Both sides of the force
- "Bacta can heal the body, but the Force can heal the soul."
- ―A Jedi healer
- "Must relax… reach out with my mind… reach inside… through the pain… to touch the Force! Knit bones… mend flesh… renew!"
Initial levels required meditation, but greater aptitude usually granted faster regeneration, without need of meditation. Greater levels of attainment were also able to mend far more severe injuries, even major damage to flesh and bone and even going as far as to mend internal damage, such as damage to the heart, lungs, and so forth. This was shown in a more perverse form by Darth Vader, but was properly utilized by the most skilled of Jedi. However, there were limitations, stemming if not from the nature of Force healing, then at the very least from the individual, as Force-users were not seen to regenerate lost matter.
Jedi healers used this power to diagnose and treat the ailments of their patients. A notable case of this use of Force healing was Cilghal using the Force to cure Mon Mothma of a molecular poison that was incurable by conventional means, although strictly speaking the method of healing involved Cilghal's Force-powered detection and removal of the nanomachines afflicting Mon Mothma rather than a direct application of Force energy against the damaged cells themselves. A variation of this power was Force Purification, as well as Force Assist which was a Force technique that enabled the user to heal people other than themselves, and with enough concentration, the user was able to heal others bodies and minds simultaneously.
Practitioners were many, as were examples of its utilization. Ki-Adi-Mundi used this Force power to heal a broken collar bone almost completely by meditation after the ambush of Jabba the Hutt's minions, during Mundi's mission to find Sharad Hett. Obi-Wan Kenobi used a basic form of this ability on Luke Skywalker after the latter's confrontation with Tusken Raiders on Tatooine in 0 BBY. At least some members of a species native to Brodo Asogi possessed this technique, while the Jedi of the New Jedi Order used this ability in the form of a healing trance.
Although it was believed that malevolent Force-users could not employ Force healing, this was a wrong assumption. The dark side could in fact be used to heal, but, twisted by the dark side, such power came at a terrible price.
The most 'benign', to the user at least, of these side effects was the healing being temporary, and requiring renewed applications or constant concentration to remain active. Among the dark side practitioners despite this discouraging result was Darth Bane. By focusing on the pain and anguish of others, he fueled the dark side and could sustain or invigorate himself. After being poisoned by the Brotherhood of Darkness, he resorted to using this form of Force Healing to keep himself alive long enough to reach Caleb, a true Force healer. This survival he accomplished by murdering a farmer's children before the man's eyes—the pain of the children's death coupled with their father's agony prior to his own death was enough to sustain Bane for hours. The Sith Lord would use this power periodically over his career despite his Orbalisk armor fulfilling a regenerative function.
Darth Vader also experimented with Force healing fueled by the dark side, in which meditation on anger and frustration at his life and circumstances allowed his lungs to function without the aid of his hyperbaric chamber or his life support suit. He, too, quickly discovered that the dark side offered only a perversion of true healing, as the damaged alveoli of his lungs did not heal permanently, but rather remained functional as long as the intensity of his anger was kept focused. He only managed to maintain this power for a brief time, the pleasure he received from the healing process eventually breaking his concentration. Nevertheless, he was slowly able to expand the duration of his lung's functionality, starting at a few seconds and gradually managing up to a few minutes. Vader's conclusion was that joy and happiness poisoned the dark side's power, and as such, they sabotaged the healing the technique afforded. However, he theorized that, with much practice and enormous willpower, he would eventually master the process and no longer be constricted by his life support system.
Perhaps the most curious example of the dark side's cost of living is the case of the ancient Sith Lord Darth Sion, the Lord of Pain. Sion could focus on his own pain and agony, using it to fuel the dark side and recover from grievous wounds nearly instantly. Sion's capability with this technique appeared almost perfect, but over time, his injuries accumulated to such a degree that he was in constant agony. This, however, he welcomed, as it fueled his power. To accomplish this task, he channeled the Force constantly to literally hold his shattered body together. Fortunately for Sion, it was very much a circular power: more pain beget more power, more power beget more capacity, more capacity beget more pain. Medical staff examining his body concluded that it should be pulling itself apart, so damaged was his physical shell. Sion died only when Meetra Surik sowed doubt in Sion's mind, convincing him that his Force-dependent "life" was not worth existing.
Decades before Sion, Exar Kun was subject to somewhat similar healing when his shattered body was restored to wholeness after being crushed in the tomb of Freedon Nadd. It was unknown, though, whether this was the work of Kun himself or the spirit of Freedon Nadd himself working Sith magic.
Darth Plagueis, the master to Palpatine also experimented with a dark side variant that would grant him the ability to create, maintain, or save life by manipulating midichlorians to a certain degree. Plagueis stated that a child born of this power would be the embodiment of the Force. Although Sidious stated to Anakin that Plagueis had complete control over this ability, it is unknown whether he was in actuality successful in developing this. It was rumored he had employed such a power to create Anakin Skywalker, but this, itself, was never truly proven.
There existed a related Force power possessed by a descendant of Darth Vader named Cade Skywalker. This power the ability to bring others back from the brink of death, healing mortal wounds. His usage coincided with times of intense emotional distress. Cade believed he had to call upon the dark side in order to access the talent, but his former Jedi Master Wolf Sazen disputed this, believing that with proper training, the light side could accomplish such a feat as well, a position later proven correct. The Sith Lord Darth Krayt, also learned this ability and mastered it after combining knowledge from Karness Muur, Darth Andeddu, and Cade Skywalker, to the extent he was able to even heal himself from death.
Behind the scenesEdit
In games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Dark Forces saga, the player can give this power to the protagonists, to cure themselves and their party members of injuries or even poison. In the games, the usage of the power is accompanied with some effects, like glowing swirls and sounds. These are believed to be more visual aids to the player, rather than an actual depiction of the power's behavior. Also, in these games, the healing power is represented by a cross that strongly resembles the Swiss cross.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: Prima Official Game Guide
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Core Set (Card: Force Rejuvenation)
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Core Set (Card: The Hand’s Blessing)
- Star Wars: The Card Game – Star Wars: The Card Game - Balance of the Force (Card: Force Cleansing)