Healing is the ability to use the One Power to cure disease and treat injury. It can also be uses to wash away weariness (TEotW, Ch. 11). It is the most common talent (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 24) and people who are weak in the Power can Heal as well as those who are strong (LoC, Ch. 52) It is said that anything short of death can be Healed, if the Healer has sufficient Talent in the area, but severing has always been viewed as being beyond the scope, until stilling and gentling were Healed and there is no indication that severed limbs can be restored (CoT, Ch. 27). Healing is part of the stories about Aes Sedai, and most people know about it (TEotW, Ch. 7). They do sometimes have inflated beliefs about what can be accomplished, such as that the only thing they can't Heal is death (TGH, Ch. 7), or even that they can raise the dead (TDR, Ch. 8).
One of the genuine limits of Healing is that a person cannot Heal themselves (TEotW, Ch. 11; TSR, Ch. 3). Another limit is that people who are too severely injured may die from the Healing unless the Healer is sufficiently talented (CoT, Prologue) and that small creatures, such as songbirds are too small to survive the shock of Healing (LoC, Ch. 7), though larger pets can survive TFoH, Ch. 10). Mistakes with Healing can kill both the Healer and the patient, something that discourages experimentation (LoC, Ch. 30). For similar reasons, novices and Accepted are not allowed to Heal until they have been guided step by step a hundred times (TDR, Ch. 10).
A person being Healed typically feels a cold, shivering sensation, “Cold froze her to he bone, meeting heat that seared outward as if it meant to crisp her flesh; the world vanished in a sensation of rushing, falling, flying, spinning” (Egwene TDR, Ch. 39).
In the Age of Legends
In the Age of Legends, all Healers were channelers, Restorers. No disease or injury save death was beyond the ability of the one power to Heal. Death from other than old age occurred only when the victim was beyond the reach of an Aes Sedai restorer. The average life expectancy was between one hundred and fifty and two hundred years (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 3). Moghedien claims that modern Healing was only the crudest battlefield work. She knows no more than that and can't Heal more than a bruise (LoC, Prologue). She also said there were different weaves for different illnesses, it took more time, but all the strength came from the Power and that men were better at some forms of Healing (LoC, Prologue)
Healing Taint Madness
Taint madness was for thousands of years believed to be unhealable, but Ishamael uses the True Power to cure Lews Therin Telamon “A pity for you that one of your sisters is not present. I was never very skilled at Healing, and I follow a different power now, but even one of them could only give you a few lucid minutes (...) I fear Shai'tan's Healing is different from the sort you know” This Healing is incredibly painful (TEotW, Prologue). Nynaeve however was able to discover the physical presence of the taint by Delving Naeff and from that and her knowledge of Healing Compulsion was able to Heal him and other Asha'man (ToM, Ch. 15)
In the Third Age
Attitudes to being Healed
Many people are mistrustful of Aes Sedai and reluctant to be Healed by them, but often, when the injury is severe, know that it may be their only chance to live (TEotW, Ch. 7). This is especially prevalent amongst the Seanchan, even once they learn Healing as damane are typically viewed as animals (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 17), the idea of Healing makes Karede shudder – he think she would have to be near death first, but if it could have saved Kalia...(KoD, Ch. 36). Mat refuses Healing when Verin offers (TSR, Ch. 37). Mylen knows Healing and Tuon thinks it wonderful. She thinks people who are reluctant to have the Power used on them are foolish (KoD, Ch. 25).
Three Power Healing
In the third age, the majority of Healing is done with a weave of spirit, air and water (LoC, Ch. 30). In general, this is inferior to the Healing used in the Age of Legends, which used all five Powers, but it is much simpler and can be used in situations where the more complex weave cannot, such as when the Healer is tired, or dizzy (ACoS, Ch. 24). With this weave, part of the strength required comes from the person being Healed (TFoH, Ch. 34) and part from the Healer, who will tire themselves out using it (TEotW, Ch. 7). Part of it also comes from the Power itself, if a person holds the Power while being Healed, it can greatly reduce their recovery time (TSR, Ch. 3). There are limits to what can be Healed, if there is insufficient strength in the person being Healed, even the strongest Aes Sedai can do nothing (TEotW, Ch. 7).
After Healing, a person can be on their back, an invalid for weeks (TEotW, Ch. 7; TFoH, Ch. 34). Particularly severe wounds can be even longer, after Healing Tam of the wound from the Thakan'dar blade, Moiraine expects him to take two to three weeks to recover (TEotW, Ch. 7). After Mat is Healed of the link to the dagger by a circle of ten Aes Sedai with a sa'angreal (TDR, Ch. 18), Lanfear claims that hunger is to be expected the way modern Aes Sedai do things. Siuan says ““You've eaten a meal for five and will eat three or four like it every day for days yet, or else you will starve to death” (The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 20). The hunger lasts until he is partway to Caemlyn, two days before they get there (TDR, Ch. 40). A person can tell where someone they have Healed is (The Eye of the World, Chapter 21). Nynaeve uses this ability to detect where Egwene, who she cured of breakbone fever (TEotW, Ch. 21) is (TEotW, Ravens Prologue; TEotW, Ch. 16).
Five Power Healing
In the Age of Legends, Healing used all five Powers. This type of Healing, which has been rediscovered is more complex than the Healing that uses just Spirit, Air and Water, and unlike that Healing does not require strength in the person being Healed. When Elayne sees the weaves Nynaeve uses to try and Heal Birgitte, she think sit far beyond anything she could do “Strands of spirit predominated, but Water and Air were in there, and even Earth and Fire. It looked as complicated a embroidering one dress with either hand, and two more with your feet. Blindfolded” (TFoH, Ch. 35). Nynaeve herself admitted that she didn't know half of what she was trying to do, while Egwene compared it to weaving four carpets at once, blindfolded (TDR, Ch. 38).
After she demonstrates her Healing and the other Aes Sedai start to learn it and modify it. It is different enough from traditional Healing to count as a new weave, not simply another way of performing the same weave, so the limit normally imposed by trying to learn something a second time does not apply (KoD, Ch. 23). Not all that had talent with the old Healing show great skill with the new sort (KoD, Ch. 23), but enough have ability that they are able to discover new things themselves. In the time after first Healing Suian and Leane, Nynaeve spends a lot of time demonstrating. When she sees Sumeko also use the five Power form, she is relieved that finally someone else will be the one teaching all the Aes Sedai (ACoS, Ch. 38).
Although Sumeko was not a wilder, it seems likely that she learned her Healing outside of the White Tower and that like Nynaeve, it was an inborn talent, or even a trick she learned before going to the Tower (LoC, Ch. 8). It seems that many women who have Healing as a talent, such as those that were village Wise Women before going joining the rebel Aes Sedai have skill in this new Healing (KoD, Ch. 23). Sumeko herself does not think much of she simple form of Healing (CoT, Ch. 14).
The Yellow Ajah
- Main article: The Yellow Ajah
Since the Breaking of the World, Aes Sedai influence has not been so widespread and most everyday Healing has been performed by local women (or in Amadicia, men). In the White Tower, although many Aes Sedai are skilled at Healing, it is the Yellow Ajah that make it their purpose as Aes Sedai and the best Healers are to be found in that Ajah. It is for this reason that Nynaeve wishes to join, though as an Accepted, she grew frustrated that they would not share what they knew with her (LoC, Ch. 8) and came to believe that although they studied Healing, they did not know any more than she did. When she later learns that some things need to be Healed differently for men and women, she acknowledges that she might have been wrong (LoC, Ch. 30). When the Yellow first learn that Nynaeve nearly always uses all five Powers, they are critical, claiming it could harm the patient or herself, yet once they get over the shock, within a few minutes, they begin to think of other ways fire and Earth could be used, for example, for problems with the heart, or how they could be better combined or used more smoothly than Nynaeve demonstrated (LoC, Ch. 30).
Non-Aes Sedai Healing
Healing was something that was limited to the White Tower and some wilders. Amongst the Aiel, it was virtually unknown, though some Wise Ones were said to be able to do it. The Aiel generally viewed such claims as boasts (TDR, Ch. 39). Since they started interacting with Aes Sedai, they have learned Healing. Sumeko and Nynaeve have taught the Wise Ones complex Healing and the other Aes Sedai have shown them the simple form (CoT, Ch. 14). Sumeko quickly advances past Nynaeve (CoT, Ch. 14) and some of the other Kin also outstrip Nynaeve at Healing (WH, Ch. 10). Taim teaches the men at the Black Tower the little Healing he knows (LoC, Ch. 42). Compared to Aes Sedai Healing, this is rough (ACoS, Ch. 36). Flinn started on his Healing when Dashiva asked why it as the same for a broken leg or a cold (ACoS, Ch. 36). Later, Logain looks for men interested in Flinn's type of Healing (WH, Prologue). After Mishraile is clubbed and his skull broken, Taim refuses to let Melare Heal him. He says someone might Heal him later if he survives (KoD, Epilogue). Damer offers to Heal Daigain of the bond pain, but she refuses, believing the pain is a thing she should go through (CoT, Ch. 23). Some damane are used to Heal the sick, but the ability is rare and many refuse it (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 17), Tuon taught Healing to her damane (KoD, Ch. 25) after learning it from Mylen. Melitene tells Mylen about how wonderful her Healing is, to make her feel better about not being able to use the One Power as a weapon.
When Rand fights Ba'alzamon, he is wounded and Verin can't Heal it. Moiraine says Nynaeve must have done something or he wouldn't have lived at all, but she says she was to scared to channel (TGH, Ch. 49). None of them are able to Heal it completely and it later breaks open while Rand is fighting Shadowspawn. This time, Moiraine again partially Heals it, with the angreal (TDR, Ch. 5). After killing Rahvin, Nynaeve Heals Rand's wounds, with all five powers, Healing all the new wounds, but changing nothing about the one he received at Falme. After Fain injures Rand, Cadsuane slightly Heals him and Corele does it further but she thinks he will die. Finally Flinn seals the two wounds off and says that he can't do better but perhaps the wounds will fight each other and at least Rand has a chance now Samitsu agrees (ACoS, Ch. 36). Flinn seals the two wounds away from each other and hopes they'll kill each other off (ACoS, Ch. 36). Corele further Heals Rand while he was unconscious, using ideas she learned from Flinn (ACoS, Ch. 41). The reason the wounds will not Heal properly is that they are not entirely natural, being infested with the evil of the Dark One and Shadar Logoth respectively. The wound was not natural, “The wound in Rand's side that Moiraine could never Heal completely (...). It seemed all the darkness in the world rested there in Rand's side, all the world's evil in a festering sore only lightly covered by tender scar tissue (Egwene, TSR, Ch. 7). Nynaeve had a similar impression “a sinkhole of darkness, a well filled with what she thought was the taint of saidin” (TFoH, Ch. 55). After he is wounded by Fain, Samitsu compares the two wounds “This seems like a cyst, but full of evil instead of pus. And this...”She drew her finger down the gash. “...seems full of different evil” (ACoS, Ch. 36). After Rand cleanses the taint, Flinn expects that there would be a change in the wounds, but there was none (WH, Ch. 35).
In the Age of Legends, severing was one of the few things, perhaps the only thing, that could not be Healed. It was uniformly believed that it was impossible and many, disapproved of even trying. Lelaine tried to talk Nynaeve out of it (LoC, Ch. 8) and Yellows such as Dagdara, who objected to the “foolish notions and wasting time” and Nisao who Nynaeve refused to even speak to Nynaeve until she stopped trying to “alter how the Pattern has been woven” had even stronger feelings (LoC, Ch. 8).
At first, Nynaeve feels they may be right, but she is able to get a sense of something torn or cut in Leane and when she then discovers that they can sense Moghedien through the a'dam, even if they can't do anything with it, she becomes convinced there is something there to Heal (TEotW, Prologue). She also practices on Logain, though the differences are enough that she is not convinced she could learn anything. Eventually, she does get a sensation of what is almost a hole, or a feeling that what seemed continuous was not, that what seemed smooth and straight was really skirting around an absence. By directing saidar into that are at he hole should have been, she finds the same “something cut” that she found in Siuan and Leane, and without thinking, bridges it with Spirit and Fire. This Heals him, to his original strength (LoC, Ch. 29).
She then Heals Siuan and then Leane the same way (LoC, Ch. 30), they are much weaker than before (LoC, Ch. 30). Some time after this, Damer Flinn decids to try Healing the women who Rand stilled. It is not known if he knew anything about Nynaeve Healing Logain, or tried of his own accord. He learned his own Healing after leaving the Black Tower, as Manfor was not aware of it (CoT, Prologue), but the men in the Black Tower are aware of it – Logain looks for men interested in Damer's type of Healing (WH, Prologue). Damer Heals Irgain and Corele asks Cadsuane permission to try with Sashalle and Ronaille (WH, Ch. 13), all three are restored to their original strength. The weave he uses is not the exactly the same as Nynaeve used, but this is not why he is more effective. To fully restore, a person must be Healed by the opposite gender (Robert Jordan's Blog, Tuesday, October 4th, 2005).
Different Levels of Healing Talent
Some of the Kin are oustripping Nynaeve at Healing (WH, Ch. 10).
Sumeko shows greater skill than Nynaeve (CoT, Ch. 14).
Cadsuane considers Nynaeve's ability with Healing nothing short of miraculous (WH, Ch. 34).
Samitsu is very talented and can Heal almost as well as a linked circle, no one in living memory was strong. With the three weave form She can Heal so the person seems to have spent days recovering, requiring less strength from the patient. She can't Heal just one thing, the way Damer can. She uses the basic three weave form.
In one of Rand's Portal Stone lives, it is said “For her cures that worked so miraculously on others were only just able to keep Rand alive” (About Egwene, TGH, Ch. 37). In her Accepted test, three times she had cured someone Nynaeve has left for dead (TDR, Ch. 22). However. In the real world, she is poor at Healing (TFoH, Ch. 52) and knows little (TFoH, Ch. 32).
Chesmal Emry is one of the most talented Healers anyone has seen in generations (TDR, Ch. 25; TFoH, Ch. 18). She can kill or cure with little ease. Despite this, Moghedien does not have much respect for her abilities (TFoH, Ch. 34).
Alanna is a much better Healer than Verin (TSR, Ch. 43).
Karldin does not know anything about Damer's type of Healing. He doesn't have much Talent for the basic sort (CoT, Prologue).
Morr Heals Rand when he is struck by an arrow. It is physically pulled through as only Flinn and a few others can use the Power to remove what was driven deep. Few can manage the complex weaves Flinn uses and none as well. Morr uses the simpler, rougher form (WH, Ch. 23).
Examples of Healing
To Egwene's surprise, Mistress Barran knelt down and undid it again, even lifting the bread-poultice to peer at the gash in Bili's thigh before beginning to wrap the cloth back around his leg. She actually looked ....disappointed. But why? Nynaeve began fiddling with her braid, tugging at it the way she did when she was nervous, or trying to bring attention to the fact that she was a grown woman, now. When is she going to outgrow that? Egwene thought. It was nearly a year since the Women's Circle had let Nynaeve braid her hair (TEotW, Ravens Prologue).
Moiraine is tired when she first Heals Tam, so first she just soothes the pain. She then uses her angreal to remove the Thakan'dar taint and says if she wasn't tired she wouldn't have needed it (TEotW, Ch. 8).
Moiraine refreshes everyone on the journey (TEotW, Ch. 13).
Nynaeve Healed Egwene of breakbone fever when she was still apprentice to Doral Barran (TEotW, Ch. 21).
Nynaeve rubs an ointment of ground ivy, five-finger and sunburst root over Perrin's bruises. “It was hot and cold at the same time, making him shiver” The bruises fade, some even disappearing all together. Nynaeve looks surprised and a little frightened (TEotW, Ch. 38).
Moiraine temporarily Heals Mat of the dagger (TEotW, Ch. 40).
Sheriam Heals Nynaeve after the Accepted test. It doesn't remove scars she received (TGH, Ch. 23).
After Rand fights Ba'alzamon, he is wounded and Verin can't Heal it. Moiraine says Nynaeve must have done something or he wouldn't have lived at all, but she says she was to scared to channel (TGH, Ch. 49).
Rand's wound breaks open and Moiraine Heals it with the angreal (TDR, Ch. 5).
Nynaeve tries Healing Mat.
“Sheriam Sedai says we mustn't try to Heal until we've been guided step by step a hundred times” (Elayne).
“You could have killed him” (Egwene).
She fails as psycologically she needs her herbs (TDR, Ch. 10).
Nynaeve considers trying to Heal Mat herself (TDR, Ch. 16).
Mat is Healed of the link to the dagger by a circle of ten Aes Sedai with a sa'angreal, led by Siuan, even though elsewhere it is said she has little talent for Healing. He has his first memory when he wakes up (TDR, Ch. 18).
Lanfear talks to him “You are hungry. That's to be expected the way they do things”
“You've eaten a meal for five and will eat three or four like it every day for days yet, or else you will starve to death” (Siuan, The Dragon Reborn, Chapter 20).
The hunger lasts until he is partway to Caemlyn, two days before they get there (TDR, Ch. 40).
Nynaeve Heals Egwene and Elayne (TDR, Ch. 55).
Egwene probes Rand with three powers. She doesn't know Healing, but has watched Nynaeve Heal (TSR, Ch. 7).
Moiraine Heals Rand of his channeling tiredness and he calls her down for doing it without permission. He can stand by himself afterwards though (TSR, Ch. 23).
“I cannot rid you of it completely, not when you have channeled as much as you did, but I will do what I can” (Moiraine) (TSR, Ch. 23).
Chesmal Heals Moghedien (TFoH, Ch. 34).
While on the Riverserpent, Nynaeve Heals a lot of the Samaran refugees, wrapping them in bandages so they can't tell how quickly and well they Healed. She also Heals children that show signs of fever or worms (TFoH, Ch. 49).
Nynaeve Heals Rand's wounds, with all five powers (TFoH, Ch. 55).
Theodrin Heals a bruise on Nynaeve, the extent of her abilities (LoC, Ch. 13).
Morr Heals Rand when he is struck by an arrow (WH, Ch. 23).
Verin uses the confusion following Healing to use her semi-compulsion on Beldeine (TPoD, Prologue).
Samitusu Heals Dobraine (CoT, Prologue)