One of the questions we get a lot when we tell people we’ve been working on a film about faith and healing goes something like this -“You don’t REALLY believe there is a connection, do you?” – well, actually, yes, we do. And there are plenty of studies to back it up as well.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting a lot of links to the studies, so pick and choose what interests you and do your own research. You’ll find it very enlightening.

The studies we reference today look at how a patient’s faith might actually help them in the healing process. They seem to suggest that whether or not someone believes in a higher power – and how that person communicates with that higher power – may well affect their health outcomes.

1. Dr. Michael Persinger has done studies on what happens to the brain when people are in the attitude of prayer and faith, and he links to the ways that personal faith can help the way someone feels, and how they interact with God.

2. Cancer patients: The Southern Medical Journal featured a study from Andrew Weaver and Kevin Flannerly describing how the spirituality of cancer patients determined quality of life during care. Those with faith had a better quality of life than those without it.

3. Quality of life: Another study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows that patients with cancer can experience better quality of life when their spiritual needs are supported by a medical team.

4. Helping patients with faith: “Physicians and Patient Spirituality: Professional Boundaries, Competency, and Ethics,” from the Annals of Internal Medicine, looks at how faith and spirituality can help with coping during times of illness and injury.

5. Depression and faith: Rush University Medical Center published a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology looking at how faith can actually help protect patients against the symptoms of depression.

6. Faith to fight depression: At MIT, a psychoanalyst gave a talk about using faith to fight depression.