Religious rituals in healthcare
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29-12-2016, 08:18 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(28-12-2016 09:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(23-12-2016 07:47 AM)Gaest Wrote:  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?

It would be utterly unethical for medical staff to divert their energy to religious ritual.

Why?

(27-12-2016 11:32 AM)Impulse Wrote:  I think people have a right to whatever rituals they want for themselves. However, they can't interfere with the welfare of any other patients. Also, I think the waters get muddier when kids are involved.

Agreed. I'm not sure to what extent placebo effects on kids have been studied either.


(27-12-2016 11:32 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Just as worshipers expect respect in their houses of worship, I think medical professionals can expect the same in their hospitals.

Definitely, which is also why I factored in a vetting process and more research.
It's all about building arguments on the basis of scientificly sound research Smile

(27-12-2016 11:32 AM)Impulse Wrote:  So tough shit religious nut parents. Your kid gets the transfusion.

Yeah, lacking blood is one of the ailments which obviously cannot be solved by placebo effects - whatever they are caused by.
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29-12-2016, 08:48 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(26-12-2016 01:03 PM)SYZ Wrote:  
(23-12-2016 01:02 PM)Gaest Wrote:  We go through rituals when we visit medical professionals all the time so maybe they could be optimized and formulated into non-religious rituals still capable of creating placebo effects. [...]

I'm not sure that I'd agree with this (in my case). I note that Dictionary.com defines a ritual as: "a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order" or "an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite", or its synonyms "formality, procedure, or routine".

I guess—loosely speaking—my consultations with my doctors are procedural or routine, but they don't really qualify as "rites". That definition implies a much more formalised and rigid relationship. I know a lot of (particularly) older patients regard their doctors as demi-gods, but I'm not one of them. In fact I threatened one of our local GPs with a formal complaint to the controlling body for doctors late last year.

Well, dictionary.com don't have a lot of space for nuance and is not really much of an authority of ritual definitions... At least I know my professors would consider it insufficient if I used that as source for my ritual definition in a undergrad paper.

Defining "ritual" is not easy. There are several traditions and far from all them inherently contain an element of something religious or supernatural.

Fx. in Sørensen p. 19-20 where he ends up defining ritual as "representative acts designed to change or maintain their object". He actually has a whole section from p. 16-21 where he deals with defining "ritual" and some of the issues involved.

Also, check out the Kaptchuk article on ritual in biomedicine Smile

T. J. Kaptchuk. (2011). Placebo studies and ritual theory: A comparative analysis of navajo, acupuncture and biomedical healing. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 366(1572), 1849-1858. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0385 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3130398/)

PODEMANN SØRENSEN, Jørgen. Ritualistics: a New Discipline in the History of Religions. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, [S.l.], v. 15, p. 9-26, feb. 2014. ISSN 0582-3226. Available at: <https://ojs.abo.fi/ojs/index.php/scripta/article/view/507>. Date accessed: 29 dec. 2016.



(26-12-2016 01:03 PM)SYZ Wrote:  And I'm not certain that doctors—as a form of therapy—should be "optimiz[ing] and formulat[ing]" treatmemt into rituals still capable of "creating placebo effects". I much prefer my doctors to use accredited medicine and modes of intervention rather than potential pseudo-science that may hide a more serious cause for my illness..

Check out post 18 in this thread regarding the science behind placebo effects and ritual.
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29-12-2016, 09:59 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
Medical professionals ought not cross the line into priesthood. If priests and patents consent to be involved with each other that's fine, but medical professionals performing rituals is fraught. Just consider the doctor who is the dreaded "wrong type of Christian". The patient is happy working though rituals such as prayer with their doctor. Suddenly the doctor says something in prayer that corresponds to a "false doctrine". How is the doctor patent relationship going to go after that?
And what of the patient who considers their doctor a priest. Will they ask for a second opinion when needed?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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29-12-2016, 11:54 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(29-12-2016 08:18 AM)Gaest Wrote:  
(28-12-2016 09:31 PM)Chas Wrote:  It would be utterly unethical for medical staff to divert their energy to religious ritual.

Why?

Because they are not providing medical care. Facepalm

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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29-12-2016, 02:29 PM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(29-12-2016 09:59 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Medical professionals ought not cross the line into priesthood.

Agreed, though I never argued that they should.

(29-12-2016 09:59 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  but medical professionals performing rituals is fraught.


You could argue that they already are. Not religious rituals though.

Quote:Just consider the doctor who is the dreaded "wrong type of Christian". The patient is happy working though rituals such as prayer with their doctor. Suddenly the doctor says something in prayer that corresponds to a "false doctrine". How is the doctor patent relationship going to go after that?
And what of the patient who considers their doctor a priest. Will they ask for a second opinion when needed?

As before, I don't think doctors should be performing religious rituals either. Partly for the reasons you mentioned, partly because they probably wouldn't be considered authoratative as religious specialists and partly because it might undermine their authority as men of science.

(29-12-2016 11:54 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(29-12-2016 08:18 AM)Gaest Wrote:  Why?

Because they are not providing medical care. Facepalm

Yeah, sure...

I already presented and supported my argument previously in this thread. If you have anything worthwhile to add or any relevant criticism I would love to hear it.
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29-12-2016, 05:23 PM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
My mother in law just passed, we found like 5 New Testament bibles amongst her things at the place she was at. I'm sure religious people frequented, as they usually do. Whatever...If it brings some people peace or help, I've no issue with it. I doubt my mother in law would ever say she didn't believe

I don't know when she acquired them, but most were still wrapped up in plastic. We tossed them into the trash, didn't want to take a chance they were around to poison other people's minds. Smile.

Toward the end of her life, I think she struggled with belief. But she was the more the type who was angry or annoyed with her Catholic upbringing and family, too many "you should do this because this is way WE do this."

The religious expectations she found trivial and annoying.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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30-12-2016, 12:20 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(29-12-2016 02:29 PM)Gaest Wrote:  
(29-12-2016 11:54 AM)Chas Wrote:  Because they are not providing medical care. Facepalm

Yeah, sure...

I already presented and supported my argument previously in this thread. If you have anything worthwhile to add or any relevant criticism I would love to hear it.

Your reasons were speculative and unfounded, and are not medical practice.

Religion is not medicine.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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30-12-2016, 11:12 AM
RE: Religious rituals in healthcare
(30-12-2016 12:20 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(29-12-2016 02:29 PM)Gaest Wrote:  Yeah, sure...

I already presented and supported my argument previously in this thread. If you have anything worthwhile to add or any relevant criticism I would love to hear it.

Your reasons were speculative and unfounded, and are not medical practice.

Religion is not medicine.

Meh... I have no problem with terseness, but that is just too vague.
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