In this morning's gospel, Jesus uses two modes of healing: voice command and touch. In certain parables, Jesus uses only his voice and will to effect a cure, even at a distance, for example the centurion's servant. In the case of the woman with the deformation of the spine, he uses both touch and command.
In the Sacrament of the Sick, the Church uses both these methods, employing prayers for healing and laying on of the priest's hands. In addition the anointing with Oil of the Sick constitutes an essential part of the sacrament.
When it comes to the celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick, sooner is always better than later. If the anointing is prior to non-urgent surgery, the sacrament can be prayed by the parish priest and family before admission to the hospital. If for a serious illness, anointing should ideally take place before the person loses consciousness or becomes overly confused by pain medications. In these circumstances, concerned family members can also gather to help support the sick person with prayers during the anointing. Someone who is conscious may also wish to go to confession (to use the old language).
The Sacrament of the Sick is a beautiful sacrament that bestows much peace and inner strength, sometimes even physical strength enough to recover.