Holistic Health Show with Carl Helvie logoA new study published in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality concluded that religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health.

The researchers are trying to understand religion, spirituality and health and developed a theoretical model to define spirituality and religion. They say religiousness included formal religious affiliation and service attendance and is associated with better health habits, such as lower smoking rates and reduced alcohol consumption.

Spiritual practices, including meditation and private prayer, helps regulate emotions, which aids physiological effects such as blood pressure. The researchers say there can be some influence of religion and spiritual practices on health and more research is needed to test the theory and examine contrasts between the two pathways in order to improve research.