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Blessings and Prayers are Good Medicine
By Anne Daniel, RN, BSN, CCE, CPCE

After sharing a blessing of laughter or song with someone, how do you feel? How about a blessing of encouraging prayer directed towards someone in need, how do you know that it worked? Is the person uplifted, more positive and more connected to God, or maybe healthier? How does the other individual respond? Are we falling back on Hope or Faith when saying a blessing or prayer? Or, does blessing someone or praying for someone really work in helping that person heal? The medical evidence that blessings and prayer are beneficial for healing is irrefutable. Blessings and Prayers are Good Medicine.

Doctors, medical school researchers, clinicians and hospital staff are taking blessings and prayer much more seriously in their healing effects. Dr. Bernie Siegel, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Harvard and Yale Medical Schools just to name a few.

Many skeptics have commented to me, "aren't we kidding ourselves that we have that much input over our own health and the health of others?" No, I answer with a big smile; "we are not kidding ourselves." When we, children of God, give blessings or say prayers through thoughts, actions and words, it is God who is sending a blessing through his children. It is God who answers prayers. Through His power, he will help you to bless and pray with caring accuracy.

When I was a nurse caring for and training patients in hospitals, offices or in their homes, I would pause for a moment several times a day and send a special prayer or blessing to the individuals that were sick or injured. Sometimes, I would tell a joke or metaphor that created laughter, other times maybe a hug or smile. 85% of the time, not only did the patient improve physically and emotionally, but my energy, faith, perseverance and commitment to fulfill my role, strengthened.

"Statistically, God is good for you," says David B. Larson, M.D. of the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Maryland and former National Institute of Mental Health researcher. Dr. Larson studies the relationship between health and spirituality. Dr. Larson states that praying regularly helps prevent illness, both mental and physical, as well as helps individuals cope with illness more effectively. If you look at the multitude of areas where different types of prayer were studied, you would find that 80% of the time it is beneficial.

Both prayer and blessings come from within the heart of a person.

In the 1970's, Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School, researched how the body responds to Christian prayer as well as other practices to stimulate healing. In all methods tested, including prayer, a person's heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decreased in the individual tested. The person created less carbon dioxide and ultimately the body responded by occupying a healthier state of being. Dr. Benson analysis found that although each individual may differentiate between prayer and even meditation, our bodies do not.

We positively respond biologically when performing a blessing or prayer, just how God designed us to do.

Numerous experiments in prayer have been done for over half a century involving various religious faiths. Some individuals studied were devoted eastern religion followers, others were born-again Christians and even agnostics were included. Individuals were invited to use whatever beliefs and personal strategy needed in order to accomplish the task assigned, which usually was to accelerate and positively affect the subject to become healthier. These studies showed that there is no correlation between a person's religious preference and the effect of the strategy used to help someone become healthier. All strategies were effective.

Laugh Your Way to Feeling Better

Being Cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time. Proverb 17:22

Medical research studies show that the Blessing of laughter causes a decrease in cortisol levels. When a person responds stressfully to a situation, corticosteroids are released and converted into cortisol. Large amounts of cortisol suppress the immune system. A blessing of laughter and the cortisol levels go down and the immune system increases in strength. Laughter increases cell activity that helps the immune system fight viruses and cancers. The blessing of laughter decreases pain and stimulates the healing of wounds. Laughter increases your B-lymphocytes. These cells produce antibodies, which are essential for your continued health.

As we age, our bodies naturally decrease the production of Human growth hormone, HGH. Research shows that when an individual anticipates watching a comedy video selected by that person, then the individual's level of HGH production increases and assists the repairing of all tissues.

Blessing someone, like yourself, by creating positive expectations for health and healing in prayer, creating opportunity for true friendship and true love, joy and inner peace as well as connecting to Spirit, all increase your immune system functions.

Blessings Cheer the Body and the Mind

Worry robs you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up. Proverbs 12:25

Taking a pet or someone on a walk can be a blessing, which increases the blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as chemical signals that positively affect a person's state of mind.

Giving a blessing of service can stimulate active physical exercise and behavior, unselfish thoughts, and can create a positive cheerful demeanor that decreases stress and boosts the immune system, which helps you stay healthy.

The blessing of verbal or written praise as well as sincere gratitude promotes physical health of the body.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22.

Singing, like laughter, lightens the load and decreases the stress an individual may experience. Singing and laughing can make you and those around you feel like a million bucks!

God created man in his image. He created our bodies from the dust and the Earth and breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. He has made our bodies wiser than the limitations of what we choose to consciously believe, or not believe.

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