Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands), anointing the sick, animal magnetism (magnetists), Huna, and many related spiritual related practices that are believed to elicit divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing, especially in the Judeo-Christian practices. Believers assert that the healing of disease and disability can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or other rituals that can stimulate a divine presence and power. Religious belief in divine intervention does not depend on empirical evidence that faith healing achieves an evidence-based outcome.
Claims that "a myriad of techniques" such as prayer, divine intervention, or the ministrations of an individual healer can cure illness have been practiced and hugely popular throughout history. There have been a litany of claims that faith can cure blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS, developmental disorders, anemia, arthritis, corns, defective speech, multiple sclerosis, skin rashes, total body paralysis, and various injuries. Recoveries and spontaneous remissions have been attributed to many techniques commonly classified as faith healing. It can involve prayer, a visit to a religious shrine or healer, or simply a strong belief in a supreme being.
Many people interpret the Bible, especially the New Testament, as teaching belief in, and the practice of, faith healing. According to a 2004 Newsweek poll, 72 percent of Americans said they believe that praying to God can cure someone, even if science says the person has an incurable disease. Unlike faith healing, advocates of spiritual healing make no attempt to seek divine intervention, instead believing in divine energy. The increased interest in alternative medicine at the end of the 20th century has given rise to a parallel interest among sociologists in the relationship of religion to health.