Are there any negative side effects to prayer?
Researchers say they've observed no harmful side effects, but Mitchell
Krucoff, M.D., at Duke University says we need to consider safety issues. "When
people are fighting for their lives, there's a possibility that prayer, by
calming them, might counteract some physiological survival mechanism. We should
at least think about this."
Can prayer be used for harmful results?
Five percent of Americans pray for someone's harm, according to one poll.
There's evidence that people's negative thoughts can slow the growth of bacteria
and plants, but no human trials have been conducted because that would be
unethical. "Our thoughts are a loaded gun," says Larry Dossey, M.D., author of
Healing Words. "This could be a great gift if used properly—to kill cancer cells
or the AIDS virus."
Can you pray for yourself?
Absolutely. Elizabeth Targ, M.D., says there's evidence that people who
pray for themselves tend to be happier, more peaceful and healthier than those
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