How does the spiritual relate to health?
Well, of course that depends on the faith involved, and our understanding of what spirit is.
If you picture the soul as half physical and half spiritual, then you can easily see how spiritual aspects of healing can make huge differences.
Many studies have shown that people living good spiritual lives are happier and healthier than people living similar lifestyles but without the spiritual components.
One fascinating study that was done along spiritual lines is that Christians were asked to pray for people that they did not know. Each volunteer was given a name of someone with a heart problem that they did not know. They might be anywhere in the country. The names had been taken from heart patients admitted to a hospital who were also unaware that they were being prayed for. The researchers then followed the outcomes of the people who were prayed for, as well as a control group of similar patients who were not prayed for. The results were more astounding than any wonder drug. Even far better than placebo effects.
So, that proves that prayer works statistically. But why doesn't it work all the time? Are there things we can do to improve the outcome of prayer?
Yes. Remember that the physical body and the spirit body are connected very tightly. They are only separated by death. We therefore cannot expect the spiritual to totally and completely overrule the physical. Nor would we want the physical to totally overrule the spiritual. The best outcomes will be experienced when we are working to improve both at once.
If I'm praying for my cancer to go away, I should also be doing all I can to eliminate the toxic conditions in my body that allow it to grow. As well as feeding my body the things that it needs to recover and rebuild from the damage that has already been done.
Likewise, if I am doing all the right things physically to get better, am I also striving to improve myself spiritually? Am I giving thanks and striving to help my fellowman?
The physical and the spiritual working together are a powerful force.