Medicine, Religion, and Health: Where Science and Spirituality Meet will be the first title published in the new Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this, the series' maiden volume, Dr. Harold G. Koenig provides an overview of the relationship between health care and religion that manages to be comprehensive yet concise, factual yet inspirational, and technical yet easily accessible to nonspecialists and general readers.
Focusing on the scientific basis for integrating spirituality into medicine, Koenig carefully summarizes major trends, controversies, and the latest research from a wide variety of disciplines and provides plausible and compelling theoretical explanations for what has thus far emerged in this relatively young field of study. Medicine, Religion, and Health begins by defining the principal terms and then moves on to a brief history of the role that religion has played in medicine before delving into the current state of research. Koenig devotes several chapters to exploring the outcomes of specific studies in fields such as mental health, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. The book concludes with a review of the clinical applications that can be derived from the research. Koenig also supplies several detailed appendices that will aid readers of all levels looking for further information.
Medicine, Religion, and Health will shed new light on important contemporary issues and will whet readers' appetites for more information on this fascinating, complex, and controversial area of research, clinical activity, and popular discussion. It will find a welcome home on the bookshelves of students, researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals in a variety of disciplines.
"Dr. Koenig's lifelong research success fully bridges the chasm between health and well-being on the one side, and religion and spirituality on the other. In so doing, we are given scientifically based guidelines that allow us to be happier and more-fulfilled." &mdashHerbert Benson, MD, director emeritus, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Table of Contents
Introduction / 3
Chapter 1: Terms of the Debate / 9
Chapter 2: Medicine in the Twenty-first Century / 21
Chapter 3: From Mind to Body / 37
Chapter 4: Religion and Health / 54
Chapter 5: Mental Health / 68
Chapter 6: The Immune and Endocrine Systems / 82
Chapter 7: The Cardiovascular System / 96
Chapter 8: Diseases Related to Stress and Behavior / 113
Chapter 9: Longevity / 129
Chapter 10: Physical Disability / 146
Chapter 11: Clinical Applications / 156
Chapter 12: Final Thoughts / 172
Appendix: Further Resources / 175
Notes / 195
Index / 227
Endorsements and Reviews
The book is very well written. Reading it is compelling and many readers may find it difficult to put the book aside once they start reading it. The short chapters, on the other hand, make it easy for readers to spend as little or as much time as they wish on the book. It is organized in such a way that readers can easily find the material they are looking for.
This is an essential book, not only for physicians but for anyone involved in a health care discipline, professionals, patients, and families alike. The research provided on the impact of religion and spirituality on mental and physical health is comprehensive; by applying it to a case of a "real" patient it comes alive with the importance of being attuned to and incorporating patient beliefs and values into their healthcare. The book goes beyond research by offering clear, concise, and helpful recommendations for how to address religious and spiritual issues and how to utilize the expertise of all professionals within the healthcare team in partnering with patients to provide the best and most compassionate care possible. It is a volume not only important for professionals; it is one that would serve medical, nursing, chaplaincy, and other health care professionals well in their training.
Koenig's book is a concise, articulate, and compelling story of the interplay betwen spirituality, religiousness, and health. The general public will find it fascinating and informative reading, while doctors and medical students will find it essential for their understanding of, and compassionate caring for, their patients.
Harold G. Koenig provides an overview of the relationship between health care and religion that manages to be comprehensive yet concise, factual yet inspirational, and technical yet easily accessible to nonspecialists and general readers. . . . [O]ne could not ask for a better introduction to this fascinating and inevitably perplexing area
In the past decade, numerous studies have touted the positive impact of prayer and spiritual practice on physical health. Well-known Duke University physician and psychiatrist Koenig offers a practical overview of the benefits of the relationship between religion and medicine as well as a detailed survey of the ways in which religion and medicine might work together beneficially. Using research studies of medical patients, he demonstrates that many patients say that their religious practices and beliefs enable them to cope with their illnesses or diagnoses. Koenig broadens his study to focus on the ways that religious belief influences mental health, immunological and neurological diseases, cardiovascular problems and longevity. For example, one study links the incidence of type-II diabetes with nonattendance at religious services; those not attending such services were twice as likely as attendees to have elevated levels of a protein that predicts the development of the disease. Koenig’s helpful book concludes by encouraging health care professionals to be attentive to their patients’ religious behaviors as a part of their overall medical history. (Sept.)
Medicine, Religion, and Health is by Harold Koenig, a board certified doctor and psychologist and co-director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health. In this accessible book he discusses the relationship between religion and well-being, summarizing major trends, controversies, and the latest research. A fine compliment to the Harrington volume. —Darian Leader and David Corfield
Koenig's final word sums up what I felt on completing this book. “Thus, both a solid research base and common sense argue that the religious and spiritual beliefs of patients are linked in one way or another to their health and well-being. Learning to respect the power of these beliefs and utilize them to speed the patient's healing and recovery of wholeness. . . should be a priority for modern medicine and health care.”
The author makes a compelling case for clinicians not only to appreciate the spiritual and religious beliefs of their patients, but also to consider the impact that these may have on their health. The data presented support the suggested applications to patient care. Koenig is careful to not overstate the data and clearly points out when an association has not been shown. He presents an honest assessment of available data. His discussion of spirituality and religion gives no preference to any particular belief, and spirituality is treated in a more general way. Finally, the author suggests mechanisms whereby beliefs may affect health, often in the context of coping skills, behavior, and stress reduction, and these are consistent with the data.
This is an enjoyable book to read. It give reliable information linking spiritual and religious beliefs with positive health outcomes. I would recommend it to anyone who works in direct patient care. If this topic is important to our patients, it should be important to us. —William A. Kehoe
[I]t would be difficult to find a more readable precis of religion and medicine than this book. It is an excellent introductory text for courses or seminars on spirituality and health care, and the extensive references and appendix of resources facilitate the use of the volume for those wishing to pursue additional scholarship or who need an authoritative yet accessible guide to the field. —CYNTHIA GEPPERT, MD, PhD, MPH, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Koenig (Duke Univ.) has written or coauthored numerous articles and books related to medicine, health, and religion. This new volume explores recent research about the impact of religion on health. Koenig first reviews the definitions of religion and spirituality, and identifies how each is measured for research purposes. He also presents the current knowledge and understanding of specific aspects of health, and trends in health care that make such research relevant. He addresses the physiology of stress and diseases related to stress; describes how psychological, social, and behavioral factors influence health; and discusses how religious involvement may influence health through each of these pathways. Koenig presents research findings on the relationship between religion and specific areas of mental health; diseases of the immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems; select cancers; stress and behavior; longevity; and physical disability. The book concludes with the clinical application of these findings. This well-written volume presents both supportive and nonsupportive research findings concisely and clearly. It defines research terms not familiar to nonscientific readers, and includes an appendix with an annotated list of additional resources. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, professionals/practitioners, and general readers.
For those who are intrigued by the potential connections between religious faith, maintaining health and recovery from illness, [this book] provides a down-to-earth, matter-of-fact and carefully reasoned review of the topic.
This initial volume of the Templeton Science and Religion Series, intended for a general readership, meets its goal of conciseness and convenience. It delivers, in a systematic way, a great deal of information extracted from (as the author notes) the more than 1,000 research studies, which have quantitatively examined relationships between religion, spirituality, and health. In so doing, it has some of the characteristics of an elementary textbook and, thus may be less interesting to professionals in theology or medicine than to the audience for which it is intended. Nonetheless, educators preparing for lectures or seminars in the field will find it a useful resource. Its comprehensive bibliography is an important feature.
Koenig is a co-director of Duke's Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health. His latest book on the subject offers an overview of research into faith's effect on mental health, cardiovascular disease and mortality, as well as guidelines for health-care professionals on how they can integrate spirituality into the care they offer patients.