Prince Charles has expressed the need to bring "mind, body and spirit" back into the concept of medical treatment, as spiritual care can aid the healing process.
A long-standing supporter of complementary and alternative medicine, Charles made his comments after meeting ordinands at St Mellitus College, an Anglican theological training institution in London.
Discussing the trainee priests' decision to go into church, Prince Charles said: "It would seem in today's world that this was a frightfully unfashionable thing to do, but ladies and gentleman, you are, in some extraordinary way, bucking the trend."
The Prince, who would become Supreme Governor of the Church of England if he is crowned king, said: "The fact that you are able to plant churches and help encourage congregations in some of these previously redundant, unused churches is again enormously encouraging and I greatly admire Nicky Gumbel and indeed his son for the work they are doing and for the work they are inspiring among so many of you."
He further said that one of the reasons behind his Foundation for Integrated Health was to try and encourage people to appreciate the fact that human beings are made up of mind, body and spirit.
"One of the great tragedies, it seems to me, about today's world is the way in which it has become so fragmented that we can no longer see the whole picture, we no longer see the unity of things let alone our relationship and inter-connectedness with nature, because after all we are nature but somehow we are taught that we apart from it and not a part of it," he said.