Healers in the 21st century? Why do they still exist at the time when medicine and science made such remarkable advances? 


My great-grandmother was a healer. She lived in a small Russian village which you wouldn’t even be able to find on a map. Born before the Soviet Revolution, she had only finished four grades of school but could still teach me the multiplication table in the 1980s. The only church in the village was demolished soon after the revolution and religion became prohibited as an “opium for the masses”.  Still, my babushka seemed to have been quietly rebellious and diligently served her own full prayer service two times a day without fail. After a long day of tedious work on their farms, villagers would wash themselves clean and go out in the evenings. For older ladies, going out meant wearing their neat clothes and headscarves and sitting nicely on the benches outside of their homes. It’s at that time that I saw people with sprained ankles and wrists coming to my grandmother for healing. She healed with her hands and prayer and was paid with fresh hen eggs and other produce. I have no idea how she had learnt to heal and I  wish that I could ask her.


Modern healers are a different kettle of fish. Most of them have enough degrees, diplomas and certificates to cover an entire wall. Many of them used to be professionals in other fields, earning a stable salary with bonuses and other perks before finally deciding to drop it all and go their separate ways. The ‘what do you do’ question, a favourite for many as a conversation starter, may become a bit of a challenge.  You can no longer resort to an easy and ‘normal’ answer like ‘I’m in shipping’ or ‘sales’. Not everybody takes “I’m a healer” well as an answer. In any case, professionalism doesn’t change when one changes a profession. 

Urban healers aren’t special or different from others. They aren’t perfect and they surely aren’t saints or gurus. They learn techniques and have what in the corporate world we call technical expertise.

Urban healers aren’t slow-witted or naive. They are not there to defy or replace science and conventional medicine. Neither are their clients. They see a human being as more than just a physical body and know how to work with the complexity of layers, energies, emotions, issues and challenges that every human being grapples with from time to time. 

Urban healers keep an eye on the latest research and feel pretty hopeful about the near future prospects of merging healing with science. 

This is likely why the art of healing is alive and well, becoming  more and more relevant today just like it was centuries ago.