Efficacy of distant healing--a proposal for a four-armed randomized study (EUHEALS)

Journal Article

By: H; Bosch; Harald Walach; Haraldsson, E; Marx, A; Tomasson, H; Wiesendanger, H; Lewith, G
Publication Name: Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd
Year: 2002

BACKGROUND: Distant healing as a treatment modality is frequently used by patients and healers. Some preliminary evidence suggests possible effects. Since patients suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue syndrome have only few effective treatment options, distant healing will be offered as a treatment within a formal trial of distant healing. DESIGN AND METHOD: A four-armed randomized trial will include 400 patients with self-attributed, environmental problems who fulfil the diagnostic criteria of severe idiopathic chronic fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome or multiple chemical sensitivity. Patients will be recruited by specialized general practitioners and environmental clinics. They will be treated by healers distributed all over Europe, coming from various healing traditions and nationalities. Each patient will be treated by 3 healers. Healers will have no contact with the patients and will only be provided with the patient's Christian name and a photograph. The patients will be randomized to one of 4 groups in a 2 x 2 factorial design. They will either receive (distant) healing or not, and either know or not know this decision. Thereby the effects of expectation and of time can be disentangled from the specific effects of healing. OUTCOME MEASURE: Primary outcome measure will be the mental health summary scale of the MOS SF-36. The measure will be taken at the beginning and at the end of a 6- month treating or waiting period, respectively. A variety of moderator variables will be considered to evaluate which of these may be predictive of outcome.

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