Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual healing practice grew out of her Biblical research and her first-hand explorations of the medical treatments of her day. Chronically ill from childhood, she sought help from diverse healing systems, including drugs, diets, water-based therapies, and homeopathy. Her study and practice of homeopathy led her to some important insights into the mental nature of illness and cure—what is known today as the mind/body connection.
Following a serious accident in 1866, she experienced a profound healing through prayer as she read an account of healing in the New Testament. This experience motivated her to study the Bible in-depth to understand how she had been healed and whether spiritual healing could be replicated and practiced consistently. Gradually, she began healing many others through a method of spiritual treatment she would define as “Christian Science.” Convinced that what she had discovered could be practiced by anyone, she began teaching her system of healing to men and women, who in turn established successful healing practices of their own.
In 1875, Eddy published her major work, Science and Health, later named Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Its 18 chapters include subjects such as “Prayer,” “Science, Theology, Medicine,” and “Christian Science Practice.” With her book and her more systematic teaching came a college, which Eddy founded in Boston in 1881, chartered under the medical laws of Massachusetts. Dedicated to training practitioners and teachers in Christian Science healing, an auxiliary of this college still operates today.
In the Preface to Science and Health, Eddy offers these introductory statements regarding the practice of Christian Science healing:
By thousands of well-authenticated cases of healing, she and her students have proved the worth of her teachings. These cases for the most part have been abandoned as hopeless by regular medical attendants. Few invalids will turn to God till all physical supports have failed, because there is so little faith in His disposition and power to heal disease.
The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth. Its purpose is good, and its practice is safer and more potent than that of any other sanitary method.