Countless studies have pointed out that spirituality benefits physical and mental health. It is a set of moral, mental, and emotional values that guide thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes, and that may have a connection with something transcendent or even faith.
Good feelings increase the frequency of positive emotions, with reflexes on quality of life and also in the treatment of diseases. Research confirms that science and spirituality can be added when it comes to health.
There is currently strong evidence that our feelings, emotions, attitudes, and values define a series of risks or protection from diseases of the heart and other organs. The scientific studies on the subject, over the past four years, have been huge.
According to some doctors, spirituality, particularly spiritual healing, provides feelings like forgiveness, gratitude, empathy, and optimism, which produce and release anti-stress substances, such as serotonin and endorphins, which are beneficial to vascular health.
On the other hand, anger, pessimism, and fear release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. In fact, spirituality includes contact with the sacred, the search for an intimate relationship with that which is beyond the physical.
It is often confused with religiosity, when in fact it does not necessarily require religious practices. It is about the dimension of consciousness, which is the search for transcendence, whether it is considered” God “,” the universe “or the” Ultimate Truth “.
Interest in the topic of spirituality and health has grown considerably in the last ten years and has gained the status of scientific interest, being welcomed by leading magazines around the world. Thousands of articles deal with the topic today.
It was released, a recommendation, considered unprecedented, for doctors to approach spirituality with their patients. The document guides cardiologists and physicians in general on the best way to address spiritual issues during consultations.
It is not a matter of orienting patients about their religion but giving them the opportunity to express themselves regarding their faith and spiritual issues, which may arise during medical treatment.
Spirituality and religiosity are valuable resources used by patients to face illness and suffering. The process of understanding the relevance, identifying demands, and providing adequate spiritual and religious support, benefits both patients, the multidisciplinary team, and the health system itself.
Patient as healer
When a doctor tries to use the patient’s spirituality tool, it has two purposes. The first is the reframing of the illness process, making him wonder why he is sick, what the disease means in his life, and what signs it indicates for possible changes.
The second is that when he uses spirituality to care for the patient, he can tell him that there is an immense inner strength within him, which needs to be awakened.
The habit of praying, meditating, and adjusting life to positive spiritual values has been correlated to numerous studies, which indicate benefits to health and quality of life.
According to some researches, molecular changes support these benefits of interactions between mind and body. A protein that exists in cells induces inflammatory reactions in the most diverse diseases. When people meditate or have spiritual practices, they strengthen the immune system, decreasing this protein, which reduces inflammation.
The man is a “bio sociopsicoe spiritual being”, and must be understood as a whole, reinforcing the need for comprehensive care, with the effective participation of the person seeking help in health care.
That is why it is important and necessary that health professionals know how to deal with spirituality in the lives of their patients, and with the feelings and behaviors that result from it.
Today, technology has enabled many advances in medicine, allowing capacity for prolonging life. But in current medicine, the patient, in general, still has a passive performance. This big gap can be filled with another approach, namely a spiritual approach.