Evaluate The Role Of Positive Thinking, Relaxation, Meditation And Prayer In The Healing Of Physical Ailments.

1559 words - 6 pages

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Evaluate the role of positive thinking, relaxation, meditation and prayer in the healing of physical ailments.
Introduction
People of various cultures have relied on what Western medical practitioners today
call Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). This term covers a broad
range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. It generally describes
those treatments that are outside mainstream conventional health care. This paper
will look at the role positive thinking, relaxation, meditation and prayer play in
healing illnesses. It will also evaluate the biological basis for each and provide
scientific evidence.
Evaluation of Positive Thinking in Healing Physical Ailments
Society today has been influenced by a rational, scientific, worldview of
conventional medicine. Without doubt this view has provided us with many life-
saving and enhancing benefits. Could diseases be caused by lifestyle related factors?
The medical community, according to Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, is beginning
to assign greater focus on treating the individual and cause of an illness rather than
the symptoms and disease itself. Understanding the mind-body connection to see
why CAM interventions prove helpful in the treatment of physical ailments is also
becoming fast growing knowledge (2000: n.p). The power of therapeutic affiliation

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is one of the most widely known examples of mind-body interactions in
contemporary medicine, yet it is often undervalued and neglected (Friedman,
Slayton, Allen, Pollock, Dumont-Driscoll, Mehta and Graham-Pole, 1997: 1-6).
Also referred to as the Placebo Response, it focuses on the subjective healing power
of the relationship between the clinician and client (Carroll, 2005: n.p). Although the
biochemical bases of the Placebo Response are still not completely established, many
studies, including patients with Parkinson's Disease, are being conducted to broaden
knowledge (de la Fuente-Fernandez and Stoessl, 2002: n.p). Subsequently, the mind-
body connection is continuing to be researched to establish greater knowledge in
medicine.
Even though the mind has an incredible power, can it be so powerful as to reduce or
even eliminate pain, illness and disease? Many researchers and scientists have
explored this question. Much of their findings seem to support that the mind does
indeed have the power to assist in both healing, and conversely, bring on disease
(Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser, 1995: 269-274). The brain releases neurotransmitters
that effect mood and also health and these can be triggered by simple thoughts
(Meyers, 2005: 40). Our thoughts are what lower or raise the levels of natural killer
cells in the immune system to determine a link between stress and health (Kiecolt-
Glaser and Glaser, 1995: 269-274). An article published in 2002 reviewing studies
since 1939 has shown stress can delay the healing of physical ailments, with the
strongest direct evidence in infectious disease and wound healing (Kiecolt-Glaser,

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