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Effectiveness of distant healing for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomised controlled partially blinded trial (EUHEALS)

Walach, Harald, Bosch, Holger, Lewith, George, Naumann, Johannes, Schwarzer, Barbara, Falk, Sonja, Kohls, Niko, Haraldsson, Erlendur, Wiesendanger, Harald, Nordmann, Alain, Tomasson, Helgi, Prescott, Phil and Bucher, Heiner C. (2008) Effectiveness of distant healing for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome: a randomised controlled partially blinded trial (EUHEALS) Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 77, (3), pp. 158-166. (doi:10.1159/000116609).

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Background: Distant healing, a form of spiritual healing, is widely used for many conditions but little is known about its effectiveness. Methods: In order to evaluate distant healing in patients with a stable chronic condition, we randomised 409 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) from 14 private practices for environmental medicine in Germany and Austria in a two by two factorial design to immediate versus deferred (waiting for 6 months) distant healing. Half the patients were blinded and half knew their treatment allocation. Patients were treated for 6 months and allocated to groups of 3 healers from a pool of 462 healers in 21 European countries with different healing traditions. Change in Mental Health Component Summary (MHCS) score (SF-36) was the primary outcome and Physical Health Component Summary score (PHCS) the secondary outcome. Results: This trial population had very low quality of life and symptom scores at entry. There were no differences over 6 months in post-treatment MHCS scores between the treated and untreated groups. There was a non-significant outcome (p = 0.11) for healing with PHCS (1.11; 95% CI - 0.255 to 2.473 at 6 months) and a significant effect (p = 0.027) for blinding; patients who were unblinded became worse during the trial (-1.544; 95% CI -2.913 to -0.176). We found no relevant interaction for blinding among treated patients in MHCS and PHCS. Expectation of treatment and duration of CFS added significantly to the model. Conclusions: In patients with CFS, distant healing appears to have no statistically significant effect on mental and physical health but the expectation of improvement did improve outcome. Copyright (C) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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Published date: March 2008
Keywords: quality-of-life, treatment, germany, fatigue, outcomes, intercessory prayer, health, cognitive-behavior therapy, secondary, distant healing, private practice, patients, environmental, scale, time, coronary-care unit, complementary and alternative medicine, quality of life, population, methods, chronic, england, improvement, trial, cam, disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, efficacy, alternative medicine, quality, model, design, syndrome


Local EPrints ID: 62186
ISSN: 0033-3190
PURE UUID: 7d5ab1e0-2452-4b8e-a6a4-4803b0f8eb8d

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Date deposited: 17 Sep 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:21

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Author: Harald Walach
Author: Holger Bosch
Author: George Lewith
Author: Johannes Naumann
Author: Barbara Schwarzer
Author: Sonja Falk
Author: Niko Kohls
Author: Erlendur Haraldsson
Author: Harald Wiesendanger
Author: Alain Nordmann
Author: Helgi Tomasson
Author: Phil Prescott
Author: Heiner C. Bucher

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