Monday, June 6, 2011


Prayer is a common method of pain management and is the single most widely practiced healing modality (Glazer, S. 2005).  There are multiple types of prayer and just as many benefits.  Let's explore a few of both.

Types of Prayer
  • Asking God for something is called petition prayer.
  • Praying for someone else is called intercessory prayer.
  • Opening to a union with God is called contemplative prayer.
  • Praying for the healing of someone from a distance is called distant healing prayer. 

Benefits of Prayer

The following explanations have been offered as to how prayer helps improve health:
  • The relaxation response - prayer elicits the relaxation response, which lowers blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress
  • Secondary control - prayer releases control to something greater than oneself, which can reduce the stress of needing to be in charge
  • The placebo response - prayer can enhance a person's hopes and expectations and that in turn can positively impact health
  • Healing presence - prayer can bring a sense of a spiritual or loving presence and alignment with God or an immersion into a universal unconsciousness 
  • Positive feelings - prayer can elicit feelings of gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, all of which are associated with healing and wellness  
  • Mind-body-spirit connection - when prayer uplifts or calms, it inhibits the release of cortisol and other hormones, thus reducing the negative impact of stress on the immune system and promoting healing

Glazer, S. (2005). Can Spirituality Influence Health? CQ Researcher, 15(2).
The University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Life Science Foundation.

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