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Effect of 'pranic' healing in chronic Musculoskeletal pain - a single
Blind control study

Jain A, Nagarathna R, Nagendra H R, Shirley Telles

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.)


Abstract

Objective: To compare the immediate effect of pranic healing, a non-touch non pharmacological method of treatment, in chronic musculoskeletal pain with a placebo session of random hand movements.

Design: A self control single blind study. Patients were blind folded with an eye band on both days of the healing and placebo session.

Setting: Patients admitted for the treatment of chronic pain in the residential health home of Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, South India.

Subjects: 50 Patients with chronic non-malignant continuous musculoskeletal pain of more than 6 months duration. Group A (N=25) had placebo on first day and group B (N=25) had pranic healing on first day.

Intervention: Pranic healing of 25 minutes compared to placebo session of 25 minutes carried out on 2 consecutive days.

Main outcome measures: Pain Analogue scale and physiological measures of sympathetic activity namely heart rate, respiratory rate, galvanic skin conductance, blood pressure and finger plethysmography.

Results: Highly significant reduction in pain and sympathetic activity in pranic healing group (student's t- test p <0.001) and non-significant change in placebo group. Multivariate discriminant analysis followed by Wilks' Lambda criteria for significance showed pranic healing is the best in both groups A and B.

Conclusion: Pranic healing when performed in the standardized method by a trained healer is effective in reducing continuous chronic pain of musculoskeletal origin, within 25 minutes as compared to placebo random hand movements which appears similar to the standard method of pranic healing.

Healing through different procedures of balancing the subtle energy system in the energy body has been practiced as an art in ancient cultures of China and India for thousands of years. According to the Chinese system of acupuncture, acupressure and qigong therapy, blocks occur in the channels of flow of this subtle energy called 'chi' or 'qi' resulting in illness.

The aim of therapy is to restore the uniform balanced flow of 'chi' in all the channels1. Similarly the Indian system of yoga deals with this imbalance of energy, called 'prana', through breathing practices and meditation2

While the system of spiritual healing and Therapeutic Touch is said to correct these imbalances through touch and prayer, the School of Pranic Healing in India claims to correct these imbalances in the energy body by a non-touch
method.

Investigations are underway to detect the presence of this energy which is different from all known physical electromagnetic energy fields. Bio-electrography is an attempt to get photographs of this energy field. Chouhan and Rajaram in 1986 3.4 standardized and measured the corona images of fingers obtained on a background of high frequency high voltage electrical fields. They analyzed the bio-electrography pictures of 246 subjects with cancer of the cervix uterus and defined a malignancy specific pattern for early detection of cancer. Richard Pavak 5 presented the beneficial effect of 'shen' - a specific form of qigong therapy in the chronic pain of dysmenorrhoea, migraine and chronic low back pain syndrome. Jia Zin and Jia Jinding 6 demonstrated the amount and density of callus formation to be significantly higher in emitted 'qi' group compared to control group in experimentally induced fractures in rabbits. Loh, L, et al 7 found the benefits of acupuncture comparable to medical treatment in migraine and tension headache.

Pranic healing (PH), standardized and taught by Master Chao Kok Sui 8 from the Philippines is a procedure of manipulating this pranic energy body which is felt and or seen as an aura or energy field around the physical body. Present study has been designed to validate the immediate effect of a pranic healing session in chronic pain through a self-controlled design.

Materials

50 subjects with chronic pain who had volunteered to undergo a non-pharmacological yoga therapy inpatient program were taken up for the study on first two days of their stay before they started practicing yoga. Patients with chronic continuous pain of non-malignant cause who satisfied the criteria for chronic pain (Melzack) 9 of more than six months duration were included in the study. All 50 patients had pain of musculoskeletal origin. The causes of pain were, pain at rest due to chronic tension headache, low back pain, knee pain (osteoarthritis), frozen shoulder, cervical spondylitis, arthralgia in multiple joints and generalized muscular pain (table 1).

Patients who were getting intermittent episodic pain or pain only during activity were not included in the study.


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