near-death experience


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

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.

Bibliography

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 ?
Lead researcher Dr Daniel Kondziella, said, "Our central finding is that we confirmed the association of near-death experiences with REM sleep intrusion.
Hannah Robinson's life journey - from her near-fatal accident, to her resulting near-death experience - took her on a spiritual quest to understand the deepest meaning of those events.
Afterward: Making meaning after a frightening near-death experience. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 27(2), 99-133.
Mobbs also noted that many people who claim to have undergone a near-death experience were never, in fact, near death - while the majority of those who have died briefly before resuscitation do not recall going anywhere.
The near-death experience scale: Construction, reliability, and validity: J Nerv Ment Dis 1983; 171:369-375.
A child's encounter with the devil: An unusual near-death experience with both blissful and frightening elements.
Carter looks at the categories of objections to the validity of the near-death experience (NDE), the quality of the arguments, and the evidence arguing in favor of survival.
We present one woman's story as a paradigmatic healing process that illustrates an attempted suicide, her near-death experience (NDE), and subsequent recovery from bulimia nervosa.
SIR - Have any readers ever had a near-death experience? I am undertaking research for a report on the subject and would very much like to hear from anyone who has had such an experience.
Many reports on the near-death experience have appeared since then, and almost all support Moody's landmark study.
Schenk, The Hypnotic Use of Waking Dreams: Exploring Near-Death Experiences Without the Flatlines is a guide to experiencing the perspective-transforming miracle of a near-death experience without risking one's life, but rather through the process of a hypnotic waking dream.
In 1996, a near-death experience caused by hypertension showed Sanders-Butler, who weighed 189 pounds at just 5 feet 4 inches, that a change was necessary.