Scientific experiments involving energy healing

Bernadette Doran, trained Reiki Master, writes in the International Association of Reiki Practitioner’s July issue of The Reiki Times of an experiment that conclusively shows physical effects of hands-on healing. Her article is entitled “The Science Behind Reiki.”

I was so intrigued that I looked up the original document of this experiment, and I’d like to post the abstract here. It is entitled: “The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” onTransplanted Breast Cancer in Mice,” and authored by WILLIAM F. BENGSTON
(St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue, NY) and DAVID KRINSLEY.

Abstract—After witnessing numerous cases of cancer remission associated with a healer who used “laying on of hands” in New York, one of us (W.B.) “apprenticed” in techniques alleged to reproduce the healing effect. We obtained five experimental mice with mammary adenocarcinoma (code: H2712;host strain: C3H/HeJ; strain of origin: C3H/HeHu), which had a predicted 100% fatality between 14 and 27 days subsequent to injection. Bengston treated these mice for 1 hour per day for 1 month. The tumors developed a
“blackened area,” then they ulcerated, imploded, and closed, and the mice lived their normal life spans. Control mice sent to another city died within the predicted time frame. Three replications using skeptical volunteers (including D.K.) and laboratories at Queens College and St. Joseph’s College produced an overall cure rate of 87.9% in 33 experimental mice. An additional informal test by Krinsley at Arizona State resulted in the same patterns. Histological studies indicated viable cancer cells through all stages of remission. Reinjections of cancer into the mice in remission in Arizona and New York did not take, suggesting a stimulated immunological response to the treatment. Our tentative conclusions: Belief in laying on of hands is not necessary in order to produce the effect; there is a stimulated immune response to treatment, which is reproducible and predictable; and the mice retain an immunity to the same cancer after remission. Future work should involve testing on various diseases and conventional immunological studies of treatment effects on experimental animals.


The statistical results in a study like this seem irrefutable, and I wanted to share it as many think that Reiki and other hands-on healing techniques are little more than the power of the mind. The detailed description of the experiment is fascinating if you have time to read through – for example, the control group, which predictably died according to expectations of this cancer, if even visited by the healer, soon after demonstrated signs of remission.

One can feel the energy when giving or receiving Reiki, and here is a study that indicates the undeniable power involved in energy healing. Science cannot explain it as of yet, but it can demonstrate its effectiveness. Let us be humble before it and before our connectedness to each other and all of life.

Postscript: I’ve noticed another wordpress blog with six detailed entries about Bengstons work. It is worth a read – entry one starts here.

7 thoughts on “Scientific experiments involving energy healing

  1. It’s not Reiki, but a different healing modality, though it does seem to use the same energy pathways, and it has great affinity with Reiki practitioners.

    Check out for our experiences with the method and some thoughts about it. The website also contains a photo of a hand “charged” with the energy (we got the idea from a similarly charged Reiki photo of Dr. Usui); check it out to see if you get anything from it.

  2. Hi Judith –
    I looked at your website and blog, and it is great. Thank you so much for the link. I also appreciated your comments on how to become an energy healer – the tricks for keeping an empty mind and holding positive thoughts were helpful.

    I will continue to check in with your blog. It seems we are on the same path in many ways.

    Again, thank you,

  3. Hi jennifer,

    I scimmed over Judith’s blog but didn’t see where she talked about the tricks for keeping an empty mind and holding positive thoughts . Could you tell me where that is please?

    1. Hi Mark –
      I’m sorry, I didn’t see your comment until today for some reason!

      Did you find the section? It looks like Judith already answered your question. It is important, I think, to stay positive and open as you give energy. The session feels stronger to me when I’m able to be in that state.


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