Healing vs. Curing

Here is my mentor Tom Monte’s explanation of the difference between Healing and Curing:


There is a fundamental difference between curing, which is the work done by medical doctors, and healing, done primarily by practitioners of complementary medicine.

Medical doctors discover the presence of disease by detecting the presence of certain signs and symptoms. Once an illness is found, doctors attempt to cure it by eliminating those signs and symptoms, usually through the use of pharmaceutical drugs, surgery, or radiation treatments. Drugs are used, for example, to relieve arthritis pain, or lower high blood pressure, or treat chronic stomach distress.

Though the symptoms and signs of an illness may be eliminated, the underlying cause of the disorder — as well as the behaviors that contribute to the disease — are largely unchanged. The person may be said to be cured of headache, or high blood pressure, but the causes of both disorders remain unchanged.

Curing requires very little behavioral change from the person being treated. He or she merely submits to the doctor’s treatment and is said to be cured.

To heal means to change the underlying condition that either created the illness in the first place, or support its continued presence. The vast majority of the illnesses that afflict and kill people today take a long time to create and finally present symptoms and signs. Heart disease, the common cancers, adult-onset diabetes (type 2), high blood pressure, digestive disorders, and forms of arthritis are usually the consequence of long-standing behaviors, such as dietary practices, cigarette smoking, lack of exercise, stress, and other behaviors that destroy health. These behaviors create the conditions for illness and support its life.

To heal means to reduce or eliminate the conditions that support disease and replace those conditions with those that create and support health.

When a doctor tells a patient that there is no cure, it means that there is no treatment that the doctor can administer to eliminate the illness. It does not mean that the person cannot be healed. There is no cure for heart disease, for example, but we all know that a person with heart disease can be fully healed and the illness eliminated from the body. To be healed, the patient himself must change his behavior.

Healing is more often the domain of competent complementary healers, while curing is the domain of medical doctors. Depending on the situation, both approaches may be necessary. In many instances, each approach is enhanced by embracing the other.



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