Metaphysical healing is based on the belief that negative mental patterns, left unchecked, can eventually result in physical disease or illness; and that the reversing of those negative mental patterns into positive patterns can in turn lead to healing.
Though western medicine dismisses the notion of metaphysical healing, there is little doubt about the connection between mind and body. Doctors routinely tell patients to keep spirits high while supporting visits from family and friends, understanding that anything that makes a patient feel better mentally and emotionally, aids healing. Depression, on the other hand, tends to slow healing.
Metaphysical healing takes this principle to a very fundamental level, in very specific ways. According to those who believe in it, certain common negative thinking habits affect particular areas of the body.
For example, worry about money issues tend to manifest as lower back problems, as the back represents support. A believer in metaphysical healing who was experiencing soreness in his lower back would examine his thought process to see if he had been over-anxious about money issues of late. Once the negative thinking pattern was identified and replaced with a new habitual positive pattern, the backaches, if caused by the old negative pattern, should subside.
The idea behind this type of healing is that the individual is his or her own healer, responsible for creating both health and illness. When an individual falls ill, the believer in metaphysical health does not think it was by chance, but by mental patterns that can be identified and replaced. The type and point of origin of the ailment gives a clue where to look in the thinking patterns.
According to this belief, the most compromising emotions to health are longstanding guilt, resentment, and anger. The biggest healers are self-love, self-acceptance, and self-worth.
Arguably the best-known modern proponent of metaphysical healing is Louise Hay. Her books have sold tens of millions of copies, translated into 29 different languages over 35 countries. She began teaching techniques for it in the 1970's. Hay had an opportunity to put her techniques to the test when she was diagnosed with vaginal cancer, and subsequently claimed to heal herself.
Most who espouse metaphysical healing do not believe in shunning western medicine, but do believe that illness is a by-product of an unhealthy mental pattern, and if the by-product is simply removed by doctors but the causation remains, the illness will return. Therefore those who believe in this choose to take responsibility for their well being as much as possible.
This type of healing has been practiced in one form or another throughout history. Shamanic practices relied heavily on the patient believing the shaman had the power to throw out illness. Believing so, once a ritual was performed, the patient was often healed.