Self-Reported Health, and Illness and the Use of Conventional and Unconventional Medicine and Mind/Body Healing by Christian Scientists and Others

Authors
Herbert Benson, M.D., Jeffery A. Dusek
Publication
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
187(9):p. 539-548
Abstract

A cross-sectional national telephone survey was used to determine whether Christian Scientists (N = 230), a religious group that uses mind/body (including spiritual) healing, self-report more or less illness than non-Christian Scientists (N = 589). The primary outcome measure was the proportion of Christian Scientists and non-Christian Scientists that, during the previous 12 months: a) experienced any of 13 common medical conditions or symptoms; and b) used conventional medicine, unconventional medicine, and mind/body (including spiritual) healing. Fewer Christian Scientists experienced an illness or symptom than non-Christian Scientists (73% vs. 80%, respectively, p = .05). A multivariate analysis showed that Christian Scientists were less likely to have experienced illness than non-Christian Scientists (odds ratio [OR] .66, 95% confidence interval [CI] .44 to .99, p = .04). Similar proportions of Christian Scientists and non-Christian Scientists used some type of conventional medicine (74% vs. 78%, respectively), although Christian Scientists were less likely to take prescription medications than non-Christian Scientists (p = .034). Although use of unconventional medicine was similar in both groups (52% vs. 45%), more Christian Scientists than non-Christian Scientists used at least one type of mind/body medicine (67% vs. 42% p < .00001), notably special religious services and spiritual healing. Additional studies are needed to determine whether there are health benefits associated with the use of conventional and unconventional medicine in combination with mind/body (including spiritual) healing.

Related Listings
Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcript...
Authors
Manoj K. Bhasin, Jeffery A. Dusek, Bei-Hung Chang, Marie G. Joseph, John W. Denninger, Gregory L. Fricchione, Herbert Benson, Towia A. Libermann
Journal
PLOS ONE
The relaxation response (RR) is the counterpart of the stress response. Millennia-old practices evoking the RR include meditation, yoga and repetitive prayer. Although RR elicitation is an effective therapeutic intervention that counteracts the adverse clinical effects of stress in disorders including hypertension, anxiety, insomnia and aging, the underlying molecular mechanisms that explain these clinical benefits remain undetermined. To assess rapid time-dependent (temporal) genomic […]
Decreased Alcohol Intake Associated with the Pr...
Authors
Herbert Benson
Journal
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
·
A wakeful hypometabolic state accompanies the practice of a relaxational, meditation technique called Transcendental Meditation. The state is characterized by decreased oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide elimination, respiratory rate and minute ventilation, with no change in respiratory quotient. Arterial blood pH and base excess decrease slightly while arterial blood lactate markedly decreases. Systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressures remain unchanged. The electroenceph […]
Functional brain mapping of the relaxation resp...
Authors
S W Lazar, G Bush, R L Gollub, G L Fricchione, G Khalsa, Herbert Benson
Journal
Neuroreport
·
Meditation is a conscious mental process that induces a set of integrated physiologic changes termed the relaxation response. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to identify and characterize the brain regions that are active during a simple form of meditation. Significant (p<10(-7)) signal increases were observed in the group-averaged data in the dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal cortices, hippocampus/parahippocampus, temporal lobe, pregenual anterior cingulate […]