Historically, religion has been implicitly correlated with improved health. Later, this belief piqued the interest of scientists who have since measured and documented the connection between the two. A review of literature which includes findings by Dr. Howard Koenig and associates (2001) informs us that science attests to the fact that practiced religion is correlated with significant longevity and a reduced risk of myriad diseases. Since the 1800s when biostatistician Francis Galt’s study affirmed the positive health outcomes of intercessory prayer many more similar studies have been conducted and scientists have been astounded by the strong correlation of spirituality with general health. The quantified health effects of spirituality are reportedly the same as the effects of quitting smoking on health as far as years added to the individual’s life are concerned. Some of the specific benefits of religion include lower levels of stress; better coping skills; improved mental health; less substance abuse; healthier dietary habits; better sleep and greater social support.
Another remarkable discovery by science is the relationship between the strength of the immune system and worship. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a protein our bodies use to counter inflammation and to boost the immune system. High levels of IL-6 are indicative of a compromised immune system whereas low levels are often associated with a strong immune system. In a longitudinal study, scientists at Duke University discovered that participants who were frequently engaged in active church worship had lower IL-6 levels in their blood than their counterparts who never went to church, after controlling for many factors; meaning that regular worshipers manifested a stronger immune system than non-worshipers “…I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Ex. 15:26. Explore the relationship between spirituality and your health in the book, The Perfect Prescription from Amazon.com