Health and Spirituality
by Judith Orloff MD
We are the keepers of our own healing. We are keepers of an intuitive
intelligence so powerful it can tell us how to heal. The time has come
for each of us to claim it again.
Never forget: It is your right to heal.
It is your right to look inside yourself for the answers. We are on the
vanguard of a health care revolution as profound as civil rights or
feminism. All over, I see an uprising fueled by courageous people,
demanding that their spiritual and intuitive voices be honored in the
healing process. Attitudes are shifting. I meet medical practitioners
and patients everywhere who rail against the icy sterility of
technological advances alone-no matter how miraculous-when simple
kindness, love, and awe for our inner vision is sacrificed.
As a psychiatrist and practicing intuitive, my passion has been to
bring spirituality and intuition into mainstream medicine. Then we can
choose from the best of both worlds. A palpable connection with a
compassionate higher power (whether or not connected with traditional
religious beliefs) can help us heal. Intuition is the spiritual language
that links us with our hearts, and thus to wellness. My book,
Dr. Judith Orloff's Guide to Intuitive Healing, (Times Books), provides
concrete tools for everyone to access their inner voice and truest sense
of the spiritual. There is a conscious strategy we can take to be joyous
and well. It is essential that we develop positive beliefs about healing
in addition to a love for the body, an appreciation of the body's subtle
energy system (Chinese medical practitioners call it "chi"), and also
learn to access inner guidance and listen to dreams. With these tools, we
can maintain optimal health or better face any health challenges that
Science and spirituality mix. Over two hundred scientific studies have
shown that spirituality is good for your health. In 1995 the
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center found that a major predictor of
survival for heart surgery patients was religious faith. A National
Institute on Aging study found that geriatric patients were physically
healthier and less depressed when they attended regular spiritual services.
Research underscores the necessity of not waiting until illness or pain
comes to draw on spirituality as a resource for health and healing.
Is there a center in our brain for spiritual experience? Scientists
currently associate our spiritual center with a part of the brain called
the limbic system. When this area is electrically stimulated, some
patients report visions of angels or devils. And brain tumors, which
overexcite the limbic system, can trigger enhanced spiritual awareness.
What scientists are willing to conclude is that the brain and spirituality
are interrelated; if you develop a belief in something greater than
yourself, you'll have a better chance of staying healthy longer and
healing faster if you become ill.
As a physician, I have a continual sense of awe for the relationship
between body and spirit. As your heat opens, so does your intuition.
Your intuition will teach you how to see and how to love. It will instill
in you a renewed faith to face anything.