near-death experience

(redirected from Near-death experiences)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

near-death experience,

phenomenon reported by some people who have been clinically dead, then returned to life. Descriptions of the experience differ slightly in detail from person to person, but usually share some basic elements: a feeling of being outside one's body, a sensation of sliding down a long tunnel, and the appearance of a bright light at the end of that tunnel. The light is sometimes described as a benevolent "being of light" who directs the person in a review of his or her life so far and ultimately prevents the person from crossing some sort of boundary that signifies death. Most people who have had a near-death experience report that it strongly influences their subsequent lives, relieving anxiety about death and increasing their sense of purpose and their sensitivity to others.

Research into the near-death experience was pioneered by Raymond Moody, who published Life After Life in 1975 after studying 150 people who had had such experiences. He and other scientists, such as cardiologist Michael Sabom, found that possible physiological and psychological causes for the phenomenon, including lack of oxygen to the brain, the influence of anesthetics, disruptions in neurotransmitter release, and prior expectations, could not sufficiently account for the experiences these people described. Their findings and a belief in a spiritual explanation for the phenomenon have been supported by Elisabeth Kübler-RossKübler-Ross, Elisabeth
, 1926–2004, American psychiatrist, b. Switzerland. After studying medicine at the Univ. of Zürich (M.D. 1957), Kübler-Ross became a pioneer in the field of thanatology, the study of death and dying.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who pioneered the study of death and dying in the United States beginning in the late 1960s.

Near-death experience is an emotional issue, believed to be a profound spiritual experience by some and criticized as wish fulfillment by others. Many skeptical scientists believe that it is a simple physiological event misconstrued by people who have a compelling psychological need or who are comforted by interpreting the experience in terms of their religious or spiritual beliefs.


See R. Moody, Life After Life (1975); K. Ring, Life at Death: a Scientific Investigation of the Near Death Experience (1980); M. B. Sabom, Recollections of Death: a Medical Investigation (1982); M. Morse, Closer to the Light (1990); B. J. Eadie, Embraced by the Light (1992); E. Kübler-Ross, On Life After Death (1994).

References in periodicals archive ?
Near-death experiences, part 1: Recognizing a pleasurable near-death experience (90-minute online continuing education program for healthcare providers).
She spent three years writing up her study and a further two preparing it for publication in her book, Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study, which has just been published.
The author has not read enough on either reincarnation or near-death experiences to focus on the best cases available.
The new results underestimate the frequency of near-death experiences among cardiac-arrest patients, Greyson contends in the July/August General Hospital Psychiatry.
Most accounts of near-death experiences involve people seeing a white light, assumed to be Heaven.
Near-death experiences and losses lead to an awareness of God's unconditional love-both in this life and in the life thereafter.
AfterLife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, The Hereafter & Near-Death Experiences is recommended for spirituality and new age holdings alike, and offers a focus on basic afterlife questions, from the issue of whether pets will be in heaven to the truth about ghosts and reincarnation and reflection on what heaven will really be like.
We touch on near-death experiences, and whether they are real, so that's why I decided to include a near-death experience in myself.
The 41-year-old's pioneering work helped with the making of Hereafter, the 2010 Clint Eastwood-directed Hollywood blockbuster about near-death experiences starring Matt Damon.
Near-Death Experiences As Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven
Washington, October 30 ( ANI ): University of Arizona researchers have provided scientific explanation to near-death experiences.