The Vexed Issue of Spirituality and Health

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For many years, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking on health and well-being.  The results, it has to be said, have been mixed.

Now a group scientists are venturing onto new, and controversial terrotory. For example, University of Miami HIV/Aids researcher, Gail Ironson noticed that a number of HIV positive patients were seemingly never physically ill. In trying to understand why this was the case, Ironson discovered something unexpected: “If you ask people what’s kept you going so long, what keeps you healthy, often people would say spirituality,” she says. “It was something that just kept coming up in the interviews, and that’s why I decided to look at it.”

Ironson began to investigate the patient’s relationship with God in an attempt to predict the likely dynamics of the disease and their relative well-being. Interestingly, Ironson’s research found that those who turned to God after their diagnosis had a much lower viral load and maintained those powerful immune cells at a much higher rate than those who were not spiritual.

This NPR article shares more about her intriguing research and findings and is well worth a read:

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