Types of prayer, heart rate variability, and innate healing

Zygon 44 (4):825-846 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Spiritual practices such as prayer have been shown to improve health and quality of life for those facing chronic or terminal illness. The early Christian healing tradition distinguished between types of prayer and their role in healing, placing great emphasis on the healing power of more integrated relational forms of prayer such as prayers of gratitude and contemplative prayer. Because autonomic tone is impaired in most disease states, autonomic homeostasis may provide insight into the healing effects of prayer. I report on observations in five volunteers engaging in five types of prayer. Using heart rate variability as a measure of autonomic tone and adaptability, I review the potential correlation of type of prayer with autonomic rebalance as measured specifically by psychophysiological coherence ratios. The five types—supplication, devotion, intercession, gratefulness, and contemplative prayer—elicited varying degrees of improvements in heart rate variability and corresponding psychophysiological coherence. These observations suggest a correlation of innate healing to prayer type that is consistent with teachings from the Christian healing tradition and with modern research. Further research is warranted to verify these hypotheses.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,150

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The infinite supplicant: On a limit and a prayer.Mark Cauchi - 2005 - In Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.), The phenomenology of prayer. New York: Fordham University Press. pp. 217-231.
13 The Saving or Sanitizing of Prayer The Problem of the Sans in Derrida’s Account of Prayer.Mark Gedney - 2005 - In Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.), The phenomenology of prayer. New York: Fordham University Press. pp. 183-194.
Toward a Process Philosophy of Petitionary Prayer.Kevin Timpe - 2000 - Philosophy and Theology 12 (2):397-418.
The phenomenology of prayer.Bruce Ellis Benson & Norman Wirzba (eds.) - 2005 - New York: Fordham University Press.
Worship of the heart: a study of Maimonides' philosophy of religion.Ehud Benor - 1995 - Albany, N.Y.: State University of N.Y. Press.
Epistemologies in religious healing.David J. Hufford - 1993 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18 (2):175-194.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-11-26

Downloads
87 (#195,524)

6 months
5 (#645,438)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?