Introduction to Spiritual Healing

It is widely acknowledged that life is sustained and nurtured by a life force. Whether this life force is called an energy, power or substance does not matter as much as our particular relationship to this all omnipotent power. It has been recorded that where our relationship to this force is weak—resulting in an insufficient energy flow between us and it—sickness or poor health occurs; while where the energy flow is strong, health and wellness abound.

In life, one important task an individual can accomplish is to promote health and wellness for himself and others so that human potential may be achieved. This may be accomplished through a variety of methods and techniques, all of which aim to increase the life force to flow freely and abundantly so that its healing effects can be realized.

The goal of The Quest: Maximizing Health and Wellness Through Spiritual Healing is to obtain and utilize the power of God for the benefit of ourselves and others. Nor should our healing be restricted to this method, for spiritual healing—God’s creative and benevolent power working though us to heal—should complement the wondrous results often achieved by medicine, science and therapy. Spiritual healing can heal both the body and mind, and result in wellness: the experience of joy, contentment and elation brought about through the awakening of the core of our being—the spirit.

In this country and abroad various movements in the religious and medical community reflect a growing interest in the role of religion and spirituality on the healing process. As early as 1954, an Academy of Religious and Mental Health was established in the United States to further communication between the religious professions and healing. The National Institutes of Health has in the past established an Office of Alternative Medicine. Among other topics, its research included the effect of prayer on healing. In 1960, the British Ministry of Health allowed certified healers to practice alongside medical doctors in England’s forty-five hundred hospitals. Besides adhering to a medical code of ethics, these healers were also required to work closely with clergy, hospital personnel, and physicians.

The reported data concerning the effects of prayer on healing is encouraging. Reverend David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade, claims seventy-five percent of the addicts he treated through prayer were cured of their addiction. This figure compares well with the five-percent cure of addicts attributed to federal hospitals. In his text, Healing, Francis Macnutt states that about half of those his group prayed for with physical illnesses were either healed or showed improvement, while the success rate for those with emotional problems was seventy-five percent. Dr. Larry Dossey’s informative book, Healing Words, states that the result of examining 130 scientific studies pertaining to prayer was that prayer was effective in bringing about change in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. And Reverend Theodore E. Dobson’s handbook, How to Pray for Spiritual Growth, relates that the 1200 professionals belonging to ACT (Association of Christian Therapists) found therapy combined with healing prayer was more effective than therapy used by itself, cutting the sessions to about one-quarter or more of the normal time. Also, it is important to mention the admirable work of Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School whose book Beyond the Relaxation Response introduced the term “Faith Factor,” a concept which when practiced can relieve many human ailments. Another of Dr. Benson’s texts, Timeless Healing, is filled with data and observations on the physical and mental effects of healing resulting from religion and spirituality.

Once a subject of limited interest, spiritual healing has today gained wider acceptance and credibility as a technique for healing. For instance, one-third of the nation’s medical schools now offer courses in spiritually. A study of American doctors conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago indicated that 81% of the doctors believed that “better clinical outcomes can result directly from a patient’s spirituality.” And, more importantly, in recent years informative seminars and workshops have been offered across the nation dealing with the role of spirituality in healing. These workshops have been attended both by medical professionals and lay persons.

Readers of The Quest: Maximizing Health and Wellness Through Spiritual Healing are invited to participate in a series of psycho-spiritual exercises, a program aimed at spiritual growth, emphasizing in particular the means through which we can achieve health and wellness. Activities are presented in a logical and sequential order in a manner best suited to purge the superfluous and detrimental elements of human nature and to strengthen and aid the body and mind in developing new ways of thinking and acting. The regimen presented in this text also seeks to release us from those human shortcomings which enchain the human spirit by dissipating our energies, distracting us from seeking and obtaining knowledge and experience of God.

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Author's Bio: 

Raphael Ferraro graduated from American International College with a major in English Literature. At Springfield College, he receiveda Master’s in education and did graduate work in the fields of psychologyand counseling. He has conducted workshops on various topics such asstress-management, spiritual healing, and self-actualization.

Mr. Ferraro has also been a guest speaker at local colleges and other organizations. In addition to teaching English and psychology in high school, he has also held the position of Director of Health Education in the West Springfield Public Schools System.

Besides having taught creative writing in high school and on the collegelevel, Mr. Ferraro has written two novels and a text on spiritual healing. He is the founder and director of The Italian American Press, a website promoting self-published authors.

Mr. Ferraro has also been active in various religious activities in both hisparish and diocese. Presently, he is an instructor at American InternationalCollege in their Supportive Learning Services Program.