Interesting Concept; Biased Execution
I spend a lot of time listening to motivational speakers, podcasts and experts but one sentence has stuck with me and changed my life; if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Why is this so powerful? Because it’s true. I spent a lot of time looking at the world through a negative lens, exacerbated by scaremongering news, a bad diet and a lack of exercise. Skip forward 2 years and after losing 50 pounds, running regularly and being appreciative for everything I have in my life, my health dramatically improved and I found I wasn’t getting as sick as I once was.
With this in mind, Heal is an interesting documentary film that argues in favour of the notion that the mind controls the body and by nurturing this we can heal any disease. Directed by Kelly Noonan, this idea is explored fully through interviews with physicians, spiritual healers and scientists as well as people who have benefited from this way of thinking. To help explain some of the more complicated biological and physical implications, diagrams and animations are used to explain what’s being said.
After a brief introduction, the documentary goes on to showcase 3 or 4 main case studies with face to face interviews and archival photographs showing the various diseases that have affected that individual. With most of the footage shot in America, Heal does take a somewhat slanted approach to its argument, using the US healthcare system to argue against conventional medicine because of the greedy corporations in charge of this industry. From a personal perspective, I have seen this sort of mental shift work in my own life however the lack of statistics around the success rate of alternate medicine in extreme cases like tumors and cancer makes this a little questionable.
For all the positives, Heal doesn’t look too much at the negative side effects for this type of treatment. What happens when the mind isn’t strong enough to heal? What happens when you fall out of that positive mindset and back into negativity again? How many people die from pursuing alternate medicine? These sort of questions are never really looked at nor are there any interviews with surgeons or scientists who argue against this idea. The questionable inclusion of faith and a belief in praying also find their way into this documentary film but are quickly explained through a notion called entanglement which, correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t explain the correlation between praying and photons in the body.
With little to no statistics around the negative side effects or the number of people who’ve failed to benefit from this treatment, it’s best to take Heal at face value. Yes well-being does make a big difference to your life but for every 1% that use alternate medicine for chronic illnesses get better, there’s a handful of others who don’t improve. Or worse, get even more sick. Relying solely on alternate healing to get better isn’t something I would wholly recommend but the segments around maintaining a healthy diet and positive mindset should absolutely be adopted.
Heal is a fascinating, educational and challenging documentary but also one that never really delivers a balanced argument. The relationship between mind and body is something that’s fascinating to me but as the scientists interviewed here say – we’re only now starting to understand this. Do I think herbal teas may cure cancer? No. Do I believe your mind can improve your overall health and immune system? Absolutely. I just wish there was more balance here as while I did enjoy watching this, its a difficult one to recommend given its biased viewpoint.
Verdict - 4.5/10