Research shows faith, prayer leads to healing

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For eight years the Healing Center has been praying away aches, pains and heart aches. They celebrate the milestone today.

"When we're at peace emotionally and mentally your body is gong to be at peace as well which means diseases are healed," said Rev. Cindy Hyde, the center's director.

Certain aspects of the idea hold scientific merit according to Dr. Harold Koenig, a leading researcher on the topic from Duke University Medical Center. He was in Nacogdoches speaking to a conference examining trauma and faith.

"The physical, the emotional, the spiritual, they all are intertwined," said Koenig. "You just can't pull these apart and expect to treat one and not treat the other."

Koenig cites some interesting studies. There's a 70% increase in recovery of depression for those who are religiously involved. And a 40% reduction in high blood pressure among those who go to church, pray or read the bible. And weekly attendees at religious services have 49% higher levels of what it takes to fight off illness.

And for those who replace faith with anger you better calm down. "They actually have greater mortality because that turmoil does something physiologically to the person," said Koenig.

Currently, there's another study examining if religion could be passage to the fountain of youth. Koenig said preliminary research is indicating "a slow aging process at literally the cellular level" is possible for the person who has religious involvement.

Despite the scientific evidence Koenig said, "it's very difficult to convince physicians to ask patients for spiritual histories. You just can't treat a person's physical body and expect that alone to create a real healing."

So, in most cases, the importance of spiritual healing is left to counselors, clergy and places like the Healing Center. For them, a prayer is exactly what the doctor should be ordering.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.