Prayer heals, study finds

2010-08-06 08:03
Washington - Prayer heals when it's close-up and personal, and there's a study to prove it.

It's not just any kind of prayer, but "proximal intercessory prayer", or PIP - when one or more people pray for someone in that person's presence and often with physical contact - that was found by a team of doctors, scientists and religious experts to have remarkable results in healing some patients.

A team of medical doctors and scientists led by Indiana University professor of religion Candy Gunther Brown found in the study, conducted in rural Mozambique, that prayer brought "highly significant" improvements to hearing-impaired participants and significant changes to the visually impaired.

Fourteen hard-of-hearing and 11 visually impaired study participants were recruited at meetings of Pentecostal Christian groups in Mozambican villages and towns.

They were tested with a handheld audiometer or vision charts, depending on their impairment, before and after they took part in a prayer session.

Clinical effects


"There was a highly significant improvement in hearing across 18 ears of 11 subjects" and "significant visual improvements," says the study, which will be published in September in the peer-reviewed Southern Medical Journal.

Two of the hard-of-hearing study participants were able to hear sounds 50dB lower after the prayer session and three of the visually impaired subjects saw their vision improve from 20/400 or worse to 20/80 or better.

The study focused on the clinical effects of prayer and did not attempt to explain how or why some participants saw such remarkable improvements.

"This study shows that in some instances there are measurable effects that can be demonstrated using clinical studies," said Brown, whose interest in the study was to explore spiritual healing practices.

"I consider this very much a first step and an indication of the direction for where research needs to head. Much more needs to be found out about why these effects are noticed, what are the mechanisms, are there structural changes involved," she said.

"But one thing this study tells us is that a major reason that Pentecostalism is growing is the widespread perception that healing takes place."

The Pentecostals typically spent between one and 15 minutes administering PIP, but some spent an hour or more with a "patient".

Psychosomatic improvement

"They placed their hands on the recipient's head and sometimes embraced the person in a hug" while praying softly out loud, according to the study.

The study focussed on hearing and visual conditions because they allow improvements to be objectively and easily measured, and are less susceptible to perceived or psychosomatic improvement than conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Rural areas in Mozambique were chosen for the study because eyeglasses and hearing aids were not readily available there and Pentecostal groups who specialise in prayers for those with hearing and vision impairments were active there.

Brown and colleagues urged more studies "to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients", especially in countries with limited care options.

"The implications are potentially vast given World Health Organisation estimates that 278 million people, 80% of whom live in developing countries, have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears and 314 million people are visually impaired," the study says.

Read more on:    offbeat  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
146 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Top 10 richest musicians of all time

Check out the gallery to find out who they are!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Innovation, idealism, romanticism and other far reaching dreams can lead you into a spiral of enthusiasm and excitement. Somewhere...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.