FAQ on Healing

Please note that this page occasionally will be expanded and revised.

A Definition of Spiritual Healing

People helping other people to help themselves, magically. Miracles happen.

A Definition of Magic and Miracles

Events that our present knowledge of the universe cannot explain,
because that knowledge is inadequate and incomplete.

Do you have to believe in healing in order for it to work?
No. But it is helpful if you don't disbelieve in it. This is true of anything. For example, if you go to the doctor firmly convinced that he cannot help you, and that there is no point in taking the medicine he prescribes, he is not likely to be able to do much for you. The same is true of healers and other health practitioners. We all need cooperation. You have to be willing.

What kind of illnesses respond best to healing?
Unlike medicine, healing is not for specific illnesses. Healing works by helping people to do whatever they need to do to make themselves better. The real question is:

What kind of people respond best to healing?
In one sense, all sorts - young, old, fat, thin, extroverted, introverted, happy, unhappy, good, bad, and all the rest. In another sense, healing is somewhat selective, in that it doesn't happen when the person involved needs their illness, either as a way of coping with (or avoiding) certain aspects of their life or as a means of learning an essential life lesson. However, healing also, somewhat mysteriously, often evokes insights that help people cope with their life situation differently or that help them to understand what they are trying to learn from the illness. When this happens, the client usually gets better rapidly.

Does this mean that people make themselves sick?
People do not usually consciously choose to be ill. However, they may make choices (conscious or unconscious), the consequences of which are so stressful that they become ill. This stress can be a result of:

    choosing to live in a way that one is unsuited for (an example: a person whose natural strengths and talents are his creative, artistic, intuitive abilities and whose weaknesses are his linear thinking and logical abilities trying to be an accountant), or
    choosing to try to always please others at the expense of one's own needs (an example: the person who is always 'there for other people' but who can't let people help her, even when she needs it).

Are particular healers better for some people than others?
Yes. Healing always works better when the client is able to relax and feel comfortable with the healer (tension blocks energy), and when the healer can relate to the client without distancing themselves with judgements and criticisms (attitudes that create tension and block energy). The less inclined a healer is to judge and criticize people, the wider a range of people he or she can work with effectively.

What are the personal qualities of an excellent healer?
Grounded. Centered. Patient. Listens well. Doesn't waste energy on judging others. Compassionate. Self-disciplined. In fact, these are simply the qualities of a compassionate, caring, reasonably wise person. In addition to that, he or she must have developed to a high degree the inner skills involved in healing.
Thus, a good healer:

    is well trained and experienced in the type of healing being done,
    doesn't try to practice beyond his or her competence (i.e. doesn't counsel without good training in counseling skills),
    practices the essential inner disciplines of meditation,
    works consistently on his or her own personal and spiritual growth,
    has developed enough trust in the process we call life to be able to cope with the stresses and strains of the work, and
    takes care of himself through proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and recreation so that he is at his best when called upon to help others.

Please note: very, very few healers live up to all of that all of the time - we are all fallible humans, learning and growing, finding our own way. There may be some who have nothing further to learn, but if so, I haven't met them yet.

Are energy balancing and healing the same thing?
Not really. Technically speaking, energy balancing implies taking energy from one part of the system to add energy to another part of the same system in order to achieve a more equal balance in the various elements of the system. Healing, on the other hand, most probably will involve energy balancing, but it may also involve energy release or energy enhancement.
However, many people use the terms interchangeably, often because they are not quite sure what they are doing or because they are unwilling to consider themselves 'healers' - a term that somehow really unnerves some people, even though we all do it all of the time.

Are Spiritual healing, psychic healing, and faith healing all the same thing?
Possibly no, possibly yes. It all depends on how you define the terms. Some people define spiritual healing as what they do (implied judgement: a good thing) and psychic healing as what others do, using different methods or based on a different belief system (implied judgement: a bad thing). These people are stuck in a black and white world. Personally, I prefer the following definitions:

    Spiritual Healing Something that happens when both the healer and the client surrender completely to the healing process. Miracles often occur. This kind of healing happens rarely, and can only happen when both the healer and the client are ready for it. This kind of healing takes place on the levels of body, mind, and spirit simultaneously. Personality changes are common when it happens. Nothing the healer or client can do can force this type of healing to occur but often it becomes more likely to happen after a series of psychic healing treatments.

    Psychic Healing This encompasses a wide range of healing techniques- energy balancing, laying on of hands, crystal healing, color healing, reiki, et cetera - which relax and energize the body and frequently bring about the release of blocked emotional energy. This type of healing usually brings a relief of symptoms, improvement in physical health, promotes wellness, and often helps the client with personal growth issues. Typically, progress toward physical and/or emotional wellness is a slow, fairly steady process with occasional jumps forward.

    Faith Healing Something that happens when both the healer and the client truly believe that it will. Often this involves having some god or another being in favor of it. Don't misunderstand me - faith healing works. But it also has its drawbacks. The main one is that both the healer and the client must believe. If they have doubts about their own belief, the healing doesn't work because they block the transmission of energy by their disbelief. In other words, healing only requires faith if you believe it requires faith.

Do emotions affect health?
Emotions affect health in very important ways. And sometimes they are sneaky ways as well. Different emotions create varying conditions in the body. Hormones, endorphins, and other self-produced chemicals make the body more or less susceptible to illness.
Our internal environment becomes more or less hospitable to invaders and berserker cells depending on its chemical state. The immune system varies in efficiency as our emotions switch back and forth. Not surprisingly, emotions which feel good normally promote health and emotions that distress us suppress the immune function and create an inner environment in which illness thrives. I'm feeling too lazy just now to look up the references, but you could look them up yourself if you wish.

Issues to be addresed as soon as I have time: how healing helps the dying and much more, including your questions if you send them to me.

If you have questions on healing arts that are not answered in these pages,
please ask jesamac@pobox.com
so I can add the answers (if I know them) to this page.
Any comments you might make will be read with interest.

This originally appeared in Otherworld Arts, March 1996
Copyright © 1996 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.
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