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A study on the effects of
praying on patients with
heart disease

 

Professor Randolph Byrd

"Remote healing" is a phenomenon that is known amongst natural therapies and other people interested in the paranormal, but until now it has hardly been systematically tested at all. The cardiologist Randolph Byrd, a former professor at the University of California, wanted to remedy this situation. He carried out a ten-month computer-based study of the medical case studies of patients who had been taken into the San Francisco General Hospital during this time because of heart disease. Byrd created a group of experimenters, that consisted not of well-known healers, but of ordinary people whose only special feature was, that they regularly prayed in one of the surrounding church communities. The people chosen were asked to pray regularly for a group of 192 sick people; a further 210 patients for whom no-one prayed within the framework of this experiment formed the control group. This experiment was carried out under the strictest conditions: the patients were chosen at random, the test was carried out using the double-blind system, in which neither the patients nor the doctors and nurses knew which patient belonged to which group.
The experimenters were given the names of the patients and certain information about the nature of their heart disease and were asked to pray for them every day. They were not given any further information. Since each experimenter was able to pray for several patients, each patient had five to seven people who were praying for him. The results were statistically significant. It was found that the group for whom prayers had been said needed only a fifth of the antibiotics that the control group needed (three compared to 16 patients); suffered three times less frequently from lung oedema (three compared with eighteen) and never needed to be put on a respirator (whilst twelve patients in the control group required this).
Similarly, there were fewer deaths in the "prayer" group than in the control group (although this result was not statistically significant). Neither the distance between the patients and the people praying form them, nor the type of praying made any difference to the results. The crucial factor was concentrated, repeated praying, no matter to whom the prayer was said and where the prayers were said."

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