Why we studied church and meditation
Medical researchers often study or mention meditation for patients as an assumed “religion-free” method to reduce stress, but typically avoid mentioning church or Christianity.1 Does church help reduce stress and should it also be recommended?
What we did
- Teleios reviewed medical articles from 1966 to 2015 in peer-reviewed medical literature that evaluated meditation* and church attendance # in physically healthy populations.
- Measures explored were general wellbeing and mental health markers including stress, anxiety and depression.
What it showed
Great news! Both church attendance and meditation have a positive impact on your wellbeing!
- Of 37 articles reviewed, 16/16 meditation studies, and 18/21 church attendance papers, generally enhanced wellbeing (P=0.84).
- However, church attendance may have additional benefits beyond stress reduction as noted in prior studies, such as: community service, prayer, socialization, praise, and confidence in a positive relationship with God based in a Biblical definition of eternal life as a free gift through faith in Christ’s sacrifice.2-5
What it means?
For docs, go ahead, prescribe church to help!
A clinical practitioner, who believes a patient would benefit from a lifestyle improvement to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing, can feel confident in suggesting church attendance without promoting a specific denomination.
For the rest of us, hey, church helps us feel better!
Summary: Attending church potentially may be considered by medical personnel, and society in general, as a way to enhance wellbeing.
*Meditation types reviewed
Brain Wave Vibration meditation
Mental silence-orientated meditation
Zen instruction meditation
#Church types reviewed
Church of Scotland
- McCord G, et al. Discussing spirituality with patients: a rational and ethical approach. Ann Fam Med 2004;2:356-61.
- MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-5.
- van Olphen J, et al. Religious involvement, social support, and health among African-American women on the east side of Detroit. J Gen Intern Med 2003;18:549-57.
- Ryrie CC. Basic theology. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1999.
- MacIlvaine WR, et al. Association of strength of community service to personal wellbeing. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-82.