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RESEARCH

Overview and Criteria

Our medical research focus is on the improvement of quality-of-life effects of infrequently studied theistic contemplation. Our preliminary research has shown promising results, which have been published and presented at major international secular and religious conferences.

Overview and Criteria

EXISTING RESEARCH
 

There are two promising categories of independently conducted sound medical research that don’t often discuss their results with each other, theistic and non-theistic:

 

THEISTIC: There is a vast amount of valid research summarized in the Handbook of Religion and Health, which shows the improvement of quality-of-life effects of having a theistic faith, regular liturgical attendance and frequent prayer, most often meditation. These results apply regardless of the faith or denomination.

 

NON-THEISTIC: There is a great amount of reputable research showing the improvement of quality-of-life effects of focusing on a mantra, which is analogous to contemplation, without a belief in a higher power.

RESEARCH FOCUS

Our interest is medical research on infrequently studied theistic contemplation. We seek to have our research fill this perceived void in two ways. First, by combining the beneficial effects of both existing research categories defined above. Second, by applying it to a broader number of people, since approximately 80% of the world’s population is theistic and believes in an afterlife.

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NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE (NDE) VS. MYSTICAL

Anecdotal Inspiration

Ten subjects were taught Centering Prayer (CP) and after their first 20 minute prayer session, three individuals emotionally described in detail, they had just relived their previous near-death experience.

 

Preliminary Research

We commissioned three preliminary studies comparing 5 subjects and 5 control group. The subjects were asked to remember their near-death experiences (NDEs) and mystical experiences a.k.a. spiritual contemplative experiences (SCEs). Neuroscience recognizes the validity of memory in such studies. The three studies compared: 1) Neural correlates using quantitative electroencephalography tomography (QEEGt); 2) Continuous EEG (CEEG); and 3) Continuous autonomic assessments (CAA).

 

Research Conclusions

All three studies confirmed similar attributes between NDEs and SCEs. We propose to expand our research with a more statistically significant sample of subjects. Interestingly, these results are consistent with the wisdom literature of many faiths. Being taught CP together with the demonstrated results of the medical research, may alleviate fear of death in some people.

 

Scientific Publication

All three studies were published in the World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews (WJARR), an International Journal for publication of Research and Review articles. The articles are accessible with the following links. 

QEEGt PUBLISHED STUDY 1  | CEEG PUBLISHED STUDY 2 | CAA PUBLISHED STUDY 3

NDE vs. Mystical
Parkison's Disease

PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Anecdotal Inspiration

Minutes before starting to teach Centering Prayer (CP), one of the students, a male Parkinson’s patient, went into a full-blown freeze, in layman’s terms, a serious seizure. Two neuroscientist M.D.s were present but could not help. We proceeded with the prayer session, not knowing if the man understood the instructions in his flailing state. Within minutes he became completely rested in the outward signs indicative of a deep contemplative state.  At the conclusion of the session, he emotionally reported he had found God.

 

Preliminary Research

We commissioned a preliminary study of four patients practicing CP. We assessed their tremors by electromyography records and applied the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).

 

Research Conclusions

All subjects experienced fewer freezes, less depression, no nightmares and increased sleep, appetite and interest in living. We propose to expand our research with a more statistically significant sample of patients.

 

Scientific Publication

The study was published in the World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews (WJARR), an International Journal for publication of Research and Review articles.

ARTICLE: Centering Prayer Treatment of Parkinson’s

 

Video Documentation

The following link shows the dramatic result of three Parkinson’s patients during serious freezes and after practicing CP.

VIDEO: Parkinson’s Patients Practicing CP 

BIPOLAR DISORDER

Anecdotal Inspiration

The wife of Contemplative Network’s Chairman suffered from Bipolar Disorder. The manic states are characterized by agitation and ruminating thoughts. He taught her Centering Prayer (CP) and within minutes she entered a serene state indicative of a deep contemplative prayer and remained there for 45 minutes. 

 

Early Research

We negotiated a research agreement on behalf of and between: Baylor College of Medicine and the Institute for Spirituality and Health (ISH). It showed the neural correlates of the quality-of-life improvements of meditative prayer on patients who suffered from depression and traumatic memories. The results were documented in the National Library of Medicine - National Center for Biotechnology Information.

ARTICLE: Neural Correlates of Healing Prayers

Preliminary Research

We commissioned an independent study using quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) on 5 patients and 5 control group, before and after Centering Prayer. The neurological marker associated with Bipolar Disorder disappeared in all patients after CP.

 

Research Conclusions

This holds promise for patients suffering Bipolar Disorder. We propose to expand our research with a more statistically significant sample of patients.

 

Scientific Publication

Study results have been submitted for publication to the World Journal of Advanced Research and Reviews (WJARR), an International Journal for publication of Research and Review articles.

ARTICLE: Centering Prayer in the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Video Documentation

The following link shows testimonials of the two Bipolar Disorder patients after practicing Centering Prayer.

VIDEO: Bipolar Disorder Patient Testiomonials

Bipolar Disoder

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Anecdotal Inspiration

Centering Prayer (CP) was taught to 10 people. After three months of exercising the prayer practice, one man returned to report that something serious happened during his CP. He said suddenly became fully aware of what REALLY happened to him in Vietnam. When asked what he did next, he said he ever so gently left the thought and returned to God. When reported to Dr. James Lomax, a renowned psychiatrist in the Texas Medical Center, he was astounded. 

 

Hospital Initiative

We taught CP to the chaplains at the Houston VA hospital, which has several floors of PTSD patients. In collaboration with the head chaplain, we formulated a research protocol to teach interfaith CP to volunteer patients and for the VA’s psychiatrists to evaluate the effects. The VA psychiatrists and head chaplain were ready to proceed when the chaplain was transferred.

Preliminary Research

We have solicited a formal proposal with neurological protocol, to conduct research similar to previous studies of different illnesses.

 

Research Conclusions

To be determined upon funding and award of research.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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