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Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Nov-Dec;12(6):36-41.

The efficacy of distant healing for human immunodeficiency virus--results of a randomized trial.

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  • 1California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.



While data are conflicting, studies have appeared in the literature suggesting that mental intentions sent from a distance (eg, intercessory prayer, spiritual healing) can possibly influence clinical outcomes in patients suffering from an array of medical conditions. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential efficacy of distant healing in a population of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/aquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).


One hundred fifty-six patients with a history of AIDS category C and at least one AIDS-defining opportunistic infection were randomized to 1 of 3 study arms: (1) 10 weeks of prayer/distant healing from professional healers, (2) 10 weeks of prayer/distant healing from nurses with no prior training or experience in distant healing, or, (3) no distant healing.


No significant treatment effects of distant healing were observed for either professional healers or nurses on any of the primary or secondary outcomes. Despite being blind to group assignment, subjects receiving distant healing (from healers or nurses) were significantly more likely to guess that they had been receiving healing than were subjects randomized to the no-treatment control group.


Distant healing or prayer from a distance does not appear to improve selected clinical outcomes in HIV patients who are on a combination antiretroviral therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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