February 4, 2012
Prayer: The most widely-used alternative form of health care
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicated that 40 percent of Americans use complementary or alternative forms of health care, and they spend $34 billion annually for these services and products.
Another current study published by the American Psychological Association reported that among the alternate forms of health care, prayer was used by 49 percent of Americans to address health concerns, and this same study indicated that reliance on prayer in health care was actually increasing.
Yet another study by NIH identified and rated the 10 most common complementary and alternative medicine therapies. Prayer was by far the most used complementary or alternative therapy. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed reported that they either prayed for themselves (43 percent), had others pray for them (24.4 percent), or participated in a prayer group addressing health concerns (9.6 percent).
Other therapies mentioned were natural products, deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic, yoga, and diet. AUniversityofRochesterstudy also reported that 85 percent of person inAmericaturn to prayer when confronting a major illness.
Although prayer and spirituality do not often grab the headlines, it is quite obvious that prayer is a viable part of heath care for a high percentage of the American people. In my own family, I have witnessed quick healings through prayer of common childhood diseases, effects of accidents, superfluous growths, infections, and other health problems.
When our daughter began to walk, it was obvious that her right foot turned inward at a pronounced angle. This condition was diagnosed by a pediatrician, an aluminum leg brace was suggested, and we were asked to see an orthopedic specialist..
In the interim, I prayed about the condition to get a better understanding of God’s creation as described in Genesis 1 of the Bible, where it states that God created man in His image and likeness, and that God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:27 & 31).
I also asked for prayerful support from a Christian Science practitioner, an individual whose sole profession is helping others through spiritual means. Within just a few days my daughter’s foot was perfectly straight. Since then she has been active in ballet, swimming, soccer, and softball. And in 2011 she completed two half-marathons, three triathlons (placing second in two of the triathlons), and a century bike ride.
Since prayer is such a common choice by the American public for health care needs, it is reasonable that any law requiring everyone to carry health insurance should include spiritual care for persons wishing to rely on spiritual means.
Henry Teller is a Christian Science practitioner living in the Oak Grove area.