The vast majority of the studies mentioned below were obtained from MEDLINE – a vast medical database – or from the book "Spiritual Healing" by Daniel Benor.
1990, Wirth Research in Parapsychology : pages 47-52
This study involved a group of people having identical cuts made on their skin. The group was then divided into two sub-groups; one of which received healing and the other did not. The healer never met the subjects (he just focussed on one of the sub-groups) and the subjects were never told which sub-group they belonged to (i.e whether they were being healed or not). The cuts were examined after 8 days and after 16 days and, on both occassions, the cuts on the skins of the group receiving healing were smaller than those on the group not receiving healing.
1965, Grad, Bernard; Some biological effects of the 'laying-on of hands': a review of experments with animals and plants Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 1965
Bernard Grad anaesthetized 48 mice and create similar sized wounds on their backs by removing a piece of skin that was approximately 0.5 by 0.5 inches. He then divided the mice into three groups of 16. The first group received healing for 15 minutes, twice daily, from the hungarian healer 'Estebany', the second group was an untreated control, and the third group was also an untreate control but had their cages heated to control for the possibility that heat from Estabany's hands might induce faster wound healing. The Lab workers were unaware of which group they were handling. After 14 days, the wounds of the treated group had healed more rapidly than those of either of the control groups (highly significant: p<0.001) and the rate of wound healing of the control groups did not differ from each other.
1995, Brown, CK; Spiritual Healing in a General Practice:Using a Quality-of-life Questionnaire to Measure Outcome Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol 3 : pages 230-233
In this study, 35 patients with chronic health problems were invited to attend healing sessions with two healers at the surgery. 33 of the 35 patients completed the healing sessions. 11 of the patients had suffered from anxiety/stress for an average of 12 years; 6 of the patients had been suffering from depression for an average of 6 years; and the remainder were suffering from physical problems. Initially, the mean mental health score of the group was 49.6 (average for general population = 73.7) and they scored considerably lower than the general population on emotional and social functioning as well.
At the end of the trial, the mean mental health score of the group had risen to 63.5 with comparable improvements in emotional and social functioning. 23 of the patients elected to continue with healing and a follow-up questionnaire was sent to them after 6 months. Nineteen patients answered and the results showed that the improvements in mental health had been maintained.
1998, Dixon, M; Does 'healing' benefit patients with chronic symptoms? A quasi-randomized trial in general practice; J R Soc Med 1998 Apr; vol 91(4) : pages 183-188
This study looked at the effects of 'healing' on chronically ill patients in a large practice. For the study, 57 patients were alternately allocated to receive ten weekly healing sessions or to be controls. Two weeks after healing was completed, 22 of the 27 healed patients reported that their symptoms had improved and 15 of them reported that there had been a substantial improvement. Healed patients scored better than controls on anxiety and depression ratings and these differences were still evident 3 months later. The report concluded "that healing may be an effective adjunct for the treatment of chronically ill patients presenting in general practice".
1996, Benor, DJ; Spiritual healing for infertility, pregnancy, labour and delivery Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery, 1996, Vol 2(4) : pages 106-109
Spiritual healing has been reported anecdotally to be of benefit for most of the ills of mankind. Research in the past few decades amply confirms this assertion. This paper discusses the applications of healing for infertility, pregnancy, labour and delivery. Though healers in the UK are forbidden by law to give healing around the time of birth without the supervision of a midwife or other medical personnel healers are increasingly working alongside conventional carers in doctors' surgeries and hospitals. There is a definite place for healers to participate in bringing life into the world. Healers and grateful parents report that labour and delivery are eased when healing is given and that babies born after receiving healing seem more alert and 'connected' to those around them.
1990, Benor, D; Survey of Spiritual Healing Research Complementary Medical Research, Vol 4 (3), September 1990 : pages 9-33
This was a review of 8 Healing research studies. Benor concluded that healing was a major contributor in breaking the vicious circles of anxiety,muscle tension, spasm, pain, anxiety, etc.
1976, Kreiger Psychoenergetic systems, Vol 1 : pages 121-129
In this study, 32 nurses were trained in healing methods and they then acted as healers for research. The conclusion of this study was that healing increased haemoglobin levels thus more oxygen was being transported to the cells with an obviously beneficial effect.
1989, Cohen, J; The Practitioner, Vol 233, August 1989 : pages 1056-1057
In this study, 44 patients were referred to a healing group and data collected over 20 weeks on those who attended. The results showed that 35 patients felt better for attending.
1994, Sundblom et al; Effect of spiritual healing on chronic idiopathic pain: a medical and psychological study Clin J Pain, 1994 Dec, Vol 10(4) : pages 296-302
Twenty-four patients suffering from chronic pain were allocated randomly to receive Spiritual Healing or no treatment. Patients were evaluated at the beginning of treatment, 2 weeks after the completion of treatment and a year after the completion of treatment using: Medical Interview (Visual Analog Scale and Pain Clinic Investigation Formula); IASP Data Base Outline; psychological interview (Hopkin's Symptom Checklist, Middlesex Hospital Questionnaire, Beck's Depression Inventory, Coping Strategy Questionnaire, Health Locus of Control Scale). The results showed a reduction in drug intake and an improvement in sleep patterns among those who had received healing; there was also a decrease in the feeling of hopelessness and half of the treated patients felt that healing had given them some relief. The study concluded that healing appeared harmless and was subjectively helpful to some patients suffering from chronic pain.
1977, Miller; Methods of detecting and measuring healing energies Future Science (published by Anchor Doubleday)
In a study that took place over twenty years ago, a healer treated containers of copper salt solutions as if she were undertaking a healing. The crystals obtained from these solutions were coarser than crystals obtained from solutions treated exactly the same minus the healing. Further measurements showed changes consistent with an alteration in the hydrogen bonds of the 'healed' water.
1983, Patrovsky; Proceedings of the 5th International conference on Psychotronic Research, Bratislava : pages 88-95
Another study showed that 'healed' water becomes polarized and polarized water is known to stimulate plant growth.
1997, Peck; Therapeutic Touch & Progressive Muscle Relaxation used to Reduce Pain in Elders With Degenerative Arthritis; Journal of Holistic Nursing, Vol. 15, No 2 : pages 176-198
In a 10-week trial comparing the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch (TT) with Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) in elders with degenerative arthritis researcher Susan Eckes Peck, Ph.D. found that both TT and PMR significantly reduced baseline levels of pain and distress. 40 subjects received TT treatments and 37 received PMR treatments. The reduction was nearly equal with PMR showing slightly more pain and distress reduction than TT. While this study did not compare TT or PMR to a control ("placebo") group, a number of studies have already shown that PMR is effective in reducing pain and distress in arthritis sufferers. Therefore, this study shows that TT treatment is nearly as effective as PMR treatments. The author points out that both TT and PMR can be used in "practice settings for chronic conditions requiring multiple treatments." PMR can be taught to some patients so that they can practice on their own. However, for patients not able to practice PMR on their own or who have difficulty following through with self-guided PMR, TT treatments by a practitioner can be helpful. One must keep in mind that this study focused on TT and PMR only and did not consider the benefits of concurrent changes in diet, lifestyle, or concurrent holistic treatment programs. Such a holistic healing programs can be quite helpful in curing arthritic conditions.
1996, Garrard; The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Stress Reduction and Immune Function in Persons with AIDS; University of Alabama (Doctoral Dissertation)
In this study, twenty men suffering from AIDS were randomly assigned to Healing or Mock Healing. During the healing sessions they all wore sleep masks and headphones so that they would not be aware of the presence of the healer. Those assigned to healing received 20 minutes healing from the healer; in the case of those assigned to mock-healing the healer entered and stayed in the room for 20 minutes but did not give healing. Healing effects were tested by giving all twenty men a stress test before treatment and nine weeks after treatment; Immune system effects were tested by taking white blood cell counts, of a type known to be deficient in those with AIDS, before treatment and then at three, six and nine weeks after treatment. By the end of nine weeks there were significant difference between the two groups with the healed group showing significant increases in white blood cell counts and on stress reduction.
1975, Krieger; Therapeutic Touch: the imprimatur of nursing; American Journal of Nursing 1975, Vol 7 : pages 784-787
In this series of 4 experiments, Krieger studied the effects of healing on haemoglobin levels in humans. For the first 3 experiments, healing was carried out by a well-known Hungarian healer, Oscar Estebany. In the last experiment, she used 32 nurses who had been trained as healers. All four experiments showed significant increases in haemoglobin levels in healed groups as opposed to the control groups.
1989, Wetzel, Wendy S; Reiki healing: a physiological perspective; Journal of Holistic Nursing 1989, Vol 7(1) : pages 47-54
This was a replication of Kreiger's study using Reiki. Again, significant increases in haemoglobin levels in the healed group, as opposed to the control group, were demonstrated.
In the seventies, the physicist Dr Robert Beck measured the brain-wave patterns of different types of healers – from all over the world – including Spiritual and Reiki healers, Psychics, Shamans, Wicca practitioners and a host of others. Beck discovered that all healers, regardless of type, had similar brain-wave patterns when they were healing and they also had brain-wave frequencies that averaged out at about 7.8 to 8 hertz (the Alpha frequency range). He also found that for a few moments, during healing, the healers' brain waves became synchronised with the Earth's Electromagnetic Field (the Schumann Resonance).
In the eighties, the medical researcher Cohen tested the electrical potential of healers' hands during healing and found that the potential could surge to 221 volts; the norm for non-healers is about 4 volts.
Again, in the eighties, Dr John Zimmerman of the University of Colorado carried out tests on the magnetic field surround the hands of healers during healing. He used a SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) for his experiments and discovered that Electromagnetic Fields several hundred times stronger than the background noise are created around the hands of healers during healing — he also discovered that non-healers do not have these massive Fields.
In Japan, Dr Seto measured the Field emanating from healers' hands at between 10 and 30 Gauss; this is about a thousand times stronger than the magnetic field of the heart. Seto also discovered that this Field pulsated at a variable frequency centred between 7 and 10 hertz.
The last four bits of research do not demonstrate any healing effect but they do show that Healers, during healing, are surrounded by Energy Fields that are far in excess of the norm.
All of the above studies are only a small sample of the number that have been carried out on Spiritual Healing and similar therapies. They are enough, however, to give an idea of what this therapy can do.