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The Healing Power of Faith Hardcover – April 2, 1999

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Amazon.com Review

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:
  • 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.
The Healing Power of Faith 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684852969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684852966
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Koenig completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, his medical school training at the University of California at San Francisco, and his geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training at Duke University Medical Center. He is board certified in general psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry and geriatric medicine, and is on the faculty at Duke as Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Associate Professor of Medicine, and is on the faculty at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor. He is also a registered nurse. Dr. Koenig is Director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical Center, and has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with over 350 scientific peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and nearly 40 books in print or in preparation. He is considered by biomedical scientists as one of the world's top experts on religion and health (http://www.biomedexperts.com/Concept.bme/18754/Religion). His research on religion, health and ethical issues in medicine has been featured on dozens of national and international TV news programs (including ABC's World News Tonight, The Today Show and two episodes of Good Morning America), nearly a hundred national or international radio programs, and hundreds of newspapers and magazines (including Reader's Digest, Parade Magazine, Newsweek, Time, and Guidepost). 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 the topic. His latest books are (1) Faith and Mental Health (2005), (2) In the Wake of Disaster (2006), (3) Spirituality in Patient Care (2007), Medicine, Religion and Health (2008), Religion and Spirituality in Psychiatry (2009), Handbook of Religion and Health, Second Edition (Jan/Feb 2012, Oxford University Press), and Spirituality and Health Research: Methodology, Measurement, Analyses, and Resources (2011).

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Format: Hardcover
This book explores the healing aspects of faith in terms of scientific evidence. As the director of Duke University's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health, the author, Dr. Harold Koenig, has become an expert in this discipline and shares everything he has learned in this very fascinating and informative book. Through his medical background and through fifteen years of dedicated research and after over 50 research studies Koenig provides a strong argument for the healing power of faith. From the very start, it is made clear that this is not a book claiming the miracles of God but rather is a book "concerned with concrete data" to "investigate the therapeutic or healing power of people's religious faith." Some of the findings from this data are that people who have a strong faith have healthier lifestyles possibly due to religions encouragement of proper and healthy conduct. Religious people also cope well with stress, are less likely to be depressed and hospitalized than their non-religious counterparts, have a stronger immune system, and live longer. Other important research, conducted by people other than Koenig's team, are included in this book as well. This book is quite comprehensive in its review of all the literature out there on the healing power of faith.
The book is filled with poignant personal stories that help illustrate the scientific findings. The stories are of depression, alcoholism, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other medical conditions. One such story is of Morty, a man who had been walking around with an blood alcohol level of 3.5. Morty was delivered to a detoxication unit where he stopped drinking on the first day of arrival and had an almost painless physical withdrawal from alcohol because he believed in the grace of God.
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Comment 18 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on August 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Heart warming book that beautifully combines scientific data with personal stories. Koenig writes well, keeps your interest, and brings medical research to an understandable level. His point is clear--faith is good for your health.
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By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating book that kept my attention throughout. Nice blend of personal stories that illustrate some remarkable research. Recommend highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good way to build a more intimate relationship with God. I am inspired by the factual relationship that religious faith has over health including depression.
An awesome book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very inspirational and is a very useful tool in our days to follow. I gave another copy of this book away.
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