Designing clinical trials on energy healing: ancient art encounters medical science

Author: Ai AL Peterson C Gillespie B Bolling SF Jessup MG Behling BA Pierce F
University of Michigan's Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Center
for Cadiovascular Diseases, Ann Arbor, Mich, USA
Conference/Journal: Altern Ther Health Med
Date published: 2001
Other: Volume ID: 7 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 83-90 , Word Count: 147

Demand for energy healing is growing rapidly in the United States. Until
recently, however, few clinical trials have been conducted to investigate its
clinical efficacy, risks, and cost-effectiveness. This article discusses
principles underlying the research design of clinical trials on energy healing,
based on the experience of an interdisciplinary team conducting a large-sample
clinical study on qigong funded by the National Institutes of Health. The first
part overviews the background and contemporary practice of qigong therapy. The
second addresses some difficulties and unique issues to be considered in
designing a clinical trial on energy healing. These issues include research
emphasis on outcome versus mechanism, randomization, control,
expectations/placebo effects, staff and practitioner bias/conflict of interest,
patients' belief, selection bias, intent-to-treat analysis, ethics, informed
consent, sample size, and outcome report. The ultimate goal is to promote more
scholarly and clinical discussion on the evaluation of energy healing.