Dr. Herbert Benson, Professor of Medicine at the Medical School of Harvard University, has devoted the last 35 years of his life to finding scientific evidence to provide an answer to the question “Does the prayer have a therapeutic effect?“
The purpose of his work is to provide a “bridge” between Medicine and Religion, which would help find a treatment for many diseases. In an interview, the professor speaks of the experiments he has done, the conclusions he has come to and the possibility to use the results of his research in practice.
After so many experiments conducted over 35 years at the Benson–Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, Herbert Benson believes that there is a relationship between prayer and health:
“We found that there is a link between the physical condition of a person and any repeated activity of concentration he does, which involves control over random thoughts. Most people make it through prayer. So, we believe that when a person repeats a prayer over and over again, it can help cure a disease, especially if it is caused by stress.”
“Yes, there is a link between prayer and healing!” says Dr. Benson. “We studied people who prayed repeatedly and were very focused during the prayer. The magnetic resonance imaging showed that there was a decrease in metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and brain activity. Thus, we got scientific proof that prayer affects body functions and fights stress.“
At the same time, the scientific team focused only on the possibility when a patient prays for themselves, as the experiments were not directed towards the possibility of others to pray for a patient’s health.
Moreover, Herbert Benson thinks that since these findings have a scientific basis, many doctors accept and use the prayer in conjunction with medicine and surgery.
Here is a video in which professor Benson speaks about mind-body connection:
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