The Miracle Of
For months my left
knee had been giving me a lot of trouble. It was painful, stiff and prone to
letting me down at unexpected, and invariably inconvenient, moments.
don't like taking pills unless I really have to and so I wasn't doing anything
about it. Except maybe moan occasionally.
`Let me do some healing on it,'
suggested my wife, Donna Antoinette, who had long ago discovered that she had
And so, twice a day she sat in front of my knee and held
her hands around it. The first thing I noticed was the heat. Within moments the
whole knee began to feel as hot as if I'd been sitting in direct sunlight for
hours. Within minutes it felt extraordinarily warm.
It was almost as
though I could feel the healing taking place.
And slowly, over a few
weeks, the pain and stiffness in my knee started to disappear.
I did nothing else to help mend myself. No drugs, no
Just Donna Antoinette's healing
I'm not the only one she's healed.
A few months ago a
friend reported that her doctor had discovered that she had cancer. It had been
spotted during a surgical operation for something else.
There was, of
course, much sadness and great despair.
Donna Antoinette offered to give
some distance healing. She would target the cancer and try to help our friend's
body heal itself.
Four months later surgeons said they wanted to operate
to see how the cancer was developing.
To their astonishment it had gone.
They'd given anti-cancer drugs, of course.
they hadn't expected such a dramatic response.
I bet they
I donít think it was the anti-cancer drugs that got rid of the
In my opinion, it was Donna Antoinette's healing
Healing has a remarkably long tradition - reaching
far back beyond the origins of Christianity.
Some healers describe
themselves as `spiritual' and believe that their healing power comes directly
from a god or superior being of some kind. Other healers say that they are
merely a channel through which natural healing powers can succeed.
difference between `healing', `spiritual healing' and `faith healing' causes a
considerable amount of confusion among both practitioners and patients. The fact
is that there is a considerable amount of overlap between the different types of
healing. These, however, are the definitions that are widely
The patient trusts the
healer and allows his will-power and energies to be marshalled in such a way
that he can make best use of his body's self-healing capacities. The patient
must trust the healer and there is a powerful link between the patient's mind
and his body.
The patient may or
may not know that the healing is taking place. He may or may not be receptive
and enthusiastic. The healer transmits energy from himself to the patient in
some mysterious way.
One of the famous places where healing takes place
is Lourdes, a town in the French Pyrenees which is worth discussing in some
The history of Lourdes as an attraction for pilgrims seeking
cures goes back to 1858 when a 14-year-old girl called Bernadette Soubiros
claimed that a lady had appeared to her on the cliffs of Massabielle, a spot
just outside Lourdes itself. The young girl's report of her conversation with
this mysterious lady led the people of the town to believe that the lady she had
met had been none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary - the Mother of Jesus
As a result Lourdes quickly became a favourite place of
pilgrimage. Catholics from all over Europe wanted to visit the spot where the
Virgin Mary had been seen. Among the pilgrims were a great many sick people
hoping to be cured.
At first the local authorities weren't all that keen
on the idea. They wanted to play the whole thing down. But local businessmen who
were busy catering to the thousands of hungry and thirsty pilgrims were more
enthusiastic. Within a short time the local bishop had decided that young
Bernadette really had met the Virgin Mary. Lourdes had become an official place
In 1883 the Baron de St Maclou, a doctor, took up
residence at Lourdes and started examining those people who claimed that they
had been cured. He insisted on seeing medical certificates from patients who
claimed that they had been healed and he invited all visiting members of the
medical profession to take part in his investigations. Neither he nor the
Catholic Church were particularly keen to have an epidemic of so-called
The system that the Baron devised is still followed today, over
a century later. Everyone who claims to have been cured by a miracle at Lourdes
must go before the Lourdes Medical Bureau which examines each individual very
carefully. All the doctors attending Lourdes on any one day (and that can be
over one hundred) are allowed to take part in the preliminary questioning of the
patient who claims to have been cured by a miracle.
The Medical Bureau
uses a set of simple rules (based on rules set up in 1735 by Cardinal Lambertini
who later became Pope Benedict 14th) to help decide whether or not a miracle has
First, the disease that has been cured must be serious,
normally incurable, and unlikely to have responded to treatment.
a disease which disappears must not have reached a stage where it could have
disappeared by itself.
Third, no medication should have been give to the
patient. Or, if medicines were prescribed, then they must have had quite
Fourth, the cure must be sudden and reached more or
Finally, the cure must be complete.
Bureau decides that there is a possibility of a medically inexplicable cure then
they open a dossier on the patient and invite him or her to return to Lourdes
the following year.
Meanwhile, the President of the Medical Bureau tries
to collect as much information about the pilgrim as he possibly can.
at least three years the pilgrim must return to Lourdes and be re-examined.
Then, and only then, will the case be referred to the International Medical
Committee of Lourdes. If they are convinced that the cure has no medical
explanation then the Church will be invited to declare the healing a
Not surprisingly this doesn't happen very often. Over four
million pilgrims go to Lourdes every year and about 65,000 are registered as
sick. Since 1858 a total of 6,000 people claiming to have been cured
miraculously have been examined. Of them only 64 have been recognised as
As medical science advances and the Lourdes
scrutineers find it more and more possible to explain seemingly inexplicable
cures the number of miracles seems to decrease.
Lourdes is, of course, a
unique centre for pilgrims looking for a miracle. Patients going there have
tremendous faith in the generosity and kindness of their God.
Despite the popularity of places like Lourdes most
healers claim that healing isn't necessarily mystical and certainly doesn't need
to be associated with any religion or religious group.
The majority of
healers claim that whereas the world `faith' implies that healing must always
come from some sort of religious power or divine intervention, their experience
suggests that there is absolutely no need for an individual to have any faith.
On the contrary they claim that healing is a natural phenomenon that all of us
can benefit from.
`Healing,' one healer said, `is not a special gift. It
is just that the full-time healers practise a lot and get quite good at
Today healing (in all its varied forms) has become a thriving
alternative medical speciality. There are tens of thousands of healers around.
In Britain, for example, the Confederation of Healing Organizations represents
no less than nine separate healing groups and some nine thousand individual
Healers work in a wide variety of different ways.
Some healers lay their hands on their patients. Some put their hands just above
the patient's body. Some healers claim that they can heal a patient without the
patient being present (this is, not surprisingly, known as `distance healing' or
Some healers pray, some mutter incantations and some
remain completely silent. Some encourage their patients to visualize an
improvement in their bodies. Some healers claim that they act on behalf of
special healing forces.
Some healers charge their patients a fee. Some do
One thing that most healers agree on is that anyone can become a
healer. Mothers can heal their children, orthodox doctors can heal their
patients and we can all heal ourselves - some of the time at least.
advantage of visiting a professional healer is that you benefit from that
individual's strength of personality and enthusiasm. The good healer can give
even the most cynical and timid patient vigour, energy and
Loving someone, and wanting them to get better, are, it seems,
part of the healing force. But there is more to it than that. The effective
healer must want to help his patients but he must also be prepared to transfer
some of his own healing energies to the minds and bodies of his
Like most other responsible practitioners, healers
are keen to obtain real evidence to show that they can help patients get better.
And a number of experiments have already been conducted.
One of the
earliest pieces of important research work was done by a biochemist called
Bernard Grad who worked at McGill University in Montreal in the late 1950s and
early 1960s. The subjects of his experiments were mice and plants.
first experiment the mice were operated on - each having a small patch of skin
removed. The mice were then divided into two groups. The mice in the first group
were touched by a healer. The mice in the second group were left to heal by
themselves without any treatment at all. The experiment showed that when a
healer touched the mice they got better much quicker than when they were left to
get better alone. It was even shown that if the healer touched a mouse's bedding
it would improve the speed with which he got better.
In the second
experiment similarly impressive results were obtained with plants. Barley seeds
were made `sick' by putting them into a saline solution. Once again it was shown
that the seeds which were touched by a healer made a much speedier recovery than
the seeds which were not touched by a healer.
In America, Dolores
Krieger, Professor of Nursing at New York University and one of the best known
healers in the world, has convinced sceptical doctors by running controlled
trials in which it has been shown that blood changes produced by healing can be
measured in the laboratory. You can't get evidence much more conclusive than
I have for a long time been convinced that healers can produce a
positive effect when dealing with patients (I suspect that healing stimulates
the production of the body's own self-healing hormones) but I remained sceptical
about the ability of healers to produce genuine physical changes until I made a
series of programmes for BBC television some years ago.
starting the series I had received a letter from a lady who practises healing
and I had invited her to take part in one of the programmes. The healer had
written to me claiming to have quite unusual healing powers and I wanted to
check her out.
At my request the healer brought with her to the studio a
patient who had suffered from bad arthritis and who claimed that her pains had
`miraculously' disappeared. My scepticism faded completely when I obtained the
patient's X-rays from her hospital consultant and found that there had been an
observed radiological improvement in the patient's condition.
this merely the result of my interpretation of the X-rays. We obtained reports
written by an expert radiologist who didn't even know the patient had seen a
healer. His reports that there had been a definite and otherwise inexplicable
change in the patient's condition in the time when she had been seen by the
There is a simple experiment that can be done by
anyone who wants to be convinced of the possible `healing power' of the human
Start by putting your hands close together, with your fingers
pointed away from you as though you were praying. Don't quite let your hands
touch but get them as close together as you possibly can.
your hands by about 2 inches and keep them apart for a few seconds.
return your hands to their original position - with the palms as close together
as you can get them without touching.
Keep your hands in that position
for a few seconds and then separate them by 4 inches. Once again keep them apart
for a few seconds.
After returning your hands back to their original
position separate them by 6 in. Do this as slowly as you possibly can and
remember to stay in each different position for a few seconds at a
Finally, separate your hands by 8 or 10 inches and then slowly
bring them back together again in rather jerky, 2 inch movements.
will quite possibly feel a strange sort of `bounciness', as though air were
being compressed between your hands. And you'll probably also notice a change in
the skin temperature of your hands. It may become a little warmer or simply
tingle a little, but with most people the changes make the skin feel slightly
Healing can be used in just about any physical or
mental condition. The help of a professional healer is particularly useful in
the treatment of conditions where the patient is weary and exhausted and has
insufficient energy to use his own self-healing powers without outside
Sudden `miracles' are, naturally, extremely rare. Healing is
usually a gradual process. But it is certainly true that a remarkable number of
patients do make a recovery after intervention by a healer.
It is perhaps
worth mentioning that all the healers I have spoken to insist that healing
should be used together with other forms of treatment. Most healers prefer to
work alongside orthodox medical practitioners. And, returning the compliment,
most orthodox medical practitioners seem happy to work alongside
And, in my case, my healer (Donna Antoinette) worked on an
orthodox medical practitioner!
Copyright Vernon Coleman September
Vernon Coleman's books Bodypower, Mindpower and
Spiritpower are available from the shop on this website and from all good
bookshops and libraries everywhere.