Long ago -- before there were doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals -- religion and medicine were one, and physical and spiritual ailments were treated alike. Most world religions practised healing, including the early Christian Church, which followed Jesus Christ's examples of miraculous healings of the lame and the blind. But, to its cost, the modern Church has largely forgotten its healing role, says Tom Harpur inThe Uncommon Touch, a powerful and persuasive investigation of spiritual healing. Today in the West, medical science and bogus faith-healings have made the idea of spiritual healing almost laughable. Yet the ancient practice of the laying-on of hands is not only still performed, it is now gaining credibility, even among physicians and other sceptics, most notably in Britain. InThe Uncommon Touch, Harpur investigates the religious roots of spiritual healing and looks at the remarkable work and ideas of modern healers. He also describes the many scientific studies that demonstrate clearly the healing and nurturing power of this astonishing phenomenon and verify that something more than the power of suggestion is at work. These include experiments showing increased growth in yeasts that have received the laying-on of hands and documentation of the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch, a technique used by more than 30,000 nurses in North America. Using the spirit to help heal the body's ills is an old idea -- one whose time has come again.