Do spirituality and health go hand in hand?

Héctor Cruz Rico

George L. Engel developed the biopsychosocial model in 1977. This model depicts a modern, humanistic and holistic view of human health. Engel argues that physicians should pay attention to both the biological aspect and the psychological and social aspects of a disease. This is to better understand the suffering of patients and to make the disease more tolerable.

This article introduces you to some studies that seem to prove the right of the biopsychosocial model and its supporters.

Vitality and self-knowledge

Scientists concerned with spirituality believe that the biopsychosocial model should be expanded to include the "spiritual aspect." They are convinced that spirituality and well-being can and should go hand in hand. This would be a significant change in the concepts of health, disease, treatments and healing. 

Techniques such as meditation, kabbalah, Tai Chi or yoga, listening to certain music or contact with nature stimulate vitality. They also help improve health as they lead to self-knowledge and improve patient self-care. The advantage is that they have minimal physical and emotional risks and are easy to learn.

Spirituality and health

Indeed, recent research from Salisbury University shows that techniques to activate the mind-body connection are important for health and speeding up healing processes. And it goes even further. Scientists at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico have shown that promoting spirituality helps cancer patients with anxious moments and stress associated with chemotherapy and radiation. These patients also experience fewer symptoms of depression. 

Another study by Duke University Medical Center and Adventis University in Sao Paulo shows that enriching spirituality through meditation, breathing and visualization exercises can prevent or reduce stress and depression and strengthen resistance. 

Attention to spiritual techniques is also recommended at work. Results from a study by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, conducted this year, prove that these techniques have a positive impact on work performance and can reduce stress. Spiritual people have proven to be less likely to suffer from burnout.


It seems that those who have a holistic and spiritual approach can increase their well-being. This can be done at work or in case of illness. By practically applying spirituality, you can remove any resistance people have to "the floaty" and pave the way for the benefits. And everyone can benefit from that.

Héctor Cruz Rico is an analyst at ftrprf and wrote this article for the theme Meaning & Spirituality


  • Agarwal, V. (2018). The provider’s body in the therapeutic relationship: how complementary and meditation techniques for stressalternative medicine providers describe their work as healers. Health communication, 0, 1, 1-9. 
  • Garcia Franco, A.L. & Ortiz Coronado, E.L. (2019) Spirituality, quality of life, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in women with cancer. Enseñanza e Investigación en Psicología, 1, 1, 1, 1-7.
  • Lueck, J.L. (2019). The Experience of Spirituality and Burnout: A Phenomenological Study of Full-Time Employees in the United States. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Chicago: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
  • Saad, M., de Medeiros R. & Mosini A. C. (2017). Are We Ready for a True Biopsychosocial–Spiritual Model? The Many Meanings of “Spiritual”. Medicines, 7, 79, 1-6.
  • Weaver, A.J., Pargament, K.I., Flannelly, K.J. & Oppenheimer J.E. (2006). Trends in the Scientific Study of Religion, Spirituality, and Health: 1965–2000. Journal of Religion and Health, 45, 2, 208-214.

Clip about nurse and spirituality (music)

Interview with a woman with psychosis

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