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Thread: "Spiritual" healing and the placebo effect.

  1. #1 "Spiritual" healing and the placebo effect. 
    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    We all (or at least most of us) quite rightly dismiss spiritual and energy healing as woo, but could there actually be something in it?

    Of course, I'm not talking about the existence of auras, reiki, crystal magic and all that stuff. That's just silly.

    Could the effectiveness of spiritual healing methods be a manifestation of the placebo effect? If someone actually believes that these healing methods will work for them, could that be enough into kick-starting the body into speeding up recovery from these ailments?

    I guess it helps that people who would already be willing to accept the effectiveness of energy healing are more likely to be responsive to any placebo effect caused by it.


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    Certainly placebo - if it has any effect at all.

    Not so sure about the willingness to believe necessarily having a positive effect. The only formal study I've ever heard of with prayer - not by the patient but with people praying for the patient - came up with a slightly negative effect. It's the only one though (but I no longer have the reference) and no one's done any further work to analyse why this might happen.


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    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The only formal study I've ever heard of with prayer - not by the patient but with people praying for the patient - came up with a slightly negative effect. It's the only one though (but I no longer have the reference) and no one's done any further work to analyse why this might happen.

    Are you referring to one of these studies: Methodology of Prayer Experiments
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

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    Can't remember, probably.

    I do recall that they got a fairly heavy trampling and trouncing at Respectful Insolence. But when I checked there, Orac doesn't have prayer (nor spirituality) listed as a searchable category. And nothing useful turned up on a straight google search.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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