Members of the scientific community have used this term out of a belief that healing is no more than the product of suggestion – a placebo effect – that is potent only to the extent that healees believe it might work. Many journalists use this term, under the influence of either of these communities.
While faith may facilitate healing in the faithful of a given religion, it is not a general requirement for spiritual healing. This is witnessed by numerous experiments in which animals, plants, bacteria, yeasts, cells in laboratory culture, enzymes, and DNA responded to Spiritual healing (Benor 2001a; b).
Mental healing is the term under which studies of spiritual healing were listed for many years in the Index Medicus, the physician’s annual compendium of published research in journals selected by the editors of this hefty tome. Many of the parapsychology journals (which are peer-reviewed and which hold to standards for research that exceed those of many medical journals) in which healing studies are published are excluded from the Index Medicus.
Psychic (psi - Y) healing is the favorite term of parapsychologists, who for decades were the main group of scientists who published studies of spiritual healing. Healing overlaps with psychic abilities that have been extensively researched by parapsychologists, including telepathy, clairsentience, pre- and retro-cognition, and psychokinesis (PK; "mind over matter"). Healers often have intuitive/psychic impressions that guide them in assessing and treating the problems of healees*. These may include insights into past physical and emotional traumas, as well as current stressors that have contributed to current problems.
Quantum healing is a term popularized by Deepak Chopra, referring to explanations from quantum physics that suggest explanations for healing*.
Shamanistic healing refers to healing in traditional societies in which the shaman is a priest, healer, counselor, mediator in conflicts, and mediator between worlds of spirits and the physical world*.
Bioenergetic healing, vibrational healing and subtle energy healing refer to perceptions common to healers and healees during laying-on of hands treatments, including sensations of heat, tingling, vibration, and cold. These create the distinct impression that an exchange of some sort of energy is occurring between healer and healee. Thus far, there have not been conventional energies identified consistently that account for the effects of spiritual healing.
Divine healing alludes to the ultimate source attributed by some to all change and healing.
Unconventional healing and paranormal healing are terms used by scientists who view spiritual healing as something that is outside of the ordinary ambit of conventional science.
Distant mental influence on living systems (DMILS) is a term coined by William Braud, in studies of intent, projected from a distance, to influence the electrodermal response of subjects in a laboratory.
Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Reiki, and numerous other healing modalities* are specific approaches taught by various schools and healing traditions.
No one term encompasses all of the processes and manifestations of healing. My own preference is to add wholistic to spiritual healing to indicate that healing can come through body, emotions, mind, relationships, and spirit.