The Difference Between Healing and Curing
The bigger meaning of healing is a 'wholing,' a filling out of the missing pieces of a person's life. Sometimes this may even mean facing death in a more fully realized way. Certainly it is an opportunity to come more deeply and fully into life.
From "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom," by Christiane Northrup, M.D.:
There is a difference between healing and curing. Healing is a natural process and is within the power of everyone. Curing, which is what doctors are called upon to do, usually consists of an external treatment; medication or surgery is used to mask or eliminate symptoms. This external treatment doesn't necessarily address the factors that contributed to the factors in the first place. Healing goes deeper than curing and must always come from within. It addresses the imbalance that underlies the symptoms. Healing brings together the often hidden aspects of a person's life as they relate to her illness. Healing is different from curing, though curing and the restoration of physical function may accompany healing.
One can be healed completely and go on to die of her illness. This is a key understanding that is often missing from treatises on holistic medicine: Healing and death are not mutually exclusive. As a physician, I've been trained to improve and preserve life. But sometimes we need to let go of that training and accept death as a natural part of a process that is much bigger and more mysterious than we realize.