A study at the University of Iowa examined the link between prayer and healing. Professor Brian Olshansky says a review of several studies showed people who were prayed for improved in health. He says the interesting thing is that the prayer is done without the individual know they’re being prayed for. Olshansky, who is also a doctor, says the studies give some insight into how big a role a patient’s state of mind plays in the issue. He says the patients were asked if they were being prayed for, and they couldn’t tell, but still got the benefit of the prayer. Olshansky says his review still leaves open several questions. He says it appears that prayer does have a “significant” impact, but he says they don’t really know how it works. He say they don’t know if it’s the intention of the individual and the power of their mind that makes it work, or if it’s just a statistical glitch or scientific curiosity that could end up being nothing at all with more study. Olshansky says one of the tough things to do was to find a control group that wasn’t under the influence of prayer outside of the test. He says it turned out that 90-percent of the people had someone praying for them outside the study group designated to pray for them. While doctors are trained in the science of healing, Olshansky says they realize there are other factors involved. He says many people who take care of patients have the knowledge that there’s an important aspect about the relationship between the patient and the health care professional. He says they realize that relationship or bond creates a healing effect. He says talking with someone can create that effect, and he says prayer may be one other way. Olshansky says rather than dismissing studies of prayer because they do not make sense or confirm our existing knowledge, we should consider them seriously exactly for this reason. He says in the history of science, findings that do not fit in often yield the most profound breakthroughs.
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