Healing, curing, and caring

Are healing and curing synonymous terms? What is the relationship between healing and curing? I considered these questions from a different perspective after attending the symposium "Spirituality and Healing in Medicine" Conference sponsored by Harvard Medical School and The Mind/Body Institute, Deaconess Hospital, December 3–5, 1995, under the direction of Herbert Benson, M.D. See reports in the Sentinel, January 15, 1996, and in The Christian Science Journal, February 1996. last December in Boston.

At this conference, it was encouraging to see the serious search for spiritual answers by so many people professionally engaged in caring for the sick and alleviating suffering. One issue that was brought up on several occasions was put forward not only by medical professionals but also by members of the clergy. It was suggested that while prayer and spiritual means can clearly be shown to bring significant healing to a patient, they may not always bring a cure. In other words, from this vantage point, spiritual healing is believed to be a force that does make an important difference in a person's life—the individual may consequently feel closer to God, more at peace, more forgiving, or gain a sense of deeper meaning and purpose to existence. Even so, such an approach to healing, some felt, shouldn't be expected to prove itself as a consistently reliable method for actually curing disease, or restoring broken bodies, or eliminating physical pain.

Supply: fantasy or reality?
February 19, 1996

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