Transformational Changes in Health Status: A Qualitative Exploration of Healing Moments
EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing
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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Dramatic self-change is a familiar concept within religious experience and is recognized within psychotherapy and some fields of nursing. However, it has been given limited consideration in wider health research, including healing research. We sought to explore the phenomenon of "healing moments". METHODS: Alternative medicine practitioners attending a continuing professional development course for healers within the UK's Holistic Health Show were shown a 10min video clip showing two of the authors discussing healing moments. Sixty-nine (69) of the practitioners then provided "short stories" outlining their own experiences of such moments. Both the video and the short stories were analyzed qualitatively using a thematic approach. We sought to evaluate holistic practitioners' perceptions of the concept of healing moments. RESULTS: The concept of healing moments was widely accepted by the 69 participants. An overarching theme of transformational change described personal shifts that ranged from the sudden and quasimiraculous to transient but much-needed improvements in health and wellbeing. Three subordinate themes of connectivity, quiescence and control were identified. Connectivity described intense connections, experienced through touch, empathy and love, which could provide reciprocal benefits for healers as well as clients. Quiescence captured the quiet, calm atmosphere that pervaded many healing episodes. The contrasting aspects of control encompassed healers relinquishing control to channel healing, and clients seizing control to become empowered in their own healing process. CONCLUSION: Healing moments are a recognized and distinct concept within healing, although they remain under-explored in the literature. Our findings suggest that such experiences are common among alternative medicine practitioners. The concepts we uncovered can inform future research.
PD would like to acknowledge the support of The Institute for Integrative Health who have provided him with a scholarship to pursue studies of healing in collaboration with ER, SB, SG, and SW
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Published online 30 June 2017
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