God, Faith, and Health


God, Faith, and Health COVER

God, Faith, and Health

A study of Mexican Americans shows that frequent church attendees report higher levels of well-being and experience less disability, fewer days in bed, and fewer physical symptoms than less frequent attenders . . . .  Johns Hopkins University researchers learn that monthly religious attendance more than halved the risk of death due to heart disease, emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, suicide, and some cancers . . . .  A study finds that coronary care unit patients who were prayed for by strangers fared better than patients who did not receive prayer.

These are just some of the startling connections between spirituality and health revealed in this inspiring, groundbreaking new book by Dr. Jeff Levin, the scientist who has conducted much of the original research in this increasingly influential area of health and medicine.

In God, Faith, and Health, Dr. Levin explores the latest compelling evidence of the connection between health and an array of spiritual beliefs and practices, including prayer, attending religious services, meditation, faith in God, and others. With examples from spiritual traditions as diverse as Christianity, Judaism, and yoga, he looks with an open mind and perceptive eye at the many ways that religious involvement and belief can prevent illness and promote health and well-being.  Drawing on his own and other published studies, Dr. Levin shows how religion’s emphasis on healthy behaviors and supportive relationships influences one’s overall health and how the optimism and hopefulness of those who profess faith promote the body’s healing responses.

Taking us into the fascinating realm of such “paranormal” healing modes as non-contact therapeutic touch, distant prayer, and mystical experiences, Dr. Levin asks if other forces could be at work in many cases of healing.  Sharing compelling evidence from recent research, he offers an exciting vision of a new era in modern medicine, one in which body, mind, and something “beyond” mind—call it spirit, a higher power, or God—are brought together to promote health, prevent illness, and produce healing.

Filled with the dramatic stories of people whose health has been affected by their faith, God, Faith, and Health will alter the way we think about our bodies and our faith, and will show you the path for improving your own health through spiritual practice.

From the Foreword by Larry Dossey, M.D.,
Bestselling author of Healing Words and Reinventing Medicine:

“Future historians of medicine will describe the twentieth century as the period in which spirituality, after a long absence, began to return to healing, and they will mark Jeff Levin as one of the greatest architects of this development.  It is rare that someone establishes a completely new field in medicine, but that is what Dr. Levin has done. . . .  I wish to express my personal gratitude to Dr. Jeff Levin for helping physicians rediscover what healers have known for more than 99.99 percent of the history of the human race:  that spirituality is vital in health.  We need this lesson now more than ever.”


Praise for God, Faith, and Health:


“Jeff Levin writes with incredible clarity, style, and passion.  He is one of the first and finest scientists ever to brave this territory and has had enormous influence on others due to his scientific rigor.  Levin speaks powerfully as a true leader and authority in this growing field.  This book is a MUST read for anyone interested in the religion-health connection, especially those wondering if such a connection exists at all.”
Harold G. Koenig, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, and author of The Healing Power of Faith, Handbook of Religion and Health, and The Healing Connection

“Dr. Levin has created a masterpiece for this exciting and challenging time of transformation within the world of medicine.  He writes with the insight of spiritual wisdom and scientific certainty.  This book will prove to be a beacon to all seeking to understand the connection between faith and health and our connection to the divine.”
Elaine R. Ferguson, M.D., author of Healing, Health, and Transformation:  New Frontiers in Medicine

“Beautifully written and packed with compelling scientific evidence for the spirituality-health connection, God, Faith, and Health is a comprehensive overview of the field which Jeff Levin helped to found.  With the precision of a scientist, the courage of a true pioneer, and the artistry of a storyteller, Levin reminds us of what we can no longer afford to ignore:  that our spiritual life matters mightily to our health and well-being at every level.”
Janet F. Quinn, Ph.D., R.N., Associate Professor, University of Colorado School of Nursing

“This book deserves special attention.  Dr. Levin brings to awareness what is essential for everyone to know about the role of religion and spirituality in creating health and recovery from illness.  Without this knowledge, real healing cannot happen.  Dr. Levin has done us all—clinician and patient alike—a real service.”
Gerald Epstein, M.D. , Director, American Institute for Mental Imagery; Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and author of Healing Visualizations and Healing into Immortality

“Perhaps the greatest error made in Western Medicine was the divorce of spirituality from modern medicine.  God, Faith, and Health emphasizes the major scientific advances that tell us it is time to reintegrate spirituality into all aspects of our lives.”
C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., Founding President, American Holistic Medical Association, and President, Holos Institutes of Health, Inc.

“Dr. Levin shows us—clearly, thoughtfully, comprehensively—that belief does matter.  Spiritual practice and religious observance are powerful medicine.”
James S. Gordon, M.D., Director, Center for Mind-Body Medicine; Chairman, White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy; and author of Manifesto for a New Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Care

God, Faith, and Health is an important book.  It describes compellingly how religion and medical science interpenetrate one another and cannot be kept separate.  We modern physicians have looked with disdain on those doctors, nurses, and healers of the past who believed that religious belief, faith, and prayer were important in health.  As Jeff Levin shows, they knew a thing or two.”
Larry Dossey in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

“There have been a flood of articles in the media publicizing recent medical studies which demonstrate that religion can be good for your health. . . .  Jeff Levin’s book is an extremely useful place to begin that discussion.”
Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikkun

“Jeff Levin, the author of the recently published God, Faith, and Health:  Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection, has been a pioneer investigator into the complexities of religion, spirituality, and health.”
James T. Sykes in The Gerontologist

“Epidemiologist Jeff Levin braves the turbulent waters of the spirituality/health connection that, despite rejection by mainline Western medicine, continues to gain credence in the popular eye.  Like fellow traveler Larry Dossey, Levin claims that a new era of medicine, based on a ‘theosomatic’ model that incorporates prayer, intention, and energy healing, is upon us. . . .  and offers a principled approach to fostering the ‘coming medical revolution.'”
Noetic Sciences Review

“Dr. Levin presents the results of hundreds of studies as he explores theosomatic medicine–the new model of the connections of body, mind and spirit. . . .  If you needed evidence that a loving relationship with a higher power promotes better health, here it is.”
The Common Ground

“Eminently readable discussion of relationships between religious affiliation and practice (including personal spirituality) and health, extending into spiritual healing.”
Daniel J. Benor, M.D., in International Journal of Healing and Caring

“Spiritual advisors searching for ways to bolster faith may have found a new ally:  medical science.  Levin seeks to persuade without sermonizing, and includes major and lesser known religions in his discussion. . . .  [T]he book is well written and Levin skillfully focuses on the audience he is trying to reach.”
Today’s Librarian

“Levin sees the future of medicine in terms of an integrated approach founded on a body-mind-spirit perspective, and his book is a significant step in helping bring about this much needed revolution.”
David Lorimer in Network (Magazine of the Scientific & Medical Network, U.K.)

In God, Faith, and Health:  Exploring the Spirituality-Healing Connection, Jeff Levin provides the religious reader with a clear summary of findings in a way that proposes why religion may be beneficial. . . .  Levin offers a clear summary of the tremendous amount of work exploring a link between faith and health.  Levin’s cautions about how to understand results keep his contributions within the parameters of what has been largely accepted by other scientists. . . .  Levin makes the research interesting and readily understandable.”
Patricia Murphy in Second Opinion

“During the last twenty years, Levin has been a leading figure in conducting and interpreting epidemiological studies of religious factors influencing health . . . .  Levin is one of the most methodologically sophisticated epidemiologists investigating the impact of religion on health outcomes, and he is the most consistently inventive epidemiologist theorizing about how religion achieves its putative salutary effects.”
Peter H. Van Ness, Ph.D., in Journal of Religion

“Levin is an excellent and lively writer . . . .  As an insider, who both knows the field and how to write about it, Levin provides an authoritative tour of virtually the entire landscape of this new and emerging field.”
Science & Theology News

“This book takes a refreshing and needed approach to examining the connection between spirituality, faith and religious observance, and individual health and healing. . . .  The text is thought provoking and could be useful in stimulating discussion in educational and conference settings.  I recommend this book for its potential in developing or expanding knowledge in the field, as well as for its potential to further practice by the development of family life education modules and other therapeutic interventions.”
Family Relations

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Larry Dossey, M.D.

Part 1.  The Health Effects of Public Religion

  1. Religious Affiliation and a Healthy Lifestyle
  2. Religious Fellowship and Social Support

Part 2.  The Health Effects of Private Spirituality

  1. The Emotional Impact of Worship
  2. Religious Beliefs, Healthy Beliefs
  3. Faith, Hope, and Optimism

Part 3.  God, Spirit, and the Future of Medicine

  1. Energy, Consciousness, and Mysticism
  2. To Heal is Divine
  3. From Body-Mind to Body-Mind-Spirit