christian method of healing attest to its practicality.