Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Prayer's Power over Your Heart

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Prayer's Power over Your Heart

Article excerpt

Think of treatments for heart disease, and what comes to mind? Intense diet and exercise? Bypass surgery? Angioplasty? Multiple drugs? Chances are you didn't say prayer, meditation or touch therapy. But if the results of some new studies prove to be true, maybe you should.

In some of the latest research, doctors at Duke University Medical Center analyzed 150 heart patients undergoing various treatments, including angioplasties. They divided the patients into five groups. All received medical treatment, but four groups also got one of the following: touch therapy, relaxation training, lessons in using guided imagery or being prayed for without their knowledge.

Results? Patients who received any of the additional therapies were 25 to 30 percent less likely to develop complications from their medical treatment than those who recieved nothing extra.

"We know from past studies that relaxation exercises, meditation and being gently touched and cared for can have profound effects on the heart. These activities reduce blood pressure, heart rates and stress hormones," says Harold G. Koenig, M.D., internist, psychiatrist and director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality and Health at Duke. "But in this case, the group with the lowest complication rates was the one being unknowingly prayed for. There's no scientific explanation for that."

This is not an isolated finding in heart health. The results echo a similar study done last year at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. …

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