This study will assess whether distant healing effects survival time and loss of function
for glioblastoma patients.
Prayer, energy healing, and spiritual healing are widely used for all degrees of illness.
Eisenberg (1998) reported that more that 26% of his survey sample used "energy healing"
within the last year. Most of these practitioners believe that their inner intentions result
in the benefits, either through the agency of love, energy, or a Higher Power (Benor 1992).
However, the conventional community attributes benefits from these interventions to the
patient's hope, expectation, or experience of support from a practitioner (Benson 1996). The
proposed study is a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial of "distant healing
intentionality." Distant Healing (DH) is defined as a "mental intention on behalf of one
person, to benefit another at a distance." This study will assess whether DH effects
survival time and loss of function for glioblastoma patients under conditions where hope and
expectation are controlled. The study will include approximately 150 patients who have
rapidly progressing glioblastoma and are beginning radiotherapy. Patients will be
photographed and assessed for quality of life, psychological status, and physical symptoms
as well as health habits and attitude toward DH. After stratification by age and functional
status (Karnofsky score), patients will be randomly assigned to either standard treatment
with or without DH. Healers from diverse schools and backgrounds from communities across
the United States will be assigned to patients by rotation, so that each patient in the DH
group will be treated for two weeks by 10 different healers over the 20 week intervention.
Experienced healers will have photographs of subjects and send "mental intention for health
and well being" to subjects for one hour daily, three times per week. The healing
intervention will be performed at a distance, and patients and healers will never meet, nor
will patients know their group assignment. The study findings will provide the basis for
developing a larger study, definitive trial.
- Histologically confirmed diagnosis of glioblastoma based on open resection.
- Patient is within five weeks of diagnosis confirmed by pathology report.
- Non-English speaking.
- Inability or unwillingness to fill out questionnaires.
- History of other cancers within the last 2 years (except superficial basal cell,
squamous cell carcinoma of the skin), or other concurrent life-threatening