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Drawing from the latest scientific research, as well as numerous illustrative case studies, The Faith Factor offers convincing proof that religious practices can and do enhance the healing powers of medicine. And nationally renowned physician Dale A. Matthews offers a program any patient can follow to incorporate faith into their own healing.
Dr. Matthews points out that encouraging an integration of religious beliefs and practices in medical settings can have important benefits for the entire medical community?from patients and doctors to national health policy makers. He shows how the national trend toward rediscovering religious values has led many patients to use prayer in conjunction with conventional treatment, and that the results have already confirmed that faith and religious practice can be valuable medicine. Finally, Dr. Matthews helps readers explore the connection between faith and medicine in their own lives through methods of prayer, community worship, and study of Scripture.
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Dale A. Matthews, M.D. is associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and the author of three previous books. He has appeared on Oprah and Today and has been featured in such publications as McCall?s, Harper?s, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and Newsweek. He lives near Washington, D.C.From Kirkus Reviews:
``Faith is good medicine,'' pronounces this convinced though not necessarily convincing Christian physician, who here presents research on the connection between religion and healing, relates supporting anecdotes, and calls on his fellow doctors to utilize the spiritual component of the healing arts. Going even further than Herbert Benson, who identified the ``faith factor'' in Timeless Healing (1996), Matthews (Georgetown Univ. School of Medicine) delineates a dozen components of this factore.g., equanimity, temperance, social support, comforting ritualsthat he says help prevent disease, enhance recovery, extend life, and create a sense of well-being. Drawing on case histories of his patients, he illustrates faith's benefits in healing body and mind, recovering from addictions, improving quality of life, and facing death. Noting that spirituality alone has not been shown to have the same benefits as religious involvement, he recommends that individuals develop a spiritual program that includes frequent church attendance combined with daily prayer and regular reading of the Bible. Further, he urges doctors to question patients about the importance of religion in their lives and to use this information therapeutically. Thus, in Matthews's view, a doctor who learns that a patient has stopped going to worship services would be justified in informing the patient that such behavior may have negative health consequences. Matthews, who uses spiritual readings and prayer with his own patients, has a vision of the doctor's office as ``a holy meeting ground between religion and medicine,'' a vision that he acknowledges is seriously threatened by managed care's increasing constraints on physicians' time. While many would welcome a more human element in the doctor-patient relationship, Matthews's vision is certain to be viewed skeptically, if not simply rejected, by large numbers of doctors and patients alike. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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