Can prayer be helpful during the "cold and flu season"?


Winter can be a great time of year – skiing, skating, and of course, the NFL playoffs!  But does it also have to bring on the “cold and flu season?”

     ABC News gave a list of tested tips for fighting colds and flu, and ways to help everyone stay well all winter.  Topping the list was meditation.  They cited a 2012 University of Wisconsin, Madison, study that found that the mind can cut one’s chances of catching a cold by 40 to 50 percent.  The report stated, “Fifty-one people who used mindfulness techniques logged 13 fewer illnesses and 51 fewer sick days than a control group during one cold-and-flu season, probably because meditation reduces physical effects of stress that weaken the immune system.”

     Hippocrates once said, “Whatever occurs in the mind affects the body and vice versa.  The mind and the body cannot be considered independently.”

     Studies are also increasingly showing the beneficial effects of prayer on the body and the immune system.  According to the book, The Faith Factor, by D. Matthews, clinical studies have shown that people who pray are:

·        Less likely to get sick

·        Better able to cope mentally and emotionally with their illness

·        More likely to recover from surgery and illness

     The website healthsearches.org recently published a research article on the effects of prayer on the immune system and came to these conclusions, “…the relaxing, altered consciousness, and spiritual effects of meditation and prayer and the resulting inward sense of peace can strengthen the immune system and the body in general.”

     In her book, Psalm 91, Christian author Peggy Joyce Ruth, shared real-life stories of individuals who found prayer effective in protection from illness, as well as useful in combating disease.  She wrote about that Psalm, “It is both an offensive and defensive measure for warding off every evil before it has time to strike.  This is not only a cure but also a plan for complete prevention!”

     I keep prayer as an integral part of my “health-regimen”.  Prayer has been very effective when facing illness.  One afternoon when I was in bed with the flu, I found help in the 91st Psalm, especially these words, “For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place.  No evil will befall you,…”  I could feel the peace that the earlier study spoke of, and the dissipation of the disease.  One symptom after another went away, and soon I was well.

     Since then, this regular prayer had been an effective preventive measure for me – similar to what those in the Wisconsin study found.  I haven’t been afflicted with the flu or a cold for several years.

     Prayer can keep the flu and colds at bay.  This means we can spend our winter doing better things!


Thomas (Tim) Mitchinson is a self-syndicated columnist writing on the relationship between thought, spirituality and health, and trends in that field.  He is also the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois.  You can contact him at illinois@compub.org.



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Mike Bruno February 01, 2014 at 12:37 PM
First: right after I posted the last comment, I realized that saying "only government" was too broad. That said; your contention that " I think it's entirely possible that cooperative private consortia could pick up the ball of pure research" is where the pure Libertarian mindset gets disconnected from reality. That private consortia is motivated by return on investment. I challenge your to find investors to fund something Fermilab-scale with a 50 year ...or unknown...ROI. I *wish* the private sector would do it, but they don't and the won't unless there is an ROI horizon that is AT LEAST less than a generation. That pretty much leaves governments (wealthy governments) that can look at much longer time horizons.
Mike February 01, 2014 at 01:27 PM
I understand your point, Mike - it's more of a thought-experiment than anything else because I don't see the government relinquishing it's role as 'the one who doles out (other people's) money' anytime soon. I think it's possible, though, that with a few hundred billion dollars moving from the gov back to the private sector that investment strategies could change. As for the shorter timeframe required for ROI under the private sector, I think it's entirely possible that the efficiencies of the private sector could compress the time horizon. What may take a generation when done by government employees may only take a decade. We'll never know.
Gene Kalley February 04, 2014 at 12:30 AM
Did government develop cars, airplanes, computers and memory chips? I don't think so.
Mike Bruno February 04, 2014 at 09:23 AM
@Gene: Much of what you list *applications* made possible from understandings achieved through government-funded pure research. If we focus on *government funding* of that research; it is the funding of research without a specific goal/application in mind where private markets rarely step up. To list just *some* of the things we value that are made possible by government funded research does a disservice to the massive catalog of ideas that make possible the uncountable things that we value. Just a few things that come to mind might be DNA, microprocessors, the Internet, and most everything in your hospital's radiology department. One essay on the matter can be read here: http://www.skepticblog.org/2012/02/08/pure-science-and-serendipity/ . It took material scientists just looking and "playing" with substances (on the taxpayer dime) to some to an understanding of semiconductor materials that Texas Instruments was then able to leverage to create and the first integrated circuit. There is too much to list here. But pure research keeps us a world power and every civilized, wealthy nation knows that and funds that. Look at the LHC in Switzerland. The largest and most expensive machine every created by humankind, funded by a consortia of governments all to look at the most fundamental characteristics of matter...all without a particular application in mind. We do it because knowledge is power and that knowledge will be transformative ... some day. I suppose we could let China and Russia do all the research.
No more taxes February 04, 2014 at 12:26 PM
subject yourself to the flu, don't wash your hands, let people sneeze on you, then see if "prayer" will stop you from catching the flu or a cold. of course it won't, a virus is a virus and doesn't know you are "praying" I haven't had the flu in over a decade and don't pray at all, so no praying keeps the flu away:)


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