A (very) brief History of Healing.
Heal:-: - In its simplest and earliest form, it meant, “to make whole”.
The word Heal comes to us from across the centuries. Heal(v.) comes from the Old English haelen “cure; save; make whole; sound and well,” which was derived from the early proto Germanic languages. *hailjan (cf. Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch Helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan “to heal,cure”), lit “to make whole”
Healing is also derived from a similar root. Healing(n.) meaning “restoration to health,” Old English haeling; see heal. Figurative sense of “restoration of wholeness” is from early 13c.; meaning “touch that cures” is from the 1670s.
Shamans and wise women originally practised healing for thousands of years; until the emergence of established religions, healing was a natural part of a wider holistic view of nature. This declined during the middle ages when the concept of both temporal and spiritual offences arose from religious institutions with practitioners of natural healing modalities branded as witches or warlocks or other less pleasant terms.
As shamanistic none religiously based Healing gradually re - emerged from the spiritualists Churches during the 1930`s, Healers generally were thought of as people who provided Healing through the transmission of energy through their hands.
Prior to this period, non-denominational Healers operating outside the established Church risked prosecution under the witchcraft and treason act of 1735, scientific and social ridicule, or religious persecution. Through a process of campaigning by the spiritual healing community led by Harry Edwards and others and amid the controversy surrounding the trial of Helen Duncan, the repeal of this act saw it replaced by the fraudulent mediums act of 1952.
The further development of public health policies with the House of Lords Science and Technology report in 2001 saw Healing finally accepted as a therapy in its own right and the repeal of the fraudulent mediums act. With the establishment of National Occupational Standards for several complementary therapies, Healing has been able to take its place alongside such therapies as acupuncture, aromatherapy, osteopathy, Reiki, Shiatsu, Yoga, and Hypnotherapy and a number of other modalities. This has allowed it to emerge from being a solely religious practice and enter society as a stand-alone body of knowledge, skill, and belief.
What is Healing and how does it work ?
Traditionally Healers have subscribed to the belief of the existence of a vital life force. Referred to by many names, and often commonly known as Prana, Chi, or etheric energy. Healers and Mystics believe that the absence, disturbance or lack of this energy, results in bodily illness and ultimately death. Mainstream rationalist or empirically based science has not found evidence it classes as acceptable to support this claim yet. However over the years a considerable number of people have continued to seek out Healers and, often anecdotally, report beneficial improvements in their health.
Many Healers often feel a calling, or discover a gift or talent for Healing and have gone on to either train others or simply practice as Healers. Additionally many long established groups and associations have taught others how to access what is believed by many to be a universally available gift. That gift can also manifest through Music, Art, Dance, Literature, Social Justice Movements and activities that promote a holistic and sustainable approach to life, this is the creative life enhancing force at work.
Whilst mainstream science does not recognise the central premise on which Healers base their understanding, in 2001 the UK Government, recognised the fundamental right of the individual to seek whatever help they deem is appropriate for them in managing their own health.
As part of its duty to safeguarding the public, it agreed that for the public to be able to use Healers safely, they should be appropriately trained; and regulated, according to agreed and recognised National Standards. These have been in place since 2005, undergoing revision in 2011.
During the intervening period between the 1950`s and today many other forms or styles of Healing have emerged all based on this central idea that there is an energy field governing health within the human body, not all conform to the National Occupational Standards for Healing. Some of these methods are reinventions of existing systems and bodies of knowledge; some are methods and systems taken from global Shamanic beliefs and Eastern religious and medical practice. Some claim to be entirely new methods “channelled” to certain Healers.
Many of these systems whilst appearing superficially similar often contain language and descriptions of their methods that set them apart from both early spiritual Healing as practised by Shamans and Spiritualists and therefore are not covered by the National Occupational Standard for Healing. It is not the intention of the WFH to debate or discuss the differing merits of these types of Healing. Instead, we will seek to identify commonalities based on clear evidence and identify which ones meet the existing NOS for Healing. We will seek to identify that where possible practitioners and/or training schools meet the National Standards and legal obligations as set by the UK Government in meeting its duty of protecting the public.
Government Standards Setting Bodies
- Ofqual (Office of Qualifications) - Regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments
- The PSA (Professional Standards Authority) – Regulates the Healthcare regulators
- ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) - Regulates advertising claims
- Skills for Health - Maintains National Occupational Standards in Healthcare
- Skills for Care - Maintains National Occupational Standards in Social Care