Dr. Avnish Jolly, 1st Oct :According to our cultural and religion as well as religious believers have long advocated the healing value of faith, the belief now has some scientific backing . According to latest study the researchers from the Oxford University, faith in God really can relieve pain.
The study conducted at the Oxford Centre for Science of the Mind, at Oxford University, enrolled 24 people, 12 Roman Catholics and 12 atheists. To understand the power of faith healing, participants were ‘tortured’ with a series of electric shocks as they studied two paintings – Virgin Mary and Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine.
Face of Virgin Mary was supposed to induce a religious state of mind in the believers, while Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine was chosen because it did not look dissimilar and would be calming, researchers explained. A device which delivered an electric shock was strapped to the back of the participants’ left hand. For 30 minutes inside an MRIdefine scanner, each participant received a series of 20 electric shocks in 4 separate sessions. As they gazed into the pictures, they were asked to rate how much it hurt on a scale of 0 to 100.
Analysis revealed that the Catholics seemed to be in better control of their pain. Also, they were able to block out much of their pain. Moreover, results of MRI scans reported that Catholics were able to activate part of the brain associated with conditioning the experience of pain.
Statistically, those viewing the image of Virgin Mary reported feeling 12 per cent lesser pain after than those gazing at da Vinci’s photo. "The practice of faith should, and in many cases does, alter the person you are. It can affect the patterns of your brain and your emotions. So it comes as no surprise to me that this experiment has reached such conclusions," Rt Rev Tom Wright, the Anglican Bishop of Durham marked.
The study is published in the current issue of Journal Pain.