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Prayer and Healing

In a recent study, congregations around the world prayed for a group of heart patients to recover. Those patients who were prayed for had better recovery rates than those who received standard care.

A study from the Duke Clinical Research Institute reports intriguing findings about the healing power of prayer. In this pilot study, called the MANTRA project, 150 heart patients were randomized into five groups. One group received standard, high-tech cardiac care, while each of the other groups also received one of four "noetic" therapies. Project co-director Suzanne Crater, a Duke nurse practitioner, identifies these therapies as: "...imagery, stress relaxation, touch therapy, and off-site intercessory prayer."

Duke cardiologist and project co-director Mitchell Krucoff says that patients receiving the "noetic" therapies had suggestively better outcomes and fewer complications than those who received standard care alone.

"In the prayer therapy group, there was a little more than a 50 percent overall reduction."


Krucoff notes that these early findings were interesting enough to merit a Phase Two study, which is now underway. He says that intercessory prayer has also shown promising results in preliminary studies with HIV patients and infertile couples.

"The human spirit obviously has at least a potential role both in how we get sick and how we recover in every organ system."

I'm Cabell Smith for MedMinute.