A recent medical study looked at the effect of spirituality and religion on quality of life in cancer patients.
Participants could be spiritual, religious, both or none.
Scientists wanted to look at what effect, if any, spirituality and religiosity had on patient outcomes, and if being religious worked synergistically with spirituality or independently from it.
- Over 550 patients were entered into this study, all were cancer patients undergoing treatment for various cancers… these patients were followed for one year and were assessed for quality of life.
- Turns out, religious patients had better quality of life if they were highly spiritual.
- The opposite was not true, however: among highly spiritual patients, there was no significant difference between patients who had low or no religiosity and those with high religiosity.
- The worst outcomes were found among patients who had both low spirituality and low religiosity.
- The best outcomes were found among patients who had high spirituality, regardless of religiosity.
Spirituality, it seems, stands as a better predictor for improved quality of life than holding religious beliefs.
One theory is that some religions may veiw cancer (or other illnesses, for example, AIDS) as punishment from God.
Other thoughts are that religion can be more of an intellectual practice, with guidelines and rules… whereas spirituality can be more of a heart based experience, helping patients find intrinsic meaning in their condition.
The bottom line here is that belief MATTERS.
How you feel about what you are going through makes a physical, mental and emotional difference in outcome.
I’ve reported similar findings on my blog before: how outlook improves outcome.
Even conventionally minded physicians and other health care practitioners that typically would shy away from addressing the spiritual needs of their patients now have MEDICAL PROOF that is undeniable: spiritual support makes a clinical difference.
You should not be working with a health care practitioner that isn’t interested in your Well Being in all ways… including interest in how you are feeling and your spiritual and/or religious beliefs.
Addressing illness from these angles is important… measurably improving your quality of life… and is an extremely valuable part of the healing process.
And now we have the proof.
P.S. I don’t need a medical study to tell me that focusing on spirit improves health, well being and clinical outcome. My entire practice is a testimony to that fact! Looking at your health situation from both a medical *and* an intuitive angle, I automatically work with supporting and addressing the unique spiritual needs of my patients.
It’s what I do. And I love it. Find out more about working with me here.