Survey finds doctors believe religious faith aids healing


Does religious faith play a role in speeding recovery from physical maladies? Fully 99 percent of doctors in a recent survey said yes. An equally high number said they believe that religious practices such as prayer and meditation can speed recovery of those who are ill.

Of those doctors surveyed, 95 percent said they had treated patients who believed that religious activities improved their physical condition. The study also found that 68 percent of doctors said they had prayed or meditated while seeking to recover from an illness of their own.

A smaller majority (71 percent) said that physicians who are asked for prayer should join a patient in prayer, while 79 percent said they believe that God sometimes intervenes on behalf of a seriously ill person.

The survey of 269 family physicians, taken by Yankelovich Partners at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians in Norwalk, Conn., was released Dec. 16 during a continuing education course on spirituality and medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“Through the ages physicians have witnessed recoveries they can’t attribute solely to medical procedures,” explained Dr. Herbert Benson, president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Now many physicians are beginning to hold that belief can have a profound influence on health and well-being and they see it as an integral part of their traditional treatment plan.”

— E.P. News

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