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Prayer and Nursing

Prayer is defined as a request or an expression of thanks to God. Prayer is usually linked to organized religion, but in reality a person can incorporate spirituality without being religious. One can pray aloud, silently, alone, with a group, at a place of worship or in one's own home.

Many studies show that prayer has immense benefits for the patient outcomes in healthcare facilities and in communities. Some of the studies report that prayer increases longevity and health of people. More and more studies have shown that prayer impacts pain levels, stress and anxiety, severity of symptoms, recovery time, emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships, longevity and other important aspects of patient's lives.

Research shows that people who pray regularly are physically and emotionally healthier than those who do not pray. According to some of the studies, prayer may be the right reason for some of the patient to live longer with enhanced quality of life. A survey of 4,000 senior citizens in Durham showed that people, who prayed or meditated, coped better with different illness. Praying can prevent illness which is associated with stress or unhealthy living. A study conducted by National Institutes of Health showed that individuals who prayed daily had 40% less chances of having high blood pressure when compared to those who do have the habit of regular prayer.

Prayer is also a very important method to reduce stress without medications. High stress levels are one of the most important causes of a number of diseases. A number of spiritual practices help in reducing the levels of stress. The physical and mental state of the body is relaxed during prayer and meditations and this gives the body the benefit of reducing the risk of diseases.

An individual's response to disease process also is affected by prayer. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati showed that people who pray and meditate have less severe symptoms when compared to those who do not. Religious people have the additional benefit of speedy recovery after medical procedures. Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School reported that patients with religious beliefs who underwent elective heart surgery had three times increased chances of recovery when compared to those who were less religious.

Prayer also makes social and interpersonal bonds with people become stronger. It helps to keep the intangible connection with people. Science shows that patients who regularly pray have health benefits. Some of the benefits of prayer are measurable while some others cannot be measured. More than anything else, what matters is that patients feel spiritually and emotionally at peace while praying and this helps them to have better outcomes!