Faith healing is usually the use of a spiritual device (scriptural support, prayers, and often touch, as with “laying hands”) to either heal or alleviate disorder and disease. Many times, first impressions of, “faith healing,” involve personal biases against those who refuse medical treatment. They arbitrarily ignore their physician’s orders, refuse to take their medication, and refuse to see their doctor. The other stereotype typically involves corrupt televangelists and their dramatic performances. It’s important to realize these are just small a fraction of those who believe that prayers and faith can heal.
In our world, alternative medicine is rapidly becoming a standard practice. Acupuncture, touch therapy, alternative medicine, folk medicine, spiritual healing, energy medicine, and a host of methods, which aren’t always welcomed by professional science or medicine, have gained ground as viable supplements with a variety of ailments.
Faith healing is not a great deal different from any other alternative treatment. The American practice is primarily found in various realms of the Judeo-Christian faith, but also notably in Eastern religions. Most practitioners utilize faith healing as a supplemental practice to accompany their current treatment.
There are common small benefits, which medicine is still unable to fully explain. Rarer occasions can produce dramatic results. Even if there is no cure, the patient finds that positive thoughts of love and support greatly alleviate their struggles. Any way to bring comfort and solace to persons suffering is worthy of basic respect.
The US National Library of Medicine studied Intercessory Prayer in 1988. Their concentration was in the field of prayer to the Judeo-Christian God. They found the practice had a, “beneficial therapeutic effect on patients.”
The American Psychological Association published a study in 2011, which took place in 2007. They discovered that the number of American adults who pray for health matters, had risen by 43% since 2002, and many of those reported positive consequences. In this study, 70% of cancer survivors reported prayer as a part of their therapy. The study also touched upon the use of prayer for pain management, even in such minor cases as dental pain.
If a person is suffering, and they find comfort in their beliefs, those beliefs should be respected, even if they differ from our own. Every individual will have varied coping mechanisms, personal convictions, and religious persuasions, but the chief aim of mainstream faith healing is either to find comfort during our own suffering, or to help others find the same.
- “Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population.” Nih.gov, December 14, 2017, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3393937
- “National Trends in Prayer Use as a Coping Mechanism for Health Concerns: Changes From 2002 to 2007” Apa.org, December 14, 2017, http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/rel-3-2-67.pdf
- “Faith Healing” Wikipedia.org, December 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_healing