By Kate Thorp/Divine Caroline
The power to heal is a profound gift. But is it all science and medicine? Or could faith possibly have a role, or maybe even a little hocus pocus?
If you’re in need of healing—looking to provide relief to a loved one or wanting to be a healer—you may have sought not only medical intervention, but also a few less traditional, yet often potent, methods, such as mind over matter. In other words, if our minds convince us that something is working (the placebo effect), could that belief actually help to heal us? Conversely, could we undo the benefits of modern medicine with doubt?
To learn more, I decided to research more popular—and sometimes controversial—methods of healing that go beyond the idea of mind over matter.
You’ve heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter has indeed been credited with pain reduction, lowering stress hormones, and boosting the immune system. It’s not all rhetoric, though; quite a few patients and physicians would agree. Funny movies, comedy clubs, or attending a session of The Laughter Remedy, created by Paul E. McGhee PhD, might just prove to be a smart form of entertainment with a side of healing. But don’t misunderstand this remedy to be a silver bullet; even Dr. McGhee says you should use it in conjunction with your medical professional’s instructions.
Man’s (and woman’s) best friend has continuously proven to do more than keep us company. Aside from the profound stories of animals finding their way home from hundreds of miles away or the incredible ability of some to sense death, seizures, or illness, we know that the unconditional love of animals can provide healing effects, too. They’re credited most with lowering stress levels, blood pressure, and improving cardiovascular health, and many organizations have been formed with those healing effects in mind. Therapy Dogs, Inc, for example, has a goal to bring happiness and cheer to people in need and Windrush Farm uses its horses to transform the lives of those with disabilities.
Experts are now studying whether dogs can diagnose illness such as ovarian cancer, diabetes, and others.