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In 1986, when I was in India studying Ayurveda, there was always a buzz circulating around the healers who you just “had to go see”: palm readers, palm leaf and akashic record readers, psychic astrologers, Ayurvedic pulse readers, distance healers, and more.
If you paid in rupees, you could get any of these readings for 50-100 rupees: about three to six bucks—those were the good old days! Today, healers have started charging $100 US dollars or more to foreigners for the same readings.
The healers I found the most interesting were the so-called distance healers, who could heal a loved one back in the States by simply looking at a picture of them. There were a handful of pulse readers famous for a technique called “messenger pulse,” where they would take your pulse while you looked at a picture of a sick loved one back home. They would then either suggest herbs for the person or bring them into their daily prayers for healing.
I never did any follow-up on these treatments, but the buzz in my New Delhi circles was that they were the real deal. It was very hard to not be skeptical about many of these techniques, but trying them was part of the Indian experience, and for $6, it was a steal!
Little did I know that even back in the ’80s, research was being done on different types of distance healing with enough success that studies have continued ever since, and the results may surprise you.
Before I share a few of these studies, I should say that many of these studies would likely be criticized by the more conservative research community, and, clearly, much more research needs to be done in this area.
But what is also clear is that science is shifting from old school Newtonian physics (based on manipulation of matter) to a quantum physics model, based on the movement of energy.
Distance Healing Studies
- In a study conducted 1992-1995 by the HeartMath Institute, human DNA was isolated in a glass beaker and then exposed to a form of feeling known as coherent emotion by groups of up to five people trained in applying this specific technique (similar to meditation).1,2 The results were nothing short of astonishing. Without physically touching the DNA, and doing nothing other than directing positive intention towards it, participants were able to influence the DNA molecules in the beaker. They also investigated different kinds of intentions directed at the DNA. This resulted in the DNA double helix either winding or unwinding, and changing shape, depending on the intention.1,2
- In a US Army study, the effect of emotions on human DNA was measured. A DNA sample was collected from a volunteer and moved into another room in the same building. The volunteer was shown specifically designed pictures to change his emotions. During this process, the DNA sample was monitored. A strong electrical discharge was monitored in both the volunteer’s cells as well as his DNA sample in another room. The reaction was instantaneous and no time delay was monitored. The experiment was repeated at a 350 mile distance with the same results.3
- In a double-blind experiment involving 393 persons admitted to a coronary care unit (CCU), prayer from a distance was offered to roughly half the subjects. Subjects in the prayer group had a significantly lower “severity score” based on their hospital course following admission.4
- In a double-blind experiment involving 40 patients with advanced AIDS, subjects were randomly assigned to a distance healing (DH) or control group. Both groups were treated with conventional medications, but the DH group received distance healing for 10 weeks from healers located throughout the US. Subjects and healers never met. At six months, blind chart review found that DH subjects acquired significantly fewer new AIDS-defining illnesses, and required significantly fewer doctor visits, hospitalizations, and days of hospitalization. DH subjects also showed significantly improved mood compared to the controls.5
- Researcher Carroll B. Nash of Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s College asked 60 student volunteers both to promote and inhibit the growth of E. coli bacteria. In this controlled study, they were able to mentally influence the bacterial growth in both directions.6
- Jean Barry, a French physician and researcher, asked 10 people to mentally try to inhibit growth of destructive fungus from a distance of 1.5 meters in a controlled experiment. Growth of the “influenced” fungus in 195 petri dishes was significantly inhibited in 151 dishes, compared with the controls. The possibility that these results could have occurred by chance was less than 1 in 1,000.7
- University of Tennessee researchers William H. Tedder and Melissa L. Monty successfully replicated Barry’s experiment in a controlled study using the same type of fungus at a distance of up to 15 miles.8
- In an article that reviewed 61 studies on distance healing (where healing is effected at a distance through an intention, wish, meditation or prayer), the following was found:
- Distance, even thousands of miles, does not appear to limit the effects of healing.9
- Significant effects of distance healing are demonstrated through randomized controlled trials in humans, animals, plants, bacteria, yeasts, laboratory cells, and DNA.9
- While distance healing appears to contradict our ordinary sense of reality and the laws defined by Newtonian science, there are several theoretical paradigms that suggest explanations for healing.9
We are living in extraordinary times, where models we have used in science for 100 years are changing. New models of epigenetics, the microbiome, and quantum physics are embracing the role of energy that might explain techniques like distance healing.
Again, I find myself fascinated by how accurately the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda predicts the cutting-edge of science today a couple of thousand years ago. One morning, I had a patient sum it up the best when she said, “Science is always just a little late!”
Have you had any experiences with distance healing? Tell us about it!
- Rein. “Effect of Conscious Intention on Human DNA.”
- Motz. (1993) “Everyone an Energy Healer: The TREAT V Conference in Santa Fe.” Advances Vol. 9: pp. 95-98.
- Byrd, R. (1988). Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population, South Med J 81(7):826-829.
- Sicher F et al. (1998). A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a population with advanced AIDS-report of a small-scale study, West J Med 169(6):356-363.
- Nash CB. (1982). Psychokinetic control of bacterial growth, J Am Soc Psychical Res51:217-221.
- Barry J. (1968). General and comparative study of the psychokinetic effect on a fungus culture, J Parapsychol 32:237-243.
- Tedder WH, Monty ML. (1981). Exploration of long-distance PK: a conceptual replication of the influence on a biological system. In Roll WG, Beloff J, Editors: Research in parapsychology 1980, Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 90-93.