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Document Type

Journal Article

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Lyvers, M., Barling, N., & Harding-Clark, J. (2006). Effect of belief in “psychic healing” on self-reported pain in chronic pain sufferers. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 60(1), 59-61

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2006 HERDC submission


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 post-treatment McGill Pain Questionnaire ratings indicated no effect of “psychic healing.” However, pre-treatment 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.