A belief in God may make people healthier and happier, according to new studies. “Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick — and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster,” This is the scientific finding of Harold G. Koenig who is a psychiatrist on the faculty of Duke University. His ideas have been covered in Newsweek and other news media with regard to religion, spirituality and health, a focus of some of his research and clinical practice. Dr. Koenig says a striking study published in the Southern Medical Journal demonstrated that prayer has a remarkable effect on patients with hearing and visual deficiencies.
Koenig has published over 280 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, scholarly professional journal articles and 60 chapters in professional books.In a cooperation with Raphael M. Bonelli from Sigmund Freud University Vienna he undertook the first systematic evidence based analysis on the connection between mental disorders and religion. The researchers conclude that there is good evidence that religious involvement is correlated with better mental health in the areas of depression, substance abuse, and suicide; some evidence in Stress-related disorders and dementia. Dr. Koenig has given testimony before the U.S. Senate (1998) and U.S. House of Representatives (2008) concerning the benefits of religion and spirituality on public health, and travels widely to give seminars and workshops on this topic.
An exhaustive analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health,” Dr. Koenig says. “And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer. After prayer sessions, “They showed significant improvements based on audio and visual tests,” Dr. Koenig said.
His studies have shown positive correlation in people practicing community faith and religious commitment, and better coping in lives: better stress management, more hope, more optimistic, less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. “They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”
The analysis of more than 1,500 medical studies showed that “people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health,” Koenig said. The results come from a study published in the Southern Medical Journal.
“And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer,” said Koenig, director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health.”
Researcher and writer Tom Knox agreed with the findings. Knox was an atheist who became a Christian after studying faith and medicine.
The proof of the power of prayer is overwhelming, says researcher and writer Tom Knox, a one-time atheist who became a regular worshiper after doing in-depth study of the medical benefits of faith. “What I discovered astonished me,” admits Knox. “Over the past 30 years a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial.”
In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. “There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.”
The American Journal of Public Health studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years and found that those who attended religious services were 36 percent less likely to die during that period than those who didn’t.
A study of nearly 4,000 older adults for the U.S. Journal of Gerontology revealed that atheists had a significantly increased chance of dying over a six-year period than the faithful.
The American Society of Hypertension established in 2006 that church-goers have lower blood pressure than non-believers.
Scientists have also revealed believers recover from breast cancer quicker than non-believers, have better outcomes from coronary disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and are less likely to have children with meningitis.
Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked at the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names. Those patients had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment, recovered faster and left the hospital earlier.
Concluded Knox: “Atheists can sneer at faith all they like, but they can’t assume science is on their side.”
(Above information are quoted/excerpted from online sources: Wikipedia, http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/1-500-medical-studies-declare-healing-power-of-prayer-undeniable.html