We spoke with the star of TLC's The Healer about the experience of healing other people and the sense of purpose it's afforded him.
- Posted on Jul 17, 2018
Are some of us born with unique spiritual gifts? At 18, Charlie Goldsmith says, he discovered he could inexplicably ease the pain and ailments of people he barely knew, a realization that led him to become a healer. Now the 37-year-old Australian is starring in TLC’s The Healer. He works full time as an entrepreneur and doesn’t charge for healings. Instead, he wants to be studied by science to determine how healers—who have a long tradition in the faith community—can assist traditional medicine. He recently spoke to Mysterious Ways about his gift and what science has to say about it.
How did your gift first make itself known?
I was always a sensitive and intuitive kid. In 1999, I graduated high school and my father sent me to work at a health retreat camp for the summer. I was sitting in the locker room one day and a man limped by, clearly in pain. I asked him what was wrong and, at that moment, felt a searing pain shoot up my leg. It was a bizarre experience. The next morning, I was eating breakfast and felt my hands forcibly pulled together in a kind of clap. I thought I was losing it.
People around me asked if I was okay. I said, “No, I can feel something between my hands.” They put their hands on mine to feel it. One of the women who did had nothing visibly wrong with her hands, yet I felt what seemed like a lump in the air above one of her fingers. I moved my hand in the air above the lump as if smoothing it out. The woman started to cry. She was able to bend her finger, something she hadn’t been able to do in years. After that, I kept practicing. If someone had a problem, I would try to help.
Where does the gift come from?
I don’t know. I was never taught how to heal—I just instinctively know how to do it. The rest is a mystery. One of the things all this has taught me is that there’s much more to the world than what we can see. My gift is part of me and it’s always there, so I can control what to do with it. But there’s an intelligence in it that’s not all me. Some say it comes from God or that it has to do with energy. Recently I found out from my grandmother that her own grandmother had a similar ability. So I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it has to do with empathy. Or a consciousness that connects us all. Or maybe I’m using a different part of my brain. I don’t dwell on the how and why. What matters is that gifts like this exist.
I have no idea. Other than that a gift isn’t much good without the willingness to use it and I’m willing. I consider myself to be a bit of a bridge. I can speak to people who aren’t so comfortable with this area of medicine. I didn’t come from a background where this is in any way normal. My family is in business and the entertainment industry. I never even knew what “spiritual” was until my gift came. So I really do understand how this might appear to some people. My own family was half accepting, half reluctant. I only recently started talking about it publicly because my goal is to work with doctors and researchers. To do that, I need to change how the medical community perceives these types of things, so that healers can work in environments like hospitals.
How exactly does your gift work?
I don’t have the ability to diagnose people. So I start by asking someone what’s wrong. After that, I specifically think about the issue. When I work on someone, I try to move my focus to that problem area. I don’t touch the person, but I’ll often hover my hands over the problem spot. I work very fast—sometimes less than a minute. People describe the experience in different ways. They say they feel tingling or heat or coolness. If you’re in a lot of pain, you might feel the pain leave your body. In the early days, I actually felt the pain that I was relieving in other people. Now it just tires me out. It’s hard on the mind.
What ailments can you treat?
Things considered medically incurable seem to be the easiest for me. That makes sense because there’s a gap in the medical field where healers fit. I’ve worked with people who’ve had viruses or infections and who aren’t responding to antibiotics. People who’ve had chronic pain not helped by medicine. People with anxiety, depression, allergies, skin diseases or illnesses for which the source can’t be pinpointed. I worked on a two-year-old boy born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. His body doesn’t produce cortisol, and he had a lot of pain and trouble sleeping. I didn’t think I’d be able to help him because it was a genetic condition. But after I finished, he fell asleep on the floor at my feet. Six months later, his parents told me he was pain-free and sleeping through the night. Sometimes the gift surprises me.
Can you heal yourself?
I definitely can’t do for myself what I do for other people! I call it a gift because it’s something I give, not something I necessarily benefit from. There are also some people I can’t heal—I’d say two out of every 10 people. I worked on someone with the flu the other day and seemed able to lessen the time the person would be sick, reduce the fever and clear the sinuses. But I couldn’t get rid of the flu completely. It can be frustrating because I don’t always know why I can’t help.
What does science have to say about your gift?
After years of trying to get scientists to analyze it, I participated in a study at New York University’s Lutheran Hospital that was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2015. Basically I worked alongside hospital staff to provide supplementary care for patients. Out of 50 people with chronic pain, 76 percent of them reported marked improvement. I worked with another 29 people with health problems unrelated to pain. In that group, 79 percent measurably improved. Over 77 percent of all people I treated reported or experienced results immediately. The study wasn’t enough to turn the tide on the medical credibility of healers, but it did help build the case that similar studies need to be done.
Critics would argue that the only evidence for your healing is anecdotal....
They’re not wrong. Empirical evidence is what I’m working toward. Regardless, I’m able to heal things that traditional treatments simply can’t. And I’ve been able to do it for 20 years. I’m hoping that medical institutions will start to take it a lot more seriously. Until that happens, healing is going to remain a fringy, misunderstood area. The big question is, how many people are out there like me? How do you find them? Without science opening the door, it will be difficult to ascertain.
If you could give the gift back, would you?
No, I wouldn’t give it back. I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been tough. But what an incredible experience I’ve had. I am filled to the brim with one of the basic human needs: purpose. I wouldn’t want to give that away. If I died tomorrow, I’d feel as if I’d done some good in the world.
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