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Friday, May 15, 2009

Distant healing found effective for chronic pain in scientific study

A double-blind, randomized controlled study of the effects of distant healing has found that subjects with chronic pain reported significant improvement after treatments by a professional Japanese healer, according to an article published in the May/June issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal.

The study, by Kenjiro Tsubono, M.D.; Paul Thomlinson, Ph.D., and C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., asked subjects to rate their level of pain before and after treatment by Jiho Otsuki, a Buddhist monk, certified Shinto priest, and qigong master with more than 20 years of experience of healing practice in Japan, performed mostly from a distance.

The test subjects, 13 women and 3 men with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, injuries, and other causes, were randomly assigned to either the healing or control groups. All met with the healer at the site of the study, Holos University, but the subjects did not know whether or not they were receiving distant healing from Otsuki after he returned to Japan. They were asked to describe their level of pain before and after treatment using a visual analog scale (rating their pain level from 0 to 10) and similar measurement scales. The subjects who were treated reported slightly significant improvement on the visual analog scale and significant improvement on the Present Pain Intensity Scale. Another measurement, the Pain Rating index, showed improvement in those who received distant healing, but the results were not statistically significant.

"The results showed that the treatment group was significantly improved compared to the control group even though both groups were kept blind to their group assignment. Moreover, many subjects in the treatment group were relieved of chronic pain after only 2 months of healing," the report states. "This suggests that healing can take place even from a distance, and distant healing can be a very effective treatment for chronic pain." The researchers recommend replicating the study with a larger sample.

Although Reiki was not specifically mentioned in the article, Reiki practitioners do learn to practice distant healing at advanced levels, and this research could be an important step toward validating that practice. 

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