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Type: Journal article
Title: Prayer as a complementary therapy
Author: Whitford, H.
Olver, I.
Citation: Cancer Forum, 2011; 35(1):27-30
Publisher: Cancer Council Australia
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0311-306X
Statement of
Hayley S Whitford and Ian N Olver
Abstract: The definition of complementary and alternative medicine is broad and evolving. We question whether it should encompass 'prayer' when prayer can be directed at improving health, the mechanism is unexplained and the practice based on personal beliefs. A review of studies on prayer for the alleviation of ill-health by the Cochrane collaboration suggested results remain equivocal. A local randomised blinded study of intercessory prayer in patients with cancer showed a significant improvement in assessments of spiritual and emotional wellbeing, despite small effects. Most studies of prayer use as a complementary and alternative medicine are from the United States where religious affiliation is reportedly high. Classifying prayer within complementary and alternative medicine domains varies by culture but is usually combined with mind/body therapies (ie. meditation), distorting patterns of use. Importantly, complementary and alternative medicine use is not commonly raised with patients' physicians despite such discussions having been shown to enhance communication. Physicians who describe themselves as 'spiritual', as opposed to 'religious', appear more likely to accept complementary and alternative medicine. Including prayer as a complementary and alternative medicine raises difficulties in definition and measurement, but its widespread societal use suggests it should be acknowledged. Physicians should ask their patients about complementary and alternative medicine use as it may actually improve the acceptance and adoption of conventional treatment.
Rights: Copyright status unknown
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Psychology publications

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