Having a spiritual connection can mean better health

One of the many reasons that I have been drawn to Naturopathy as a profession is that the healing involved encompasses the WHOLE person. It is one of the founding principles of this modality and one that I feel truly connected with. Human beings are complex organisms that have an array of connections from our consciousness, our mental state and our physical being. While it is impossible to be in perfect balance of these elements, all the time, it does make sense to nurture the mind, body and the spirit to achieve wellness and maintain it.

Often in modern Western culture, the spiritual aspect gets ignored. Aside from some vague religious connections, many people spend a lot of energy focusing on mental and physical health without understanding that we have complexities about us, energy connections that go beyond us that need to be acknowledged and nurtured. Studies have found that people who are religious or spiritual can cope with health issues better and even live longer in some cases. For example, a study published in the August 1999 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences examining almost 4,000 North Carolina residents aged 64 to 101 found those who attended religious services at least once a week were 46 percent less likely to die during the six-year study. Lead author Harold G. Koenig, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. “When we controlled for such things as age, race, how sick they were and other health and social factors, there was still a 28 percent reduction in mortality,” he says. (Koenig HG, Hays JC, Larson DB, George LK, Cohen HJ, McCullough ME, et al. 1999.) Another study found that patients with long term illness who had strong spiritual beliefs could cope better with pain and symptoms of terminal illness than those who were not spiritual. (Puchalski, C. M. 2001.) This literally shows in just two examples that having a spiritual connection can mean better health and there are plenty of other studies out there too.