Indiv Recipient's Functional Brain Changes w/Distant Healing

Individual recipients' functional brain changes during distant healing intentionality: an fMRI analysis.

Achterberg J, Richards T, Salomie IA, Cooke K.

North Hawaii Community Hospital

PURPOSE: To demonstrate using fMRI technology whether there are changes in brain function of the individual recipients of distant healing when it is performed by healers from various traditions. The protocol and analysis will be described, and the results of the significant individual scans presented in a 3-D moving image format.

METHODS: Eleven healers from traditions that claimed to be able to heal at a distance and in sensory isolation from the recipients were recruited from the Big Island of Hawaii. Healing modalities included Qi Gong, Reiki, traditional Hawaiian healing (Kahuna), Healing Touch, Peruvian/Brazilian shamanic healing, prayer, vibrational healing, and various eclectic types of distant healing. Each healer was paired with a person with whom they felt a special connection, and who served as recipient of the distant healing intentions. The recipient was placed in the MRI scanner and isolated from all known forms of sensory contact from the healer. The healer was instructed to send healing to the recipient in a manner that reflected their own practice. Healing was sent at random 2-minute intervals in a sequence that was unknown to the recipient. Scans were acquired using brain oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional technology and analyzed with FSL software. 3D moving images were created using a novel MeshGrid data representation software designed for this study. MeshGrid allows the display of multi-resolution, time-varying 3D data and supports 3D morphing with topological changes.

RESULTS: Significant changes were found in 9 of the 11 healer/recipient pairs. Brain areas that were significantly activated included cerebellum, anterior cingulate cortex, thalamus, and hippocampus.

CONCLUSIONS: Distant healing, as measured by fMRI scans, can be correlated to changes in brain function of individual recipients, when recipients are sensory isolated from the healers and unaware of the On/off sequencing of the healing.

Presented at the North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine, May, 2006

Poster Abstract

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