Effect of belief in "psychic healing" on self-reported pain in chronic pain sufferers

Michael Lyvers*, Norman Barling, Jill Harding-Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
194 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: The "psychic healing" ability of a well-known Australian psychic was subjected to a televised experimental test. Methods: Twenty volunteers suffering from chronic pain were recruited by newspaper advertisements. Half were randomly assigned to the treatment or control condition using a double-blind procedure. Results: Comparison of pre- and posttreatment McGill Pain Questionnaire ratings indicated no effect of psychic healing. However, pretreatment questionnaire ratings of belief in psychic healing and related phenomena were significantly correlated with improvement in McGill Pain Questionnaire ratings irrespective of treatment condition. Conclusion: Results suggest that anecdotal reports of effective psychic healing and "faith healing" are attributable to the power of belief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-61
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


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