I’ve found an article, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, by John A. Astin, PhD; Elaine Harkness, BSc; and Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, in 2000. The article is titled ‘The Efficacy of “Distant Healing”: A Systematic Review of Randomized Trials’ and can be downloaded in PDF from here.
The purpose of the study was “To conduct a systematic review of the available data on the efficacy of any form of “distant healing” (prayer, mental healing, Therapeutic Touch, or spiritual healing) as treatment for any medical condition.”
The study verified 23 trials involving 2774 patients. “Of the trials, 5 examined prayer as the distant healing intervention, 11 assessed noncontact Therapeutic Touch, and 7 examined other forms of distant healing.”
Now, although the studies didn’t show a statistically significant result (for the overall 23 studies), “13 (57%) yielded statistically significant treatment effects” and the researchers advise further study. Prayer and distant healing studies showed almost equal positive and negative findings, while majority of Therapeutic Touch (7 of 11) showed “a significant treatment effect”.
I’m not a scientist and can’t understand all the article is saying but it doesn’t seem to say that the distant or closing healing techniques don’t seem to work. On the other hand, it does get some positive results (although not strong statistically) and proposes to continue the study of healing efficacy.
I will be writing some more personal thoughts on researching healing later.