Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to healing: Spiritual healing


1. the process of returning to health; the restoration of structure and function of injured or diseased tissues. The healing processes include blood clotting, tissue mending, scarring, and bone healing. See also wound healing.
2. the process of helping someone return to health; compassion by a health care provider is part of this. Authentic perception of the experience of illness in the particular person is the essential basis.
healing by first intention (healing by primary intention) wound healing in which restoration of continuity occurs directly by fibrous adhesion, without formation of granulation tissue; it results in a thin scar.
Healing by primary, or first intention. In primary wound healing there is no tissue loss. A, Incised wound is held together by a blood clot and possibly by sutures or surgical clamps. An inflammatory process begins in adjacent tissue at the moment of injury. B, After several days, granulation tissue forms as a result of migration of fibroblasts to the area of injury and formation of new capillaries. Epithelial cells at wound margin migrate to clot and seal the wound. Regenerating epithelium covers the wound. C, Scarring occurs as granulation tissue matures and injured tissue is replaced with connective tissue.
healing by second intention wound healing by union by adhesion of granulating surfaces, when the edges of the wound are far apart and cannot be brought together. Granulations form from the base and sides of the wound toward the surface.
Healing by second intention occurs when there is tissue loss, as in extensive burns and deep ulcers. The healing process is more prolonged than in healing by primary intention because large amounts of dead tissue must be removed and replaced with viable cells. A, Open area is more extensive; inflammatory reaction is more widespread and tends to become chronic. B, Healing may occur under a scab formed of dried exudate, or dried plasma proteins and dead cells (eschar). C, Fibroblasts and capillary buds migrate toward center of would to form granulation tissue, which becomes a translucent red color as capillary network develops. Granulation tissue is fragile and bleeds easily. D, As granulation tissue matures, marginal epithelial cells migrate and proliferate over connective tissue base to form a scar. Contraction of skin around scar is the result of movement of epithelial cells toward center of wound in an attempt to close the defect. Surrounding skin moves toward center of wound in an effort to close the defect.
healing by third intention
1. wound healing by the gradual filling of a wound cavity by granulations and a cicatrix.
wound healing see wound healing.


1. Restoring to health; promoting the closure of wounds and ulcers.
See also: union.
2. The process of a return to health.
See also: union.
3. Closing of a wound.
See also: union.


/heal·ing/ (hēl´ing) a process of cure; the restoration of integrity to injured tissue.
healing by first intention  that in which union or restoration of continuity occurs directly without intervention of granulations.
healing by second intention  union by closure of a wound with granulations.
spiritual healing  the use of spiritual practices, such as prayer, for the purpose of effecting a cure of or an improvement in an illness.
healing by third intention  treatment of a grossly contaminated wound by delaying closure until after contamination has been markedly reduced and inflammation has subsided.


Etymology: AS, haelan, to cure
the act or process in which the normal structural and functional characteristics of health are restored to diseased, dysfunctional, or damaged tissues, organs, or systems of the body. See also intention, wound repair.


Vox populi The process of returning to a previous state of health; the term is often used by alternative medical practitioners


1. Restoring to health; promoting the closure of wounds and ulcers.
2. The process of a return to health.
3. Closing of a wound.
See also: union


Enlarge picture
The restoration to a normal mental or physical condition, esp. of an inflammation or a wound. Tissue healing usually occurs in predictable stages: formation of blood clots at the wound; inflammatory phase, during which plasma proteins enter the injured part; cellular repair, with an influx of fibroblasts and mesenchymal cells; regrowth of blood vessels (angiogenesis); and synthesis and revision of collagen fibers (scar formation).

In skin lesions, regrowth of epithelial tissues also occurs. The many processes involved in the healing of a wound take 3 weeks or more to complete. Many factors may delay tissue healing, including malnutrition, wound infection, and coexisting conditions, e.g., diabetes mellitus, advanced age, tobacco abuse, cancer; as well as the use of several drugs, including corticosteroids. See: illustration


These may result from the formation of a scar that interferes with the functioning of a part and possible deformity; the formation of a keloid, the result of overgrowth of connective tissue forming a tumor in the surface of a scar; necrosis of the skin and mucous membrane that produces a raw surface, which results in an ulcer; a sinus or fistula, which may be due to bacteria or some foreign substance remaining in the wound; proud flesh, which represents excessive growth of granulation tissue.

aboriginal healing

1. Shamanism (2).
2. Health practices of native or indigenous peoples within a geographic region, which often include folk and spiritual elements. In Canada, the term pertains to specific governmental efforts to address health issues of indigenous or First Nations peoples.

faith healing

Healing from illness attributed to the agency of a divine being or power, usually through a variety of spiritual practices such as prayer, laying on of hands, or anointing with oil.

healing by first intention

A process that closes the edge of a wound with little or no inflammatory reaction and in such a manner that little or no scar is left to reveal the site of the injury. New cells are formed to take the place of dead ones, and the capillary walls stretch across the wound to join themselves to each other in a smooth surface. New connective tissue may form an almost imperceptible but temporary scar. In repairing lacerations and surgical wounds, the goal is to produce a repaired area that will heal by first intention.

healing by second intention

Healing by granulation or indirect union. Granulation tissue is formed to fill the gap between the edges of the wound with a thin layer of fibrinous exudate. Granulation tissue also excludes bacteria from the wound and brings new blood vessels to the injured part. Healing by second intention takes longer than healing by primary intention and typically results in the formation of a prominent scar; wounds that heal by second intention show signs of failure if the wound loses the normal red-gray appearance of granulation tissue and becomes pale, dry, or insubstantial. When granulations first form at the top instead of the bottom of the wound, the base of the wound may have to be kept open with wicks or drains to promote healthy tissue repair.

healing by third intention

Delayed wound healing that occurs in the base of ulcerated or cavitary wounds, esp. those that have become infected. The wound fills very slowly with granulation tissue and often forms a large scar. Wound revision surgery, including use of grafting, may be needed.

holistic healing



1. The natural processes of tissue repair or restoration following an injury.
2. A power often wrongly attributed to doctors. Healing is a homeostatic function of the body and occurs automatically unless prevented by infection, continuing injury of any kind, radiation, cancerous change, the presence of foreign material or great age.
3. A claimed paranormal ability to perform miracles.


n 1. the process of recovery, repair, and restoration.
2. return to wholeness.
healing crisis,
n in naturopathic medicine, a healing reaction. Symptoms of bodic defense are observable and successful.
healing touch,
n.pr nontouch therapy that employs an energy-based ap-proach. Also called
Healing your Heart,
n program developed by the Department of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Union Hospital in Lynn, Massachusetts to aid recovery of cardiac patients by incorporating meditation, guided imagery, facilitated group meetings, and yoga along with traditional therapies.
healing, absent,
n a process of relieving suffering and pain that takes place when the practitioner and patient are not in direct contact with one another. Prayer, meditation, LeShan, and Reiki are common types of practices used. Also called
distant healing.
healing, crystal,
n method that employs gems to alter the body's energy to treat certain mental and physical conditions.
healing, distant,
n healing via a hypothesized form of consciousness that apparently works without recourse to any physical medium or energies.
healing, faith,
n faith-based proces-ses that restore the psychologic, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a patient.
healing, lay,
n the use of gentle techniques aimed at rebalancing either the patient's energy or the energy flow between patient and practitioner.
healing, laying-on-of-hands,
n technique in which the practitioner places his or her hands in different positions over or on the patient to promote energy flow through them to relieve pain and suffering. Often used in spiritual healing. Also called
apostolic healing.
healing, mental,
n mental techniques and processes that restore the psychologic, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a patient.
healing, miracle,
n any healing that cannot be accountd for (or one for which the odds against are very high) through medical or psychosomatic means.
healing, paranormal (paˈ·r·nōrˑ·mˈl hēˑ·ling),
n processes which cannot be explained scientifically that restore the psychologic, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a patient.
healing, psychic (sīˑ·kik hēˑ·ling),
n mental or psychic processes that restore the psychologic, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a patient.
healing, qi,
n See qi gong.
healing, self,
n the notion that the body is capable of healing itself, regularly evidenced through the placebo effect. A highly regarded tenet of most alternative healing practices.
healing, spiritual,
n system of faith or belief, that involves healing through meditation, prayer, or touch, in which the healer serves as a channel through which spiritual energy flows to the client.
healing, supernatural,
n healing effected through nonmaterial or miraculous means. See also healing, miracle and supernatural mechanism.
healing, Type I, mental-spiritual,
n practice in which the healer, through a meditative state of consciousness sees himself as completely unified with the patient. The healer does not try to consciously heal the patient but seeks to experience love, oneness, and unity with the person.
healing, Type II, mental-spiritual,
n practice in which the healer physically touches the patient with the intent to heal, and transmits his energy to the patient.
healing, wound,
n the antural process of repair in damaged tissues, comprising the inflammation response, the creation of a fibrin framework upon which the scab develops, the defensive action of white blood cells, the epithelial closure of the wound with myofibroblasts, and the creation of a scar.
Enlarge picture
Healing, wound.


the restoration of structure and function of injured or diseased tissues. The healing processes include blood clotting, tissue mending, scarring and bone healing. See also wound healing.

healing by first intention
per primam; union of accurately coapted edges of a wound, with an irreducible minimum of granulation tissue.
healing by second intention
per secundam; union by adhesion of granulating surfaces.
healing by third intention
per tertiam; union of a wound that is closed surgically several days after the injury. See also delayed primary closure.

Patient discussion about healing

Q. How frequently do people heal from arthritis? what are the chances for it to go away? any statistics?

A. arthritis is pain/swelling/stiffness/and redness of joints---arthritis is not a single disorder,but the name of joint diseace from a number of causes--the cause is wear/tear on the joints. threatment: antibiotic drugs/anti inflammatory drugs. most common is rheumatoid/osteoarthritis/an still disease(children under the age of 4,which clears up after a few years)-arthritis may occure as a complication of infection elsewhere in the body, such as chickenpox/rubella/german measles/mumps/rheumatic fever, or gonorrhea. In most cases this disease can only be controled by meds,ther is no cure as of yet.


A. Chinese medicine and alternatives should be approached with caution, but that said, a modality that has been around for over 3,000 years must have benefits. The practitioner may possibly be a bit more suspect. Then again, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you haven’t any experience with it, how can one have a legitimate opinion?
Remember, a hundred years ago, our very own “Doctors” cured with leaches and such… it wasn’t until they pooled their resources together and lobbied the government for the right to the name of “Doctor or Medical Practitioner”. That’s it. No science, just lobbying the politicians….

Q. For those that had an epimacular membrane removed, how long was it before your eye healed? How was your vision afterwards? Do you now require or benefit from glasses?

A. Epimacular membrane removal can be associated with a variety of ocular conditions and therefore the healing process varies tremendously depending on the underlying pathology. Furthermore, this condition may recur.

More discussions about healing
References in periodicals archive ?
Scientifically unexplained healing is a big problem for many North American Christians.
Song or chanting is used for many things, including asking the spirits for help in healing, and also for giving thanks after the heating is complete.
It is this perspective that is generally absent in the healing ministry of mainline churches, but is catered for in charismatic churches and other AICs, especially in their response to culturally related illnesses.
Implied within the question of whether healing is always in the best interest of the patient are several ethical considerations.
Some Catholic priests have made healing their vocation, the focus of their ministry--even if they're not sure exactly how it works.
In this article, we describe our study to determine if the healing of superficial skin burns is expedited by a platelet gel held in place by a standard OpSite dressing.
For example, calcium alginates and the new Hydrofibers[R] work well for wounds that are draining; they absorb the exudate well and provide a warm, moist environment that promotes healing.
Biolight is pulsating, monochromatic light, which in pre-human studies has shown interesting biological effects in relation to wound healing.
Finally, a few prayer teams of two persons are made available for anyone who feels in need of healing.
The Healing is both a testament to her growth and evidence of her enduring talent.
China itself freely appropriated cultural goods from across the Himalayas, bringing Vedic and Buddhist knowledge into contact with Taoist elite and folk practice, Confucian notions of order, and general vernacular healing practice.
Encouraged by the feedback, Gill formed a long-term plan to continue healing, promote leadership training, and eventually, encourage peer support groups.