Better Health through Spiritual Practices
A Guide to Religious Behaviors and Perspectives That Benefit Mind and Body
by Dean D. VonDras, PhD, Editor
August 2017, 383pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5367-8
$80, £60, 69€, A109
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5368-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More and more, people are ascribing their spirituality and lifestyle choices to beliefs of a nonreligious nature.

An in-depth examination of religious practices around the world and the fascinating science behind how they make us healthier.

Many religious and spiritual beliefs promote wellness through their practices or stated objectives—for example, focusing on simple living, having compassion for others, vegetarianism, or meditation and mindfulness. This refreshing work provides a review of the world’s spiritual perspectives and traditions, and explores how their guiding principles encourage healthy lifestyle choices. An examination of religious and nonreligious perspectives from around the world—from atheism, Confucianism, and Christianity to Islam, Judaism, Shamanism, and Zoroastrianism—reveals how faith beliefs and values influence behavior and inspire healthy living.

With contributions from leading international scholars, the chapters include a discussion of Eastern and Western world religions and their practices—such as fasting or the avoidance of alcohol and tobacco—and how they may foster healthfulness. A contemporary analysis of current research findings suggests possible interventions that individuals and health providers may utilize to enhance healthfulness. A final chapter explores the connection between health, illness, and religious and nonreligious perspectives.


  • Features the contributions of international scholars from around the globe
  • Contains content across disciplines, including health, psychology, and theology
  • Provides characterization of Eastern and Western religious ideologies and perspectives and explains how these orientations may influence lifestyle practices and impact health behavior
  • Discusses Eastern, Western, agnostic, and atheistic belief systems
  • Describes more than 10 religious perspectives and their practices
Dean D. VonDras, PhD, is professor of human development and psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, where he teaches courses in adult development and aging and spirituality and development. He has a special interest in the intertwining of health and psychological processes in adult development and aging as well as in the preventative influences of spirituality on health throughout the life-course.


"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals."—Choice, June 4, 2018
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