Part I: The Mind-Body-Faith Phenomenon: Prayer and Health

Certainly we all know people who live with what may be considered to be a stress-related mind-body illness. They may have unexplained chronic gastric upset, debilitating, unrelenting headaches, pain, psoriasis, unexplained seizures, an auto-immune condition, cardiovascular disease, etc… These conditions can flare up during times of stress, but may be lurk just below the surface during calmer, less stressful times. The real discovery is when we come to understand and embrace the fact that we ourselves, not just others are prone to have our very own challenges to mind-body wellness. Depression, anxiety, and stress-related illness, we all have them at some time or another. It’s not just something that happens to other people.Part of accepting ones’ own mind-body disconnect lies in the recognition that each of us has a body-mind chemistry that is shared by the brain and body. That is, the mind affects the body, and, conversely, the body affects the mind. In as much as these conditions often appear out of the blue, without rhyme or reason, most mind-body dysfunction can be healed with medical treatment and sometimes even by changing ones perspective, and/or praying, as the mind is a powerful healing agent.Sure, the mind and body work closely together, but prayer has also been credited with improving the health of many. Why? Well consider this. Hope, prayer, rest and relaxation, as well as, a positive outlook, have been reported by medical research to be very healing on a number of levels. There is hardly a condition that is not provoked or initiated by stress. Stress makes one feel vulnerable, sometimes anxious and fearful. It can provoke pain, exhaustion, thyroid dysfunction, cardiac conditions, hair loss, hives, and even exacerbate neuroimmune conditions such as myasthenia gravis or multiple sclerosis-and even some cancers. It can also bring about neurological conditions such as seizures of unknown origin, neuralgia, Bell’s palsy and the like.On the other hand, hope, prayer and meditation can calm the storm waves of unrelenting tension and pain. It can dilate blood vessels for better oxygenation, calm brain waves, ease the tensions that one experiences on any given day, and quell even the most severe headaches. In essence, combining optimism, hope, and prayer can help to restore the body and mind to a condition called homeostasis, thereby paving the way for maximal health and well-being.Yes, mind-body-spirit wellness often benefits from adding prayer to the mix, as is the case with the Mind-Body-Faith Phenomenon. For some people, prayer is an integral part of their plan to realize optimal health in body, mind and spirit that results in quicker healing as it changes one’s physiology for the better.

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