Faith healing finding the science behind the pseudoscience

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Discussion by: stegeta9000

Hi all,

I am a very curious person and I must question everything and also try to rationalize everything, however there are some issues that I have no explanation for, this does not mean that I am willing to say it is god or any mysterious force it is just rather difficult to explain here it is..

My mother passes herself as a faith healer she performs reiki a spiritual practice of healing oneslef and others, now she claims that I have inherited her "power" she displayed this by bringing me into a room where my aunt I had not seen in a few months was sat she asked me to place my hand over not on both of her legs and to my amazement I felt a great deal of heat eminating from her right leg which then they revealed was injured, it did not require a cast or anything that would have made the test irrelivant. she claimed that I have the ability to heal others, I have experimented with friends and on myself only to find out I could not actually heal anyone (not surprisingly) but I was able to feel heat from areas which they have damaged on their body including some injuries that happend many years ago although the heat from these areas was weak it was distinguishable (this only happend with 2 people who could have been humering me).

I would also like to bring up that I suffer with colitis and I have had many occasions where I have had unbearable pain in my colon and painkillers do not help these spasms this is prior to my the medication I am taking for it which is amazing pentasa, on one occasion the pain was so unbearable I asked my mam if she could help alleviate some of the pain she took me out back where she performed her reiki ritual with music relaxation and massage as she was performing this I was in intense pain as my colon distended, my mam then placed her hand over my lower stomach and I had a large spasm the pain from which I felt dissipate rather quickly and the heat from her hand was intense, now although she did not heal or aid my condition she did manage to allevieate the pain i was still having spasms but none as intense as prior to the massage, I am unaware of the placebo's effect on bowel spasm but if this was the case I would reccommend my mams placebo every time.

I cannot heal people and I love and respect my mother she is an amazing woman but she cannot heal people in the way she feels she can, she can merely aid in the dissipation of some forms of pain.are there other people who are sceptical like me and can help me to explain this phenomena,

I am fairly certain what I am feeling is real, therefore if it is real there must be a multitude of people experiencing the same thing. If there are not a vast amount of people feeling the same thing then I guess that makes me Jesus :) just kidding.

Is there some biological process that could help shed some light on this issue. I am currently studying for my degree in computer science so if any are wondering why I just dont research it myself this is why plus whenever u search pseudoscience u either get some off the wall explanations and people are just not willing to put it under the microscope because u can't examine faith, which seems to be the big ass guard dog keeping science at bay here, I would really like to open this up for debate and see if there is a rational explanation for this.

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. I think sometimes “faith healing” works because of the placebo effect, or because people want to please the healer or convince themselves of something happening. (“Faith healing” on TV is generally a scam and distortion of truth, but I’m sure there are people who are trying to convince themselves they were healed, too.)

    As far as the heat thing goes, I do know some injuries produce heat due to inflammation. Thermal imaging can be used to detect injuries and other medical issues, especially in veterinary medicine, where the animals can’t really tell you where it hurts. I’ve even seen Sea World use it on killer whales to examine injuries and look for tooth infections.

    • In reply to #1 by Kim Probable:

      I have epilepsy that started when I was 30. Since doctors just prescribed pills that did not work very well, somebody suggested that I should see a wise man that works with biofields etc., etc. Well, he got pretty close, except that the lesion was in the thalamus and not hypothalamus. BUT, he had also asked me many, many questions about how I feel, etc. So don’t you think that his diagnosis was due to good observation skills in combination with medical knowledge? And not the mystical biofields and my skin resistance in acupuncture points? And the same with thermal imaging – I think one just needs to find the hot place and examine the state of muscles of poor animal. Though imaging gadgets are more impressive and, if they work, they can help unexperienced doctor, however, if they do not work…..

  2. If you got yourself a good thermometer I expect it would not show the heat you think you are feeling. People are very good at fooling themselves, especially when someone they love and respect is involved.

    Faith healing may make someone feel a bit better due to the placebo effect, but the underlying malady is still there. It isn’t wrong to make someone feel better, but it would be unethical to suggest that real medical attention is not required after receiving any sort of “faith healing”.

  3. As Kim (#1) says, inflammation can cause heat and it can be very noticeable. I have had enough personal experience of this with haemophilia. However, it is this sort of thing a lot of faith healers play on as not everyone is sure about things like this and a part of the body that is noticeably hotter than the rest can seem strange.

    There is some stuff about faith healing in Chris Hallquist’s book: UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God (Debunking the myth of christ). Sorry, I have lost the link but if you have a search, he has offered it as a free download.

    Faith healing is very dangerous, especially in the hands on fundamental religions. There have been several deaths in the UK of HIV patients who gave up their medication and turned to holy water and prayer. While HIV is still deadly, modern medicines can help prolong the life of people with it considerably and to give up the medicines, as the prayer cases have shown, is basically suicide. Unfortunately, faith-healers are very good at selling their product, especially to the vulnerable.

    I am not suggesting your mother is like this, many faith-healers really do believe in their powers and want to be a force for the good. Unfortunately it is also a prime market for charlatans.

    Pain cain appear to be alleviated by some methods but usually it is pure coincidence that it stops when a healer is in action. However, people with long term conditions do become better at dealing with pain. Obviously if the pain is getting worse all the time it is unlikely to be possible but a situation like mine is different and there are many in similar circumstances.

    I cannot control pain but I am used to how severe it can get, therfore, it is very rare that I feel a new level of pain. In some people their pain threshold will increase over time but there are ways to try to get some short term relief. As I said, my pains, when they come, reach similar levels, so I know when they are at their peak. That in itself is a relief as I know the haemophiliac episode has reached its worst point and although I do not know when it will start improving, there is still the relief that it is not going to get any worse.

    I also find that with the right company I can divert my mind away from it, again, I am not controlling the pain but managing to cheat it for a while. Once I have reached the worst point, already mentioned, every time I can cheat the pain, even if it is only for a couple of minutes, I am getting nearer to the point where the pain will go naturally and that in itself is another form of relief.

    i am sorry if I have not explained this well but I find it quite difficult. However, this is something I have discussed with haemophiliac friends and we all agree that there are little cheats we can do to make the pain seem better at times. To a faith-healer they would be a sign that their powers were working, to us they are, as I said, just a cheat, albeit a welcome one.

  4. There is a reasonably productive hypothesis about why this and the placebo effect might work. It goes a little bit like this-

    The auto immune system is quite costly in terms of the energy it needs to function and having evolved in a mostly calorie deprived environment, as attested to by our low population levels, we may imagine that a prudent immune response might be to moderate your level of response unless you were very ill indeed, OR you happened to feel calorie-rich in some sense. Using the full capability when nearly starved could be fatal, it predicts.

    It is mooted that elaborate yet sham medical procedures, high levels of attention and infantile-like nurturing and so on, can trigger the “calorie-rich” detector and take the brakes off the auto-immune response.

    If not this then I suspect something like this will turn out to be the truth of the matter.

    • In reply to #4 by phil rimmer:

      There is a reasonably productive hypothesis about why this and the placebo effect might work. It goes a little bit like this-

      The auto immune system is quite costly in terms of the energy it needs to function and having evolved in a mostly calorie deprived environment, as attested to by our low population levels, we may imagine that a prudent immune response might be to moderate your level of response unless you were very ill indeed, OR you happened to feel calorie-rich in some sense. Using the full capability when nearly starved could be fatal, it predicts.

      It is mooted that elaborate yet sham medical procedures, high levels of attention and infantile-like nurturing and so on, can trigger the “calorie-rich” detector and take the brakes off the auto-immune response.

      If not this then I suspect something like this will turn out to be the truth of the matter.

      Interesting.

      Mike

  5. Back in my new agey years, I was on the receiving end of Reiki on several occasions.. The first time I had this done, my body felt as if it was humming for a few hours. Other times, I felt as if someone had hands over a certain area of my body when they were actually “working” on another area. My explanation for this is that it is the result of self-hypnosis and relaxation. The mind is highly suggestible. I have a physical condition in which stress causes me to feel more pain. More stress- more pain. Less stress- less pain. Also, I can think myself into such a relaxed state that I can make one part of my body feel lighter or heavier. Back when I was a teen, I practiced self-hypnosis. By doing this, I could put myself into a different state of mind and affect certain sensations. There was no source other than myself causing the sensations that I felt.

    In order for Reiki to actually work. A special energy would need to emanate up from the ground, run through the practitioner’s feel through his/her body and out of their hands. Then the energy would need to travel through the air and into another person. I have never witnessed someone directing energy from one source to another, otherwise we would be living in Harry Potter world. If Reiki would actually work, why is it that this energy cannot move toothpicks across a table? If it has the ability to travel all that distance as I mentioned here, why can’t the effects be observed on a small lightweight object? Yes, there are people who claim to do so, but none have passed any rigorous scientific testing.

  6. We here have one wise, old gastroenterologist, that speaks about healthy lifestyle from the point of view of the science. He is interesting and able to explain complex things even for lay person, but his texts in the women’s magazines are printed alongside nonsense like a new detox method, fruit, that will save you from breast cancer, hemorrhoids and impotent partner, despite him (gastroenterologist) repeatedly telling for example about very many woman being rushed to the hospital already in the middle of the detox. No, of course a publishing house in a small country cannot allow to print several magazines for all groups of readers, yet again – nobody has ever tried to find out whom would women prefer: the wise old gastroenterologist telling us that our bodies are wonderful (as long as we do not abuse them) or else a range of alternative “medics”?

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