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I'm trying to learn Pokemon TCG so I can play with my kids; and I'm trying to figure out whether benched Pokemon heal or not? If so: are there any constraints ("healing rate", etc.) which apply to this healing process?

If not, can we remove Pokemon from the bench and return them to our hand and have them heal then? Or is the only way to heal via potions or trainer cards?

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This rules guide explicitly says that:

You'll see that each pokemon has HP, this stands for hit points. When they have damage on them equal to or greater than that number, they are knocked out. Each attack does damage, which is written on the card. This damage stays on the pokemon, even if it is no longer the active, unless you can heal it with a card.

This suggests that if you don't remove the damage counters from your Pokemons, they don't in fact heal by themselves. It doesn't matter whether the Pokemon is active or benched.

And yes, returning a Pokemon to your hand removes all damage from it, but you cannot return a Pokemon to your hand whenever you want to. You need to use trainers or an ability of a Pokemon to do so.

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While they do not heal hit points, a Pokémon that retreats or otherwise moves to the bench does remove all other conditions - any status condition such as poisoned, burned, confused, asleep, paralyzed; any effect from attacks or abilities (that aren't still acting on it) is removed (things like "this Pokémon can't attack", or similar). From the Pokemon rules guide:

All status conditions are healed if your pokemon retreats to the bench, or if your pokemon evolves. Pokemon on the bench cannot be affected by special conditions.

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    I've added a citation for this answer. The source is the same as in the other answer—if you'd prefer a different source, please feel free to update. – doppelgreener Jan 28 at 11:51

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