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In 1 of the first studies to look at the immediate effects of everyday spirituality, researchers at Duke University found that spiritual rituals and practices may help chronic pain sufferers feel better. Researchers gave 35 people with rheumatoid arthritis specially designed diaries with questionnaires that rated their religious coping strategies, pain levels, mood, and social support.
?People who really felt that religious and spiritual coping strategies worked for them personally demonstrated that they really had less pain, better moods, and more social support,? said Francis J. Keefe, PhD, professor and associate director for research at the Duke University Medical Center?s Pain and Palliative Care Center.