New ways in medicine

The importance of mind and soul for healing

Author: Verona Gerasch
Spiritual healing and naturopathy, empathy and “placebo” have an effect. More and more studies show this. Modern research confirms the importance of thoughts and feelings as well as touch and contact. Equally important is the belief in the possibility of healing.

Old medical virtues such as trust, empathy and caring are therapeutically significant.

Again and again we confront the question of whether and how spiritual healing methods work. Much like the controversy over the efficacy of homeopathy or acupuncture, tempers repeatedly flare when it comes to scientific evidence for and against these methods, which are controversial in medical circles. And even more so when it comes to the question of how spiritual healing works.

Evidence for effectiveness

For a long time there has been a multitude of studies confirming the effects of spiritual healing methods. Measurable, repeatable, statistically evaluable, completely in the modern scientific sense.
Probably the largest number of scientific papers exists on Therapeutic Touch (TT). This is a healing method that was conceived from the beginning by the American Dr. Dolores Krieger as a modern version of ancient methods of laying on of hands for use in hospital care. This is probably one of the decisive reasons why TT has long since found relatively wide acceptance. Even beyond the USA and Canada in European hospitals and care facilities. The first study on Therapeutic Touch conducted Dr. Dolores Krieger herself. She published it  in 1975.

Well proven: Therapeutic Touch

Topics studied since then include: Pain, cancer, wound healing, stress in various contexts, burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, cell growth, addiction problems and drug dependence. Also premature birth, migraine and headaches, phantom limb pain after amputations, effects on the autonomic nervous system, heart failure. Also the use of TT during bone marrow transplants, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, AIDS, inflammatory processes in joints (osteoarthritis). As well as the well-being of patients in different situations, psychoneuroimmunology, grief management and end-of-life care, nausea during chemotherapy, …

As a conclusion, many studies state that TT was helpful for the group of people studied. Some quotes (taken out of context):

“TT can affect normal cells by stimulating cell growth.” “TT can be a valuable adjunctive intervention in the treatment of pregnant women with substance abuse problems.”  “Therapeutic Touch is a non-drug, clinically relevant method that can reduce dementia-related behaviors such as agitation and vocalization, the two most common abnormalities.” “Results indicate that authentic TT application was helpful in reducing tension headaches in all subjects. Strategies to integrate TT with nursing practice are offered.”

Soon, some of the most important scientific papers on Therapeutic Touch from the USA and Canada will also be available in German.
But also in Europe an increasing number of researchers dedicate themselves to spiritual healing methods. There are now interesting study results, for example, on Reiki applications, on Prana healing and even on the subject of foreign influence.

Neue Wege in der MedizinThe effect of laying on of hands is proven in studies.

Statistical evidence for effect of touch and remote influence

In the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” of Prof. Dr. Stefan Schmidt it reports: His team used eleven studies conducted between 1997 and 2008 with a total of 576 individual sessions as the basis for its meta-analysis. The subject of the studies, which were almost identical in design, was the so-called “paradigm of attention-focusing facilitation”. The meta-study revealed almost identical results. Based on them it can be clearly demonstrated that a small, but nevertheless significant effect can be detected across all studies. Moreover these could be demonstrated independently of the applied practice of remote influencing, even if the results differed in individual cases. “The meta-study thus supports the hypothesis of an effect of remote influencing. Thus the data from about 1970 individual experiments,” Prof. Schmidt said. “Possibly it is precisely the intention of influencing from a distance, that brings about this thoroughly unorthodox result.”

The practitioner should keep a clear head in order to be able to consider matters that go to the heart with sufficient inner distance.

Complex study with questions about how and why

The study of the team around Prof. Dr. Anne Koch and Dr. Karin Meissner of the University of Munich goes much further. Among other things they examined healing rituals and treatment results of the White Eagle Lodge in Germering near Munich. The team consulted existing studies on physiological effects of contact healing in connection with the study, . As well as the state of research on psychological, social and cultural science data.

Already in the introduction of a publication of first study results it says: “Our question interest aims in particular at the effectiveness of spiritual healing. For this question the interdisciplinary cooperation between medicine and social and cultural science is necessary. Only in this constellation of knowledge formations is it possible to approach basic research on the connection between worldview and psycho-physical experience, to which this contribution sees itself as a first step.”
Incidentally, this case study also confirmed measurable effects of the healing treatments. Such as the changes in heart rate, breathing rate, skin conductance, relaxation responses.

What happens during touch treatments in healer and client?

Measurable results of effects on hemoglobin value, skin conductivity, heart rate or breathing rate do not yet provide information about what actually happens during healing treatments and what leads to these results.

The first clues were provided by investigations of the physicist and psychologist Günter Haffelder at the end of the 1990s. He developed a then novel method of measuring brain waves, with the help of which he found typical accompanying frequencies during spiritual healing and other psi phenomen. Thus he made “supernatural” measurable for the first time. His measurements revealed typical commonalities.”The brain waves in the delta range, whose occurrence in the waking state is actually called pathological from a medical point of view, have a special significance in spirit healing. This says the physicist and psychologist. ‘Normally, in fact, they occur only during dreamless phases of sleep. For many psi phenomena such as trance, hypnosis and spiritual healing, however, it is precisely the increase in their activity that is characteristic. The typical changes in the delta rhythm are a carrier for information in such phenomena.”

Touch is always healing in some way or another

He is referring to healing or harmonizing ideas. Images or the like that arise in the healer’s brain during a treatment and transfer to the patient. In much the same way that radio waves encode music and words onto a carrier wave (which one sets on the radio scale). Brain waves contain a vast wealth of information. They are probably ‘stored’ in the small changes of amplitude (=output of the oscillation), phase (=shift of wave crest and trough) and superposition. However, the big difference between a radio transmission and spirit healing is that in the latter the transmission path remains completely unknown. The fascinating modulations of delta waves in healer and patient Haffelder discovered, are only the concomitant of a process whose level of action remains a mystery.”

Neuroscans prove altered brain activity during medial writing

U.S. neurologists made a fascinating discovery while studying Brazilian trance mediums. During the contact with spirits during so-called automatic or mediumistic writing or speaking in tongues, there is a striking decrease in brain activity in those parts of the brain that control for language and self-determined activities. For example – but an unexpected significant increase in the complexity of automatically written and spoken language. […]

This article was published originally on the German Homepage of Tattva Viveka: Neue Wege in der Medizin

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