Remarkable Recoveries

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Some people with serious, medically incurable illnesses recover unexpectedly. People with cancers, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, Crohn’s Disease, fibromyalgia, and many other diseases have returned to health – with no conventional medical explanation for how they managed to do so.

Modern medicine has occasionally reported the occurrence of these “spontaneous remissions” but has not delved into them to explain how people recover without medical interventions.

This portal of the WHR website focuses on recent, medically documented reports of Remarkable Recoveries.

Please contact us if you have had a remarkable recovery or know personally of someone who has had one.

We are searching in particular for those who have medical examinations and laboratory reports to validate the original conditions and the changes after the remarkable remission.

Your information will be kept in strictest confidence. If the evidence for the remission appears medically convincing, we may discuss with you the possibility of publishing a report that includes your information. if this were to be the case, no information would be shared without your written approval.

We have IRB approval for publication of these reports. For ethical reasons it is best that if you are the therapist, the treatment should have been considered completed before you approach a client for permission to publish the case report. We also welcome clients’ reports to complement therapists’ case studies.



Exploring Remarkable Recoveries

Wholistic healing addresses body, emotions, mind, relationships (with each other and the environment) and spirit. Each and every one of these levels of our being can contribute to health and illness. Research in wholistic healing confirms that addressing these multiple levels can relieve many illnesses (Healing Research, Volume 2). Remarkable recoveries can add much to our understanding about the relationships of each of these factors to our physical health as well as to every level of our being. (If you click on the round icons at the top of this page, you will find discussions of the relationships between the various levels of our being.)

Many factors have contributed to this over-focus on the physical body. The advances in high-tech diagnostic procedures, and the enormous investments in pharmaceutical and surgical interventions have led to increasingly mechanistic approaches to assessing and treating illnesses. We have been sold on the ‘quick fix’ that chemical interventions can offer for physical symptoms. Our successes in these areas have led to several generations of distancing ourselves from the other aspects of our being. This is particularly true in the light of increasingly detailed medical focus on various parts of the physical body – to the increasing neglect of the person who inhabits that body. Few doctors have more than a cursory training in psychological issues contributing to health and illness. Many psychiatrists today are trained in programs where psychotherapy is an elective, and many of the trainees see little relevance of this subject to their prescription of psychoactive medications.

Subspecialization is another factor in the distancing of awareness of factors beyond the body that contribute to illnesses. Over several centuries, Western society has assigned care of the body to physicians; of the spirit to clergy; and in the past century, of the emotions, mind, and relationships to various subspecializing therapists in the mental health fields. Each specialty tends to work in varying degrees of isolation from the others. Within this system, careseekers have become used to thinking of physical problems as being only physical in their roots and causes, and present their bodies patient-ly to experts to diagnose and treat.

These splits often can be bridged fairly readily – between body on the one side and emotions, mind, relationships and spirit on the other. My work with people who have physical pains of all sorts has taught me that the average person can reconnect with psychological and spiritual issues contributing to their symptoms. This is true even when the pains have been present for decades and even when the pains have clear physical causes (See Seven Minutes to Natural Pain Release). The IJHC will also be featuring more reports from people who describe their own journeys from little awareness beyond their physical problems to releases of their symptoms through psychological interventions.

People who have remarkable recoveries often credit the spiritual dimensions of their awareness and beingness for providing strength, inspiration and transformative energies. In all my years of searching, I found only one publication that documents the medical evidence for remarkable recoveries through spiritual healing (of Kathryn Kuhlman). This is by a physician, Richard Casdorph, who documented the evidence of amazing physical changes produced by spiritual healing, including in his reports the medical examinations, laboratory tests and x-rays (The Miracles, 1976).

In an article in the January, 2009 issue of IJHC I share an overview on psychological processes that have led us to distance ourselves from awareness of some of the factors and issues beyond the physical body that may contribute to physical illness. In distancing ourselves from those aspects of ourselves that are not physical, we have reached a place where mind, emotions, relationships and spirit are increasingly unfamiliar to many of us – especially as they relate to physical symptoms and illnesses. Anything that is unfamiliar is easy to reject, especially if it were to require us to re-evaluate our basic beliefs about ourselves. For many people it is far easier to distance themselves from that which is unknown, and therefore beyond their understanding, than it is to explore a change of their beliefs and explanations for the world – within and outside themselves. I believe it is this distancing of oneself from the unknown that has led us to reject and ignore the challenges that remarkable recoveries pose to our understanding of mechanisms of health and illness.


Remarkable Recoveries – Historical Notes

The destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits – not animals.
– Winston Churchill

Remarkable recoveries have held great interest for me for nearly three decades. My initial focus was on remarkable improvements produced by spiritual healing, as in Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Reiki, Qigong, Traditional healing interventions (e.g. Native American ceremonial healings) and Prayer Healing. These often have been labeled ‘miraculous’ healings in the popular press. Healers with strong gifts of healing may find them occurring too regularly in their practices to label them as such. In Healing Research, Volume 1, I review extensive scientific research (Popular Edition and (Professional Supplement) and anecdotal reports (Popular Edition) confirming that these remarkable recoveries occur with spiritual healing.

I do not believe in miracles, at least not defined in the conventional religious manner as divine disruptions of the natural order.  But if a miracle is defined as an infinitely improbable phenomenon, then our existence is a miracle, which no theory natural or supernatural will ever explain.
– John Horgan

Conventional medicine views such unusual recoveries from illness as ‘spontaneous remissions,’ brought about by unknown processes of recuperation of the human organism. I have also thoroughly researched the vast potentials of human capacity for self-healing in Healing Research, Volume 2 (Popular and Professional editions). To some extent, all healings, by any modality, must involve activation of self-healing potentials and abilities.

I was excited in 1993 to find  an annotated bibliography of 3,000 reports of spontaneous remissions, gathered from 3,500 references in over 800 journals in 20 different languages by Brendan O’Regan and Caryl Hirshberg, titled Remarkable Recoveries. I found this collection utterly fascinating. There were tantalizing medical notes on remarkable spontaneous recoveries from cancers, skeletal deformities, hormonal abnormalities, and hundreds of other types of physical problems. However, these reports never included any in-depth considerations of psychological or spiritual issues that might have contributed to the unusual remissions from diseases – that in many cases were expected to be fatal; and conversely, reports from psychological literature rarely included medical details or documentations of the associated physical problems.

The situation has actually worsened in the years since the publication of this annotated bibliography. When I trained in medicine in the 1960s at the University of California, Los Angeles, we had a department of Psychosomatic Medicine. When people had physical symptoms combined with psychological symptoms, or when physical symptoms could not be explained by physical or laboratory examinations, a consultation from this department would often uncover stresses and psychological mechanisms that could explain the unusual symptoms. Psychotherapy could then often relieve the problems. Here is a typical example of the problems addressed by the doctors in Psychosomatic Medicine, in this case as a psychiatric consultation to the Neurology Department.

‘Tom,’ a 40 year-old married factory worker, was admitted for evaluation of weakness in his right hand and arm that were making it impossible for him to perform at his usual level of competence on the assembly line. Neurological examination was normal, with the exception of weakness in the muscles of his right hand, arm and shoulder. No peripheral nerve or muscle damage, no spinal or brain lesion could be identified. Psychosomatic consultation revealed that the weakness in this very meek and mild-mannered man had started following an uncharacteristic, major argument with his wife. In short, this was found to be a psychological weakness produced by Tom’s unconscious mind to help him control the angry impulses he had been feeling, with a wish to strike his wife. The symptom also served to punish himself for having had this impulse. Brief psychotherapy resolved the symptoms.

There are no longer any departments of Psychosomatic Medicine in the United States, although the subject is to varying extents included in medical school curricula under headings such as Behavioral Medicine or Bio-Psycho-Social Medicine. This is a measure of how much further Western medicine has distanced itself from awareness of the mind-body connection. A Google search turns up only references to European and Japanese listings for Psychosomatic Medicine.


Suggested Guidelines for Writing Reports of Remarkable Recoveries

Identifying data: Age at time of report and age at diagnosis

Details to introduce the person: Occupation, marital status, relevant life and health experiences

Family history for any such problems, or for unusual recoveries.

Stresses that might have contributed to the development of the problem(s), including early life traumas.

Signs and symptoms leading to diagnosis, duration and severity of problems
How diagnosis was made, by whom, educational degrees and length of clinician’s clinical experience if relevant
Report or acknowledgment from medical doctors, including lab results confirming the diagnosis

Treatments, including dates, doses of medications, and observed effects

Details of the remarkable recovery, with discussion, if relevant, of how conventional and/or unconventional treatments could have contributed to the recovery

Any suggestions for how the recovery might be explained through conventional science

Report or acknowledgment from medical doctors, including lab results confirming the remarkable recovery. Best when a direct statement can be obtained from a physician – though success rates with these requests tend to be disappointing.

Duration since remarkable recovery to time of the report

Life lessons learned through these experiences


Reports of Remarkable Recoveries with References


van der Zee, Harry. Healing Humanity with Homeopathy: Homeopathy for epidemics, collective trauma and endemic diseases.
International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-28.


A Paralyzed Dog’s Spinal Cord Nerves, Discs and Vertebra Regenerated
Brent Atwater
International Journal fo Healing and Caring 2006, 6(2), 1-3.


Brain – glioblastoma multiforme
Koopman, Barbara G. and Blasband, Richard A. Psychic healing and the anisotropic universe. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2002, 2(2), 1-16.

Brain – unbiopsied diagnoses: chondrosarcoma, meningioma and chordoma
Parkinson, Anna. My Body Was My Teacher. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2012, 12(1), 1-8.
(Healing attributed to self-healing, assisted by Martin Brofman, PhD, healer)

Larry Burk MD, CEHP and Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos. (2018)  Dreams that Can Save Your Life: Early Warning Signs of Cancer and Other Diseases. Rochester, VT: Bear & Co.
Wonderful collection of reports of women who identified the presence of their breast cancers in their dreams, in many cases even before clear medical evidence was apparent. In some cases, medical exams and tests were negative but the women persisted in demanding further tests, which revealed their cancers in time to have better, often curative, treatments. 

Miller, Lauren. A Remarkable Recovery from Breast Cancer. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(3), 1-6.
(NOTE: While this is not a report of a cure through EFT, it is a remarkable recovery from many of the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments.)

Lindsay Manya. The great journey: a dance with cancer. International J of Healing and Caring 2012, 12(2), 1-11.
Invasive Ductile Carcinoma of the left breast cured through self-healing, meditation, plus healer healing from Martin Brofman.

Robert M Mack. Lessons From Living With Cancer, New England J Medicine 1984, 311
Reprinted in Singapore Medical J. 1985, 26(7), 561-565.

Lewis Mehl-Madrona. Narratives of exceptional survivors who work with aboriginal healers. J. Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2008, (14(5), 497-504.   DOI: 10.1089/acm.2007.0578  Read article
The commonalities are described of 47 people who sought traditional aboriginal healers for help with their cancer. All had 10% or less chance of survival at 5 years given the site and stage of their cancer from actuarial table calculations. Differences are noted between the characteristics of this group and of a group with similar cancers who did not survive 5 years.

Anderson, Robert. Things I wish I had been taught in medical school: A family doctor’s real-life education. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(1), 1-6.

Anderson, Robert. Things I wish I had been taught in medical school: A family doctor’s real-life education. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(1), 1-6.
(See Also book by Anderson, below.)

Cerebral Palsy

Look, Carol and  Larson, Zachery. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for Cerebral Palsy. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(3), 1-8.

Crohn’s Disease

Anthony-Green, Patsy. Emotional Freedom Techniques: A journey of healing from Crohn’s Disease. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-9.

Collections of self-healing reports

Anderson, Robert A. Stories  of  Healing: A Family Doctor’s Journal. Everett, Washington: Lorian Press 2011. (44 stories of patients who achieved healing with outside-the-box options – from the nutritional to the mystical)

Gawler, Grace Women of Silence, Hill of Content 1994 (Excellent series of self-healing reports from people with a variety of problems)

Hirshberg, Caryl/ Barasch, Ian Mark, Remarkable Recoveries, New York: Riverhead 1995. (Excellent discussion of self-healing.)

(See also several collections of ‘spontaneous remissions’ below. These are listed separately, because the orientation and conceptualizations around ‘spontaneous remissions’ differ significantly from those around ‘remarkable recoveries.’)


van der Zee, Harry. Healing Humanity with Homeopathy: Homeopathy for epidemics, collective trauma and endemic diseases.
International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-28.

Exam anxiety – See ‘Test anxiety’

Hemophilia – Research shows that self-hypnosis can greatly reduce the bleeding of hemophiliacs.

Dubin, Louis L/Shapiro, Sandor S. Use of hypnosis to facilitate dental extraction and
homeostasis in a classic hemophiliac with a high antibody titer to Factor VIII, American J of Clinical Hypnosis 1974, 17(2), 79-43.

Fredericks, Lillian E. The use of hypnosis in hemophilia, American J of Clinical Hypnosis 1967, 10(1), 52-55.

LaBaw, W. Autohypnosis in hemophilia. Haematologia 1975, 9, 103-110.

LaBaw, W. The use of hypnosis with hemophilia. Psychiatric Medicine 1992;10(4):89-98.

Homeopathic remedies – New approaches that produce rapid, remarkable recoveries

van der Zee, Harry. Healing Humanity with Homeopathy: Homeopathy for epidemics, collective trauma and endemic diseases.
International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-28.

Ichthyosiform Erythrodermia of Brocq (congenital)

Mason, AA. A case of congenital Ichthyosiform Erythrodermia of Brocq treated by hypnosis. British Mededical J. 1952 Aug 23;2(4781):422–423.

Wink, C. A. S. Congenital Ichthyosiform Erythrodermia treated by hypnosis. British Medical J. 1961, 2(5254): 726-2, 741-743. (2 Cases)

Knee cartilage deterioration

Anthony-Green, Patsy. A Journey of Healing with My Knee, Using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-4.


van der Zee, Harry. Healing Humanity with Homeopathy: Homeopathy for epidemics, collective trauma and endemic diseases.
International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-28.

Multiple Sclerosis

Gardener, Jaentra Green. The wave brings us happiness: Healing for Multiple Sclerosis. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2003, 3(2), 1-8. (Report from a woman who cured herself of Multiple Sclerosis, primarily with spiritual healing. She beame a healer and has cured others of MS.)

Minding your mitochondria. Ted Talk
Dr. Terry Wahls was unable to walk, required a tilt-recline wheelchair, and had to sit in a zero gravity chair, despite the best that conventional medicine had to offer her. Then she learned how to properly fuel her body. With the lessons she learned about the subcellular (mitochondrial) level of nervous system functions, she used diet to cure her MS and get out of her wheelchair. Within a year she was riding a bicycle and a horse. Food substances she found helpful, preferably as fresh fruits, vitamins and meats: Vitamins: B1 B6 B9 B12.  Omega 3 oil, Iodine, Sulphur, and Antioxidants. Organic foods are recommended. Dr. Wahls uses these diets and protocols in her primary care and traumatic brain injury clinics and is leading a clinical trial to test her protocols on others. Website:

Paralysis – post spinal injury

Johnston, Laurance and Boxtel, Amanda. Stem-cell conscsiousness: the Divine ground of healing. Townsend Letter, June 2010, 50-55. (Paralysis and loss of sensation below T11-12 improves after 15 1/2 years following human embryonic stem cell (HESC) therapy plus deep forgiveness.) Click here to see copy of report

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Veterans

Church, Dawson; Geronilla, Linda; Dinter, Ingrid. Psychological Symptom Change In Veterans After Six Sessions Of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): an observational study. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(1), 1-13. (Veterans are able to release their PTSD symptoms and return to much more normal life after as little as six sessions.)

Dinter, Ingrid. Veterans: Finding Their Way Home With EFT. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2008, 8(3), 1-21. (Veterans are able to release their PTSD symptoms and return to much more normal life after as little as six sessions.)

Swack,Judith A. Elimination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Other Psychiatric Symptoms in a Disabled Vietnam Veteran with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in Just Six Sessions Using Healing from the Body Level Up Methodology, an Energy Psychology Approach. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(3), 1-8.

van der Zee, Harry. Healing Humanity with Homeopathy: Homeopathy for epidemics, collective trauma and endemic diseases.
International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-28.


Stone, Barbara. A Multi-Dimensional View of Psyche: Psychosis or a Very Intuitive Person? International Journal of Healing and Caring 2016, 16(1), 1-11.


Scweikart, Ellen Marie. Scleroderma: My Path to Healing. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-15.
Report of 2 women who cleared their scleroderma using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) plus other wholistic methods

Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS)

Hopps, Nancy. “And the greatest of these is love”: Impressive results of non-traditional healing methods in treating Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS). International Journal of Healing and Caring 2008, 8(2), 1-17.

Test anxiety

Benor, Daniel J. Ledger, Karen. Toussaint, Loren. Hett, Geoffrey. Zaccaro, Daniel . Pilot Study of Emotional Freedom Techniques, Wholistic Hybrid Derived from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Emotional Freedom Technique, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treatment of Test Anxiety in University Students, Explore, Nov-Dec 2009, 5(6), 338-340. (Students experienced life-transforming releases of their anxieties)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Craig, Gary; Bach, Donna; Groesbeck, Gary; and Benor, Daniel J. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for Traumatic Brain Injury. International Journal of Healing and Caring 2009, 9(2), 1-12. (Woman clears symptoms of TBI, possibly also of PTSD and depression, in one session of EFT)


Intoranat, Patti. A Remarkable Recovery from Vulvodynia through Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy
The client, in her late 20’s, had suffered from vulvodynia (pain outside her vagina) for 13 years. Within 24 hours of a QHHT session in which past life traumas were cleared, she was free of pain.


Most earlier references did not consider the psychological contributors to diseases and to their recoveries. They merely noted the fact that they had occurred, inexplicably. They were called ‘spontaneous remissions,” with the general assumption that diseases could mysterioiusly halt their progressions, presumably on the basis of unknown physiological mechanisms.

Everson, Tilden C/ Cole, Warren H. Spontaneous Regression of Cancer, New York: Saunders 1966. (First published survey of spontaneous remissions)

O’Regan, Brendan/ Hirshberg, Caryl. Spontaneous Remission: An Annotated Bibliography, Sausalito, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences 1993. (3000 annotated reports from world literature on remissions – focused on the physical changes, not mentioning personal, psychological, spiritual transformations)

Weil, Andrew. Spontaneous Healing: How to discover and enhance your body’s natural ability to maintain and heal itself, New York: Knopf 1995. (Focused on CAM therapist interventions that can bring about remissions of illnesses.)

Numerous personal stories of healing have been published, though rarely with medical documentation. Medical practitioners are always cautious in accepting these because laypeople may not be medically accurate in identifying their illnesses, their symptoms, and the changes they experience. In addition, most medical practitioners are not trained in psychosomatic medicine or what is now termed ‘mind-body medicine.’ They are therefore unaware of the powerful influences the mind and emotions (note this missing element in the current terminology) can have on the body.

The best books I’ve found on transformational healing is

Hirschberg, Caryl/ Barasch, Marc Ian. Remarkable Recovery: What Extraordinary Healings Tell Us About Getting Well and Staying Well, New York: Riverhead 1995. (Excellent descriptions of personal transformations through illness.)

Anderson, Robert. Stories of Healing: A Family Doctor’s Journal. Everett, WA: Starseed 2011.

References on self-healing

Historical Notes