Today we are living and experiencing a new worldly view on holistic health. Perspectives are changing and realizations are being made about the best ways in which to heal, not just the mind, body, and spirit of one, but of all different kinds. Religion, spirituality, science, and complementary alternative medicine (CAM) are combining together to reap greater results to health.
Picture: Understand Islam, 2009
There is a big role that religion and spirituality play when it comes to health, and this goes back centuries ago. “Healing methods usually involve worship and spirituality.” 3 It used to be thought that the state of health you were in depended on your moral views and actions. If you were sick or ill, the conception was that you led a ‘profane’ lifestyle. But if you kept the sacred moral lifestyle your living standard, then you would always have good health. Sickness used to be “associated with evil forces” that you brought upon yourself.3 But nowadays, religion and spirituality play a different role. A statistic shows that “56% of doctors believe that religion and spirituality influence a patient’s health.” “…many patients draw on prayer and other religious resources to navigate and overcome the spiritual challenges that arise in their experiences of illness.” 3
There has been a paradigm shift in health care, meaning that there has been a “radical change” in the way people are understanding religion, spirituality, and science when it comes to holistic health.1 The health care professional is not just using scientifically proven prescription medicine anymore. There are many different avenues a patient has when it comes to how one believes he or she can be healed.
The shift has incorporated religion and a person’s spirituality, along with science, within the healing process. A study was done at Mt. Sinai hospital, in Chicago, Ill., which found that patients who had “higher levels of religious salience [were] significantly related to being very satisfied with [their] health care…” “The contemporary model of health and wellness blends science with religion and [spirituality]…Many treatment protocols now acknowledge the importance of religious and spiritual beliefs which seem to produce better health outcomes.” 3 This could be why we always see a chapel inside a hospital. I think it provides a sense of security and comfort for many patients, no matter what race, culture, or background they come from.
Complementary and alternative medicine provides us with many other highways to better health outcomes. The main benefit of CAM is the simple fact that one can get or do for themselves. For example, practicing yoga or other breathing/stretching techniques is something a person can do without having to necessarily spend any money. But it doesn’t always come down to cost. A lot of times people use the complementary part in which they use along with their physician’s instruction in belief that it would “yield greater results.” 2
The use of what our western society views CAM to be has been used for thousands of years. So even though the effectiveness of CAM has not been scientifically proven, there is a “long history of field-tested human experiments, long-term observations, and clinical trials [which] have proven its value…” 2
Since CAM is not considered globally the traditional healing method, we can viably say that it plays a major role in our paradigm shift to holistic health. Religion and spirituality also have major roles as well, research has been able to prove. But the biggest proof is in the human history of each aspect in its use. There have always been connections between health and religion, health and science, and health and the use of what us westerners call CAM. But our perspectives on each have shifted to a greater understanding of each connect and fit together. This is what our Paradigm shift on holistic health is all about.
- Encarta: World English dictionary. 2009. Retrieved Dec 29, 2009 from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_701708536/paradigm_shift.html
- Holtz, Carol (2008). Global Health Care: Issues and Policies. Kennesaw, Georgia: Jones andBartlett Publishers.
- Models for Health and Wellness (n.d.). Retrieved Dec 20, 2009, from http://kucourses.com.
- Understand Islam (2009) Picture; retireved on April 14, 2012 from http://www.free-islamic-course.org/Stage1WhyTeachingsOfVariousReligionsDiffer.html