The scientific evidence
Healers practice in every country in the world, and spiritual healing in the form of prayer, meditation or the laying on of hands has been practised in virtually every culture – providing, in most cases, a reduction of suffering and a healthier life perspective. Very few healers are trained in scientific observation or research and their experiences often contradict conventional understanding of the nature and process of disease. Healers seem to be able to influence the health of their patients in ways that go well beyond ordinary physical or psychological interventions and the difficulty in quantifying such results is often because it’s difficult to put into words our inner experiences. The evolving viewpoint is that the basic principle that all matter vibrates to a precise frequency and by using the resonant vibrations (as practised by a healer for instance), the balance of matter can be restored.
A wealth of research and a wide range of anecdotal evidence indicates that healing (or spiritual healing) works. However, the most comprehensive research and exploration of the role of healing is Dr Daniel Benors’ book “Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution”. This presents a significant body of evidence for healing effects on humans, animals, plants, and even on human DNA.
Further reading of authors such as Dr Candace Pert: Molecules of Emotion, Bruce Lipton PhD: The Biology of Belief, Caroline Myss: Anatomy of the Spirit, Deepak Chopra: Quantum Healing, Bernie Siegel: Love, Medicine & Miracles adds to this growing body of evidence. Thus our basic understanding of health and illness is changing rapidly as the science behind it evolves. “By finally giving the energy-based environment its due, it provided for a grand convergence uniting the science and practice of allopathic medicine, complementary medicine, and the spiritual wisdom of ancient and modern faiths.” Bruce Lipton – The Biology of Belief.
The emergence of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and the science of epigenetics are compelling evidence that there is some aspect to the natural healing of the body, linked to the mind and thoughts. Whilst public health costs have doubled in the last ten years, most healthcare systems remain based upon a reactive medical model that largely ignores this new evidence that an individual can utilise his or her thoughts to bring about beneficial effects in their own body.
“Science now supports some of traditional healings’ key principles that the body and mind are effectively inseparable; that the body-mind has untapped and in-built healing responses; that complex systems are self-sustaining because a flow of information organises them”. From Professor David Peters’ publication – “Why we need a new model for 21st century healthcare”.
However, whilst recent research indicates that healing may be particularly beneficial for pain relief, depression and other chronic conditions, much more high quality research is needed as this area remains the subject of intense scrutiny and debate.
In an article for the Daily Mail, 2006, Professor Harald Walach, a psychologist from the University of Northampton, says: ‘We should take this phenomenon seriously even if we don’t understand it. To ignore it would be unscientific. Our work shows that there is a significant effect, and despite it being the most widely practiced alternative remedy, science has only recently begun to investigate whether spiritual healing actually works. Scientists and doctors simply assumed that it didn’t’.