Explaining the Process of Spiritual healing of Critically-ill Patients: A Grounded Theory Study

Ethiop J Health Sci. 2020 Jul 1;30(4):579-588. doi: 10.4314/ejhs.v30i4.13.


Background: Spiritual healing is one of the most intriguing category of alternative and complementary medicine. The aim of this study was to explain the process of spiritual healing in patients with refractory diseases in Iran.

Methods: This grounded theory study was conducted in Iran from 2018 to 2019. The participants were 14 patients with refractory diseases and 4 healers whom were first selected through purposeful and then theoretical sampling. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data on patients and healers. All the interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were coded and grouped under specific categories and analyzed using the Strauss and Corbin's approach (2008).

Results: Four main categories emerged from data analysis including: I) frustration to initial acceptance II) disbelief to trust III) evaluation to action and IV) doubt to certainty.

Conclusion: The results of our study provide context-specific factors affecting the complex and multifactorial nature of spiritual healing process in patients with refractory diseases. Health care professional can use these findings in designing and implementing appropriate interventions to integrate spiritual healing into their holistic practices of care.

Keywords: Grounded Theory; Refractory disease; Spiritual Therapies; Spirituality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Grounded Theory*
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spiritual Therapies*
  • Spirituality