It seems a revolution of sorts is taking place in some parts of the scientific community – namely the medical community. Physicians and healthcare professionals from almost every discipline imaginable are entertaining the concept of including spiritual healing techniques within their practices or their professional referral networks. This awakening centers on the idea that for true healing to take place in a patient, physicians must acknowledge and respect the patient’s personal beliefs about spirituality. One of the most promising applications for spiritual healing techniques is in the area of pain control.
Spiritual healing pathways are actually founded in the precepts of quantum physics. Quantum physicists study the physical world at the micro-particle, atomic, and sub-atomic levels. Quantum physics states that everything, including humans, is comprised of trillions of individual atoms that function together to form what appear as solid entities. Looking past the atomic level, physicists have discovered even smaller particles of matter making up the parts of the atoms.
Ultimately, everything is comprised of pure vibrating energy. “Einstein first proposed this in his famous equation E=MC2. Energy medicine and energy psychology, which I use in my practice, seek to bring balance to a person’s underlying energy at the molecular level,” according to Douglas J. Moore, Ph.D., energy medicine and energy psychology practitioner in the Cleveland/Akron area. Moore further explains that meditation and mindfulness techniques, used in energy medicine and psychology, invoke a spiritual pathway of relaxation and surrender. “All the major western religions and eastern disciplines include a call to surrender and relax into pain for relief of pain – whether that pain is physical or emotional,” he adds.
Howard Hall, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, is conducting extensive research into the application of Sufism, the mystical dimension of Islam, for pain control and rapid wound healing. Says Hall, “My research is cutting edge in the field of spiritual healing. My research seeks to apply rapid wound healing for spiritual applications: for burns, surgical procedures, and even battlefield situations. With my research, I look to integrate cross-cultural healing techniques and place them in hospital settings.” Hall, who was raised in the Methodist church, explains that Sufism is a spiritual pathway of Islam, but not a religion. “The Sufi pathway amplifies the spiritual connection with God. Healing occurs through this spiritual connection with God.” The Sufi pathway is similar to the Kabbalah tradition of the Jewish faith. Kabbalah is the mystical dimension of Judaism. Hall says that both Kabbalah and Sufi “tap very deep wells and are essentially the same, though the language and approach is different.”
Since the 1960s, biofeedback and hypnosis have become more common as a method for treating health issues caused by stress and lifestyle choices. “My research involves adding a spiritual component to these pathways of healing and pain control,” adds Hall.
Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, describes spiritual healing this way: “Spiritual healing for pain control involves anything invoking a deeper connection to whatever you see as transcendent – prayer, laying on of hands – specifically for the purpose of bringing in a spiritual touch.” People refer to this approach to healing and pain control by many different names – energy healing, spiritual healing, prayer, Reiki. Edwards remarks, “Until we understand the true nature of this ‘energy’, or understand the true nature of God, the various names simply boil down to semantics.” Edwards and her professional staff use a variety of complementary approaches at the Center. “Holistic healing is the core of our practice. We include therapeutic massage, Reiki, acupuncture, holistic psychotherapy, and hypnosis in our services.”
Reiki, which originated in Japan and means “mysterious atmosphere,” involves invoking healing spiritual energy through healing touch. Edwards states, “Japanese Reiki, while not documented in a randomized trial study, has anecdotally proven quite successful in relieving perioperative pain.” A few very small studies have shown that healing touch has a considerable positive effect on perioperative pain. In one study of 21 patients, the technique had significant success in attenuating, and sometimes eliminating, the pain.
Human beings are more than mere machines slogging through daily routines. The whole human involves significant intellectual and spiritual components. Harnessing the power of spiritual healing and integrating it with conventional medical protocols can lead to better and more satisfying patient outcomes.
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