Anointing and the laying on of hands for healing
From the beginning of the church anointing with oil for healing has been practised. (see James)
The oil used is natural olive oil which has been blessed by the Bishop at the ‘Blessing of Oils’ on Holy Thursday. Three oils are blessed, The Oil of Healing, The Oil of Catechumens, and the Oil of Chrism. When something is blessed it is simply imputed with a particular meaning in the Grand Narrative of God salvation and set aside for that purpose. This means that it is Holy Oil and can only be used for this particular purpose and none other.
We understand healing in the sense of being made whole, which may not be the same as simply being cured of a disease. It is possible to be cured of a disease without wholeness. For example a person might be cured of a disease but not be at peace in the heart, they may still be suffering anger and bitterness that saps their mind and dampens the spirit and in this way they are still not yet healed.
Likewise, it is also possible to be healed without being cured of a particular disease. For example a person might find peace and happiness and still have a serious physical ailment. In extreme example someone might have a terminal disease and yet be in complete peace God and at one with all things, and in this sense they are healed.
We understand anointing with oil for healing as working alongside the work of professionals who also work for healing; it never takes the place of proper medical advice, but is a sacramental journey and an act of faith into wholeness of body, mind and spirit. The healing of the spirit is at the core of being made whole and therefore getting ourselves right with God is at the core of health.
This is a scared act and takes place within a little liturgy that includes confession and absolution. It is good if this sacramental act takes place surrounded by family and friends and people of faith whenever possible.
An ongoing relationship between the anointed one and the priest is expected and advised.