Religious rituals in healthcare
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23-12-2016, 07:47 AM
Religious rituals in healthcare
Hey everyone,

I considered calling this thread "the theater of healing" or something obscure along those lines, but I figured I would be a bit more direct:

Do religious rituals have a place in healthcare?

I would argue that they do to an extent. The reason I would argue they have a place along side traditional biomedical treatment is that rituals and - for religious people - religious rituals are pretty potent when it comes to unlocking the body's own medicinal cabinet through the placebo effect.

Obviously it is important to know the limits of placebo effects. You can't prayer-group yourself out of getting bitten by a snake, lacking insulin or having your appendix burst by an infection.
That being said the placebo effect can provide relief (fx by alleviating pain), have a therapeutic effect and enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs.
They might also be able to stimulate and strengthen (?) immune responses, but I'm not sure how well established that is.

Of course more research is needed - partly because not everyone responds equally to placebo effects and partly to avoid nocebo effects - before you formally implement rituals (including religious ones) in healthcare practices, and you would need a special institution with medical professionals to vet rituals and the people performing them.

On another note the ritually induced placebo effect actually lends some credibility to the effectiveness of religious healing rituals historically and today...

Thoughts? Comments? Outbursts?
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23-12-2016, 08:05 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
I would rather they keep the professional side of medicine separated from the religious beliefs of a person. If the individual needs a priest/rabbi/swami to come in and pray for them, more power to them, they can call one to come to their room.
But DO NOT implement a policy to where a religious person comes into your room performing their superstitious rites in accordance to hospital policy.

This is annoying and presumptuous, here's a commercial that runs for a hospital in our city:





I find this to be extremely annoying and even alarming, they depict a bunch of people about to perform surgery on a person and they are all gathering to pray over them before they get started.

Seriously? Do they have no confidence in their knowledge or skills as a doctor, so they start praying?

I see this as an admission that their professional medical skills don't amount to much.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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23-12-2016, 08:09 AM (This post was last modified: 23-12-2016 08:46 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
Outburst : "meh"

"Whatever floats their boat" is my motto. If it is a comfort to them, it's their business.

However. PLEASE, when I have my heart surgery, do me a favor, and don't pray for me. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12082681/ns/he...F0vlPkrKM8
Tongue

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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23-12-2016, 08:36 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
Or when I do actually need heart surgery, don't just cut my chest, creating a scar and tell me you performed a procedure.

I remember hearing about a placebo study in which a high rate of people had as much success from a fake surgery as those who had actual surgery.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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23-12-2016, 09:07 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(23-12-2016 08:05 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  I would rather they keep the professional side of medicine separated from the religious beliefs of a person. If the individual needs a priest/rabbi/swami to come in and pray for them, more power to them, they can call one to come to their room.
But DO NOT implement a policy to where a religious person comes into your room performing their superstitious rites in accordance to hospital policy.

This is annoying and presumptuous, here's a commercial that runs for a hospital in our city:

While I see what you mean I'm not really arguing that religious rituals be mandatory in any way. I figured it would be sensible for the professional side of medicine to utilize and control effects that can impact the health of patients positively or negatively.
Obviously a religious ritual probably wouldn't create much of a placebo effect with you - other rituals might though.

Also, I don't advocate intercessory prayer or anything like that... At least only to the point where it can reliably create a placebo effect.
Not asking modern medicine to rely on anything supernatural Smile
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23-12-2016, 09:12 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
If some ritual helps calm the patient and it doesn't interfere with any actual medical care then I have no problem with it.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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23-12-2016, 09:59 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
Most hospitals seem to have a chapel and/or a "spiritual care" department. It's there already for people who find comfort and inspiration in such things.

I would leave things as status quo, rather than expecting doctors who favour evidence-based medicine to go romping down that rabbit hole.
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23-12-2016, 10:17 AM (This post was last modified: 23-12-2016 11:30 AM by Mr. Boston.)
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
I think it's up to the patient. No patient should be forced to consult with the Chaplain, nor should any fees associated with his upkeep be levied against patients who do not partake of his services. But for those that want spiritual consultation while healing, or dying, sure. It certainly can't worsen the outcome, and if it gives them some peace - why not?
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23-12-2016, 10:41 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
It's like abortion or same-sex marriage. If you want these things, then fine. If you don't, then that's also fine. It works both ways, though. If you don't want spiritual care in the hospital, then don't get it, but don't try to infringe on another person's preferences.
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23-12-2016, 10:41 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
Slightly tangential, but...

I really, really object to Roman Catholic hospitals and/or doctors who refuse to carry out termination of pregnancies, or prescribe contraceptives and/or the so-called morning after pill RU-486. Believe it or not, this is totally legal where I live in Australia—providing the doctor or hospital immediately refers the patient to another consenting medical facility.

I note that this passage has been deleted from the original 5th century BCE Hippocratic Oath in its current 1964 format: "I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion". So now there's nothing in the Oath that precludes any doctor carrying out these procedures.

In a scientifically-enlightened 21st century, there is NO place for religious intervention in any/all medical scenarios.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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