A spiritual healer is someone who heals people or helps people heal themselves from a disease or ailment of the body, mind, soul and spirit. Ailments of the body can range from a headache to various forms of cancer, and abnormalities of the mind or soul can range from extreme timidity to paranoia. Spiritual healing often is confused with healing of the mind because many healers, particularly shamans, diagnose various mental illnesses as afflictions from evil spirits or punishment for one's evil activities committed in a former life. The specific activities carried out by the spiritual healer depend on the practitioner's religion or beliefs about the spiritual realm.
"Energy healer" is another term used to designate a spiritual healer. Among those who practice what are known as healing arts are a reiki master, a shaman or medicine man, an acupuncturist, an aromatherapist and a Christian healer. A basic philosophy held by spiritual healers is that the level of a person's chi or "life force" is reflected as sickness and unhappiness if it is low and produces good health and happiness when it is high. Various techniques are employed by a spiritual healer to strengthen a patient's chi energy. They include chants, aromatherapy, reflexology, crystal therapy, acupressure, meditation and audiovisual therapy.
Although some spiritual healers do not consider their services to be related to any specific religion, their practices originate and are based on the doctrines of religions and belief systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism and the many spinoffs of these. Prayer and the laying on of hands are practices that are typically associated with Christian spiritual healers, but some followers of Christianity believe that the Bible denies the existence of a neutral life force or neutral spirits by classifying all supernatural beings as either holy or unholy. A Christian spiritual healer does not actually declare himself a healer but rather encourages a person to accept his or her responsibility to denounce an unhealthy lifestyle and embrace the natural medicines that he or she believes to have been created by a god who is able to heal the mind, body and spirit. These spiritual healers refer the physically and mentally ill to Biblical instruction for divine healing and scriptures that they believe warn against the practice of chants, Eastern style meditation and acceptance of reincarnation as well as scripture that associates these beliefs with cleverly disguised demonic healing.
The services of a spiritual healer might consist primarily of educating a person on how to follow an all-natural diet and treat himself or herself with herbal medicines. Physical illness caused by health-destroying habits can lead to mental disturbances and fatigue, particularly when there is the need to undergo uncomfortable medical treatments that produce unpleasant side effects. This can lead to worry, elevated levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn can produce more health problems such as ulcers. A spiritual healer often serves as a coach to those who consult with him or her.