What is the connection between religious belief and health? Does that connection have to be taken on faith, or is there scientific proof? Harold Koenig, M.D., author of The Healing Power of Faith
, has devoted his career to examining scientifically the healing powers of religious belief. He directs Duke University's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health, the first research facility in the world to study how religious faith affects believers' physical and emotional health. This center's research has led to more than 70 data-based, peer-reviewed papers published in medical and scientific journals. Some of the findings include:
The Healing Power of Faith
- People with strong faith who suffer from physical illness have significantly better health outcomes than less religious people.
- People who attend religious services regularly have stronger immune systems and lower stress than their less religious counterparts.
- Religious faith seems to protect the elderly from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Religious patients recover from hip fractures and open-heart surgeries better than nonreligious patients.
is inspiring and far from dry, filled with many absorbing case studies that show how people suffering from alcoholism, depression, anxiety, polio, drug addiction, heart disease, and many other medical problems manage to turn their lives and health around through religious belief. --Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
Koenig, currently the director of Duke University's Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health, has spent more than 20 years studying "the impact of people's religious life on their physical and emotional health," spurred by his belief in faith's "healing power." Each chapter is illustrated with lively and persuasive anecdotal accounts of people belonging to diverse religious communitiesAincluding fundamentalist, conservative and liberal Christians, as well as JewsAand suffering from health problems related to simple stress, marital difficulties, depression, obesity, alcohol and drug addiction, chronic illnesses, heart disease, AIDS and cancer. Though Koenig often hedges his claims even as he's making them, his book as a whole drives home the words of one of his patients: "When you have religious faith, you live with constant reminders of hope." Although it suffers from repetition and fails to answer any of the deeper questions about the nature of suffering, Koenig's volume offers powerful examples of how religious faith has enabled some to endure and even triumph in the midst of woe. Agent, Boston Literary Group.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.