Apparently the old faith-healing had lost its efficacy, and the priests substituted for it elaborate prescriptions as to diet, baths and regimen which must have made Epidaurus and its visitors resemble their counterparts in a modern spa.
In the Christian Church the tradition of faith healing dates from the earliest days of Christianity; upon the miracles of the New Testament follow cases of healing, first by the Apostles, then by their successors; but faith healing proper is gradually, from the 3rd century onwards, transformed into trust in relics, though faith cures still occur sporadically in later times.
With the Reformation' faith healing proper reappears among the Moravians and Waldenses, who, like the Peculiar People of our own day, put their trust in prayer and anointing with oil.
In the 16th century we find faith cures recorded of Luther and other reformers, in the next century of the Baptists, Quakers and other Puritan sects, and in the 18th century the faith healing of the Methodists in this country was paralleled by Pietism in Germany, which drew into its ranks so distinguished a man of science as Stahl (1660-1734) In the 19th century Prince Hohenlohe-WaldenburgSchillingsfiirst, canon of Grosswardein, was a famous healer on the continent; the Mormons and Irvingites were prominent among English-speaking peoples; in the last quarter of the 19th century faith healing became popular in London, and Bethshan homes were opened in 1881, and since then it has found many adherents in England.
Under faith healing in a wider sense may be included (I) the cures in the temples of Aesculapius and other deities in the ancient world; (2) the practice of touching for the king's evil, in vogue from the 11th to the 18th century; (3) the cures of Valentine Greatrakes, the "Stroker" (1629-1683); and (4) the miracles of Lourdes, and other resorts of pilgrims, among which may be mentioned St Winifred's Well in Flintshire, Treves with its Holy Coat, the grave of the Jansenist F.
Used in this sense faith healing is indistinguishable from much of savage leech-craft, which seeks to cure disease by expelling the evil spirit in some portion of the body.
In faith healing proper not only are powerful direct suggestions used, but the religious atmosphere and the autosuggestions of the patient co-operate, especially where the cures take place during a period of religious revival or at other times when large assemblies and strong emotions are found.
Feilding, Faith Healing and Christian Science; O.
Psychoanalysis and shamanism But might psychoanalysis be akin to faith healing or shamanic ritual?
In a third class must be placed the cure of disease by healing mediums. This belongs to medical psychology, and cannot well be studied apart from hypnotic treatment of disease, from the now well-recognized power of suggestion (q.v.), from "faith cures," "mind cures," "Christian Science" and cures connected with other forms of religious belief (see Faith-Healing).
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