Do extreme religious rituals positively affect the wellbeing of ritual practitioners?

One of the possible explanations for the existence of extreme religious rituals is their positive effect on the wellbeing of the devotees participating in such rituals. Together with the team of our colleagues, we tried to find out whether this is indeed the case.

2 Sep 2019

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In doing that, we have decided to focus on the Thaipusam Kavadi ritual held annually by the local Hindu community in Mauritius. In this ritual, the extremeness stems from the practice of devotees piercing their skin with various objects. Utilizing the longitudinal monitoring of various health-related indicators (both objective and subjective in nature), we were able to show that this ritual really has such a positive effect on the psychological well-being of devotees.

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