The psychophysiology of nontraditional prayer

Author: Wirth DP//Cram JR
Affiliation: Healing Sciences Research International, Orinda, California
Conference/Journal: Int J Psychosom
Date published: 1994
Other: Volume ID: 41 , Issue ID: 1-4 , Pages: 68-75 , Word Count: 253

This study was a replication and extension of previous research which indicated that Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch had a significant effect in normalizing the activity of the 'end organ' for the central nervous system (CNS). The study utilized a randomized double-blind within subject crossover methodological design to examine the effect of nontraditional distant prayer upon autonomic and CNS parameters. The impact of complementary healing was assessed utilizing multi-site surface electromyographic (sEMG) recordings located at the frontalis, Cervical 4 paraspinals, Thoracic 6 paraspinals, and Lumbosacral 3 paraspinals. The autonomic indicators of physiological activity included hand temperature, heart rate, skin conductance levels (SCL), and blood volume pulse (BVP). Twenty-one subjects were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions for two thirty minute evaluation sessions for a total of forty-two psychophysiological monitoring periods. All participants were blinded to the true nature of the experimental protocol as well as the fact that a healing study was being conducted in order to control for suggestion, expectation of healing, and the placebo effect. The analysis of autonomic indicators demonstrated a slight decrease in BVP and heart rate, coupled with a minor increase in SCL suggesting a mild 'anticipatory effect' arousal trend. The data also showed that two of the four muscle regions monitored-T6 and L3 paraspinals-indicated a significant reduction in electromagnetic energy during and following the distant healing treatment intervention for a majority of the subjects. For example, the T6 SEMG showed significance at the p < .0002 level, while the L3 SEMG indicated significance at the p < .001 level.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)