The recovery of unmedicated schizophrenics did not prove that schizophrenia is a psychological and not a biological illness. It proved that biology responds intimately and immediately to one’s surroundings and to the treatment that can be provided in that environment. The facilitation of labor with behavioral methods and the prevention of labor complications with hypnosis similarly showed that psychology and biology are two sides of the same river.
Native American medicine people never lost this “primitive” understanding so common in traditional and pre-literate cultures, that mind, body, spirit, and community are one, that are modern boundaries between self and others, self and nature, self and spirit are artificial constructions of a restricted materialistic vision.
Some scientists are now discovering these truths of our ancestors. Dr. Elisabeth Targ, clinical director of psychosocial oncology research at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, conducted a study of 20, randomly selected, severely ill, AIDS patients. Half were prayed for by traditional folk healers; half were not. None were told which group they were assigned to. The results were positive for the prayed-for group, even with that small sample size.
Dr. Jeffrey Levin of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Dr. David Larson, of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, have found over 200 studies in the existing medical literature proving the value of spiritual healing. These include a 1995 study from Dartmouth University showing that one of the best predictors of survival among open-heart surgery patients was the degree to which they said they drew comfort and strength from religious faith. Those who did not had three times the death rate of those who did.
Churchgoers had lower blood pressures than non-churchgoers, men and women who regularly attended church had half the risk of dying of coronary artery disease as non-churchgoers, elderly who attended church or workshipped at home were less depressed and physically healthier than non-worshipping counterparts, elderly hip fracture patients who regarded God as a source of strength and comfort and who attended religious services were able to walk farther on hospital discharge and had less depression than those who did not, to name a few of the findings. Each study took into account other contributing factors that could have offered alternative explanations. The benefits of religion held up even for cigarette smokers.
 Wallis C. Time Magazine, June 24, 1996, pp. 59-62.