For most people distance healing is even harder to accept than hands-on healing. But lately, some pioneering researchers have been studying distance healing, trying to measure whether or not it works.
A study conducted by cardiologist Randolph Byrd in 1988 was designed to determine the effects of prayer on patients in the Coronary Care Unit at San Francisco General Hospital over a 10-month period. This was a rigidly designed and randomized, double blind experiment. A computer randomly assigned which of the 383 newly admitted patients involved in the study would be prayed-for, and which would not. The statistically significant finding of this study was that prayed- for patients were five times less likely to require antibiotics, and three times less likely to develop pulmonary edema.
The experience of Michael Onstott might also shed some light.
Back in 1996 Michael Onstott, then 46, thought he was going to die. Sick with AIDS, he had only a few T-cells left in his body to fight deadly germs. Kaposi’s sarcoma, a form of cancer, was spreading across his body, creating dark lesions everywhere. He was rapidly loosing weight. He was deeply depressed and he was prepared for the worst.
Two months later Onstott was putting on weight. The Kaposi’s sarcoma had slowed down. His depression had lifted. All of a sudden, he recalls, “I began to be optimistic.” He attributed his miraculously improved health to a new anti-viral regimen.
But doctors at California Pacific Medical Center San Francisco had a far more shocking explanation: Onstott, one of 40 men and women in a ground-breaking double-blind study, had been receiving long distance healing energy an hour a day, six days a week, for ten weeks.
Onstott had no idea he had been receiving healings. Although he had signed up for the study, he never met or talked to a single healer. The healers and the patients never met each other. The healers were given the names of the patients and a photo to work with-that was it. While Onstott was in San Francisco, the healers were all over the country, some as far away as New York and Pennsylvania. The doctors overseeing the study wanted to control for the power of touch and the power of suggestion. They were trying to isolate the healing energy in a pure form. For the healers who volunteered to participate in the study, published in the Western Journal of Medicine in December 1998, the healing work was quite visceral. “I didn’t just sit there and pray for someone,” recalls the healer, “I was literally pulling globs of virus out of their fields.” At the end of the study, Onstott and the others who received long distance healing all did significantly better than those in the control group, even when the new anti-viral cocktails were factored in. They had fewer illnesses, fewer visits to the doctor and spent less time in the hospital. They even had improvements in their moods.
There are many other scientific studies that show prayer can positively affect the health of a sick person even if the person praying does not personally know the person for whom they are praying. When a practitioner of energy work transmits energy to a distant client, it works on a similar principle. However, healing arts practitioners are directing more specific frequencies and energies to the person being worked on. Although anyone can send prayers or energy long distance to someone, it may not have the same effect as a trained energy worker, but anything you send to another person with love and an open heart will be received.