Dr. Wirth’s study proves that the “healer effect” cannot be simply dismissed as being due to a placebo effect, hypnosis, or any other “power of suggestion from energyworker on the client.
The official title of the study is “The Effect of Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch on the Healing Rate of Full Thickness Dermal Wounds”.
The goal of Wirth’s study was to test the hypotheses that subjects who were treated by a Therapeutic Touch (TT) practitioner utilizing Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch (NCTT) would have faster rate of wound healing than the subjects that were not treated.
Dr. Wirth wanted to find out if there would be a healer effect if the subjects were kept completely unaware of the healer’s presence and also totally unaware that any energy healing was being intended or performed.
The subjects chosen were 44 male student volunteers with an average of 26 years old.
The students were told they were part of an experiment involving a new, highly sensitive camera that could photograph the energy flowing around the human body. The controls for this experiment were very tight. Not even the project manager or the doctor involved knew what was really being tested. A house off campus was rented for the experiment and all of the details were kept a secret.
The students were split into two groups. Half of the group came to the rented house in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. All students were given the same information and treated in exactly the same manner. Each volunteer had an 8mm wide skin-deep wound cut into his arm on the first day. This wound was dressed with gas-permeable gauze. Every day when each student came to the rented house, he sat close to the wall of empty room and inserted his arm through a small hole with draped with a heavy curtain. Nothing was visible on either side. Each student sat there for 5 minutes. The students were all under the assumption that their wounds were being filmed by the special new camera. The truth was, the morning group had nothing at all being done to their arms. The afternoon group, however, had a traditional-style energy healer present. This healer performed a non-touch healing session on the wound of each of the afternoon participants. Dr. Wirth and the healer, Laurie Eden, were the only people who knew what was actually going on. This experiment lasted for 16 days.
At the end of the testing period, all of the volunteers were examined by medical experts totally unaware of the stipulations of the experiment. The results showed that the wounds 13 of the volunteers treated by the healer had healed entirely with each wound having closed over and a layer of new tissue sealing it. The rest of the afternoon group were reported to be “well on the way to healing.”
The group that was not treated by the healer, however, had totally different results. Not a single member of the control group had experienced a complete closing of the wound or anything close to closing of the wound.
The results of this test proved that wounds that received Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch had healed more quickly than the wounds that had not received the treatment, and that belief or suggestion played no part in the healings.