In Western society, the field of medicine is traditionally viewed as pure science. If the body is ill or injured, it has to be fixed or cured, put back into its previous state. To do so, chemicals, in the form of medicines, are prescribed. Many illnesses would resolve themselves in the course of time with or without medicines. In that case, medicines may be used to make the person more comfortable while the body heals itself (example- a cold). Other illnesses do heal faster or heal only with medicines.
What happens if the illness or injury can’t be cured by medicines, or by any other means that the doctor prescribes? The doctor, who is used to being able to cure his patients, may become frustrated. Many doctors don’t like treating patients with chronic illnesses, because they feel ineffectual and impotent to help them.
It takes a special kind of doctor to really be good at treating chronic illness. (S)he needs to be able to accept that (s)he won’t be able to cure, but that there are still many things that can be done to help the patient obtain and maintain the maximal possible health, given the circumstances. Success is measured in smaller increments, and often success is a matter of keeping the patient from getting worse, rather than being able to make the patient better. If there are medications for that particular illness, it can be a challenge to find the right one, or the right combination, and the right dosage.
Healing and curing are not the same thing. Curing implies that the illness is gone. Healing implies a wholeness, a peacefulness with life, even if the illness is still there. Healing improves the quality of life whether curing is a possibility or not. Healing is often not achieved with medicines, but with techniques that touch the soul, or the psyche.
I have written about guided imagery and visualization, mindfulness, pet therapy, massage and about using art to heal. Illness and pain can feel huge, can overpower everything else in life, until it seems that they are all that exists. These healing techniques can help a person to view their illness differently. They can put things in perspective, making the illness less scary and overwhelming. This is healing. Anything that makes your burden easier to carry is healing.
Other techniques used for healing include Reiki, acupuncture, crystals, prayer, chakras, etc. I don't have as much experience with these, but I am sure there is abundant info on the web if you are interested. The topics I write about won't cure you, but they can help you to heal.