Spiritual practices

What they are

Spirituality is a very individual concept. For some, it may mean being part of an organised religion such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. For others, spirituality may reflect their own individual beliefs about the universe and their place in it, or a search for meaning and purpose to their lives.

Why use them

Often when people are diagnosed with cancer, the spiritual aspect of their lives becomes more important. People may find comfort in prayer, meditation or quiet contemplation. Receiving care from a spiritual care practitioner, who may also be called a pastoral carer or chaplain, can often help people, even if they are not part of an organised religion.

What to expect

If you are part of a spiritual or religious community, you may benefit from:

  • prayer or meditation groups
  • a feeling of unity from the congregation
  • healing services for the sick
  • practical and spiritual support offered by members of your spiritual or religious community.

If you are not part of a formal community, you can find further information about your area of spiritual interest from support groups, friendship groups, your local library or online.


There is growing scientific evidence of a positive link between spiritual practices and health. They have been shown to reduce stress, instil peace and improve ability to manage challenges.

This information was last reviewed in May 2018
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