near-death experience

(redirected from Near death)
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).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
-Brian Foster, Spiritist blog at, author of What Really Happens During Near Death Experiences - According To Spiritism
Critique: An inherently fascinating and exceptionally informed and informative read, "Life After Near Death: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Transformation in the Extraordinary Lives of People With Newfound Powers" is an absolute 'must read' for academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in near death experiences and how they have often profoundly impacted the lives of the men and women who have had such an experience.
Impact of near death experiences on dialysis patients: A multicenter collaborative study.
"Near death experiences are hugely complex set of experiences that simply cannot be explained by a simple, brief surge of brain activity.
Does the arousal system contribute to near death Experience?
I found out that 17 per cent had a near death experience.
It described an experience that some people had when very near death, so near to it that their vital signs had flattened out.
A Swansea Hospital intensive care nurse, Penny Sartori, has written an academic book about near death experiences, having researched the subject for the last 10 years.
"Lessons From The Light: What We Can Learn From The Near-Death Experience" by Kenneth Ring (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Connecticut, and co-founder of the International Association of Near-Death Studies) provides an analytical overview of the phenomena known as a 'Near Death Experience'.
Other characters that are "killed" are miraculously rescued from near death. This book could be used for a comparison exercise and read in conjunction with the original fairytale, "The Frog Prince." However, it would mostly be a great choice for teen girls who are looking for a light romance.
Some of these youngsters may later starve themselves to near death to look like those skinny models.
'My father is black Canadian and my mother of English Canadian origins.' She says that this near death experience had a huge impact on her life.