Is Spirituality Relevant to the Practice of Medicine?
Medicine and Law: The World Association for Medical Law 2008 June; 27(2): 229-239
The interrelationship between spirituality and medical science has been looked upon with suspicion for centuries. While in ancient societies medicine and religion were intertwined, in the West separation between these two since the Middle Ages has created a wall of mistrust which undermined the relationship. During the last two decades, however, there has been an upsurge of interest in the role of spirituality in medical practice in North American universities. There are a number of reasons for this development. They include an increasing number of patients particularly those with life threatening or chronic diseases who expect their spiritual concerns to be acknowledged and addressed. Furthermore, the unprecedented increase in medical technology has diminished the need for medical practitioners to provide compassionate care and has raised the awareness of physicians of the danger of dehumanization of medical institutions. Consequently, medical education programmes in a growing number of medical schools have begun to implement courses encouraging the integration of spirituality and medicine.
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