An interesting research paper was recently published in Iran.  It described an experiment conducted with 160 Muslim women who had recently undergone C-section under spinal anaesthesia.

Half of the group listened to 20 minutes of a recited prayer meditation using headphones. The other half also wore headphones but there was no sound.

Rendered into English phonetics the prayer was Ya man esmoho davaa va zekroho shafa, Allahomma salle ala mohammad va ale mohammad.  (No translation was given in the paper’s abstracts and if any reader knows the translation, I would be grateful if you would post it here on this blog. See below.)

Pain intensity was assessed before, during and after the prayer meditation. The results indicated no differences in pain level during or immediately after the prayer meditation.

However, for the women who had listened to the prayer the pain was significantly reduced a few hours afterwards.

This is good news.


I wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons.

First I think it is an engaging piece of research and reassuring to those of us who are interested in healing and science.

Second it is good to break down stereotypes.

This research took place in Iran, was published in an Iranian academic journal and conducted with Muslim women. This transforms so many prejudiced perceptions that we might have.

It is good in our fractured world to acknowledge the profound heritage of arts, culture and science in Iran/Persia. The photo by Mohammed Ganji is of the pink mosque in Shiraz.


Of course, being quizzical, it may not have been the power of the prayer itself that was beneficial. Perhaps it was the cadence, repetition and tone that had the benevolent effect. But that too is engaging and important.


The reference for the research is: Beiranvand S, Noaparast M, Eslamizade N, Saeedikia S (2014). The effects of religion and spirituality on post-operative pain, hemodynamic functioning and anxiety after cesarean section. Acta Medica Iranica 52(12):909-915
My attention was drawn to it by the Newsletter of the Duke University Center for Spirituality, Theology & Health. To receive their Newsletter click on the small orange button on the bottom left hand corner of their website home page