Spiritual Healing

Spiritual healing, sometimes also called intercessory prayer or distant, faith or psychic healing, is an intriguing subject. It is immensely popular: in the UK, for instance, there are currently about 14,000 registered spiritual healers (about half the number of primary care physicians!) and in the United States, faith healing is among the fastest growing “alternative” treatments.1At the same time, it is one of the most implausible of all therapeutic methods. Healers believe that they channel “energy” into their client’s body, which, in turn, promotes healing. Some healers claim that the “energy” is divine. There are, of course, numerous problems with this concept. For instance the healing “energy” seems to defy qualification, and even if it existed, it is unclear how nonspecific “energy” can enhance specific self-healing processes within the body.

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