Wound healing and complementary therapies: a review

Author: Wirth DP//Richardson JT//Eidelman WS
Affiliation: Healing Sciences Research International, Orinda, California 94563, USA
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 1996
Other: Volume ID: 2 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 493-502 , Word Count: 193

A series of five innovative experiments conducted by Wirth et al. which examined the effect of various complementary healing interventions on the reepithelialization rate of full thickness human dermal wounds was assessed as to specific methodological and related factors. The treatment interventions utilized in the series included experimental derivatives of the Therapeutic Touch (TT), Reiki, LeShan, and Intercessory Prayer techniques. The results of the series indicated statistical significance for the initial two experiments and nonsignificance or reverse significance for the remaining three studies. This review article examines the methodological designs of the series of studies, along with the TT practitioners' phenomenologically based journal reports, to provide potential contributing correlative factors for the differential results obtained. These factors include: (1) methodological design restrictions, (2) a transference/inhibitory effect (3) the influence of experimental assistants, (4) healer visualization /imagery techniques, (5) variations in subject populations, and (6) a potential cancellation effect. While the placebo controlled double-blind methodological designs used in the series were as stringent as those used in other fields of scientific inquiry, the overall results of the experiments were inconclusive in establishing the efficacy of the treatment interventions for accelerating the rate of reepithelialization of full thickness dermal wounds.