WHILE most people go to a doctor when they're sick, for the most part Christian Scientists prefer not to.
Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Mount Waverley instead try to heal themselves through prayer.
Spiritual healing is a unique part of their faith. The religion was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866 after she was able to heal her own injuries with the help of her Bible.
The state's highest performing independent school, Huntingtower, was founded on the tenets of Christian Science.
Huntingtower was established in 1927 in Malvern and came to Mount Waverley in the early 1950s. It opened up to non-Christian Science families in the 1970s.
Church member Robert Kitchingman, 52, has been a devout Christian Scientist all his life. He went to Huntingtower as a teen and returned seven years ago as its business manager. His own faith was cemented when he was 17.
"I badly injured my back and was able to overcome that through prayer," he says.
He says Christian Scientists believe that spiritual healing through prayer will in turn cure any physical ailments.
"Until you've demonstrated something for yourself, you're never really quite sure. I guess that's the 'science' part," he says.
"Once you demonstrate it, that really cements your understanding.
"Our mental approach to things is more important than the physical approach.
"Your ability to change your thought will have a profound effect on how you feel physically."
Asked whether members of his faith ever visit the doctor, Mr Kitchingman says it's up to individuals. But he says he wouldn't avoid going to a doctor if he were in jeopardy.
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Waverley in Mount Waverley will hold a lecture given by Mary Beattie at 7pm on Friday, August 17. Free. All welcome. Details: 98071688.