« …The relationship between spirituality, religion and medicine has been recognized since antiquity in human communities living in different geographic areas of the world. Despite large differences in their history, society and economy, cultures from North and South America, The Far East and The Middle East, Africa and The Mediterranean area, shared a common belief that spirituality and religion played
an important role in the healing of diseases. Afterwards, above all in Eastern cultures, spiritual and religious components have always been believed to be important factors in maintaining health. Instead, in Western cultures, above all after the Renaissance and the Late Enlightenment, spiritual and religious dimensions have diverged from medicine.
Nowadays, bio-medical research around the world, enriched by the contribution of other disciplines such as psychology and anthropology, shows growing interest in the relationship between spirituality, religion and health. In recent years, scientific literature highlighted that spirituality/religiosity can improve recovery from illnesses such as cancer, mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and head injuries.
At the same time it has developed an interesting debate on the definition of spirituality and religiosity. Some authors use the terms spirituality and religiosity as synonyms asserting that the two concepts have common matrix in rites and rituals and so cannot be separated. Others assert that spirituality is associated with finding meaning and purpose in life, transcendence beyond the physical body,
and/or experiencing a sense of connectedness with self, others, nature, and/or a power greater than oneself. While, religiosity is associated with human expression of the rites and rituals of a particular faith tradition… »