We've all heard of patients whose illness turned around and not even the doctors could explain why. Spiritual healing is nothing new, but it is newly recognized by some physicians.
So what does prayer do for people that physicians can't? A report in the Harvard Gazette says it can help them understand better what's going on, especially when a disease is painful or unexpected.
It can improve their quality of life by providing a feeling of well being much like meditation and it can reduce stress and that is healthy since stress is blamed for suppressing the body's ability to fight infection.
So, in effect, prayer may boost immunity to disease. But what do doctors think? Is prayer even studied in medical school? A survey at Harvard Medical School found that 30% of Americans turn to a higher power for their health. But that most of those who pray for their health use it in combination with traditional medicine and alternative therapies like yoga.
Dr. Mcgovern of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center says, "Prayer will always be part of healing and I think it has been incorporated more and more into medical training. We have respect for people's religious and spiritual traditions not forcing it on anybody but you know its part of the healing process."