Medicine, Religion, and Health
Where Science and Spirituality Meet
Medicine, Religion, and Health: Where Science and Spirituality Meet will be the first title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this, the series’ maiden volume, Dr. Harold G. Koenig provides an overview of the relationship between health care and religion that manages to be comprehensive yet concise, factual yet inspirational, and technical yet easily accessible to nonspecialists and general readers.
Focusing on the scientific basis for integrating spirituality into medicine, Koenig carefully summarizes major trends, controversies, and the latest research from a wide variety of disciplines and provides plausible and compelling theoretical explanations for what has thus far emerged in this relatively young field of study. Medicine, Religion, and Health begins by defining the principal terms and then moves on to a brief history of the role that religion has played in medicine before delving into the current state of research. Koenig devotes several chapters to exploring the outcomes of specific studies in fields such as mental health, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. The book concludes with a review of the clinical applications that can be derived from the research. Koenig also supplies several detailed appendices that will aid readers of all levels looking for further information.
Medicine, Religion, and Health will shed new light on important contemporary issues and will whet readers’ appetites for more information on this fascinating, complex, and controversial area of research, clinical activity, and popular discussion. It will find a welcome home on the bookshelves of students, researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals in a variety of disciplines.
In the past decade, numerous studies have touted the positive impact of prayer and spiritual practice on physical health. Well-known Duke University physician and psychiatrist Koenig offers a practical overview of the benefits of the relationship between religion and medicine as well as a detailed survey of the ways in which religion and medicine might work together beneficially. Using research studies of medical patients, he demonstrates that many patients say that their religious practices and beliefs enable them to cope with their illnesses or diagnoses. Koenig broadens his study to focus on the ways that religious belief influences mental health, immunological and neurological diseases, cardiovascular problems and longevity. For example, one study links the incidence of type-II diabetes with nonattendance at religious services; those not attending such services were twice as likely as attendees to have elevated levels of a protein that predicts the development of the disease. Koenig's helpful book concludes by encouraging health care professionals to be attentive to their patients' religious behaviors as a part of their overall medical history.