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Does prayer help the sick?

annhasle
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9/18/2010 6:02:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Just today, my doctor came into my room to talk. Towards the end, when we were discussing my chance of recovery, he said, "I would pray, now. He's the only power left to really help you." And then he left...

I was kind of left stupefied for a second... and then I was confused. And here's why:

1) Is prayer really something a doctor should suggest to "help recovery"?

2) And is it even a valid claim? Does prayer help those who are sick?

I can see how it might help mentally, if someone believed their prayers were being heard and that they were going to be helped through a difficult time. But does it help them physically?

Thoughts?
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belle
Posts: 4,113
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9/18/2010 6:29:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
actually there have been quite a few studies (for a topic that is so silly lol).

http://en.wikipedia.org...

the findings are mainly negative, unless the people know they are being prayed for, in which case it can help somewhat through the placebo effect. maybe he was just trying to boost your mood by giving you hope...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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9/18/2010 6:30:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Depends. There is a possible placebo effect for prayer - though some research indicates those who are told they are being prayed for, have higher depressive instances when treatment doesn't work. Prayer as is hasn't been found to be consistently effective when it has been subject to research trials though. It probably ranks there with 'bedside manner' as being efficacious i.e. something you see homeopaths need to rely on. :P
FREEDO
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9/18/2010 6:33:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:32:48 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Effed up doctor.

About it working. What the people above me said.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

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lovelife
Posts: 14,629
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9/18/2010 6:43:05 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't believe it does. I think it depends on your religious veiws tho. A diehard atheist might be negatively affected by it because they get angry and worked up about something so trivial.
A diehard theist might actually get better do to them thinking it gives them hope.
Seeing as how your atheist, I doubt it would help much. Unless of course you have people that really believe praying for you. Then it might help you by making you feel more cared about.

I suppose basically what everyone else is saying. I also don't think, unless its a religious hospital, that doctors should be saying that praying is the only chance you have...Actually I think that might just tip me over the edge.
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J.Kenyon
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9/18/2010 6:44:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:02:03 PM, annhasle wrote:
Just today, my doctor came into my room to talk. Towards the end, when we were discussing my chance of recovery, he said, "I would pray, now. He's the only power left to really help you." And then he left...

I was kind of left stupefied for a second... and then I was confused. And here's why:

1) Is prayer really something a doctor should suggest to "help recovery"?

If he knows the patient is religious, sure, it might help. If not, it would probably have the opposite effect.

2) And is it even a valid claim? Does prayer help those who are sick?

Do you believe in God?
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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9/18/2010 6:44:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:29:25 PM, belle wrote:
actually there have been quite a few studies (for a topic that is so silly lol).

http://en.wikipedia.org...

the findings are mainly negative, unless the people know they are being prayed for, in which case it can help somewhat through the placebo effect. maybe he was just trying to boost your mood by giving you hope...

There have been actual studies? Seriously? Wow... I was just expecting opinions. But thanks for that.
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annhasle
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9/18/2010 6:46:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:44:35 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 9/18/2010 6:02:03 PM, annhasle wrote:
Just today, my doctor came into my room to talk. Towards the end, when we were discussing my chance of recovery, he said, "I would pray, now. He's the only power left to really help you." And then he left...

I was kind of left stupefied for a second... and then I was confused. And here's why:

1) Is prayer really something a doctor should suggest to "help recovery"?

If he knows the patient is religious, sure, it might help. If not, it would probably have the opposite effect.

Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out how it would help physically. Does it kick your immune system into overdrive, or something? It seems so... silly and yet a doctor would recommend it. Am I missing something?

2) And is it even a valid claim? Does prayer help those who are sick?

Do you believe in God?

I think you know that I don't.
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annhasle
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9/18/2010 6:49:22 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:48:16 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 9/18/2010 6:46:13 PM, annhasle wrote:

I think you know that I don't.

Indeed. It was a rhetorical question.

Oops. Sorry...
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annhasle
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9/18/2010 6:49:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:48:33 PM, Mirza wrote:
Is that with regard to direct or indirect physical impact?

I think I'll go with "direct" physical impact....
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Mirza
Posts: 16,992
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9/18/2010 6:58:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:49:50 PM, annhasle wrote:
I think I'll go with "direct" physical impact....
Scientifically speaking the effect is the same, but OK.

"Direct" would mean without "via" - i.e. only direct physical impact, not through psychology. My people pray the way that their bodies are in constant activity and studies have proven it to be right.

I have a book that mentions the prayer form benefiting in a way that when measuring the health condition of older men who have prayed this way for a long time and comparing them to athletes, they are ranked higher than hose who are neither athletes nor pray this way. So, yes is the answer to your question.

If you mean only through words, then I have to say that words are not the only kind of prayer.

Also, there is no doubt that a person may find comfort in belief in God, which can have a very positive impact on him. If that makes him happy, his body would lean on the healthier side, which would be an indirect physical impact.

I hope that clears it up r you.
annhasle
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9/18/2010 7:02:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:58:32 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 6:49:50 PM, annhasle wrote:
I think I'll go with "direct" physical impact....
Scientifically speaking the effect is the same, but OK.

"Direct" would mean without "via" - i.e. only direct physical impact, not through psychology. My people pray the way that their bodies are in constant activity and studies have proven it to be right.

I have a book that mentions the prayer form benefiting in a way that when measuring the health condition of older men who have prayed this way for a long time and comparing them to athletes, they are ranked higher than hose who are neither athletes nor pray this way. So, yes is the answer to your question.

Which book is that? If it's a religious book, it may be biased...

If you mean only through words, then I have to say that words are not the only kind of prayer.

What other kinds of prayer are there, besides words?

Also, there is no doubt that a person may find comfort in belief in God, which can have a very positive impact on him. If that makes him happy, his body would lean on the healthier side, which would be an indirect physical impact.

Yes, I said in the OP that it could help someone mentally. But I fail to see the connection between praying and physically recovering...

I hope that clears it up r you.

Do you think it's ethical for a doctor to recommend praying to his/her patient?
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Mirza
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9/18/2010 7:10:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:02:59 PM, annhasle wrote:
Which book is that? If it's a religious book, it may be biased...
Yes, but it is not the original source. It quoted something from a radio station in Belgrade mentioning the study. And that is certainly not bias.

What other kinds of prayer are there, besides words?
In my religion, prayer is also with moves, e.g. prostration, which is good for the body.

Yes, I said in the OP that it could help someone mentally. But I fail to see the connection between praying and physically recovering...
Physical moves, indirect impact. The physical and psychological are certainly correlated. If you are stressed, your body is affected. If you remove stress with remembrance of God, stress can be removed, hence a good physical impact, too.

Do you think it's ethical for a doctor to recommend praying to his/her patient?
It depends on the context. I would not mind a Muslim doctor saying it to me at all, but if a Christian said, "Pray to Jesus" then I would see that as something awkward. I understand you situation but as I said, depends on the context. For an atheist is may seem unethical, but remember that you do not believe that it brings harm to you when he recommends it.
annhasle
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9/18/2010 7:17:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:10:46 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 7:02:59 PM, annhasle wrote:
Which book is that? If it's a religious book, it may be biased...
Yes, but it is not the original source. It quoted something from a radio station in Belgrade mentioning the study. And that is certainly not bias.

Hmm, interesting. Obviously I do not know the context but I'm willing to see studies about this.

What other kinds of prayer are there, besides words?
In my religion, prayer is also with moves, e.g. prostration, which is good for the body.

Yes, that is what my friend Punam always tells me. I'm not a submissive person so I don't know.... :P

Yes, I said in the OP that it could help someone mentally. But I fail to see the connection between praying and physically recovering...
Physical moves, indirect impact. The physical and psychological are certainly correlated. If you are stressed, your body is affected. If you remove stress with remembrance of God, stress can be removed, hence a good physical impact, too.

Not to be rude, but stress is a little different than a disease. When I think about it, how could prayers help someone with a brain tumor? Or cystic fibrosis? Or cancer?

Do you think it's ethical for a doctor to recommend praying to his/her patient?
It depends on the context. I would not mind a Muslim doctor saying it to me at all, but if a Christian said, "Pray to Jesus" then I would see that as something awkward. I understand you situation but as I said, depends on the context. For an atheist is may seem unethical, but remember that you do not believe that it brings harm to you when he recommends it.

Oh, I know that it's not really a "bad" thing since, to me, it's essentially saying "Pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster". But some, like anti-theists, could be offended. Truly, in a place run and funded by the government, should they recommend prayer? That's not very secular...
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lovelife
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9/18/2010 7:18:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It depends on the context. I would not mind a Muslim doctor saying it to me at all,

Okay, with you so far and I agree.

but if a Christian said, "Pray to Jesus" then I would see that as something awkward.

Yeah you pray to God, not Jesus. I have never heard a Christian say "pray to jesus" they either pray to god, or just pray. Maybe Catholics, they like praying to like 90 statues and the virgin mary, but not most Christians.

I understand you situation but as I said, depends on the context.

Well if they say it disrespectfully, it doesn't matter who they said to pray to or what they even said.

For an atheist is may seem unethical, but remember that you do not believe that it brings harm to you when he recommends it.

I don't think its unethical for an atheist. Can you explain? <unethical =/= awkward>
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Mirza
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9/18/2010 7:22:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:18:28 PM, lovelife wrote:
Yeah you pray to God, not Jesus.
Yes.

I have never heard a Christian say "pray to jesus"
Have you been to a Catholic church?

they either pray to god, or just pray.
Moving on...

Maybe Catholics,
Yes, Catholics.

they like praying to like 90 statues and the virgin mary, but not most Christians.
http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org...

Well if they say it disrespectfully, it doesn't matter who they said to pray to or what they even said.
That is to annhasle, then, not me.

I don't think its unethical for an atheist. Can you explain? <unethical =/= awkward>
No, it is not, per se.
Mirza
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9/18/2010 7:29:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:17:57 PM, annhasle wrote:
Hmm, interesting. Obviously I do not know the context but I'm willing to see studies about this.
You can look for them if you want.

Yes, that is what my friend Punam always tells me. I'm not a submissive person so I don't know.... :P
It is like gymnastics, per se. You prostrate, fall on the ground, get up, repeat, etc. You learn how to concentrate, too. It is definitely beneficial to the health.

Not to be rude, but stress is a little different than a disease. When I think about it, how could prayers help someone with a brain tumor? Or cystic fibrosis? Or cancer?
It is still physical impact through psychology, and you did not specify a disease, as far as I am aware. Also, you are kind of begging the question. If I say it cures cancers then you can ask hat about AIDS etc. It may not cure every disease, no, but it does not mean that it does not help the physical condition at all. As a matter of fact one can feel encouraged to live a long life serving God and strive toward being healthier for the sake of it, so that too counts.

Oh, I know that it's not really a "bad" thing since, to me, it's essentially saying "Pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster". But some, like anti-theists, could be offended. Truly, in a place run and funded by the government, should they recommend prayer? That's not very secular...
They have the right to since there is nothing in a secular society that tells them not to be allowed to do so.
annhasle
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9/18/2010 7:40:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:29:32 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 7:17:57 PM, annhasle wrote:
Hmm, interesting. Obviously I do not know the context but I'm willing to see studies about this.
You can look for them if you want.

If I got the time, I'll definitely check it out.

Yes, that is what my friend Punam always tells me. I'm not a submissive person so I don't know.... :P
It is like gymnastics, per se. You prostrate, fall on the ground, get up, repeat, etc. You learn how to concentrate, too. It is definitely beneficial to the health.

I think it's only meaningful when you believe in the God you are praying to. Otherwise, it's yoga. And I've tried yoga before... Not my cup of tea. I prefer Karate. Lol

Not to be rude, but stress is a little different than a disease. When I think about it, how could prayers help someone with a brain tumor? Or cystic fibrosis? Or cancer?
It is still physical impact through psychology, and you did not specify a disease, as far as I am aware.

Well, I wouldn't be in the hospital for stress so I thought it was kind of implied. Anyways, it's a disease for future reference.

Also, you are kind of begging the question. If I say it cures cancers then you can ask hat about AIDS etc. It may not cure every disease, no, but it does not mean that it does not help the physical condition at all. As a matter of fact one can feel encouraged to live a long life serving God and strive toward being healthier for the sake of it, so that too counts.

I don't expect praying to fully cure a disease since that'd be completely illogical and there'd be no need for modern medicine. But, I have yet to find conclusive evidence that praying helps. Really, by the logic you presented, if you had an optimistic outlook, then you'd have a better recovery. There's really no need to pray to a God. If you repeat to yourself, "I can do this. I'll be fine." then wouldn't that be the same?

Oh, I know that it's not really a "bad" thing since, to me, it's essentially saying "Pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster". But some, like anti-theists, could be offended. Truly, in a place run and funded by the government, should they recommend prayer? That's not very secular...
They have the right to since there is nothing in a secular society that tells them not to be allowed to do so.

Well, separation of Church and State in the US could definitely take away the right to do so... Doctors are Government workers since they provide a service to society, etc. And so they are bound to the same laws as the government. The government is not allowed to show preference for any religion (or religion in general) so shouldn't doctors be held to the same standard?
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Mirza
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9/18/2010 7:46:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:40:21 PM, annhasle wrote:
If I got the time, I'll definitely check it out.
OK.

I think it's only meaningful when you believe in the God you are praying to.
That is what Muslims do.

Otherwise, it's yoga. And I've tried yoga before... Not my cup of tea. I prefer Karate. Lol
I agree, it is not about the physical movement, but it is still there.

Well, I wouldn't be in the hospital for stress so I thought it was kind of implied. Anyways, it's a disease for future reference.
You could be due to MDD or something similar.

I don't expect praying to fully cure a disease since that'd be completely illogical and there'd be no need for modern medicine. But, I have yet to find conclusive evidence that praying helps. Really, by the logic you presented, if you had an optimistic outlook, then you'd have a better recovery. There's really no need to pray to a God. If you repeat to yourself, "I can do this. I'll be fine." then wouldn't that be the same?
You are saying that if A = X and B = X, then A =/= X. If I say that prayer is beneficial, then it does not matter if optimism in its basic form is beneficial. It is, but prayer is prayer, and that is what we are discussing.

Well, separation of Church and State in the US could definitely take away the right to do so... Doctors are Government workers since they provide a service to society, etc. And so they are bound to the same laws as the government. The government is not allowed to show preference for any religion (or religion in general) so shouldn't doctors be held to the same standard?
Yes, unless they say it to those of their own religion, by that standard.
annhasle
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9/18/2010 7:51:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:46:53 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 7:40:21 PM, annhasle wrote:
I don't expect praying to fully cure a disease since that'd be completely illogical and there'd be no need for modern medicine. But, I have yet to find conclusive evidence that praying helps. Really, by the logic you presented, if you had an optimistic outlook, then you'd have a better recovery. There's really no need to pray to a God. If you repeat to yourself, "I can do this. I'll be fine." then wouldn't that be the same?
You are saying that if A = X and B = X, then A =/= X. If I say that prayer is beneficial, then it does not matter if optimism in its basic form is beneficial. It is, but prayer is prayer, and that is what we are discussing.

I'm stating that if the end result can be found by something else which is secular and more common, why pray at all? Why use that as a treatment for recovery?

Regardless, you have yet to show me proof that prayer does indeed help someone. We have both agreed that mentally it could help someone. But tricking yourself into believing that your cystic fibrosis will go away is not evidence that praying is helping you. You have stated "maybes" and "ifs", but not conclusive evidence.

Well, separation of Church and State in the US could definitely take away the right to do so... Doctors are Government workers since they provide a service to society, etc. And so they are bound to the same laws as the government. The government is not allowed to show preference for any religion (or religion in general) so shouldn't doctors be held to the same standard?
Yes, unless they say it to those of their own religion, by that standard.

And they would know... how? The doctor saw my family, knew they were Catholic, and assumed that I was too. I'm not offended, luckily, but he could easily make the same mistake with another patient...
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
lovelife
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9/18/2010 8:08:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:22:40 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 7:18:28 PM, lovelife wrote:
Yeah you pray to God, not Jesus.
Yes.


Lol.

I have never heard a Christian say "pray to jesus"
Have you been to a Catholic church?


I don't really count them as christians. Just really scary extremists that are trying to take control of the country and laws. For your question, no I have never been to a catholic church except to watch my friend play basketball.

they either pray to god, or just pray.
Moving on...

Maybe Catholics,
Yes, Catholics.


Again see above.

they like praying to like 90 statues and the virgin mary, but not most Christians.
http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org...


Hmm can't click links without it messing up my computer so I'll just trust that its interesting and choose to agree with whatever it says.

Well if they say it disrespectfully, it doesn't matter who they said to pray to or what they even said.
That is to annhasle, then, not me.


Huh?

I don't think its unethical for an atheist. Can you explain? <unethical =/= awkward>
No, it is not, per se.

Okay so its all cleared up now lol.
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Valtarov
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9/22/2010 9:59:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 7:22:40 PM, Mirza wrote:
At 9/18/2010 7:18:28 PM, lovelife wrote:
Yeah you pray to God, not Jesus.
Yes.
The point's moot, because under Christianity the two are the same (or, at least, Jesus is equated to God, but is not the whole of God)
I have never heard a Christian say "pray to jesus"
Have you been to a Catholic church?
I have. That phrase wasn't used once.
they either pray to god, or just pray.
Moving on...
This makes absolutely no sense.
Maybe Catholics,
Yes, Catholics.
...no, not Catholics.
they like praying to like 90 statues and the virgin mary, but not most Christians.
http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org...
The idea of saints, which you refer to, is not "praying to". One doesn't "pray to" Mary. It is rather like asking the saint to pray for you, in the same manner one might ask a close friend to pray for them.
"We are half-hearted creatures,
fooling about with drink and sex and
ambition when infinite joy is offered us,
like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in a slum because he
cannot imagine what is meant by the offer
of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily
pleased."—C.S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory"
innomen
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9/23/2010 2:26:48 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Faith would be helpful in this, but there have been a bazillion studies in this, some good some crappy in that there are biases on both sides. People who are prayerful tend to live a longer life and it's generally connected to less stress. Prayerful people are generally less stressed and stress is a major cause of premature death. Look at some of the links in this debate http://www.debate.org..., and understand that there are a variety of types of prayers, some being more meditatively based with different effects. Although there are accounts of faith healing, the point is generally not in those lines. I've never heard of prayer hurting the sick.
annhasle
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9/23/2010 9:19:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 6:50:37 AM, Shtookah wrote:
.......really?

.......what?
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nonentity
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9/23/2010 9:39:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/18/2010 6:02:03 PM, annhasle wrote:
Just today, my doctor came into my room to talk. Towards the end, when we were discussing my chance of recovery, he said, "I would pray, now. He's the only power left to really help you." And then he left...

I was kind of left stupefied for a second... and then I was confused. And here's why:

1) Is prayer really something a doctor should suggest to "help recovery"?

2) And is it even a valid claim? Does prayer help those who are sick?

I can see how it might help mentally, if someone believed their prayers were being heard and that they were going to be helped through a difficult time. But does it help them physically?

Thoughts?

According to scientific studies, as people have already pointed out, it's a placebo effect.

However, when I was in a coma the doctors literally had their hands tied, so they suggested prayer. Worked for me, so I'm not complaining. I don't know how that would tie in with a placebo effect... what's weird is in my coma state I could hear my parents' pastor and that's the only thing I remember.
annhasle
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9/23/2010 9:42:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 9:39:36 PM, TulleKrazy wrote:
At 9/18/2010 6:02:03 PM, annhasle wrote:
Just today, my doctor came into my room to talk. Towards the end, when we were discussing my chance of recovery, he said, "I would pray, now. He's the only power left to really help you." And then he left...

I was kind of left stupefied for a second... and then I was confused. And here's why:

1) Is prayer really something a doctor should suggest to "help recovery"?

2) And is it even a valid claim? Does prayer help those who are sick?

I can see how it might help mentally, if someone believed their prayers were being heard and that they were going to be helped through a difficult time. But does it help them physically?

Thoughts?

According to scientific studies, as people have already pointed out, it's a placebo effect.

However, when I was in a coma the doctors literally had their hands tied, so they suggested prayer. Worked for me, so I'm not complaining. I don't know how that would tie in with a placebo effect... what's weird is in my coma state I could hear my parents' pastor and that's the only thing I remember.

Really?? Same! I had gone through surgery and slipped into a coma halfway through.... and the only thing I remember about it was when a Catholic priest came in to bless me. Weird.... :P
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.