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October 2022

Soc Sci Med. 1992 Feb; 34(4): 461-4.

The management of illness by a Filipino psychic surgeon: a Western physician's impression.

Dein S.

University College, London, U.K.

A number of different conditions, both physical and psychological, are managed by a psychic surgeon in Urdanetta, North Luzon, Philippines. Apart from 'operating', psychic surgery involves injections, prayer and manipulation. During 3 months of fieldwork patients were examined clinically to establish baseline measures of suffering as well as to confirm the diagnosis of the psychic surgeon. The nature of a psychic operation, spiritual injection and manipulation was then identified. Efficacy was crudely assessed by post operative measurement of suffering and satisfaction. Overall it was found that psychic surgery did influence illness. Whether it affects the underlying disease remains uncertain.

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