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Excerpted from Prayer Is Good Medicine by Larry Dossey. Copyright © 1996 by Larry Dossey. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Are we falling into fantasy? Hardly. "Statistically, God is good for you," says David B. Larson, M.D."

Larry Dossey, 
Prayer is Good Medicine
, Part 1

Prayer is back.

After sitting on the sidelines for most of this century prayer is moving toward center stage in modern medicine. Doctors are taking prayer not just into their office clinics, and hospitals, but into experimental laboratories as well. Medical journals are more willing than ever publish studies on the healing effects of prayer and faith. Cover stories on prayer have appeared in several nation news magazines, and talks shows buzz with accounts healing and prayer. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal recently devoted a major article in its "Marketplace" section to the scientific studies of prayer that are currently in progress.

Most of you would probably say, itís about time. Recent surveys show that 75 percent of patients believe their physicians should address spiritual issues as part of medical care, and 50 percent want their doctor to pray not just for them but with them. We doctors appear to be listening. You may be surprised to know that the majority of us actually pray for our patients. In December 1995 a conference entitled "Spirituality and Healing in Medicine" was held at Harvard Medical School in Boston, one of our best medical institutions. As of this writing, about one-third of the medical schools in the United States have developed courses in alternative/complementary medicine, many of which emphasize spiritual issues in health care, including prayer. Five medical schools have developed programs explicitly dedicated to exploring the relationship between faith and health.

Are we falling into fantasy? Hardly. "Statistically, God is good for you," says David B. Larson, M.D., of the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Maryland, which studies the relationship between spirituality and health. Larson, a former senior researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, says, "I was told by my [medical school] professors that religion is harmful. Then I looked at the research, and religion is actually highly beneficial.

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