The Healing Factor

The difference between finding the cure and actual healing

Healing and curing are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they have fundamental differences. Did you know you can cure without really healing? Did you know you can heal without actually curing?.What’s missing in our health care system today is the facilitation for healing as opposed to only focusing on the cure, which is more limiting in scope.

The main focus of curing is the elimination of the disease or the treatment of specific symptoms. This can be life-saving especially in emergency situations. With today’s technology, it is amazing what they can achieve. Although modern medicine works wonders, sometimes there is no cure, but there can always be healing. One pitfall in the medical system is that they have become so specialized that pretty soon you will have a left foot specialist and a right foot specialist and neither one will consider the other or the whole picture.

Healing comes from the root word, “hale,” an old English word meaning “returning to wholeness, becoming well again.” Healing is more than just the physical body and not merely the absence of disease. It seeks to integrate the whole person, body, mind, emotional and soul. The main focus is pursuing a more healthy lifestyle rooted in balance and prevention.

The main goal of curing is to alleviate the immediate distress. For example, if a person is treated for heartburn with medication, they may be cured of the symptoms, but if they continue doing what they’ve done to bring on those symptoms, chances are, the problem will persist. The bandaid approach may temporarily reduce or remove the symptoms, but not necessarily the underlying root cause. 

Healing occurs at a deeper level and involves a larger holistic perspective. The definition of health is a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being and not merely a quick fix or the absence of disease. Some people may have cured their symptoms, but they are not healthy.

Dis-ease is our body’s way of telling us that something is out of balance. Quick fixes address certain issues and the end result is that health is defined as the absence of disease. Quite often, what is missing is the opportunity for true healing to occur and to address a whole life transformation instead of just a body part transformation.

Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of Peace, Love & Healing, as well as many other books on healing, often states that it’s not about curing the disease, but about healing the life. One of the stories he told was about this little boy who had terminal cancer. His parents decided to end all treatments and bring him home. The boy’s last wish was to play in the park, which he did, and was purely delighted as he had the most fun ever, with no IV’s and tubes. In the following weeks, he actually started to get better. Eventually, the little boy passed away. Dr. Bernie Siegal said that he lived his life to the fullest during the last few months more than he ever did before. His cancer was not cured, but his life was healed.

When seeking out a cure, the patient is not required to make major changes and is mainly a passive recipient of medical care. It’s about what the doctor can do for you. 

In healing, the patient has an active role and the responsibility is shifted from the doctor to the patient requiring them to make changes in their lifestyle, as they become more aware and willing to get involved. It’s about how we choose to respond to life situations rather than be the victim and keep looking to place blame and give excuses.

It’s about realizing that our life is part of a larger reality, and that although the pain may not be cured, we can experience healing by finding alternative, creative ways of living. By enhancing our well-being, we find peace and acceptance as we move in the direction of health and consider our spiritual side, which happens to be the most neglected aspect of healing and health.

The body has a natural tendency towards health with a built-in security system that continuously seeks balance in order to maintain health. Homeostasis, the wisdom of the body, provides a constant state of maintenance and can repair its own damage if we allow for the ideal conditions instead of interfering or just covering up the symptoms. It’s much like cutting off the fire alarm; although the fire alarm may have stopped, the fire continues to burn, unless some action is taken.

Most problems are caused by us getting out of balance, and pain is the greatest gift as it comes bearing messages that can guide us and bring our attention to what needs to be changed. Because the body is constantly regenerating, we must assist rather than obstruct it. 

By seeing our dis-ease or illness as a teacher/partner, we can learn and grow by discovering what is missing or out of balance in our lives. Curing may buy us time and offer us a greater degree of comfort as we gain a better understanding and awareness of how we can redirect and rebalance our lives. When used in this capacity, it can serve as a stepping stone for healing.

The most powerful healing that can occur is when we rediscover ourselves and take the opportunity to redesign our lives by including not only all the joys of life but also the stressful difficulties we encounter along the way. How we integrate all our experiences is what leads to our wholeness. 

I once heard of an analogy of our symptoms being like the lights on our car’s dashboard. When the light comes on, it catches our attention and gives us information. We then proceed to ask more questions and try to understand what is going on. For the most part, we take care of the situation and resolve the issue at hand. Nothing will get fixed by ignoring the light or getting upset by it, nor will it go away by itself or by you trying to get rid of it by placing tape over the light. 

On the road to re-discovery, we can choose to live in peace and in harmonious alignment with our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of being. True healing requires that we become fully engaged and fully present in our lives with a deeper understanding of all the parts of our being.

Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirdie from America’s Got Talent, recently passed away from her four year battle with cancer. At her audition, she sang one of her original songs entitled, “It’s OK.” She also mentioned that her cancer had spread to her lungs, spine and liver. However, that didn’t stop her from living her dream and staying optimistic about life. As she said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard any more before you decide to be happy.

It’s time to humanize the medical system, empower patients and embrace a new model of healthcare that honors both science and spirituality as a joint venture. In order to facilitate the healing process, it is important to incorporate the holistic approach which views the patient as a multidimensional being, where we are treated as a human being and not just a human body. 

Healing is not just about our physical illness; it needs to encompass the whole of our lives by bringing all the parts that are broken or missing back together. Healing brings us on a transformative journey of self-realization that starts with acknowledging and accepting where we are now. By being honest with our situation and by listening to our emotions and our bodies, we can identify what is blocking the experience of wellness and then focus on how to change the disruptive pattern. The process leads us to make positive changes and deeper connections and meaning in life. We recover and emerge as a stronger, healthier version of ourselves as we embrace a more holistic approach to living and well-being. 

Antoinette Giacobbe