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Curing of an illness or disability by recourse to divine power, without the use of traditional medicine. A healer such as a clergy member or an inspired layperson may act as intermediary. Certain places, such as the grotto at Lourdes, France, are believed to effect cures among believers. In ancient Greece, temples honoring the god of medicine, Asclepius, were built near springs with healing waters. In Christianity, support for faith healing is based on the miraculous cures wrought by Jesus during his ministry. Christian Science is noted for faith healing, and it is also practiced in a more dramatic way in Pentecostalism through such customs as the laying on of hands.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on faith healing, visit Britannica.com.