Distant Healing Intention: Definitions and Evolving Guidelines for Laboratory Studies

May 1, 2003
Dean Radin, PhD, Garret Yount, PhD, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD

Schlitz M, Radin D, Malle BF, Schmidt S, Utts J, Yount GL. Distant healing intention: definitions and evolving guidelines for laboratory studies. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 May-Jun;9(3 Suppl):A31-43. PMID: 12776463.


This paper provides definitions and a discussion of evolving guidelines for conducting research on the effects of distant healing intention (DHI) on living systems in the laboratory. We consider the relevance of DHI laboratory research to applied healing, special theoretical challenges, and other considerations that distinguish DHI research from other domains of laboratory science. Two sample protocols for investigating DHI are provided, one involving the human autonomic nervous system as the “target” of distant intention, and the other involving cell cultures. In essence, DHI differs from other alternative healing modalities because it postulates that mental intention alone can affect living systems at a distance, unbounded by the usual constraints of both space and time. This postulate challenges scientific assumptions that often go unexamined, including the nature of causality, the distinction between subjective and objective states, and the efficacy of double-blind protocols in controlling for experimenters’ intentions. Previous laboratory research in this domain suggests that DHI effects warrant serious study, but most scientists and funding agencies are unaware of the evidence or the relevant literature. By following these evolving guidelines, researchers’ designs and their ultimate publications will conform more closely to the quality standards expected by scientific journals, and such publications will in turn attract the attention of a broader range of scientists. This seems especially important for alternative healing research in general and for distant healing in particular; both realms enjoy broad public support but have largely eluded serious attention by mainstream science.

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