This Topic Covers:
Understanding the Spirit, Soul and Body in Creation.
How does spirituality and the mind affect health?
requires balancing the various aspects of the whole person. These aspects are physical,
emotional, mental, and spiritual. Learn interactive
tools and therapies to transform this new awareness into sustainable lifestyle
changes, and a renewed sense of health and wellbeing.
meditate; how to relax, and more...
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful
mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
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According to the World Health Organization,
"Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal
well-being." Optimal well-being is a concept of health that goes beyond the
curing of illness to one of achieving wellness. Achieving wellness
requires balancing the various aspects of the whole person. These aspects are
mental, and spiritual. This broader, (w)holistic approach to
health involves the integration of all of these aspects and is an ongoing
belief that life is the union of body, emotions, mind
and spirit. And
that health is a state of balance of several opposing aspects within the human
body, as well as between the human body and the environment. Illness occurs when
an individual falls out of balance, physically, emotionally, mentally or
Today, these breakthroughs in our
understanding of the mind-body connection have translated into effective
therapies to support patients' journeys through illnesses and trauma. Virtually
every major medical center now has a stress management or mind-body clinic, and
such practices as meditation, yoga, and group support are woven into the medical
treatment of heart disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses. Moreover, the
understanding of the mind-body relationship has now expanded to embrace the
spiritual dimension of healing as well.
Gordon, Director and Founder, Center for Mind-Body Medicine, has conducted
mind-body skills trainings for patients and healthcare practitioners around the
world. Gordon has said, "Mind-body medicine requires that we ground
information about the science of mind-body approaches in practical, personal
experience; that we appreciate the centrality of meditation to these practices;
and that we understand—experientially as well as scientifically—that the
health of our minds and the health of our bodies are inextricably connected to
the transformation of the spirit."
Spirituality | University of Maryland Medical Center
What is the future of spirituality in medical practice?
Many medical schools in the United States have
included spiritual teachings in their curricula. However, what role, if any,
a doctor should play in assisting or guiding patients in spiritual matters
remains controversial. In addition, given that there appears to be a growing
belief in the connection between spirituality and health, scientists in this
field feel that research should begin to focus on assessing the validity of
this connection, a better understanding of why there is this connection, and
how it works. There is also interesting research emerging that evaluates the
impact of religion and spirituality (both the child's and the parents') on
the health of children and adolescents.
Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Americans have long recognized the healing power of faith and prayer. In
fact, 82 percent of Americans believe in the healing power of prayer, 64
percent think doctors should pray with those patients who request it, and 63
percent of patients want their doctors to discuss matters of faith. Close to
99 percent of physicians say religious beliefs can make a positive
contribution to the healing process.
Yet, until recently, most
medical studies failed to consider the impact of spirituality in disease
prevention or the healing process. Faith was the forgotten factor that was
relegated by healthcare providers to the chaplain’s office.
Fortunately, things are beginning to change. Scientists
are finally catching up with what people already know—a personal
relationship with God helps us make sense out of illness. It gives hope. It
changes health-related behavior and thus reduces the risk of disease.
But faith has an even
greater impact. Studies have revealed that faith improves the immune system,
enhances healing, reduces complications during major illnesses and much
more. This revolution is impacting the way your healthcare will be
delivered, the way your doctor will be trained and the way spiritual issues
are addressed at the bedside.
© Copyright Dr. Caroline Leaf. All rights reserved.
to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our
thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally.
It's an epidemic of toxic emotions.
The public’s interest in at least some
of these approaches is growing. For example, NHIS data show a significant
increase between 2002 and 2007 in the use of mind and body approaches such
as controlled breathing practices, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga.
There is also great interest across many health care disciplines regarding
the potential application of some mind and body approaches to a variety of
challenging health problems and to health promotion. In large part this
interest is based on emerging evidence from research carried out over the
For example, a large body of clinical
research evidence now suggests that practices such as meditation and yoga
can enhance quality of life, reduce psychological stress, and improve some
mental health outcomes. At the same time, a growing body of basic research
evidence suggests that mindfulness and other meditation practices engage
neurobiological mechanisms known to be involved in cognition, emotion
regulation, and behavior. In addition, mainstream clinical practice
guidelines include evidence-based recommendations that spinal manipulation,
acupuncture, and massage be considered for some patients with chronic back
Significant growth in the quality and
quantity of the evidence base regarding CAM reflects this growth in CAM
research capacity. In the past 10 years, NCCAM has funded more than 2,500
research projects resulting in more than 3,300 scientific articles in
NCCAM will strive to address its
information and resources primarily to the large majority of consumers and
health care providers who are curious about what the science says, even when
the evidence is inconclusive or does not lead to clear guidance. To
accomplish this, NCCAM will continue to work actively with its diverse
community of stakeholders to identify, understand, and address the CAM
information needs of consumers and health care providers and their concerns
about accuracy or interpretation of research results and health messages.
Chronic pain is a widespread health problem. A new review by NCCAM
researchers in Nature
Reviews Neuroscience looks at recent research on pain and the brain.
It suggests that chronic pain affects the anatomy of the brain and impairs
certain nerve pathways, leading to a “negative feedback loop” that results
in more pain and accompanying emotional and reasoning problems.
Many people affected by chronic pain
are becoming more aware of how the mind can control the body, and are
adopting practices such as meditation and yoga to reduce stress and
Pain is a complex experience that varies greatly among people and within
individuals. The many reasons for this variation include individuals'
emotional and cognitive states, their expectations, and the contexts and
meanings that surround their pain. Scientific understanding of this area,
including an understanding of the pain modulatory systems in the central
nervous system and the brain, has been growing. Cognitive processes (such as
attention and focus) and emotional processes are part of those modulatory
systems, and they affect the pain experience differently.
The evidence has been building that chronic pain can
alter the functioning and anatomical integrity of various brain regions.
This can lead, for example, to accelerated loss of gray matter, increased
sensitivity to pain signals, reduced ability of the brain to release its own
painkillers, emotional changes (such as anxiety disorders and depression),
and cognitive deficits. However, some animal and human studies have found
that when chronic pain is successfully treated, such brain effects may
Mind and body approaches are of interest because, similarly to chronic pain,
they involve cognitive (for example, focusing attention in meditation) and
emotional factors. Evaluating the
available research, the authors found growing evidence that mind and body
practices may reduce acute and chronic pain. In
addition, some studies suggest that mind and body practices could help
reverse chronic-pain-associated brain changes and may have protective
effects. The authors noted that further study is needed for
confirmation, however, including laboratory research and studies in
What is the Mind?
© Regents of the University of Minnesota and Charlson Meadows. All rights
It’s important to note that
"mind" is not synonymous with brain. Instead, in our definition, the
mind consists of mental states such as thoughts, emotions, beliefs, attitudes,
and images. The brain is the hardware that allows us to experience these mental
Mental states can be fully conscious or unconscious. We can have emotional
reactions to situations without being aware of why we are reacting.
mental state has a physiology associated with it-a positive or negative
effect felt in the physical body. For example, the mental state of anxiety
causes you to produce stress hormones.
Many mind-body therapies focus on becoming
more conscious of mental states, and using this increased awareness to guide
our mental states in a better, less destructive direction.
Published on July 17, 2012 by Ron
The body mind connection is a concept fundamental
to many belief systems. What it postulates is that the body and mind
mutually influence one another in a bi-directional fashion. In other words,
biological processes affect thoughts and feelings, and cognitions affect
same way as the body affects the mind, however, the mind is capable of
immense effects on the body. The literature has demonstrated again and
again that thoughts affect neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that
allow the brain to
communicate with different parts of itself and the nervous system.
Neurotransmitters control virtually all of the body’s functions, from
feeling happy to modulating hormones to
dealing with stress.
Therefore, our thoughts influence our bodies directly because the body
interprets the messages coming from the brain to prepare us for whatever is
actually resist illnesses, cope with adversity, and recover quicker because
they are able to maintain a positive attitude and manage their stress
effectively. By managing our attitudes and stress levels, we actually
control neurochemical transmissions in the body. The power of a healthy
attitude therefore cannot be underestimated in the body-mind connection.
Take home message? Take care of your mind, your body
will thank you. And on the flip side, take care of your body, your
mind will thank you.
- Bravewell Collaborative
Our minds and emotions play a critical
role in our health.
Many ancient healing systems emphasize the connection between mind and
body in healing. Today, modern scientific research is proving that
this age-old tenet of medical wisdom is true. What we think and feel has a
powerful influence on our bodies…
You can use your mind to improve your
health. “Mindfulness–paying attention on purpose
in the present moment nonjudgmentally–immediately restores us to our
wholeness, to that right inward measure that’s at the root of both meditation
and medicine,” explains Kabat-Zinn…
Ask your doctor for information on the
bottom line: by understanding and using the connection between mind and body,
you can improve your health.
© Copyright Dr. Caroline Leaf. All rights reserved.
to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our
thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally.
It's an epidemic of toxic emotions.
The average person
has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we
create the conditions for illness; we make ourselves sick! Research shows
that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and
chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. There are
INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE! Toxic waste generated by toxic
thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin
problems and allergies to name just a few.
© Copyright Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.
Harnessing the power of the mind-body connection: The
mind-body connection means that you can learn to use your thoughts to
positively influence some of your body’s physical responses, thereby
decreasing stress. If you recall a time when you were happy, grateful or
calm, your body and mind tend to relax.
Research has shown that when you imagine an experience,
you often have similar mental and physical responses to those you have when
the event actually happens. For example, if you recall an upsetting or
frightening experience, you may feel your heart beating faster, you may
begin to sweat, and your hands may become cold and clammy.
Whether you have been diagnosed with an illness or need
to prepare for a medical procedure such as surgery, it is very important to
minimize the negative effects and maximize the healthy, healing aspects of
your mind-body connection.
A variety of calming and empowering mind-body exercises
have been proven to help people:
Decrease the use of medication for post-surgical
Decrease side effects of medical procedures
Reduce recovery time and shorten hospital stays
Strengthen the immune system and enhance the
ability to heal
Increase sense of control and well-being
While the exercises described are not alternatives to
medical or surgical treatments, they provide a powerful way for you to
actively participate in your own health care, minimize pain and insomnia and
Mind-Body Connection Evidence
www.heartmath.org © Institute of
As explained by the HeartMath Institute: People have
long been aware of the connection between stress, mental and emotional
attitudes, physiological health and overall well-being. However, in recent
years, a growing body of compelling evidence is bringing these crucial
relationships to the forefront of the scientific arena. Scientific research
now tells us plainly that anger, anxiety and worry significantly increase
the risk of heart disease, including sudden cardiac death. Landmark
long-term studies conducted by Dr. Hans Eysenck and colleagues at the
University of London have shown that chronic
unmanaged emotional stress is as much as six times more predictive of cancer
and heart disease than cigarette smoking, cholesterol level or blood
pressure, and much more responsive to intervention.
Interventions & Disease Outcomes - Over the past 20 years, mind-body
medicine Practices that focus on the interactions among the brain, mind,
body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical
functioning and promote health (examples include meditation and yoga) has
provided considerable evidence that psychological factors can play a
substantive role in the development and progression of coronary artery
There is evidence that mind-body interventions can be
effective in the treatment of coronary artery disease, enhancing the effect
of standard cardiac rehabilitation in reducing all-cause mortality and
cardiac event recurrences for up to 2 years.5
Influences on Immunity - There is considerable evidence that emotional
traits, both negative and positive, influence people's susceptibility to
infection. Following systematic exposure to a respiratory virus in the
laboratory, individuals who report higher levels of stress or negative moods
have been shown to develop more severe illness than those who report less
stress or more positive moods.11
Recent studies suggest that the tendency to report positive, as opposed to
negative, emotions may be associated with greater resistance to objectively
verified colds. These laboratory studies are supported by longitudinal
studies pointing to associations between psychological or emotional traits
and the incidence of respiratory infections.12
Imaging - Recent studies involving imaging are advancing the
understanding of mind-body mechanisms. For example, meditation has been
shown in one study to produce significant increases in left-sided anterior
brain activity, which is associated with positive emotional states.
Moreover, in this same study, meditation was associated with increases in
antibody titers to influenza vaccine, suggesting potential linkages among
meditation, positive emotional states, localized brain responses, and
improved immune function.14
Stress and Wound
Healing - Individual differences in wound healing have long been
recognized. Clinical observation has suggested that negative mood or stress
is associated with slow wound healing. Basic mind-body research is now
confirming this observation….
Conclusion - Evidence
from randomized controlled trials and, in many cases, systematic reviews of
the literature, suggests that:
Mechanisms may exist by which the brain and central
nervous system influence immune, endocrine, and autonomic functioning,
which is known to have an impact on health.
Multicomponent mind-body interventions that include
some combination of stress management, coping skills training,
cognitive-behavioral interventions, and relaxation therapy may be
appropriate adjunctive treatments for coronary artery disease and
certain pain-related disorders, such as arthritis.
Multimodal mind-body approaches, such as
cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly when combined with an
educational/informational component, can be effective adjuncts in the
management of a variety of chronic conditions.
An array of mind-body therapies (e.g., imagery,
hypnosis, relaxation), when employed presurgically, may improve recovery
time and reduce pain following surgical procedures.
Neurochemical and anatomical bases may exist for
some of the effects of mind-body approaches.
Mind-body approaches have
potential benefits and advantages. In particular, the physical and
emotional risks of using these interventions are minimal. Moreover, once
tested and standardized, most mind-body interventions can be taught easily.
Finally, future research focusing on basic mind-body mechanisms and
individual differences in responses is likely to yield new insights that may
enhance the effectiveness and individual tailoring of mind-body
interventions. In the meantime, there is considerable evidence that
mind-body interventions, even as they are being studied today, have positive
effects on psychological functioning and quality of life, and may be
particularly helpful for patients coping with chronic illness and in need of
Evaluating the available research, the authors found
growing evidence that mind and body practices may reduce acute and chronic
pain. In addition, some studies suggest that mind and body practices could
help reverse chronic-pain-associated brain changes and may have protective
effects. The authors noted that further study is needed for confirmation,
however, including laboratory research and studies in chronic-pain patients.
Spirit-Soul (Mind)-Body in
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul” (Genesis 2:7). “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it
was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes
The spirit and soul often seem to be the same, in many contexts, but that
they are not the same is evident by the fact that the Word of God can divide
them asunder, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than
any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and
spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). They are both invisible, representing
the reality of which the body is only the outward expression. The fact that
it is so difficult to distinguish between them has led many to assume they
are synonymous; but this verse and others (especially Hebrews 4:12) make it
certain they are not identical.
Institute for Creation Research. All Rights Reserved
Perhaps the non-physical part of man could be called the soul/spirit
complex. Although probably too simplistic, it is convenient to think of the
soul, body and spirit as representing the mental, physical and spiritual
components of man, respectively. Another way is to look at the human
tri-unity as one’s essential nature, his bodily person, and his spiritually
"Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them
out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he
that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk
therein." (Isaiah 42:5)
God the LORD (Elohim Jehovah) is here identified as
the Creator and organizer of all the universe, the heavens, and the earth,
and all things therein… In context, He is also identifying Himself as the
One sending forth "my servant" to be given as "a covenant of the people, for
a light of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:1, 6), the coming Messiah of Israel.
He who does all these
things also gives every person born both breath and spirit. The "breath"
is that "breath of life" which God breathed into Adam's nostrils when He
created him at the beginning. Even those who do not believe in God must
depend on Him for their very breath, since "he giveth to all life, and
breath, and all things." Therefore, He is "not far from every one of us: For
in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts
He also gives each person
a spirit (Hebrew ruach),
a word used first of all in reference to the "Spirit of God" (Genesis
1:2). It is this
attribute in particular that constitutes the created "image of God" in man (Genesis
1:27). The higher land
animals all possess "the breath of life," along with man (Genesis
7:22), but only men
and women are created in the image of God, each with an eternal spirit.
Man's breath and spirit are closely related, and
sometimes the words are used almost interchangeably. When the breath departs
from a person's body at death, the spirit also departs with it, but the
latter "shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes
12:7). The breath also will be activated again on the coming
resurrection day. HMM -
we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them
reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of
spirits, and live?" (Hebrews
Human parents transmit
physical characteristics to their offspring, but our spiritual attributes
come from God, for He is "the Father of spirits." Paul recognized that all
men are "the offspring of God" (Acts
17:29), and that
each man is still "the image and glory of God" (1
Thus our spirit/soul nature, as distinct from our
body of physical/mental flesh, has come from God, who created it and united
it with our body, evidently at the moment of physical conception in the
womb. It is obvious that the "image of God," man's spirit/soul nature, could
not be transmitted genetically via the "genetic code" and the DNA molecules,
for these are simply complex chemicals programmed to transmit only the
physical and mental attributes of the ancestors to the children.
spirit/soul attributes of each person also seem to be associated inseparably
with the body from conception onwards, continuing so until separated again
at death, when the spirit goes "to be absent from the body, and to be
present with the Lord" (2
leaving the body behind.
CREATION OF MAN -
And Jehovah God formed man of dust from the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul
(Gen. 2.7 ASV). When God first created man He formed him of dust from the
ground, and then breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. As soon as
the breath of life, which became man's spirit, came into contact with man's
body, the soul was produced. Hence the soul is the combination of man's body
and spirit. The Scriptures therefore call man a living soul. The breath of
life became man's spirit; that is, the principle of life within him. The
Lord Jesus tells us it is the spirit that gives life (John 6.63). This
breath of life comes from the Lord of Creation.
However, we must not confuse man's spirit with God's
Holy Spirit. The latter differs from our human spirit. Romans 8.16
demonstrates their difference by declaring that it is the Spirit himself
bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The original of
the word life in breath of life is chay and is in the plural. This may refer
to the fact that the in-breathing of God produced a twofold life, soulical
and spiritual. When the in-breathing of God entered man's body it became the
spirit of man; but when the spirit reacted with the body the soul was
produced. This explains the source of our spiritual and soulical lives. We
must recognize, though, that this spirit is not God's Own life, for the
breath of the Almighty gives me life (job 33.4). It is not the entrance of
the uncreated life of God into man, neither is it that life of God, which we
receive at regeneration. What we receive at new birth is God's Own life as
typified by the tree of life. But our human spirit, though permanently
existing, is void of eternal life.
"Formed man of dust from the ground" refers to man's
body; "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" refers to man's spirit
as it came from God; and "man became a living soul" refers to man's soul
when the body was quickened by the spirit and brought into being a living
and self-conscious man. A complete man is a trinity the composite of spirit,
soul and body. According to Genesis 2.7, man was made up of only two
independent elements, the corporeal and the spiritual; but when God placed
the spirit within the casing of the earth, the soul was produced. The spirit
of man touching the dead body produced the soul. The body apart from the
spirit was dead, but with the spirit man was made alive. The organ thus
animated was called the soul.
Man became a living soul expresses not merely the fact
that the combination of spirit and body produced the soul; it also suggests
that spirit and body were completely merged in this soul. In other words,
soul and body were combined with the spirit, and spirit and body were merged
in the soul. Adam in his unfallen state knew nothing of these ceaseless
strivings of spirit and flesh which are matters of daily experience to us.
There was a perfect blending of his three natures into
one and the soul as the uniting medium became the cause of his
individuality, of his existence as a distinct being. (Pember's Earth's
Earliest Age) Man was designated a living soul, for it was there that the
spirit and body met and through which his individuality was known. Perhaps
we may use an imperfect illustration: drop some dye into a cup of water. The
dye and water will blend into a third substance called ink. In like manner
the two independent elements of spirit and body combine to become living
soul. (The analogy fails in that the soul produced by the combining of
spirit and body becomes an independent, indissoluble element as much as the
spirit and body.)…
However, we must remember well that whereas the soul is
the meeting-point of the elements of our being in this present life, the
spirit will be the ruling power in our resurrection state. For the Bible
tells us that it is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body (I
Yet here is a vital point: we who have been joined to
the resurrected Lord can even now have our spirit rule over the whole being.
We are not united to the first Adam who was made a living soul but to the
last Adam who is a life-giving spirit (v. 45).
“The Bible states emphatically that man was created a trinity of spirit,
soul, and body even as the eternal God is Himself a trinity of Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost. The trinity of man is an essential part of the image
relationship between him and God. Life is not ultimately physical and the
body is not the whole man. And we might add that neither the body in itself,
nor the soul in itself, nor the spirit in itself makes up the whole man, but
he is “spirit and soul and body.”
The threefold nature of man might be illustrated in
several ways. Dr. Clarence Larkin uses three circles (Rightly Dividing The Word, page
86). The outer circle stands for the
man, the middle circle for the soul, and the
inner for the spirit. At
this point it will be well to quote a portion from Dr. Larkin’s book:
In the outer circle
the ‘Body’ is shown as touching the Material world through the five senses
of ‘Sight,’ ‘Smell,’ ‘Hearing,’ ‘Taste’ and ‘Touch.’
The Gates to the ‘Soul’ are ‘Imagination,’
‘Conscience,’ ‘Memory,’ ‘Reason’ and the ‘Affections.’
The “Spirit” receives impressions of outward and
material things through the soul. The spiritual faculties of the ‘Spirit’
are ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope,’ ‘Reverence,’ ‘Prayer’ and ‘Worship.’”
It’s in our spirit that we have meaning and purpose in life. At the deepest
level our spirit gives us meaning and purpose and our spirit enables us to
love one another, our self and God. It’s through our spirit that we have
communion and fellowship with God. Our spirit gives us intuition
between right and wrong. For in-depth reading about the distinction between
spirit, soul and body consider material written by Watchman Nee, especially
The Spiritual Man which is a book online and free.
The Word of God does not divide man into the two
parts of soul and body. It treats man, rather, as tripartite-spirit, soul
and body. I Thessalonians 5.23 reads: "May the God of peace himself sanctify
you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and
blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This verse precisely
shows that the whole man is divided into three parts. The Apostle Paul
refers here to the complete sanctification of believers, "sanctify you
wholly, "According to the Apostle, how is a person wholly sanctified? By his
spirit and soul and body being kept. From this we can easily understand that
the whole person comprises these three parts. This verse also makes a
distinction between spirit and soul; otherwise, Paul would have said simply
"your soul." Since God has distinguished the human spirit from the human
soul, we conclude that man is composed of not two, but three, parts; spirit,
soul and body…
Is it a matter of any consequence to divide spirit and
soul? It is an issue of supreme importance for it
affects tremendously the spiritual life of a believer.
How can a believer understand spiritual life if he does not know what is
the extent of the realm of the spirit? Without such
understanding how can he grow spiritually? To
fail to distinguish between spirit and soul is fatal to spiritual maturity.
Christians often account what is soulical as spiritual, and thus they remain
in a soulish state and seek not what is really spiritual. How can we escape
loss if we confuse what God has divided?
Spiritual knowledge is very important to spiritual life. Let us add,
however, that it is equally as, if not more, important for a believer to be
humble and willing to accept the teaching of the Holy Spirit…
…This trinity of spirit, soul and body may be
partially illustrated by a light bulb. Within the bulb, which can represent
the total man, there are electricity, light and wire. The spirit is like the
electricity, the soul the light, and body the wire. Electricity is the cause
of the light while light is the effect of electricity. Wire is the material
substance for carrying the electricity as well as for manifesting the light.
The combination of spirit and body produces soul, that which is unique to
man. As electricity, carried by the wire, is expressed in light, so spirit
acts upon the soul and the soul, in turn, expresses itself through the body.
RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS OF SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
It is through the corporal body that man comes into
contact with the material world. Hence we may label the body as that part
which gives us world-consciousness. The soul comprises the intellect, which
aids us in the present state of existence, and the emotions, which proceed
from the senses. Since the soul belongs to man's own self and reveals his
personality, it is termed the part of self-consciousness.
is that part by which we commune with God and by which alone we are able to
apprehend and worship Him.
Because it tells us of our relationship with God, the spirit is called the
element of God-consciousness. God dwells in the spirit, self dwells in the
soul, while senses dwell in the body…
It is linked with the
spiritual world through the spirit and with the material world through the
also possesses the power of free will, hence is able to choose from among
its environments. The spirit cannot act directly upon the body. It needs a
medium, and that medium is the soul produced by the touching of the spirit
with the body. The soul therefore stands between the spirit and the body,
binding these two together. The spirit can subdue the body through the
medium of the soul, so that it will obey God; likewise the body through the
soul can draw the spirit into loving the world…
Of these three elements the spirit is the noblest for
it joins with God.
The body is the lowest for it contacts with matter. The
soul lying between them joins the two together and also takes their
character to be its own.
The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body
to communicate and to cooperate.
The spirit is the noblest part of man and occupies the
innermost area of his being. The body is the lowest and takes the outermost
place. Between these two dwells the soul, serving as their medium. The body
is the outer shelter of the soul, while the soul is the outer sheath of the
spirit. The spirit transmits its thought to the soul and the soul exercises
the body to obey the spirit's order. This is the meaning of the soul as the
medium. Before the fall of man the spirit controlled the whole being through
The order, which God presents to us, is unmistakable:
your spirit and soul and body (I Thess. 5.23). It is not soul and spirit and
body, nor is it body and soul and spirit. The
spirit is the pre-eminent part, hence it is mentioned first; the body
is the lowest and therefore is last mentioned; the soul stands between, so
is mentioned between.
Having now seen God's order, we can appreciate the
wisdom of the Bible in likening man to a temple. We can recognize the
perfect harmony, which exists between the temple and man in respect to both
order and value.
Research On Spirituality in
The effect of spirituality on health is an area of
active research right now. Besides being studied by physicians, it is
studied by psychologists and other professionals. The studies tend to fall
into 3 major areas: mortality, coping, and recovery.
Some observational studies suggest that people who have regular spiritual
practices tend to live longer (9).
Patients who are spiritual may utilize their beliefs in coping with illness,
pain, and life stresses. Some studies indicate that those who are spiritual
tend to have a more positive outlook and a better quality of life.
Some studies have also looked
at the role of spirituality regarding pain. One study showed that spiritual
well-being was related to the ability to enjoy life even in the midst of
symptoms, including pain. This suggests that spirituality may be an
important clinical target (13). Results of a pain questionnaire distributed
by the American Pain Society to hospitalized patients showed that personal
prayer was the most commonly used nondrug method of controlling pain: 76% of
the patients made use of it (14).
In this study, prayer as a method of pain management
was used more frequently than intravenous pain medication (66%), pain
injections (62%), relaxation (33%), touch (19%), and massage (9%). Pain
medication is very important and should be used, but it is worthwhile to
consider other ways to deal with pain as well.
Spiritual beliefs can help patients cope with disease
and face death. When asked what helped them cope with their gynecologic
cancer, 93% of 108 women cited spiritual beliefs. In addition, 75% of these
patients stated that religion had a significant place in their lives, and
49% said they had become more spiritual after their diagnosis (15). Among 90
HIV-positive patients, those who were spiritually active had less fear of
death and less guilt (16).
A random Gallup poll asked
people what concerns they would have if they were dying. Their top issues
were finding companionship and spiritual comfort—chosen over such things as
advance directives, economic/financial concerns, and social concerns. Those
who were surveyed cited several spiritual reassurances that would give them
comfort. The most common spiritual reassurances cited were beliefs that they
would be in the loving presence of God or a higher power, that death was not
the end but a passage, and that they would live on through their children
and descendants (17).
Spiritual commitment tends to enhance recovery from illness and surgery… In
general, people who don't worry as much tend to have better health outcomes.
Maybe spirituality enables people to worry less, to let go and live in the
Related to spirituality is the power of hope and positive thinking. Specific
spiritual practices have been shown to improve health outcomes. In the
1960s, Benson began research on the effect of spiritual practices on health.
Some people who practiced transcendental meditation approached him in the
1960s and asked him to determine if meditation had beneficial health
effects. He found that 10 to 20 minutes of meditation twice a day leads to
decreased metabolism, decreased heart rate, decreased respiratory rate, and
slower brain waves. Further, the practice was beneficial for the treatment
of chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, hostility, depression, premenstrual
syndrome, and infertility and was a useful adjunct to treatment for patients
with cancer or HIV. He called this “the relaxation response.”
Benson concluded: “To the extent that any disease is
caused or made worse by stress, to that extent evoking the relaxation
response is effective therapy” (22).
Different studies suggest that 60% to 90% of all
patient visits to primary care offices are related to stress.
…In summary, spirituality can be an important element
in the way patients face chronic illness, suffering, and loss.
Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Americans have long recognized the healing power of
faith and prayer. In fact, 82 percent of Americans believe in the healing
power of prayer, 64 percent think doctors should pray with those patients
who request it, and 63 percent of patients want their doctors to discuss
matters of faith. Close to 99 percent of physicians say religious beliefs
can make a positive contribution to the healing process. Yet, until
recently, most medical studies failed to consider the impact of spirituality
in disease prevention or the healing process. Faith was the forgotten factor
that was relegated by healthcare providers to the chaplain’s office.
Fortunately, things are beginning to change. Scientists
are finally catching up with what people already know--a personal
relationship with God helps us make sense out of illness. It gives hope. It
changes health-related behavior and thus reduces the risk of disease.
But faith has an even greater impact. Studies have
revealed that faith improves the immune system, enhances healing, reduces
complications during major illnesses and much more.
This revolution is impacting the way your healthcare
will be delivered, the way your doctor will be trained and the way spiritual
issues are addressed at the bedside. And like most revolutions, it started
with one person. A faithful Christian, husband, father and CMDA member,
David Larson transformed the field of faith and medicine as Director of the
National Institutes of Healthcare Research.
Dr. David Larson and the National Institute of
Healthcare Research catalyzed a new interest in faith and health and brought
it into the mainstream of medicine in the 1990’s. Today more than half of
U.S. medical schools have courses in spirituality and medicine, many of
which are required. Medical school curricula include1:
Teaching students to make a spiritual assessment
Viewing and collaborating with chaplains as a
relevant part of the health care team
Showing students how to care for dying patients –
even when disease specific treatment is no longer available
Exploring major religions to identify aspects that
might affect health care choices, illness coping or social support value
How Does Spirituality
Spirituality | University of
Maryland Medical Center umm.edu
Spiritual practices tend to improve coping skills and social
support, foster feelings of optimism and hope, promote healthy behavior,
reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and encourage a sense of
relaxation. By alleviating stressful feelings and promoting healing ones,
spirituality can positively influence immune, cardiovascular (heart and
blood vessels), hormonal, and nervous systems.
An example of a religion that promotes a healthy lifestyle is
Seventh Day Adventists. Those who follow this religion, a particularly
healthy population, are instructed by their Church not to consume alcohol,
eat pork, or smoke tobacco. In a 10 year study of Seventh Day Adventists in
the Netherlands, researchers found that Adventist men lived 8.9 years longer
than the national average, and Adventist women lived 3.6 years longer. For
both men and women, the chance of dying from cancer or heart disease was 60
- 66% less, respectively, than the national average.
Again, the health benefits of religion and spirituality do not stem solely
from healthy lifestyles. Many researchers believe that certain beliefs,
attitudes, and practices associated with being a spiritual person influence
health. In a recent study of people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS), those who had faith in God, compassion toward others, a sense of
inner peace, and were religious had a better chance of surviving for a long
time than those who did not live with such belief systems.
Qualities like faith, hope, and
forgiveness, and the use of
social support and prayer
seem to have a noticeable effect on health and healing.
person's most deeply held beliefs strongly influence his or her health.
Some researchers believe that faith increases the body's resistance to
stress. In a 1988 clinical study of women undergoing breast biopsies,
the women with the lowest stress hormone levels were those who used
their faith and prayer to cope with stress.
hope -- a positive attitude that a person assumes in the face of
difficulty -- many people become depressed and prone to illness. In a 35
year clinical study of Harvard graduates, researchers found that those
graduates who expressed hope and optimism lived longer and had fewer
illnesses in their lifetime.
practice that is encouraged by many spiritual and religious traditions,
forgiveness is a release of hostility and resentment from past hurts. In
1997, a Stanford University study found that college students trained to
forgive someone who had hurt them were significantly less angry, more
hopeful, and better able to deal with emotions than students not trained
to forgive. Another survey of 1,400 adults found that willingness to
forgive oneself, and others, and the feeling that one is forgiven by
God, have beneficial health effects. Some researchers suggest that
emotions like anger and resentment cause stress hormones to accumulate
in the blood, and that forgiveness reduces this build up.
Love and Social Support: A
close network of family and friends that lends help and emotional
support has been found to offer protection against many diseases.
Researchers believe that people who experience love and support tend to
resist unhealthy behaviors and feel less stressed. In a clinical study
of a close knit Italian American community in Pennsylvania, researchers
found that the death rate from heart attack was half that of the United
States' average. Researchers concluded that the strong social support
network helped protect this population from heart disease.
act of putting oneself in the presence of or conversing with a higher
power has been used as a means of healing across all cultures throughout
the ages. Today, many Americans believe that prayer is an important part
of daily life. In a 1996 poll, one half of doctors reported that they
believe prayer helps patients, and 67% reported praying for a patient.
Researchers are also studying intercessory prayer (asking a higher power
to intervene on behalf of another either known or unknown to the person
praying; also called distance prayer or distance healing). Although it
is particularly difficult to study the effect of distance prayer,
current research in coronary care units (intensive care units in
hospitals devoted to people with severe heart disease, like those who
just suffered a heart attack) suggests that there is benefit. Compared
to those who were not prayed for, patients who were prayed for showed
general improvements in the course of their illness, less complications,
and even fewer deaths.
Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Analyzing the Data:
Studies have shown faith/prayer benefits related to many areas such as
cancer, hypertension, general health, heart disease, and other physical
ailments as well as psychological, psychiatric and substance abuse problems.
A systematic review of longevity research
revealed that in nearly every published study including a religious
variable, the more religious individuals lived longer than the
Patients in the San Francisco General
Hospital coronary care unit who were prayed for had fewer cases of
congestive heart failure, less pneumonia, less need for antibiotics and
fewer cardiac arrests than those who were not prayed for.10
A 1995 Dartmouth Medical School Study of
elective heart surgery patients found the “very religious” were three
times more likely to recover than those who were not.11
Data on the relation of health and faith shows that the most important
factor is religious practice and belief—not denomination. Patients who
don’t just “talk the talk” but “walk the walk” demonstrate the most
patients’ interest in their health care providers addressing faith and
99 percent of
physicians say religious beliefs can make a positive contribution to the
63 percent of patients want doctors to
discuss matters of faith.13
Only ten percent of patients surveyed say
their doctors talked to them about their faith as a factor in healing.14
Roughly half of all patients want their
doctors to pray with them.15
79 percent believe spiritual faith can help
people recover from illness, injury or disease.16
91 percent of doctors surveyed say they have
patients who also seek help from a spiritual leader such as a minister
in dealing with their health problems.17
Studies show that church attendance results
in a drop in suicide risk18, alcohol abuse19
and illicit drug use.
Frequent attendees to church were also more
likely to stop smoking, start exercising, increase social contacts and
Prayer, religion, spirituality, religious
belief, pastor/chaplain visits were shown to help heart bypass surgery
patients, gynecologic cancer patients, and breast cancer patients.
Ninety-seven percent of bypass surgery patients reported that prayer was
helpful in coping.
Ninety-six percent used prayer to deal with
stress, and 70 percent found prayer extremely helpful in their coping.
religious services improved outcomes for the following:
Psychotherapy for depression
Drug abuse treatment
Reducing criminal recidivism
Lower blood pressure
Greater satisfaction with life
Of 9,000 residents living in 86 small towns
in Iowa, results concluded that participating in church helps people feel
more attached to their community. “Participating in church-related groups
has the greatest impact on (increasing) non church-related activities”
including increasing one’s network of friends. Researchers
noted...“Surprisingly, most recent studies on community attachment have
neglected” the study of religion.
Reviewing findings from three national
surveys totaling more than 5,600 older Americans, attending religious
services was linked with improved physical health or personal well-being.
Twelve other studies published since 1980 found persons in organized
religious activity had higher levels of life satisfaction.
- Copyright ©
Each of us has one body
with many different parts. These parts come together as one in a balanced
harmony that integrates different facets of human life. Similarly, the self
is the integration of one’s mind, body and spirit. Wholeness encompasses all
of these parts and more. Nurturing your whole person is more than creating
balance in your life. It’s about fully integrating each of these parts as a
At some point in our lives, most of us embark on a spiritual
journey. We seek ways to find greater meaning in life, to relate to others
in significant ways, and to connect with God.
faith is foundational to personal wholeness and unites all the dimensions of
- Copyright © American Holistic Health Association. All rights
Your wellness team:
To understand wellness, it helps to think
of yourself as a team made up of several members. For the team to be
effective, each member (each aspect of yourself) must have its needs met and
must work in harmony with the other team members. These aspects of yourself
Physical you (your
body)--your tangible structure and the five senses which enable you to
touch, see, hear, smell and taste the world around you
Emotional you (your
feelings)--your range of emotions from fear and anger to love and joy
Mental you (your
thoughts)--your knowledge, attitudes and beliefs; your analytical self
Spiritual you (your
spirit )--your relationship with yourself, your creativity, your life
purpose, and your relationship with a Higher Power.
All of these aspects work together to make you a whole
person. What happens to one aspect can affect all the other aspects. That's
why being confined to bed with a sore back (physical) can lead to depression
(emotional), or why denying your anger (emotional) can lead to a headache
(physical). This relationship between your different aspects is often
referred to as the mind/body connection. Since all four parts of you must
work in harmony to achieve wellness, each part needs your attention and care
to perform at its best.
The physical you requires good nutrition,
appropriate weight, beneficial exercise and adequate rest.
The emotional you needs to give and receive
forgiveness, love and compassion; needs to laugh and experience
happiness; needs joyful relationships with yourself and others.
The mental you needs self-supportive attitudes,
positive thoughts and viewpoints and a positive self-image.
The spiritual you requires inner calmness, openness
to your creativity, and trust in your inner knowing.
Know your team: To enhance your health you
must be aware of yourself. When any aspect of your "self" is out of balance,
it will let you know.
Be aware of your body--what makes it feel good and
what makes it hurt. Learn to listen to your body when it communicates.
Be aware of your emotions--which people or
activities cause you to feel happy, loving, connected, and which create
feelings of anger, fear, depression.
Be aware of your thoughts--which thoughts make you
smile and feel good, and which bring a frown or cause your muscles to
Be aware of your spiritual condition--what causes
you to feel inner peace, joy, a sense that all is right with the world.
Be aware of the intuitive thoughts which guide you to your highest good
and bring the gift of creativity.
Training your team: We've already talked about
the fact that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of
yourself must be in balance for optimal well-being. But what exactly do we
mean? What sorts of activities and choices lead to wellness? The following
suggestions are some of the specific things you can do to enhance your
health and promote your own wellness.
Eat fresh, wholesome
food. Avoid or limit sugar, salt and fatty foods. Replace
processed foods with fresh vegetables and whole grains as much as
Drink lots of pure water. In
many localities, where tap water is not pure, you may need to invest in
a water filtration system or drink bottled water.
for enjoyable exercise. Some find it helpful to join a gym or
lift weights. Others find activities such as dancing, walking, bicycling
and skating enjoyable and beneficial. The important thing is to get at
least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week.
Get adequate rest. Many
people do not realize that too little sleep may be the reason for
inattentiveness or lack of motivation. Experiment to find out what your
natural rhythm is and how much sleep you need to feel your best.
Laugh, play, and have
fun often. Laughter is good medicine, and the ability to play is
a necessity for a balanced life.
Share your feelings with
others. Spend time with the people you can trust with your
feelings and give them the gift of really knowing you.
Create warm, loving
relationships. Forgive yourself and others. If you have issues or
grievances with family and friends, face the issues and recover lost
Explore new ideas. Find
a hobby, take a class, read a nonfiction book, watch educational
attitudes. Instead of criticizing, catch yourself and others at
being good. Look for what is positive in a situation.
Examine your beliefs. Listen
to other points of view. When others disagree with you, try to see
things through their eyes.
Take time to be quiet
with yourself. Meditate, pray, or go fishing. We each get in
touch with our inner selves or a Higher Power in different ways.
Be open to your
creativity. Learn to trust your innate creativity and intuitive
thinking. Express the inner you.
Savor the moment. Enjoy
what you are doing now, instead of reliving the past or anticipating the
of Mind-Body-Spirit Therapy
© American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
2009, Volume 11, Number 10: 788-792.
For many centuries, conventional wisdom proclaimed the healing power in the
doctor-patient relationship. In “Precepts,” Hippocrates declared: “…where
there is love of man, there is also love of the art. For some patients,
though conscious that their condition is perilous, recover their health
simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician” .
By the middle of the 20th century, with the impressive triumphs of modern
biomedicine, a new paradigm declared that, in an age of sophisticated
diagnostic tests, pharmaceutical magic bullets, and super surgery, only the
quality of the biomedicine physicians mastered and applied determined
But during the past 25 years or so another mindset has emerged which
maintains that the clinician/healer must both address the disease and know
the patient as person. The physician should seek to know how the medical
condition is being experienced by the patient and what impact it has on his
or her life and spirit. Because of the mind/body/spirit connection the
quality of that understanding can actually affect medical outcome. We have
recovered the insight of Hippocrates [2, 3]…
result, the web surfer will discover a plethora of programs in medical
centers bearing such names as medical humanities, spirituality in medicine,
and health and the human spirit. Our program at the Center for Health,
Humanities and the Human Spirit defines spirit or spirituality as a person’s
inner world of values, vital beliefs, strivings, and goals—in other words,
all that gives meaning to a human life. Meaning is the sense that there is
purpose in my life even when I face its darker side, including serious,
chronic, or terminal illness. The human spirit drives the quest for meaning,
and meaning sustains our will to live…
Whether religious nor not, we live our lives without being fully in control
and face an uncertain future. Religious persons seek comfort in the faith
that beyond the mystery there is an ultimate source of power and goodness to
whom they may turn for strength and healing. At such times they want the
best biomedical resources available, but they also seek intimations of God’s
presence. Before serious surgery such patients will welcome a visit from
both surgeon and clergy.
takingcharge.csh.umn.edu - © Regents of the University of Minnesota
and Charlson Meadows. All rights reserved.
Awareness of the mind-body connection is by no means
new. Until approximately 300 years ago, virtually every system of medicine
throughout the world treated the mind and body as a whole. But during the
17th century, the Western world started to see the mind and body as two
distinct entities. In this view, the body was kind of like a machine,
complete with replaceable, independent parts, with no connection whatsoever
to the mind.
This Western viewpoint had definite benefits, acting as
the foundation for advances in surgery, trauma care, pharmaceuticals, and
other areas of allopathic medicine. However, it also greatly reduced
scientific inquiry into humans' emotional and spiritual
life, and downplayed their innate ability to heal.
In the 20th century, this view gradually started to
change. Researchers began to study the mind-body connection and
scientifically demonstrate complex links between the body and mind.
Integrative psychiatrist James Lake, MD, of Stanford University, writes that
"extensive research has confirmed the medical and mental benefits of
meditation, mindfulness training, yoga, and other mind-body practices."
Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Standards 4 Life:
Secular definitions of health tend to incorporate both mental and physical
well-being, conspicuously omitting any concept of spiritual health. The
World Health Organization states, “Health is a state of complete physical,
mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or
Because this view elevates physical health as the ultimate value in human
existence, the implications for dealing with birth deformities, handicaps,
and end-of-life decisions are profound. Science has aided the modern
preoccupation with physical health, evidenced by a surge in health food
products, low-fat foods, exercise clubs, and media attention to health
issues. Many modern Americans are reminiscent of the ancient Greeks’ in
their nearly worshipful view of the body.
ancient Egypt to Rome to the modern United States, the history of medicine
has been marked by a struggle between the natural and the supernatural. As
the following sketch of key historical developments7 suggests, the two forces of faith and
medicine have never satisfactorily joined hands to promote a whole-person
perspective on health and healing….
defensive reaction to scientific study and freedom of inquiry marked a deep
and lasting split between science and religion. Instead of science
developing alongside religion, it developed along a separate and often
hostile track. Instead of ecclesiastical leaders realizing that “all truth
is God’s truth,” they attempted to retain authority through ignorance. As a
result, the Church lost credibility and science lost its moral moorings and
However, it was
individual men and women of faith who understood that a creator God formed
our world based on order and scientific principles. That perspective
provided the motivation to discover those principles. Christian scientists
provided manpower for the Enlightenment.
Then, in the early 1980’s, a new plague—autoimmune deficiency virus
(AIDS)—quelled the optimism. West Nile, SARS, Legionairres’ disease and
others still leave scientists baffled. Some healthcare consumers,
disenchanted with the rigidity and limitations of scientific medicine,
turned elsewhere for answers about health. The spiritual side of existence,
for so long neglected, attracted new attention.
To read in
entirety, download Standards 4 Life
– © Regents of the University of Minnesota and Charlson
Meadows. All rights reserved.
Mind-body specialist Dr. James Gordon states that the mind
and body are essentially inseparable: "the brain and peripheral nervous
system, the endocrine and immune systems, and indeed, all the organs of our body
and all the emotional responses we have, share a common chemical language and
are constantly communicating with one another."
Related to mind-body therapies are therapies that use the
body to affect the mind, such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and some types of dance
(these are sometimes called body-mind therapies). Ultimately mind-body and
body-mind therapies are interrelated: the body affects the mind, which in turn
impacts the body (and the mind.)
- The Nat’l Center for Complementary &
Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or
techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher.
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body by a variety of
techniques, including the insertion of thin metal needles through the skin.
It is intended to remove blockages in the flow of gi and restore and
– a type of acupuncture that stimulates specific points on the body using
pressure applied by the hands, moxibustiontin traditional Chinese medicine, the
use of heat from burning the herb moxa on or near the skin at an acupuncture
point intended to stimulate the flow of gi and restore health, and cupping, for
example, are all believed to act by correcting imbalances in the internal
biofield, such as by restoring the flow of qi through meridians to reinstate
health. Some therapists are believed to emit or transmit the vital energy
(external qi) to a recipient to restore health.4
of practices involving putative energy fields include:
have not been measured by conventional instruments.
Reiki and gi gong are examples of therapies that involve biofields. For
example, more than 2,000 years ago, Asian practitioners postulated that the flow
and balance of life energies are necessary for maintaining health and described
tools to restore them. Herbal medicine, acupuncture, a family of procedures that
originated in traditional Chinese medicine.
Sound Energy Therapy sometimes referred to as vibrational or frequency
therapy includes music therapy as well as wind chime and tuning fork therapy.
The presumptive basis of its effect is that specific sound frequencies resonate
with specific organs of the body to heal and support the body.
Music therapy has been the most studied among these
interventions, with studies dating back to the 1920s, when it was reported that
music affected blood pressure.11 Other studies have suggested that music can help
reduce pain and anxiety.
Music and imagery, alone and in combination, have been
used to entrain mood states, reduce acute or chronic pain, and alter certain
biochemicals, such as plasma beta-endorphin levels.12 These uses of energy fields truly overlap with the
domain of mind-body medicine. Practices that focus on the interactions among the
brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect
physical functioning and promote health. Examples include meditation and yoga.
Magnetic Therapy - Static magnets have been used for centuries in
efforts to relieve pain or to obtain other alleged benefits (e.g., increased
energy). Numerous anecdotal reports have indicated that individuals have
experienced significant, and at times dramatic, relief of pain after the
application of static magnets over a painful area. Although the literature on
the biological effects of magnetic fields is growing, there is a paucity of data
from well-structured, clinically sound studies. However, there is growing
evidence that magnetic fields can influence physiological processes.
Pulsating electromagnetic therapy has been
in use for the past 40 years. A well-recognized and standard use is to enhance
the healing of nonunion fractures. It also has been claimed that this therapy is
effective in treating osteoarthritis, migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis,
and sleep disorders.2
is the use of natural or artificial light to treat various ailments, but
unproven uses of light extend to lasers, colors, and monochromatic lights.
High-intensity Light Therapy
- The use of natural or artificial light -- including colored light and
high-intensity light -- for health purposes. has been documented to be useful
for seasonal affective disorder, with less evidence for its usefulness in the
treatment of more general forms of depression and sleep disorders.13 Hormonal changes have
been detected after treatment. Although low-level laser therapy is claimed to be
useful for relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and helping to heal wounds,
strong scientific proof of these effects is still needed.14
Systems and Energy Medicine
- Although modalities such as acupuncture and qi gong have been studied
separately, TCM uses combinations of treatments (e.g., herbs, acupuncture, and
qi gong) in practice. Similarly, Ayurvedic medicine uses combinations of herbal
medicine, yoga, and meditation a conscious mental process using certain
techniques -- such as focusing attention or maintaining a specific posture -- to
suspend the stream of thoughts and relax the body and mind, and other approaches
to restore vital energy, particularly at the chakra energy centers. (For more
information on TCM and Ayurvedic medicine, see NCCAM's backgrounder "Whole
Medical Systems: An Overview.")
- One Western approach with implications for energy medicine is
homeopathy a whole medical system that originated in Europe. Homeopathy seeks to
stimulate the body's ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly
diluted substances that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms (an
approach called "like cures like"). Homeopaths believe that their
remedies mobilize the body's vital force to orchestrate coordinated healing
responses throughout the organism. The body translates the information on the
vital force into local physical changes that lead to recovery from acute and
Practitioners of energy medicine believe that illness results from
disturbances of these subtle energies (the biofield). An energy field that is
proposed to surround and flow throughout the human body and play a role in
Therapeutic Touch and Related Practices
- Numerous other practices have evolved over the years to promote or maintain the
balance of vital energy fields in the body. Examples of these modalities
- A therapy in which practitioners pass their hands over another person's body
with the intent to use their own perceived healing energy to identify energy
imbalances and promote health.
Reiki, Johrei, vortex healing, and polarity therapy.3
All these modalities involve movement of the practitioner's hands over the
patient's body to become attuned to the condition of the patient, with the idea
that by so doing, the practitioner is able to strengthen and reorient the
Many small studies of Therapeutic Touch have
suggested its effectiveness in a wide variety of conditions, including wound
healing; osteoarthritis, migraine headaches, and anxiety in burn patients. In a
recent meta-analysis of 11 controlled Therapeutic Touch studies, 7 controlled
studies had positive outcomes, and 3 showed no effect; in one study, the control
group healed faster than the Therapeutic Touch group.19 Similarly, Reiki and
Johrei practitioners claim that the therapies boost the body's immune system,
enhance the body's ability to heal itself, and are beneficial for a wide range
of problems, such as stress-related conditions, allergies, heart conditions,
high blood pressure, and chronic pain.20 However, there has been
little rigorous scientific research. Overall, these therapies have impressive
anecdotal evidence, but none has been proven scientifically to be effective.
The use of prayer, Reiki, or other therapies directed across long distances
with the intent to heal a person who is not in the physical presence of the
practitioner is Intercessory Prayer, in which a person prays for the
healing of another person who is a great distance away, with or without that
– a conscious mental process using certain techniques – such as focusing
attention or maintaining a specific posture – to suspend the stream of
thoughts and relax the body and mind.
– a practice from Ayurvedic medicine that combines breathing exercises,
physical postures, and meditation. It
is intended to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind, and spirit.
– the use of electronic devices to help people learn to control body functions
that are normally unconscious (such as breathing or hear rate).
The intent is to promote relaxation and improve health.
Ta Chi, gi, gong
– A component of traditional Chinese medicine that combines movement,
meditation, and controlled breathing. The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of gi.
Guided imagery - Any of various techniques (such as a series of
verbal suggestions) used to guide another person or oneself in imagining
sensations -- especially in visualizing an image in the mind -- to bring about a
desired physical response (such as stress reduction).
According to the 2007
NHIS, several mind and body practices ranked among the top complementary
health approaches used by adults.
The mind and body practices
most commonly used included deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic and osteopathic
manipulation, massage, yoga, progressive
relaxation, and guided imagery.
The amount of research on
mind and body approaches varies widely depending on the practice. For
example, acupuncture, yoga, spinal manipulation, and meditation have had
many studies, and some of these practices appear to hold promise in pain
management, whereas other practices have had little research
There is evidence that mind-body
interventions can be effective in the treatment of coronary artery disease,
enhancing the effect of standard cardiac rehabilitation in reducing all-cause
mortality and cardiac event recurrences for up to 2 years.5
www.qigonginstitute.org Copyright © Qigong Institute. All
Modern science has demonstrated that electromagnetic
fields of the body are generated during various biological processes,
including rapid cell division; during natural growth processes, such as
growth of bone cells; as well as following fracture, intense nervous
activity associated with mental processes, and various pathological
conditions, such as abnormal cell growth with diseases like cancer.
The distinction between conservative medical
practitioners and the new proponents of energy medicine is summed up well by
one of the early researchers in the field, Dr. Glen Rein (1992), who wrote: "It is now well known that the human body
emits a broad spectrum of electromagnetic and acoustic radiation.
Traditional medicine looks at these as by-products of biochemical reactions
in the body. They are not considered by most biomedical researchers to be
involved with the basic functioning (or healing) of the body. The basic
tenet of energy medicine is that these fields are not only involved with
functioning of the physical/chemical body but regulate these processes.
(From Energy Psychology by Michael Mayer published by North Atlantic Books,
copyright © 2009 by Michael Mayer. Reprinted by permission of publisher).
© Healing Touch International, Inc. All Rights Reserved
is a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy. Gentle touch assists in balancing
your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Healing Touch
works with your energy field to support your natural ability to heal. It
is safe for all ages and works in harmony with standard medical care.
Healing Touch is used in a wide variety of
settings including hospitals, long term care facilities, private practices,
hospices, and spas. Today Healing Touch has spread internationally and is taught
in universities, medical and nursing schools, and other settings
What is Healing Touch?
Healing Touch is an energy therapy in which practitioners consciously use
their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and
facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Healing Touch is a biofield (magnetic field around the
body) therapy that is an energy-based approach to health and healing.
Healing Touch uses the gift of touch to influence the
human energy system, specifically the energy field that surrounds the body,
and the energy centers that control the flow from the energy field to the
These non-invasive techniques employ the hands to
clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy fields, thus
affecting physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is based on a
heart-centered, caring relationship in which the practitioner and client
come together energetically to facilitate the client's health and healing.
The goal of Healing Touch is to restore balance and
harmonies in the energy system, placing the client in a position to self
How does Energy Healing
work? Many theoretical frameworks on how energy medicine
works exist in the literature of quantum physics and holistic healing.
However, while the exact physics mechanisms can not be definitively
described at this time, the cumulative results of numerous related studies
on energy medicine and consciousness indicate strong support that "something
is happening" and that recipients respond positively to energy therapies
such as Healing Touch.
Over the years, researchers have developed ways to
measure the energy field. Theoretically, by correcting any defects in the
energy field, energy therapy practices may facilitate healing of the body,
mind and spirit.
Energy therapies focus on removing energy congestion
that form in our energy fields (aura) and energy centers (chakras). Once
these imbalances and disturbances are cleared, the energy channels resume
their task of integrating the body, mind and soul to restore health and
promote healing. It may also help to prevent future issues by restoring
balance to energy field disturbances, which could later result in illness if
To gain a deeper understanding of the science
supporting energy healing, please refer to the many books, journal articles
and research findings written on this subject. Scientific evidence does
exist that supports the premise that energy healing is effective. However,
an experience is worth a thousand words, so the receiving of a Healing Touch
treatment can do more to understand this phenomena than all the writings in
Healing Touch Program offers a series of
energy-based therapy classes
in which students use a variety of hands-on techniques that facilitate energy
balance for wholeness within the individual, supporting physical, emotional,
mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is considered one of the leading energy
medicine programs in the world. We are physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
beings and our health and healing is dependent on all of these factors…
Quantum-Touch is a powerful, yet easy to
learn, energy healing modality. The ability to strikingly reduce pain and accelerate
the healing process is an easily learned and invaluable skill.
Dr. Norman Shealy, M.D., founder of the American
Holistic Medical Association and internationally renowned for his
accomplishments in the field of alternative healing, wrote the forward, and
cited Quantum-Touch as “the first technique that may truly
allow us all to become healers.”
The body has an extraordinary
ability to heal itself and Quantum-Touch helps to maximize the body's own
capacity to heal. Quantum-Touch addresses the root cause of disease and
creates the space for true healing to occur. Rather than just working on
symptoms, Quantum-Touch will address the underlying cause of disease. We
teach the concept of "body intelligence": the body knows how to bring itself
back to 100% wholeness given the proper conditions.
People have reported a wide range of organic conditions
that have been helped through Quantum-Touch. To give some sense of the
spectrum of things we have encountered, practitioners have reported varying
degrees of improvement with pain relief, cancer, reflex sympathetic
dystrophy syndrome, reducing liver enzyme levels, infections, hydrocephalus,
improved eyesight, and much, much more.
Quantum-Touch does not
claim to treat or heal specific conditions; the effectiveness of
Quantum-Touch is based on an individual's ability to heal and the results
will vary. Ultimately if the body can, it will heal itself and Quantum-Touch
may accelerate that process.
Everyone has the innate ability to help
ourselves and others. The Quantum-Touch techniques teach us how to focus and
amplify life-force energy (known as “chi” in Chinese and “prana” in
Sanskrit) by combining various breathing and body awareness exercises. When you
learn to direct the life-force energy, the possibilities are truly
extraordinary; our love has more
impact than we can imagine.
Cautions in Life Energy
www.arcapologetics.org © Apologetics Resource Center. All rights
‘Life Energy’ OR ‘Medical
Alternative therapies based on “life energy” use principles just like those
generally attributed to magic. Although “magic” is difficult to define
concisely, magical practices do have common features. Magic involves
specific techniques or rituals by which people attempt to manipulate
supernatural powers to meet their immediate needs.
Practitioners of energy medicine claim they can manipulate a supernatural
force using certain techniques to bring about healing or relaxation.
Healing is demanded by
practitioners of magic. “There is never anything humble about the requests
addressed to supernatural agents.” (22)
Incidentally, this leads us to have great concern about Christian healers
who demand healing from God. This contrasts with the way Christians are
encouraged to humbly make requests of God, yet trust in his will.
Healing is guaranteed when magical instructions are
followed precisely, or so it is claimed. “In magic a ritual is performed
and if it is correct in every detail, the desired result must follow
unless countered by stronger magic.” (23)
Healing is guaranteed
when magical instructions are followed precisely, or so it is claimed.
“In magic a ritual is performed and if it is correct in every detail,
the desired result must follow unless countered by stronger magic.”
Present-day desires of the individual are the focus
in magic, not the long-term needs or goals of the community.
When magic doesn’t work, it
can still do harm. It wastes precious time, time that could have been used
to seek proven, effective remedies. A cancer continues to grow. Diabetes and
high blood pressure go untreated. Pain lingers.
An even bigger problem arises when magical practices do
work. Long associated with occult traditions, many of these practices can
lead people into all sorts of entanglements with evil spiritual beings. Kurt
Koch, a Christian theologian and an authority on the occult, recounts many
stories of people being healed by alternative therapies without knowing of
the occult connections. One young man went to an iridologist, someone who
claims to be able to diagnose and treat illnesses by examining the iris in
people’s eyes. (24)
Soon afterward, this young man recovered completely from his illness. But
then he noticed some disturbing changes. Every time he tried to enter a
church, he experienced physical pain. The same thing happened whenever he
tried to read a Bible or sing a Christian hymn. He rapidly became severely
depressed, started abusing drugs, and eventually had a complete emotional
breakdown. Certainly, not all iridologists (or
alternative practitioners in general) are connected with the occult, but
this particular one seems to have been. We acknowledge that this
story has all the limitations of testimonials and anecdotal reports. But it
fits the pattern of stories where people inadvertently received an occult
healing and paid for it with their emotional and spiritual health. We are
not raising it to claim that iridology usually leads to involvement in the
occult. We use it to point out that an alternative
therapy sought for good purposes can lead to spiritual harm.
suspicious of any practitioner who claims he or she can accurately diagnose
illnesses by “extraordinary” means or who knows things about others through
some “amazing” intuition. Those powers, if real, must come from somewhere.
chances are that they are supernatural powers. Great caution and discernment
are necessary to ensure they are not occult powers.
Evaluating Some Practices That May
Live Healthy Naturally – Note
Tough the above is true, the following is also true
The Word of God and the Holy Spirit reveals God’s
will; and in this wisdom is revelation that is disclosed or made known by
the Spirit of Truth. Therefore, an “amazing” intuition can be accessible
from the spirit realm. BUT, Christians only receive this kind of truth from
the Holy Spirit in the name and practice of Jesus, the Messiah.
If Jesus isn't in it, you should not be either!
Super Power Breathing Detoxifies and
Purifies Your Blood:
Shallow Breathers self-poison themselves. When you are a shallow breather,
you don't change the air at the base of your lungs, where two-thirds of your
lung capacity is located. When you return impure blood to your body, the ill
effects are compounded because your blood cannot perform properly. It is
difficult for blood that is loaded with poisonous wastes to transport the
relatively small amount of oxygen which it absorbs; it is even harder for it to
carry the necessary nourishment from food…
Copyright © World Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Breath is life! Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing…
Breathing may be considered the most important of all of the functions of
the body, for, indeed, all of the other functions depend upon it…
not only are people dependent upon breath for life, but they are largely
dependent upon correct habits of breathing for continued vitality and
freedom from disease. An intelligent control of our breathing power will
lengthen our days upon earth by giving us increased vitality and powers of
resistance, and, on the other hand, unintelligent and careless breathing
will tend to shorten our days, by decreasing our vitality and laying us open
Occidental teachings show that physical health depends upon correct
breathing… The Oriental teachers not only admit that their Occidental
brothers are right, but say that in addition to the physical benefit derived
from correct habits of breathing, people’s mental power, happiness,
self-control, clear-sightedness and even their spiritual growth may be
increased by an understanding of the Science of
In Genesis we read about, ‘the breath of the spirit
of life,’ which some philosophers would say describes prana... We are
constantly inhaling air that is charged with prana, and are constantly
extracting the latter from the air and appropriating it to our uses. Prana
is found in its freest state in the atmospheric air, which when fresh is
highly charged with it, and we draw it to us more easily from the air than
from any other source. In ordinary breathing we absorb and extract a normal
supply of prana, but by controlled and regulated breathing, generally known
as Yogi breathing, we are enabled to extract a greater supply, which is
stored away in the brain and nerve centers, to be used when necessary.
We store away prana, just as the storage battery
stores electricity… If we think of prana as being the active principle of
what we call vitality, we will be able to form a much clearer idea of what
an important part it plays in our lives. Just as oxygen is utilized in the
blood system so is the supply of prana utilized by the nervous system.
Prana is exhausted by our thinking, willing, acting
and etc., and because of this constant replenishing is necessary. Every
thought, every act, every effort of the will, every motion of a muscle, uses
up a certain amount of what we would call nerve force, which is really a
form of prana. To move a muscle the brain sends out an impulse over the
nerves and the muscle contracts because of the available prana. It is again
important to remember that the greatest portion of prana that people acquire
comes to them from the air they inhale. This is why it is of the greatest
importance that proper breathing is readily understood.
The Yogis classify respiration into four general
* High Breathing
* Mid Breathing
* Low Breathing
* Yogi Complete Breathing
High Breathing is
known in the Western world as Clavicular Breathing or Collarbone Breathing.
A person breathing in this manner elevates the ribs and raises the
collarbone and shoulders, at the same time drawing in the abdomen and
pushing its contents up against the diaphragm, which in turn is raised. The
upper part of the chest and lungs, which is the smallest, is used, and
consequently but a minimum amount of air enters the lungs. This high
breathing is the worst form of breathing.
Mid Breathing is
also known as Rib
and while less objectionable than High Breathing, is far inferior to either
Low Breathing or to the Yogi Complete Breath. In Mid Breathing the diaphragm
is pushed upward, and the abdomen drawn in. The ribs are raised somewhat,
and the chest is partially expanded.
Low Breathing as
a form of respiration is far better than either of the two proceeding forms,
and many Western writers have extolled its merits and have exploited it
under the names of Abdominal
Although many Western authorities write and speak of this method as the best
known from of breathing, the Yogis know it to be but a part of a system they
know as The
Complete Breath includes all the
good points of High
Breathing and Low
with the objectionable features of each eliminated. It brings into play the
entire respiratory apparatus, every part of the lungs, every air-cell, every
respiratory muscle. The entire respiratory organism responds to this method
of breathing and the maximum amount of benefit is derived from the minimum
expenditure of energy. The chest cavity is increased to its normal limits in
all directions and every part of the machinery performs it natural work and
One of the most important features of this method
of breathing is the fact that the respiratory muscles are fully called into
play, whereas in the other forms of breathing only a portion of these
muscles are so used. In Complete Breathing,
among other muscles, those controlling the ribs are actively used, which
increases the space in which the lungs may expand, and also gives the proper
support to the organs when needed.
Center For Mindfullness featured
the University of Massachussets Medical School
a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a
way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no
one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own
stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.
course schedule consists of eight weekly classes and one day-long class on a
Saturday or Sunday. Morning or evening courses are available. This highly
participatory, practical course includes:
instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
stretching and mindful yoga
dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
home practice CDs and a home practice manual
A Program In Your Area
The Science of Meditation
The term meditation refers to a group of techniques,
such as mantra meditation, relaxation response, mindfulness
meditation, and Zen Buddhist meditation. Most meditative techniques
started in Eastern religious or spiritual traditions. These techniques have
been used by many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of
years. Today, many people use meditation outside of its traditional
religious or cultural settings, for health and well-being.
In meditation, a person learns to focus attention. Some
forms of meditation instruct the practitioner to become mindful of thoughts,
feelings, and sensations and to observe them in a nonjudgmental way. This
practice is believed to result in a state of greater calmness and physical
relaxation, and psychological balance. Practicing meditation can change how
a person relates to the flow of emotions and thoughts.
Most types of meditation have four elements in common:
location. Meditation is usually practiced in a quiet place with as few
distractions as possible. This can be particularly helpful
A specific, comfortable
posture. Depending on the type being practiced, meditation can be done
while sitting, lying down, standing, walking, or in other positions.
A focus of
attention. Focusing one's attention is usually a part of meditation. For
example, the meditator may focus on a mantra (a specially chosen word or
set of words), an object, or the sensations of the breath. Some forms of
meditation involve paying attention to whatever is the dominant content
An open attitude. Having
an open attitude during meditation means letting distractions come and
go naturally without judging them. When the attention goes to
distracting or wandering thoughts, they are not suppressed; instead, the
meditator gently brings attention back to the focus. In some types of
meditation, the meditator learns to "observe" thoughts and emotions
Meditation used as CAM is a type of mind-body
medicine. Generally, mind-body medicine focuses on:
The interactions among the brain/mind, the rest
of the body, and behavior.
The ways in which emotional, mental, social,
spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health.
How Meditation Might Work
Practicing meditation has been shown to induce some
changes in the body. By learning more about what goes on in the body during
meditation, researchers hope to be able to identify diseases or conditions
for which meditation might be useful.
Some types of meditation might work by affecting the
autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. This system regulates many organs
and muscles, controlling functions such as heartbeat, sweating, breathing,
and digestion. It has two major parts:
The sympathetic nervous system helps mobilize the
body for action. When a person is under stress, it produces the
"fight-or-flight response": the heart rate and breathing rate go up and
blood vessels narrow (restricting the flow of blood).
The parasympathetic nervous system causes the heart
rate and breathing rate to slow down, the blood vessels to dilate
(improving blood flow), and the flow of digestive juices increases.
It is thought that some types of meditation might work
by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing
activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.
In one area of research, scientists are using
sophisticated tools to determine whether meditation is associated with
significant changes in brain function. A number of researchers believe that
these changes account for many of meditation's effects.
It is also possible that practicing meditation may work
by improving the mind's ability to pay attention. Since attention is
involved in performing everyday tasks and regulating mood, meditation might
lead to other benefits.
A 2007 NCCAM-funded review of the scientific literature
found some evidence suggesting that meditation is associated with
potentially beneficial health effects. However, the overall evidence was
inconclusive. The reviewers concluded that future research needs to be more
rigorous before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Clinical and laboratory studies of mindfulness
meditation are yielding a growing body of evidence that meditation
affects the mind, the brain, the body, and behavior in ways that have
potential to treat many health problems and to promote healthy behavior.
For example, recent research suggests that systematic
mindfulness training and other meditation practices influence areas of the
brain involved in regulating awareness, attention, and emotion.
Brain-imaging studies suggest that more mindful people may be better able to
regulate emotional reactions or have improved self-awareness. Other research
suggests that mindfulness training is associated with changes in the
physical structure of the brain. Several studies suggest that meditative
practices can positively affect immune function. Many of the beneficial
physical effects of mindfulness training could be attributable to learning
how to cope better with stress.
Ongoing NIH-supported research is investigating the use
of mindfulness training in treating specific pain conditions, overeating and
obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, myocardial ischemia, and
substance abuse. Mindfulness meditation is also being explored as a means of
facilitating and sustaining healthy behavior change, such as smoking
cessation and healthier eating habits.
Blending with Eastern Mysticism:
Eastern meditation is dangerous, to say the least, because it draws people
away from God by encouraging them to look inwardly to themselves rather than
to God. Also, this kind of meditation is connected to Eastern philosophies
which is different to Biblical teaching. This practice of emptying one’s mind
opens up the possibility of demonic deception, manipulation, and even
Christianity Today International. Used by permission
Many Eastern religions teach
that the source of salvation is found within, and that the fundamental human
problem is not sin against a holy God but ignorance of our true condition.
These worldviews advocate meditation and "higher forms of consciousness" as
a way to discover a secret inner divinity.
Yoga, deeply rooted in Hinduism, essentially means to
be "yoked" with the divine. Yogic postures, breathing, and chanting were
originally designed not to bring better physical health and well-being
(Western marketing to the contrary), but a sense of oneness with Brahman—the
Hindu word for the absolute being that pervades all things. This is
pantheism (all is divine), not Christianity.
Transcendental Meditation is a veiled form of Hindu
yoga, though it claims to be a religiously neutral method of relaxation and
rejuvenation. Initiates to TM receive a mantra (Hindu holy word) to repeat
while sitting in yogic postures and engaging in yogic breathing. The goal is
to find God within their own beings, since God (Brahman) and the self
(Atman) are really one.
Differences in various forms of Eastern meditation
aside, they all aim at a supposedly "higher" or "altered" state of
consciousness. Meditation guides claim that normal consciousness obscures
sacred realities. Therefore, meditation is practiced in order to suspend
rational patterns of thought……To continue reading, subscribe now.
Subscribers have full digital access.
Spirit-Mind-Body Meditation - Biblical Meditation
We should be careful not to write off
meditation itself simply because it’s practiced by Eastern mystics. The Bible encourages us to meditate on God’s Word. “Blessed is
the man [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on his law
day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2 NIV).
Interestingly, spiritual meditation has been found to
be superior to secular meditation and relaxation in terms of decrease in
anxiety and improvement in positive mood, spiritual health, spiritual
experiences and tolerance to pain…
definition of meditation means to think contemplatively, to reflect, to
intend to do or achieve; a thinking over; thought.
Biblical Meditation: There are at least seven Hebrew
and two Greek words for the word meditation. Three of the seven Hebrew
Hagah: to murmur (in pleasure or anger), to ponder,
imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter.
Siyach: to ponder, converse (with oneself, and,
hence, aloud), utter, commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray,
speak, or talk (with).
Siychah: reflection, devotion, meditation, prayer.
As a generalized practice, meditation is a mental
discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the reflective, “thinking”
mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Different meditative
disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and psychophysics practices,
which may emphasize different goals—from achievement of a higher state of
consciousness, to greater focus, creativity, or self-awareness, or simply a
more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.
The biblical perspective of meditation has the same,
and a dual, function that carries far more power and purpose. Biblical
meditation is the art of reflection in the Word of God, because meditation
on the Word of God incorporates the presence and the works of His Spirit,
the Holy Spirit. Biblical meditation begins with methodical reading, and
rereading, of the Word and is followed by reflection what has been read and
committed to memory.
Meditation is a process of continually thinking on a
particular thought and involves turning your attention to a single point of
reference. Scripture states that we should meditate on the things of God,
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life
and peace” (Romans 8:6).
Biblical meditation does not mean to sit and ponder
infinity or to empty the mind so some force can fill it by repeating some
chant or mantra; however, meditation in the Bible means reflective thinking
on biblical truth so that God is able to speak to us through Scripture and
through the Holy Spirit that comes to us as we are reflecting on His Word.
With the written Word comes the “Spirit of wisdom,” the “spoken Word,” or an
utterance. This is what is considered as the
rhema Word, an impartation of
instruction on what to say, or guidance on what to do, or revelation in
understanding. “You have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all
things” (1 John 2:20).
We all meditate in one form or another, whether
consciously or subconsciously, negatively or positively. We may not sit down
formally and cross our legs or remain silent in seeking our inner self, but
even worry is a form of meditating.
The Word of God instructs, “For the rest, brethren,
whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is
honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is
any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on
and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]” (Philippians
“Blessed is the man [whose] delight
is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psalm
The Five-Minute Christian
Meditation iPhone app will assist you with learning the important art
of meditation. It will fill your mind with Word of God and its
empowering language. Each meditation will guide you through a brief
meditation on three verses from the Bible.
Fasting Awakens the Mind
and Soul: The soft voice of Mother Nature is often hard to hear
and understand. By fasting, your extra-sensory instinct becomes very keen.
fast sharpens your mind and tunes you in with the gentle inner voice of Mother
Nature and God. Fasting has
made my inner body, mind and soul alert! My body and mind work better after each
fast. I know yours will, too! Fasting is for sure a miracle!
The memory becomes sharp as a razor's edge…
works in three ways. You purify your body physically, mentally and
spiritually and therefore enjoy super vitality and health. Your mind becomes
a sponge which can absorb new facts and knowledge. Greatest of all are the
inner peacefulness and spiritual tranquility that make life worth living.
Through fasting you find "Peace of Mind," the greatest and rarest gift of
away the thousand little things, which quickly accumulate and clutter the body,
mind and heart. It cuts through corrosion and renews our contract with God and
Mother Earth. When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, strength
cannot be exerted, wealth is useless and reason is powerless.
Herophiles, 300 B.C.
Gerald N. Epstein, MD, is one of the
foremost practitioners of integrative healthcare for healing and transformation.
conducted clinical research in the treatment of asthma through mental imagery,
under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health… Inspired by the Bible
and the Western spiritual tradition, he wrote Healing Into Immortality (1994), a
clear account of the reasons and remedies for illness. In his 1999 book Climbing
Jacob’s Ladder, he takes the reader on an experiential journey through the
Bible to find a way to spiritual freedom. In 2003 he published The Natural Laws
of Self Healing, an 8 CD audio set published by Nightingale–Conant, a full
course in applied therapeutics of western spirituality in the healthcare field.
On this site, learn methods to transform your lives
through the most powerful tool available – your minds. Methods that you can
- Heal yourself –
physically, mentally and emotionally
- Become the master of
yourself by reversing destructive habits
- Open yourself to Spirit
- Imagery Exercises for Guilt
- Imagery Exercises for Grief
Clear Away Confusion
Mind-Body Relaxation Therapy
Relaxation techniques (also called relaxation response
techniques) may be used by some to release tension and to counteract the ill
effects of stress. Relaxation techniques are also used to induce sleep,
reduce pain, and calm emotions. This fact sheet provides basic information
about relaxation techniques, summarizes scientific research on effectiveness
and safety, and suggests sources for additional information.
Relaxation is more than a state of mind; it physically
changes the way your body functions. When your body is relaxed breathing
slows, blood pressure and oxygen consumption decrease, and some people
report an increased sense of well-being. This is called the “relaxation
response.” Being able to produce the relaxation response using relaxation
techniques may counteract the effects of long-term stress, which may
contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including depression,
digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia.
Relaxation techniques often combine breathing and
focused attention to calm the mind and the body. Most methods require only
brief instruction from a book or experienced practitioner before they can be
done without assistance. These techniques may be most effective when
practiced regularly and combined with good nutrition, regular exercise, and
a strong social support system.
Relaxation response techniques covered in this fact
Autogenic training. When using this method, you
focus on the physical sensation of your own breathing or heartbeat and
picture your body as warm, heavy, and/or relaxed.
Biofeedback. Biofeedback-assisted relaxation uses
electronic devices to teach you how to consciously produce the
Deep breathing or breathing exercises. To relax
using this method, you consciously slow your breathing and focus on
taking regular and deep breaths.
Guided imagery. For this technique, you focus on
pleasant images to replace negative or stressful feelings and relax.
Guided imagery may be directed by you or a practitioner through
storytelling or descriptions designed to suggest mental images (also
Progressive relaxation. (also called Jacobson’s
progressive relaxation or progressive muscle relaxation). For this
relaxation method, you focus on tightening and relaxing each muscle
group. Progressive relaxation is often combined with guided imagery and
Self-Hypnosis. In self-hypnosis you produce the
relaxation response with a phrase or nonverbal cue (called
Mind and body practices, such
as meditation and yoga are also sometimes considered relaxation
Techniques May Work: To understand how consciously producing the
relaxation response may affect your health, it is helpful to understand how
your body responds to the opposite of relaxation—stress.
When you’re under stress, your body releases hormones
that produce the “fight-or-flight response.” Heart rate and breathing rate
go up and blood vessels narrow (restricting the flow of blood). This
response allows energy to flow to parts of your body that need to take
action, for example the muscles and the heart. However useful this response
may be in the short term, there is evidence that when your body remains in a
stress state for a long time, emotional or physical damage can occur.
Long-term or chronic stress (lasting months or years) may reduce your body’s
ability to fight off illness and lead to or worsen certain health
conditions. Chronic stress may play a role in developing high blood
pressure, headaches, and stomach ache. Stress may worsen certain conditions,
such as asthma. Stress also has been linked to depression, anxiety, and
other mental illnesses.
In contrast to the stress response, the relaxation
response slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases oxygen
consumption and levels of stress hormones. Because relaxation is the
opposite of stress, the theory is that voluntarily creating the relaxation
response through regular use of relaxation techniques could counteract the
negative effects of stress.
Research on Relaxation Techniques: In the past 30 years, there has been
considerable interest in the relaxation response and how inducing this state
may benefit health. Research has focused primarily on illness and conditions
in which stress may play a role either as the cause of the condition or as a
factor that can make the condition worse.
Currently, research has examined relaxation
Anxiety. Studies have suggested that relaxation may
assist in the conventional treatment of phobias or panic disorder.
Relaxation techniques have also been used to relieve anxiety for people
in stressful situations, such as when undergoing a medical procedure.
Asthma. Several reviews of the literature have
suggested that relaxation techniques, including guided imagery, may
temporarily help improve lung function and quality of life and relieve
anxiety in people with asthma. A more recent randomized clinical trial
of asthma found that relaxation techniques may help improve
Depression. In 2008, a major review of the evidence
that looked at relaxation for depression found that relaxation
techniques were more effective than no treatment for depression, but not
as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Fibromyalgia. Some preliminary studies report that
using relaxation or guided imagery techniques may sometimes improve pain
and reduce fatigue from fibromyalgia.
Headache. There is some evidence that biofeedback
and other relaxation techniques may help relieve tension or migraine
headaches. In some cases, these mind and body techniques were more
effective than medications for reducing the frequency, intensity, and
severity of headaches.
Heart disease and heart symptoms. Researchers have
looked at relaxation techniques for angina and for preventing heart
disease. When a cardiac rehabilitation program was combined with
relaxation response training in a clinic, participants experienced
significant reductions in blood pressure, decreases in lipid levels, and
increases in psychological functioning when compared to participants’
status before the program. Some studies have shown that relaxation
techniques combined with other lifestyle changes and standard medical
care may reduce the risk of recurrent heart attack.
High blood pressure. A 2008 review of evidence for
relaxation for high blood pressure found some evidence that progressive
muscle relaxation lowered blood pressure a small amount. However, the
review found no evidence that this effect was enough to reduce the risk
of heart disease, stroke, or other health issues due to high blood
pressure. In a recent randomized controlled trial, 8 weeks of relaxation
response/stress management was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure
in hypertensive older adults, and some patients were able to reduce
hypertension medication without an increase in blood pressure.
Hot flashes. Relaxation exercises involving slow,
controlled deep breathing may help relieve hot flashes associated
Insomnia. There is some evidence that relaxation
techniques can help chronic insomnia.
Irritable bowel syndrome. Some studies have
indicated that relaxation techniques may prevent or relieve symptoms of
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some participants. One review of the
research found some evidence that self-hypnosis may be useful for IBS.
Nausea. Relaxation techniques may help relieve
nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Nightmares. Relaxation exercises may be an
effective approach for nightmares of unknown cause and those associated
with posttraumatic stress disorder.
Overactive bladder. Bladder re-training combined
with relaxation and other exercises may help control urinary urgency.
Pain. Some studies have shown that relaxation
techniques may help reduce abdominal and surgery pain.
Ringing in the ears. Use of relaxation exercises
may help patients cope with the condition.
Smoking cessation. Relaxation exercises may help
reduce the desire to smoke.
Temporomandibular disorder (pain and loss of motion
in the jaw joints). A review of the literature found that relaxation
techniques and biofeedback were more effective than placebo in
decreasing pain and increasing jaw function.
If You Are
Thinking About Using Relaxation Techniques for Health
Do not use relaxation techniques to replace
conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a
Ask about the training and experience of the
practitioner or instructor you are considering for any complementary
Look for published research studies on relaxation
for the health condition in which you are interested. Remember that some
claims for using relaxation therapies may exceed the available
Tell all your health care providers about any
complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of
what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and
safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about
complementary health approaches, see NCCAM's
Time to Talk campaign.
- Learn How
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Finding the relaxation technique that’s best for
There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. When
choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences,
fitness level, and the way you tend to react to stress. The right relaxation
technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is
able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts in order to
elicit the relaxation response. In many cases, you may find that alternating
or combining different techniques will keep you motivated and provide you
with the best results.
response: Bringing your
nervous system back into balance: Stress is necessary for life. You need
stress for creativity, learning, and your very survival. Stress is only
harmful when it becomes overwhelming and interrupts the healthy state of
equilibrium that your nervous system needs to remain in balance.
Unfortunately, overwhelming stress has become an increasingly common
characteristic of contemporary life. When stressors throw your nervous
system out of balance, relaxation techniques can bring it back into a
balanced state by producing the relaxation response, a state of deep
calmness that is the polar opposite of the stress response.
When stress overwhelms your nervous system your body is
flooded with chemicals that prepare you for “fight or flight”. While the
stress response can be lifesaving in emergency situations where you need to
act quickly, it wears your body down when constantly activated by the
stresses of everyday life. The relaxation response puts the brakes on this
heightened state of readiness and brings your body and mind back into a
state of equilibrium.
relaxation response: A variety of different relaxation techniques can
help you bring your nervous system back into balance by producing the
relaxation response. The relaxation response is not lying on the couch or
sleeping but a mentally active process that leaves the body relaxed, calm,
Learning the basics of these relaxation techniques
isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. Most stress experts recommend
setting aside at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice.
If you’d like to get even more stress relief, aim for 30 minutes to an hour.
If that sounds like a daunting commitment, remember that many of these
techniques can be incorporated into your existing daily schedule—practiced
at your desk over lunch or on the bus during your morning commute.
Relaxation technique 1: Breathing meditation for
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep
breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to
learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get
your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other
relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements
such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a
place to stretch out.
Practicing deep breathing meditation
The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the
abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take
deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper
chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense,
short of breath, and anxious you feel.
Relaxation technique 2: Progressive muscle
relaxation for stress relief
Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step
process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups
in the body.
With regular practice, progressive muscle relaxation
gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete
relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body. This awareness helps
you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that
accompanies stress. And as your body relaxes, so will your mind. You can
combine deep breathing with progressive muscle relaxation for an additional
level of stress relief.
Relaxation technique 3: Body scan meditation for
A body scan is similar to progressive muscle relaxation
except, instead of tensing and relaxing muscles, you simply focus on the
sensations in each part of your body.
Relaxation technique 4: Mindfulness for stress
Mindfulness is the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right
now, your “moment-to-moment” experience—both internal and external. Thinking
about the past—blaming and judging yourself—or worrying about the future can
often lead to a degree of stress that is overwhelming. But by staying calm
and focused in the present moment, you can bring your nervous system back
into balance. Mindfulness can be applied to activities such as walking,
exercising, eating, or meditation.
Meditations that cultivate mindfulness have long been
used to reduce overwhelming stress. Some of these meditations bring you into
the present by focusing your attention on a single repetitive action, such
as your breathing, a few repeated words, or flickering light from a candle.
Other forms of mindfulness meditation encourage you to follow and then
release internal thoughts or sensations.
Relaxation technique 5: Visualization meditation for
Visualization, or guided imagery, is a variation on
traditional meditation that requires you to employ not only your visual
sense, but also your sense of taste, touch, smell, and sound. When used as a
relaxation technique, visualization involves imagining a scene in which you
feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety.
Choose whatever setting is most calming to you, whether
it’s a tropical beach, a favorite childhood spot, or a quiet wooded glen.
You can do this visualization exercise on your own in silence, while
listening to soothing music, or with a therapist (or an audio recording of a
therapist) guiding you through the imagery. To help you employ your sense of
hearing you can use a sound machine or download sounds that match your
chosen setting—the sound of ocean waves if you’ve chosen a beach, for
Tips for fitting relaxation techniques into
If possible, schedule a set
time to practice each day. Set aside one or two periods each day. You
may find that it’s easier to stick with your practice if you do it first
thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the
techniques while you’re doing other things. Meditate while commuting
to work on a bus or train, or waiting for a dentist appointment. Try deep
breathing while you’re doing housework or mowing the lawn. Mindfulness
walking can be done while exercising your dog, walking to your car, or
climbing the stairs at work instead of using the elevator. Once you’ve
learned techniques such as tai chi, you can practice them in your office or
in the park at lunchtime.
If you exercise, improve the
relaxation benefits by adopting mindfulness. Instead of zoning out or
staring at a TV as you exercise, try focusing your attention on your body.
If you’re resistance training, for example, focus on coordinating your
breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels as
you raise and lower the weights.
Avoid practicing when you’re
sleepy. These techniques can relax you so much that they can make you
very sleepy, especially if it’s close to bedtime. You will get the most
benefit if you practice when you’re fully awake and alert. Do not practice
after eating a heavy meal or while using drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.
Expect ups and downs. Don’t
be discouraged if you skip a few days or even a few weeks. It happens. Just
get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.
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this exercise that incorporates a few different relaxation techniques:
interrupting your normal daily thoughts. Think about what is going on
around you. Then switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing.
Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly.
scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped, such as your
neck or shoulders. Loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as
rotate your head to the left in a smooth, circular motion, leaning your
left ear to your left shoulder. Rotate your head to the right in a
smooth, circular motion, leaning your right ear to your right shoulder.
(Stop any movements that cause pain.)
shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles
focus on a pleasant memory.
another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel more relaxed.
reduction/ relaxation techniques. An
online imagery and voice relaxation 15 minute exercise session therapy.
Muscle Relaxation Instructions: Through repetitive practice you quickly learn to recognize—and
distinguish—the associated feelings of a tensed muscle and a completely
relaxed muscle. With this simple knowledge, you can then induce physical
muscular relaxation at the first signs of the tension that accompanies anxiety.
And with physical relaxation comes mental calmness—in any situation. Features
muscle relaxation (with
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