The Mystery of Faith in Healing
A 2001 study shows prayer doubled the rate of successful in-vitro fertilization, but another recently concluded that heart patients who were prayed for experienced more complications. Whichever side of the debate you're on, whether you call it alternative, integrated or faith healing, the ancient idea of "laying of hands" is seeing a modern resurgence.
Tanya Heath, a faith healer, says her father had cancer and wasn't supposed to live much longer than six months. A nurse taught her therapeutic touch, and a faith healer was born.
"And just like if you're at a party and you feel someone looking at you, and you're facing this way and they're over there," said Heath. "How did you know they were looking at you? There's some kind of energy interaction between people, between situations."
It's the basis of prayer for believers, although they acknowledge it can be difficult to apply logic.
"Many acknowledge the mystery, and while we want to nail it all down and understand it and put a formula to it and gain control, it may not be all that nice and neat," said Gary Dewitt, a United Methodist pastor.
Heath doesn't claim to have supernatural power.
"I am a conduit for God's energy to come through me and to the person who's receiving the healing," she said.
Heath wholeheartedly believes prayer kept her father alive for years longer than doctors predicted.
"Okay, this is working, and it's worth it to just be quite and listen to that inner voice," said Heath.
"When it happens to you, the study is over," said Dewitt.
Many scientists question the idea of miraculous cures by a higher power. One member of the medical community summed up his stance by saying;
"Yesterday's science fiction often becomes tomorrow's science."