Faith Healing

Faith healing is the belief that there are people who are connected to a higher power and are able to heal injuries, cure diseases and restore health. Spiritual healing is practiced by either physically touching the patient or praying for the patient from a distance. Faith healers can be a single person or a group of people. The practice can involve praying, visiting a religious shrine or holy place, or just a belief in a Supreme Being or higher power.

History of Faith Healing

Faith healing has been practiced for thousands of years. The Bible recounts stories of God and certain holy people having the power to heal. Even the Divine Right of Kings supposedly gave royalty the ability to heal ailments through touch during the medieval era. Throughout the years, there have been reports of miracle cures through faith healing in some religious groups including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christian Scientists, Catholics, Pentecostals, evangelical Protestants, and orthodox Jewish sects.

Benefits of Faith Healing

There is no scientific evidence or studies that can support the belief that faith healing cures cancer or any other kind of disease or health problem. Yet faith healing has been known to reduce stress and anxiety, promote peace of mind and strengthen the desire to live. There have been anecdotal instances of unusual recovery following faith healing, but science shows no connection between faith and cure.

A review written in 1998 examined 172 cases of death among children that were treated only by faith healing. It concluded that if a conventional treatment were administered, the survival rate for these children would have been at least 90 percent. A more recent study of the past thirty years concluded that over 200 children in the United States died with treatable illnesses because their parents relied solely on faith healing.

Though faith can be a positive aspect in cancer recovery, substituting it for standard medical care rarely results in positive outcomes.  In addition, patients who are not healed may be subjected to hopelessness and guilt, sometimes with the belief that their faith was not strong enough to bring about a cure.  Sadly, there are also fraudulent faith healers preying on people in desperate circumstances by charging large amounts of money for their services.


American Cancer Society