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How can a species force an external body to heal itself and speed up the process without the use of magic and technology but by biological means?

Sanators are creatures who can force the body of a nearly dead person or animal to heal or stop bleeding, even on the edge of death or when they are unconscious. How can this be explained without the use of handwavium?

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  • $\begingroup$ Does the Sanator need to make physical contact with the injured? $\endgroup$ – Arkenstein XII Jan 8 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ No as long it still makes sense somehow. $\endgroup$ – Hedwiros Jan 8 at 22:38
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    $\begingroup$ We do this today with drugs. We don't know how to do it without drugs. Other than suggesting the Sanator inject drugs (somewhat like an anti-borg) I don't know what to tell you. You're asking for a science-based explanation for magic. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 8 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Hedwiros I can think of ways that it could work via touch, but none that would work remotely. $\endgroup$ – Arkenstein XII Jan 8 at 23:48
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP That is how science works. A cell phone today would have been called a magic talisman 500 years ago. A robot: a golem. A light bulb: a magic lamp. Or as Arthur C. Clarke put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It is common in science fiction to try begin with things that seem magic and make up a science that is plausible enough to resist suspension of disbelief. This properly explained is no less plausible than FTL drives, nano-bots, or replicators. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 at 18:47
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They need several things.

  1. A mix of useful chemicals. Clotting factors, cell growth promotors, antibiotics, key nutrients. This can stop immediate bleeding and help generally optimize the organism.
  2. Advanced stem cells, which can mimic the cells of the organism they are healing. They need to inject this into the damaged tissue to quickly repair any holes.
  3. Some sort of medical injection system to get their healing stuff into their target.
  4. Medical knowledge of where injuries are and what to inject in what place.

So, perhaps all of those factors could be in their saliva or claws, and when they scratch or bite someone, they heal faster? Along with a powerful sense of smell and excellent vision to diagnose where injuries are.

To handle the different species issue, they could have genetic splicers which analyzed cells and produced enzymes and hormones specific to each organism. To handle the evolution of bacteria and viruses issues, they could have a symbiotic relationship with fungi that produced novel antibiotics and chemicals to inhibit growth of rival organisms. Evolutionarily, these creatures would have evolved symbiotic relationships with a variety of organisms, using them as ways to replicate themselves. Like a virus they would take over other organism's cells, and use them to fill gaps and holes, and keep them alive.

You could have conflict and issues over this specificity, with some individuals being unable to heal certain species or races because of how their systems were adapted, or some species being too hard for their biological systems to interpret.

Very alien biologies would generally be impossible to fix with these.

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem with "useful chemicals" is that they would be very different from a species to another. Clotting factors & growth promotors can't be so easily shared. As for antibiotics, this would need for the Sanators to have a system to constantly develop new kinds of antibiotics to fight the adaptation of bacterias. Unrestrained massive usage of antibiotics is the best way to create resistant strains (which is what we're currently facing in the real world). $\endgroup$ – Echox Jan 9 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Echox A fair point, but it could make for some interesting relations, e.g. the chemicals heal mammals but damage arachnids. $\endgroup$ – A Lambent Eye Jan 9 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Modern antibiotics mostly come from fungi which produce chemicals that are constantly evolving to combat bacteria which is their natural competition for resources. Just like humans live in symbiosis with bacteria in our saliva, the Sanators may have a similar symbiosis with fungi. This means that their saliva would evolve to keep up with real-world bacteria in contrast to the laboratory isolated fungi we use in medicine. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ I added an answer to these issues. $\endgroup$ – Nepene Nep Jan 9 at 16:58
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Your Sanators have an ability like SOME SPECIES OF WASPS that can slow the metabolism of their prey through the injection of toxins.

However, your Sanators have learned to use this to help in healing as well. When a creature near death is stung, their metabolism slows to nearly nothing. At this point, a second injection inserts intelligent stem-cell like cells into the victim that read the DNA, and begin to repair the organism. Your Sanators could also wrap their patients in a cocoon like shroud that would help accelerate the healing.

This could also be used as a plot device to have your peaceful Sanators mistaken for predators while they were actually healing people.

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It is most certainly possible to perform miraculous healing biologically, but it would probably not be as life-saving as you were envisioning.

The reason why it takes so long for an organism to heal itself is because of natural blocks on how often a cell can undergo mitosis to repair any missing or damaged cells. These natural blocks are a part of the organism's DNA and help to prevent many dangerous situations that may arise from uninhibited cell growth, including artery collapse, a loss of muscle function, and even starvation. Without these, however, the body can heal itself at an incredible rate, quickly replacing any missing cells as needed.

Even if your Sanators were able to target these DNA blocks with an extremely precise burst of radiation to enable rapid growth, there would still be the issue of stopping the growth before it eventually kills the organism. Since every cell produced via mitosis would be almost an exact copy of the original cell, they couldn't simply remove the altered cells, as that would undo all the work the body had done up to that point. The only way I can think of that would work would be to reverse the alteration in every single strand of DNA that was replicated, but it would require an insane amount of energy and precision to be able to pull off on the thousands or tens of thousands of cells needed to fix the problem.

Oh, and in order to pull this off, the Sanators would need to disable at least part of the organism's nervous system so it wouldn't destroy the altered cells before they spread, so it is possible they may die of their ailment anyways...

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  • $\begingroup$ A highly advanced form of biological nano bots. Maybe a kind of T cell that can be introduced from the healer to the patient. If these T cells either fight off infection or instill the appropriate DNA programming you are talking about then maybe. Unfortunately, it would have to be extremely advanced biology to do this, which may not naturally develop in a species. $\endgroup$ – Sonvar Jan 9 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Sonvar Nanobots would fell into the "technology" trope that the OP want to avoid. $\endgroup$ – Echox Jan 9 at 10:29
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    $\begingroup$ Your DNA contains tail-chains that get shorter as you age which your body uses as a way to track how it needs to change as you get older. If this "healing cancer" used a tail chain, it could in theory undergo rapid growth for a set number of generations before hitting the end of the tail-chain. Then the DNA injection that caused the rapid growth would break off, and the cell would resume normal functionality. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 9 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Nosajimiki That's a great idea, using tail ends as natural timers on the healing, but unfortunately it takes far too long for it to decay naturally, so it may be too little too late. Also, considering that the modifications are being done to the organism's own DNA, this process may cause a whole host of negative ramifications associated with old age, including memory decay, a lowering in metabolism, and possibly organ troubles and/or failures, depending on where the wound is. $\endgroup$ – Bewilderer Jan 10 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ I was picturing more of a virus like (gene therapy) mechanism that appeands itself to the tail end of existing cells' DNA. Basically, the DNA packet causes super rapid growth but decomposes after a few generations returning the cell to its original metabolic functionality leaving the wound sealed up with a thin benign tumor that is almost indistinguishable from surrounding tissues because unlike normal tumors, it's made purely of adjacent cell types. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jan 10 at 3:56
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Few problems to biological healing :

  • You need the resources to replace or repair what was hurt.
  • You need time for cells to replicate enough to replace or repair what was hurt.

Without any kind of cheating, you can't make the time go faster or make resources magically appear in the body of the anyone near.

But, what could be somewhat credible with still a bit of handwavium :

Your Sanators are somehow constantly emitting a cloud of UBERCELLS around them. These UBERCELLS have three particularities :

  • They will naturally copy the genome of first nearest cell they meet (maybe by eating it, first) which is not a UBERCELL.
  • They have a very fast reproduction rate.
  • They are very big. Which mean they can replicate to a thousands smaller cells without breaking a sweat before lacking resources.

So what you obtain is what could be parent to a "stem cell spray".

Stem cells are (real) non-differentiated cells than can differentiate into every possible cells of an individual (they are the kind you find in an embryo) and are presently being researched and used to grow tissues for transplant or even fight some sicknesses. (Awesome stuff, really).

Stem cells would probably die if you directly sprayed them on an injury but UBERCELLS don't. Because they are very strong and hardworking, they just pick up the job of the closest cells and help them during the healing process. Which is exactly what you are looking for.

Disclaimer : The Sanator decline any responsibility concerning the following :

- In case of infection by a virus of the host, the UBERCELL may occasionnaly hasten death.

- If the UBERCELLS come into contact with a cancerous cell, the host won't like it either.

EDIT : UBERCELLS only work on eucaryotes, aka cells with nucleus. Which prevent any kind of bacterial disaster.

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    $\begingroup$ What happens if the ubercells hits a flesh eating bacteria? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Jan 9 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Bacterias don't have a nucleus and the UBERCELL can't replicate it. I thought I had written that UBERCELLS only work on eucaryotes, will edit. $\endgroup$ – Echox Jan 9 at 16:59
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Sanators are creatures who can force the body of a nearly dead person or animal to (...) stop bleeding.

Sanators are army ants. You can get them to bite both sides of a wound, then chop off them buggers' heads. You get instant sultures without having to know how to sew.

Mother knows best. Mother nature even more so.

You can also use this to scare little children

I'm really serious. Try not to scratch the wound though, and I hope you are not alergic to ant bites.

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    $\begingroup$ This would, as far as I can see, only aid with minor injuries. Nevertheless an interesting concept. $\endgroup$ – A Lambent Eye Jan 9 at 16:31
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Traditional Chinese Medicine works with chi (often spelled qi) (a real thing that Western Science can't really explain very well) to help the body heal itself.

While this usually happens with the use of acupuncture needles or other direct stimulation to the points and channels (acupressure, massage, electrical stimulation, heat, etc), or with herbs/diet, there also exists energy work that a practitioner uses, with or without touch, to effect changes. The one I was personally trained is is called HoChi and is a form of Chi Gong. But there are others. (Note: it's the same teacher but the website doesn't have the same focus on medical healing I had and sounds more New Agey now, even though it's a very old modality).

As wonderful as TCM is, it's not magic and it won't solve all problems. In China all the hospitals are half TCM and half Western Medicine. Because different ailments require different treatments. Sometimes you really do need surgery or pharmaceuticals. But all the staff are trained in both modalities so they work together very effectively.

Obviously what you're asking for doesn't exist in the real world, or people would be doing it. But it would be reasonable to take a system like TCM and amp it up. Give your Sanators so much control over chi that they can make it seem like magic. And allow them to channel universal chi to boost that of others (something that practitioners can do now but only in very small amounts).

This is not a perfect answer because you seem to be asking for science that shows this miraculous healing. No one can give you that because it doesn't exist. But this is the closest I can come. TCM or similar systems from other countries.

Edited to add in some research links on TCM, as requested. Some talk about the need for better research studies and some quote skeptics. Some just present the research.

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    $\begingroup$ Advising to use a thing that few believes about and nobody can explain instead of magic may not be what the OP is looking for. $\endgroup$ – Echox Jan 8 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Echox Maybe, maybe not. But it's the idea that came to me, so I figured it was better to put it out there and see if it was helpful to the OP (or anyone else) instead of keeping it to myself. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Jan 8 at 23:35
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    $\begingroup$ Frame challenges are welcome at WB.SE, but it's appropriate to indicate why you're challenging the OP's frame. I.E., "what you want doesn't work. Here's why. But you could consider this...." $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 8 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ "Traditional Chinese medicine works": citation needed. With actual statistical measurements. @Shadowzee: "there has been a lack of extensive and comprehensive studies": in the absence of actual statistical measurements, what does the word "works" mean in the sentence "traditional Chinese medicine works"? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 9 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ Nice idea, @Cyn! $\endgroup$ – Guy Jan 9 at 1:52

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