A common misconception is that healing is for those with a faith or religious belief. In fact healing is a practice that is open to all, irrespective of faith or denomination. Healing is an entirely natural complementary therapy. It is a gentle, non-invasive approach to health care and is today recognised by the NHS. Healing can be employed by itself or used alongside any other medical therapy or treatment
An ancient history
Healing has an ancient history and is not a phenomena brought about with “new age” thinking (another general misconception). Throughout the early civilisations of Egypt, Babylon, Greece and the Orient, healer priests used spiritual healing in their temples of worship. By 1000 BC the Egyptian Imhotep became so famous as a healer, that on his death, he was deified as the Egyptian God of Healing. The symbols of snakes that appear in the temples of Imhotep also feature in the Greek caduceus, a symbol of healing showing snakes entwined around a staff. The caduceus is still used today by many in the medical profession, one example being the US Army Medical Corps. Records exist of the successes of the Greek healer Asclepius and many of his results would be classed as miracles by modern standards. Priests of the time understood that each person held within themselves the elements of a cure and it was the priest’s function to help the patient discover these.
By the fifth century BC the Greek healer priests had established themselves as medical practitioners or physicians. The most famous of these was Hippocrates, born 460 BC. Known as the “Father of Medicine”, Hippocrates’ principles form the basis of the Hippocratic Oath undertaken by doctors to this day. The work of the healers who preceded these priests had been based on the theory that the individual spirit and life energy was at one with the Divine. The Hippocratic School was to cast this aside. Physicians concentrated on dealing with disease as it arose and the search for a drug to solve each individual problem as it was presented began. It was the start of allopathic medicine as we know it today.
Early Christianity and healing
During the time of Jesus, (probably the greatest healer of all time) many healings of great import were recorded. Subsequently, the Christian disciples’ ability to heal the sick underpinned the early Church for two centuries and an ability to heal the sick was a pre-requisite for the post of priest during that time.
The Middle Ages
In Europe in the twelfth century, however, Pope Alexander III warned that it was the devil influencing the clergy to treat the sick, and the study of medicine and treatment of the sick was in future to be left to physicians. By the end of the Middle Ages, the Church banned vitalism (holism) and the use of natural herbal remedies was put aside in favour of the more complex (and more expensive) potions prescribed by the licensed physicians.
The 19th centrury: allopathic v alternative medicines
In the nineteenth century, the growth of homeopathy, hypnotism, water cures and an array of other alternatives meant that the tide was again beginning to turn in favour of more holistic and natural remedies. Allopathic physicians found themselves under threat and they sought to reject or suppress any evidence or clinical trials of alternative treatments. They realised that what they needed was power to prevent evidence or research being collected that could damage their status. That power came in 1858 with the passing of an Act of Parliament. All qualified doctors were to be enrolled on one single register, the new General Medical Council (GMC). Dominated by doctors, the GMC could lay down the qualifications for entry onto the register.
The advent of penicillin to cure meningitis, TB and pneumonia, until then crippling killers, led to a revolution in medical history. By 1948 the National Health Service allowed the public access to free and effective cures for the first time and alternative forms of healing were discarded by much of the public.
The 20th century
Throughout the ascendancy of allopathic physicians however, healers continued to practice and administer healing to patients. Harry Edwards (b1893 –d1976) was one of the most famous healers of the 20th century. He had a great healing ability and as his work increased he was able to open his own sanctuary (the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary) which still exists today. His work expanded swiftly and he was keen to work alongside orthodox medicine.
Spiritual Healing and the GMC
Harry Edwards’ work influenced the General Medical Council (GMC) who, a year after his death, issued a major policy statement which made it legal for doctors to refer patients to healers: “If a doctor considered it to be in the patient’s best interests to receive spiritual healing, the doctor would be free to liaise with a spiritual healer, provided they remain in full control of the case”. His vision of doctors and healers working together was to be a long time coming, but today an increasing number of GPs, hospitals and hospices are employing healers to work with their patients.
Physicists today have discovered that all elements of the universe, including us, consist of rapidly vibrating levels of energy. If the energy flow within and around us is blocked or becomes out of balance, disharmony or “dis-ease” results. If the natural flow of energy can be restored, it follows that our natural health may also be restored. The healer taps into universal levels of energy to bring about change.
Today, we increasingly realise that the answer to illness rarely lies in taking tablets alone, but rather in addressing lives in their totality. Working holistically with the mind, body and soul, healing involves the transfer of energy between a healer and a patient to balance the flow of energy in and around the patient’s body. In this way the body’s natural ability to repair itself is stimulated and can result in the freeing of mental, emotional and physical blocks, returning harmony and balance.
A wide range of benefits
Healing has been shown to provide benefit and relief across a wide range of physical, emotional and mental difficulties, from stress, bereavement and depression to long term and chronic conditions. Many of those who have received healing say that they have experienced a profound sense of peace, calm and relaxation. It has been documented that after healing patients have been more receptive to mainstream medical treatment which has aided their speed of recovery. Patients have also reported feeling stable and more able to cope with their illness. Those with long term or chronic illness often experience improvements to their attitude and quality of life. It is rare that the patient does not experience some sort of benefit from healing.