Rituals of Spiritual Healing in the Middle East: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

In the 21st century, usage of complementary and alternative medicine includes biologically-based therapy and physical therapy, psychological, and spiritual techniques, prayer and faith healing. It is interesting that Muslims patients in the Middle East who in normal times dedicate themselves to performing the requisite to pray five times a day, will, after being diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as cancer, exhibit a tendency to perform additional prayers such as the ‘repentance prayer’ and the ‘request prayer’. After performing such special prayers, the patient asks Allah (God) to heal their disease. Some of the patients also recited the holy Quran and even recited certain verses that were believed to be beneficial in overcoming cancer. In addition to that, they teach their family member and friends the relevant holy Quranic verses that they should recite on their behalf . Prayers and spiritual healing have a positive impact on patients’ emotional states and physical symptoms. The influence of family members in health matters is significant. This cultural finding is supported by the strong sense of solidarity of the family that underpins and is all pervasive in Islam. The majority of patients in such a state also use some type of complementary and alternative medicine, including dietary supplement. Adoption of such complementary and alternative medicine in the face serious and particularly life-threatening disease is a shared characteristic that spans all age groups, educational levels, and personal circumstances, and all socioeconomic strata .

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