Does prayer have the power to heal?

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coffeeFreak
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Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by coffeeFreak »

Thought this might be an interesting discussion. The article is quite long so this entry only contains parts of it.

Does prayer have the power to heal? Scientists have some surprising answers.

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

Could it be possible? Could the prayers of a handful of people help someone -- even someone on the other side of the world...

...Research focusing on the power of prayer in healing has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, says David Larson, MD, MSPH, president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, a private nonprofit agency.

Even the NIH -- which "refused to even review a study with the word prayer in it four years ago" -- is now funding one prayer study through its Frontier Medicine Initiative...

...These studies show that religious people tend to live healthier lives. "They're less likely to smoke, to drink, to drink and drive," he says. In fact, people who pray tend to get sick less often, as separate studies conducted at Duke, Dartmouth, and Yale universities show. Some statistics from these studies:

    Hospitalized people who never attended church have an average stay of three times longer than people who attended regularly.

    Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in a religion.

    Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.

    In Israel, religious people had a 40% lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Also, says Koenig, "people who are more religious tend to become depressed less often. And when they do become depressed, they recover more quickly from depression. That has consequences for their physical health and the quality of their lives."...read more...

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50874
5VP
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by 5VP »

Sure, but not in an evangelical slap to the forehead fashion, although that may be a good place to start for some.

It works for me by allowing me to calm down (even if only momentarily) and recenter my thoughts and focus on the prayer matter/situation(s) at hand and that this process can be felt as partly physical...

I believe that this process can have an effect on others and that this is provable through quantum physics...
Infinite rider on the big dogma...
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Born_again
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Born_again »

I do hope people do a couple of background checks on this article before they believe this hokus pokus by Jeanie Lerche Davis. Sadly, the article was strategically targeted, so critical examination is not expected.
Good luck, you are in my prayers.
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Born_again
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Born_again »

From the original article by Jeanie Lerche Davis wrote:
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50874

God Grabs Headlines


Research focusing on the power of prayer in healing has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, says David Larson, MD, MSPH, president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, a private nonprofit agency.

Even the NIH -- which "refused to even review a study with the word prayer in it four years ago" -- is now funding one prayer study through its Frontier Medicine Initiative. Although it's not his study, Krucoff says it's nevertheless evidence that "things are changing."

Krucoff has been studying prayer and spirituality since 1996 -- and practicing it much longer in his patient care. Earlier studies of the subject were small and often flawed, he says. Some were in the form of anecdotal reports: "descriptions of miracles ... in patients with cancer, pain syndromes, heart disease," he says.

"[Today,] we're seeing systematic investigations -- clinical research -- as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, federal subsidies from the NIH, funding from Congress," he tells WebMD. "All of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions."


Let's break this hogwash down by actually doing a little research.

Research focusing on the power of prayer in healing has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, says David Larson, MD, MSPH, president of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, a private nonprofit agency.

True, the research had doubled, ............. from one study to two! True also that the studies were completed with funding from the scientific-sounding National Institute for Healthcare Research; granted under the "EXPLORATORY PROGRAM GRANTS FOR FRONTIER MEDICINE RESEARCH".
Here's the funny bit; to qualify for grants from NIHR you must be representing an institution that promotes at least one of the following:
o Bioelectromagnetic Therapy (e.g., diagnostic and therapeutic application of
electromagnetic (EM) fields including pulsed EM fields, magnetic fields, Direct
Current (DC) fields, artificial light therapy, etc. Note: This category does
not include the study of electromagnetic fields as risk factors for disease);

o Biofield (e.g., energy healing, etc. Note: This category involves systems
that use "subtle energy" fields in and around the body for medical purposes.
Examples include Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, Huna, laying-on-of-hands, external
Qi-Gong, etc.);

o Homeopathy; or

o Therapeutic Prayer; Spiritual Healing; Distance Healing; or other examples of
prayer and/or spirituality as direct clinical interventions.


The list of "Special Requirements" are hilarious, if not sad. Basically it's a front for The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

So what about the studies? Oh, yeah, they forgot to mention that although they did start, the results were never published or submitted for peer review. Don't believe me?
Here you go:
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT01053780?intr=%22Intercessory+Prayer%22&rank=1
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00179491?intr=%22Intercessory+Prayer%22&rank=2

Now this leaves us wondering why Ms. Jeanie Lerche Davis would write an article on this BS? That is simple. She makes a living by teaching people, basically, how to BS for profit. Don't believe me? Good, let's have a look at her website:
If Health is Your Market, I Can Help

I can jump into a project, understand the material and the target audience… and craft the right message that meets your goals.

The skill of copywriting, after all, comes in connecting with the customer. Good writing builds a relationship... and in health writing, it is often an emotional one... which requires sensitivity, a sense of warmth, yet a positive tone of hope.

Good health copywriting is also about the bottom line.
Whether you’re in the B2C or B2B market, it’s essential that we educate your prospects… and sell your products or services. The message must move people to take that important next step… to sign up for a newsletter or e-book, drop a card (or check) in the mail, or purchase your product.
Trust me to create marketing materials with a unique voice… to help you stand out. I’ll ask the questions that get to the heart of your message, your core values, your unique selling points… your sales goals. Count on me to respect your deadlines… and deliver as promised.

Check it out at http://www.copybyjeanie.com/about

Want to ask her about her medical qualifications? No need, she doesn't have any!

I'll leave you with a quote from one of her fans, or ex-student??
"Jeanie is extremely talented. She can write for the web and appeal to a specific demographic -- not an easy thing to do! She can make any content marketable and compelling."


Oh pity the gullible!
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

Is there such a thing as the "power of positive thinking" ? Has it not been shown that a positive outlook and upbeat attitude are beneficial in dealing with illness? It has been repeatedly proven that chronic stress is bad for one's health, and the roots of stress are often in fear. If one's belief in prayer were strong enough that it helped reduce stress and the ill effects that go with it could that not be considered a form of healing?
Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Oxl3y »

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivupasnulgs&feature=relmfu[/youtube]
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Captain Awesome
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Captain Awesome »

-fluffy- wrote:Is there such a thing as the "power of positive thinking" ? Has it not been shown that a positive outlook and upbeat attitude are beneficial in dealing with illness? It has been repeatedly proven that chronic stress is bad for one's health, and the roots of stress are often in fear. If one's belief in prayer were strong enough that it helped reduce stress and the ill effects that go with it could that not be considered a form of healing?


You know, I find it hilarious. Right now new age crap is the coolest thing ever, everybody does yoga, meditates, and educates themselves on benefits of treating your chakras right (ok, I have no idea about this).

And they forget that prayer is a basic form of meditation with all of its benefits. Religious people had right all along, go figure.
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janalta
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by janalta »

Exactly right Captain....it's not so much the prayers that heal...as in...some higher being making you better because you believe...it's the process itself.
Meditation and positive thinking do promote better health...no matter whether you are reflecting on 'God", or relaxing by thinking of a bubbling brook...you are releasing stress from your body and mind.
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

These are my thoughts also. Concepts promoted within religious circles are not unique to those circles, they have been in use for centuries and there beneficial aspects are widely accepted even if the modern scientific studies are not there to confirm it. Prayer, meditation, confession, even the simple act of giving thanks for what we have, these all have positive effects on our day-to-day outlook. Tie them in with a couple more big words like "responsibility" and "acceptance" and you're well on the road to improving the way you see things which in turn leads to a reduction in stress levels. You become more at ease with your place in the big picture and life, simply put, gets better. Religion is just another tool to achieve what we could all benefit from, but it is by no means the only path to get there. Paradise, Nirvana, Heaven...all of these allude to a place or state of mind that is free of pain and suffering. Metaphorically speaking, isn't that where we'd all like to be? Whether we think it's attainable through a few years of meditating on a Tibetan mountaintop or whether it comes bundled up in a new car and a sixty inch plasma TV is a choice we have to make on our own, but the ultimate destination is still the same isn't it?
Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.
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Thinktank
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Thinktank »

Actually, you can meditate, do yoga or think positive all you want,
it won't help you if your life is full of sin. On the other hand you can attend church
four times a week, read your bible fifty times a week, and pray a hundred times a week,
it still won't help you if you do other things wrong.

There's no way to prove what caused something, or what healed something. Did God punish someone?
I don't know. Did God heal someone? I don't know. Did a bunch of religious people help someone
to be healed? Maybe. Maybe not. Do whatever you want - and see what happens, and later
compare the results.

If you're
terrified of prayer for some reason, then don't pray. If you're a religious person, then pray.
I don't really care what anyone else does.
If you have to be persuaded reminded bullied pressured bribed incentivized, lied to, guilt tripped, coerced, socially shamed, censored, threatened, paid, punished and criminalized, to gain your compliance- the thing is no good
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Oxl3y »

Thinktank wrote:Actually, you can meditate, do yoga or think positive all you want,
it won't help you if your life is full of sin. On the other hand you can attend church
four times a week, read your bible fifty times a week, and pray a hundred times a week,
it still won't help you if you do other things wrong.

There's no way to prove what caused something, or what healed something. Did God punish someone?
I don't know. Did God heal someone? I don't know. Did a bunch of religious people help someone
to be healed? Maybe. Maybe not. Do whatever you want - and see what happens, and later
compare the results.

If you're
terrified of prayer for some reason, then don't pray. If you're a religious person, then pray.
I don't really care what anyone else does.


Then why bother posting about it ?
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Thinktank
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Thinktank »

why ask the question if prayer heals when there is no
way to prove it?

.
If you have to be persuaded reminded bullied pressured bribed incentivized, lied to, guilt tripped, coerced, socially shamed, censored, threatened, paid, punished and criminalized, to gain your compliance- the thing is no good
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Oxl3y
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Oxl3y »

Thinktank wrote:why ask the question if prayer heals when there is no
way to prove it?

.


So you do care what people do...

I agree with some of the statements on here already, I believe that individual prayer is just a form of positive thinking which can be very beneficial to your health (regardless if your life is full of sin :127: ).
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

Thinktank wrote:why ask the question if prayer heals when there is no
way to prove it?


So what are you saying, that you tried that positive thinking stuff even though you knew it wouldn't work? :127:
Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Driscoll »

There have been previous, reliable scientific studies into the power of prayer.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060403133554.htm
Researchers have been trying to prove this and even to measure the effect. So far, two studies found that third-party prayers bestow benefits, but two others concluded that there are no benefits. Now, the largest study to date, covering 1,802 people who underwent coronary bypass surgery at six different hospitals, supported the latter research.
...

"The primary goal of the study was limited to evaluating whether intercessory prayer or the knowledge of receiving it would influence recovery after bypass surgery," notes Jeffery Dusek, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
...

[C]omplications occurred in 59 percent of those who were prayed for, compared to 51 percent of those who received no prayers, and 52 percent in the group who received prayers but didn't know it.
...

The evaluation found that third-party prayer has no effect at all on recovery from surgery without complications, and that patients who knew they were receiving prayer fared worse that those who were not prayed for.


Sample: 1802 coronary artery bypass patients
Method: split into 3 groups of ~600. Group one was prayed for, and told that they were being prayer for. Group two was prayed for, but were not told. Group three was not prayed for.
Results: Group one: 59% of patients had complications. Group two: 52% had complications. Group three: 51% had complications.
Conclusion: There is no statistical difference regarding complications during/after cardiac bypass surgery between those who weren't prayed for, and those who didn't know they were being prayer for. Those who knew they were being prayer for actually did statistically significantly worse than the other two groups.

Study abstract, information, methods, and results can be found here: http://www.google.ca/search?q=cardiac+bypass+prayer+study+site%3Amedscape.com&hl=en&biw=1366&bih=677&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=
They don't seem to allow direct linking to the study, unless it's done through google.

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