Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 115, Issue 7–8, pp 241–245 | Cite as

Distant healing — An “update” of a systematic review

  • Edzard ErnstEmail author
Original Article



To update our published systematic review of clinical trials of distant healing.


Systematic review.

Data sources

Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and personal files.

Study selection

Any type of clinical study of any type of distant healing published between 2000 and December 2002.

Data extraction

For each included study, essential data were extracted and summarised in narrative form.


8 non-randomised and 9 randomised clinical trials were located. The majority of the rigorous trials do not to support the hypothesis that distant healing has specific therapeutic effects. The results of two studies furthermore suggest that distant healing can be associated with adverse effects.


Since the publication of our previous systematic review in 2000, several rigorous new studies have emerged. Collectively they shift the weight of the evidence against the notion that distant healing is more than a placebo.

Key words

Distant healing prayer Reiki spiritual healing therapeutic touch 

Geistheilung — Ein „Update” eines systematischen Reviews



Einen „Update” eines publizierten systematischen Reviews klinischer Studien zum Thema Geistheilung zu erstellen.


Systematisches Review.


Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library und eigene Unterlagen.


Klinische Studien jeder Art zum Thema Geistheilung, die zwischen 2000 und Dezember 2002 publiziert wurden.


Zu jeder inkludierten Studie wurden wesentliche Daten extrahiert und in narrativer Form zusammengefasst.


8 nicht-randomisierte und 9 randomisierte klinische Studien wurden aufgefunden. Die Mehrzahl der methodisch hochstehenden Studien stützen die These nicht, dass Geistheilung mit spezifischen Therapieeffekten assoziert ist. Die Ergebnisse von zwei Studien schließlich implizieren, dass Geistheilung mit unerwünschten Nebenwirkungen assoziiert sein kann.


Seit der Publikation unseres systematischen Reviews im Jahr 2000 sind zum Thema Geistheilung mehrere aussagekräftige Studien erschienen. Dieses neue Datenmaterial ist ingesamt weniger positiv und spricht nicht für die These, dass Geistheilung mit mehr als einem Plazebo-Effekt assoziiert ist.


Geistheilung Gesundbeten Reiki Fernheilung Therapeutic Touch 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical SchoolUniversities of Exeter & PlymouthExeterU.K.

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