Science of Distant Healing

Healing Another Person Through Thought Alone

Is it possible to treat a person medically from a position many miles away, simply by acts commonly described as prayer, intention or meditation? The short answer is yes. Do we know how to explain this phenomenon? Theories abound, but the short answer is: No. We cannot yet adequately account for this  in ways everyone will accept, and it may well be that the complete explanation will always elude us. Yet the emergence of so-called spiritual healing upon the medical landscape is by now an unstoppable reality, and has been the subject of intense scrutiny and research at various academic and medical institutions. (1) Primary amongst contemporary researchers who have sought to provide some theoretical clarity for this subject is eminent physician Larry Dossey, MD. (2)

Before the advent of telephones in the later nineteenth century, the idea of conversing with an absent person located many miles away must have seemed to most people futuristic, if not inconceivable. Yet today we perform these communications routinely, at the same time as composing emails or logging on to the internet, all from small, hand held, wireless devices. We now take long distance communications for granted. We assume teleportation of digital data through computers and satellites to be real and unquestionable. Why should we continue to reject the idea of telepathic healing as fortuitous?

Remote telepathic communication that helps improve someone’s health without any physical mechanisms involved is, at bottom, simply a transfer of information. Why should it not be possible, through the action of thought or prayer, to “address” someone at a remote location, in such a way as to induce healing in that person? Telephones and computers have proved that our thoughts can, through the medium of microwaves, be conveyed almost instantly anywhere on the globe. Is it not logical to ask whether thought, through the medium of focused intention, cannot directly influence another person without any intermediary mechanism other than what we, in common parlance and perhaps metaphorically, call “vibrations”? If the phenomenon of what we call mind, or consciousness, is itself nonlocal and belongs to an encompassing field, then distant healing would presumably occur through this medium.

We are calling this phenomenon by its more common term “distant healing”, but perhaps it would be more accurately described as nonlocal healing . This nomenclature has been proposed by Dr. Dossey in an extensive analysis of the subject (3)

Although conventional medicine tends to deride the notion of healing performed at a distance, it is not for want of evidence as to the real effects of such healing. Indeed, there appears to be gathering momentum within major medical universities towards documenting the efficacy of nonlocal healing.

“The impact of following a religious or spiritual path on health and longevity is becoming common knowledge, and is documented by nearly 1,600 studies in the rapidly developing field of the epidemiology of religion. Double-blind, controlled studies of spiritual healing are being done at major medical schools throughout the country. Five positive systematic or meta-analyses attest to the validity of distant healing. These” says Dr. Dossey,” are historic developments in which we can take great pride”. (4)

The Scientific Perspective

So what is nonlocal healing, and how can we begin to account for it? Can we reference a broader scientific paradigm capable of explaining for us how this phenomenon actually works? Numerous respected researchers and physicists within the scientific community have advanced conceptual models that may help us account for the phenomenon of nonlocal healing. (5) What is consensual in these models is the repudiation of notions of energy transmission involving the spacetime continuum. In other words, no signal is sent out from the healer that “travels” across space to “reach” the patient and help heal the problem. The classical model of a subtle vector despatched – like some angelic Fedex delivery – from healer to “healee” is not hypothesized in serious scientific inquiry. On the contrary, when healing is performed at a distance, there is no real “distance” involved, no “action at a distance” nor is there any signal emitted by the healer through physical space and picked up in the body of the patient or recipient. Rather, the theoretical models advanced by these researchers are all variations on the theme of true nonlocality, which falls outside both classical ideas of space and even the concept of spacetime from relativity theory.

The understanding of nonlocal ontology within physics goes back to the work of Irish physicist John Bell. Bell’s Theorem states that if two subatomic particles have been in some form of contact at one time in their history, and if these two particles are then later separated in space (even by unimaginably huge distances to opposite ends of the universe) they will continue to interact as though they had become the same particle. That is to say, any action performed on one particle, or any inadvertent change in its condition, will immediately also manifest in the other particle, no matter how far off it might be from the first. Not only will this occur instantly, the changes manifesting in this “distant”particle will be exactly the same as those occurring within the first particle. Even though there is no consensus amongst physicists as to why and how this sympathetic resonance occurs, the phenomenology of nonlocal interactions is well accepted in physics, and fully demonstrable experimentally. And although Bell’s Theorem does not go so far as to “explain” how distant healing can occur, it does demonstrate that the universe functions, at least at subatomic levels, according to principles that preclude the need for explanatory mechanisms and vectors linking events through spacetime.

For this reason, Dr. Dossey strongly proposes that we use the term nonlocal healing to replace distant healing, remote healing, absentee healing or any other appellation. Inconsistent and irrational terminology used by healers to define what they are doing strips the entire field of scientific respectability. It makes it easy for naysayers and other skeptics to point out the woolliness of such prevalent terms as energy healing, energy medicine, distance healing, remote healing, prayer medicine, teletherapy, radionics, and vibrational medicine. The use of one exclusive term, nonlocal, would both banish the confusion and intellectual smog generated by ill-defined terminology, and also align it with proven ideas from within our current scientific understanding.  Quantum physics has demonstrated the existence of nonlocal dynamics through entanglement theory. This does not mean that entanglement theory necessarily explains how distant healing actually works. We should be clear that it emphatically does no such thing. Indeed, although there has been much popularization of the term “quantum” in alternative medicine, and although we quite commonly find healers claiming that theoretical physics somehow justifies them by providing a scientific explanation of how “energy” medicine works, this is very far from being the truth. However, as explained above, nonlocality in theoretical physics is bound up with the acceptance of a unifying field in which holistic interactions are primary, and in which there is no pre-requisite of spacetime mechanisms for communications to occur. In brief, the holistic and non-linear world of nonlocality in physics does not preclude the kind of effects we witness in distant healing, and which we are here proposing, in line with Dr. Dossey, to term nonlocal healing.

What are some of other theoretical ideas relevant to our subject? Most researchers build on the idea of a hyper-dimensional universe as opposed to a three dimensional one. In such a universe, remote healing reactions occur via the interface of different dimensional quotients and not by transmissions or emissions of “energy” from the healer to the healee. For example, In their article entitled, “The Speed of Thought,” in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Elizabeth A. Rauscher and Russell Targ propose that “these phenomena are not a result of an energetic transmission, but rather they are an interaction of our awareness with a nonlocal hyper-dimensional space-time in which we live.” (6) Researchers at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab have emphasized that any explanations of distant healing that presume a spacetime matrix are simply untenable and that consciousness itself is the key. (7) And at UC-Berkeley, Henry P. Stapp has declared that, “…the new physics presents prima facie evidence that our human thoughts are linked to nature by nonlocal connections: what a person chooses to do in one region seems immediately to effect what is true elsewhere in the universe.” Professor Stapp emphasizes that conscious thoughts should be recognized as part of what we scientifically consider to be core reality and adds that, “I believe that most quantum physicists will also agree …that when properly understood, our thoughts will be seen to DO something: they will be efficacious.” (8)

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake has proposed that these “efficacious” changes occur periodically amongst many species at collective levels through what he has termed “morphogenetic fields”. (9) Such nonlocal fields respond to actions made by as few as one member of a particular species, and then transfer these innovations over to entire groups, thereby infusing progeny with new abilities and behavioral adaptations that enhance their ability to survive. For example, after one blackbird in a small town in England learned to peck through the aluminum foil cap on a milk bottle that the the local milkman had delivered to somebody’s doorstep, pretty soon all the blackbirds in the neighborhood, as well as birds far away in distant areas who had not intermingled with the original group had “learned” to perform this same trick. Moreover, this change in behavior occurred almost simultaneously.

In the case of human beings, we can find many examples of almost identical ideas occurring to different people at around the same time. This phenomenon suggests that our ideas are not merely “cooked up” in our individual brains, but that they originate somewhere else, and they are “drawn down” into individual awareness from something like a common pool. This would appear to contradict our innate cultural programming: namely that our thoughts come from the brain alone; that we essentially “live” inside our brains, and more specifically, in the front portion, a few inches behind the mid-point between the eyebrows. We have been trained to believe that consciousness is an epiphenomenon, or by-product, of biological cells. But science suggests something very different in line with spiritual philosophy from many ancient traditions. Which is that our minds are not as individual as we believe them to be; that mind itself is not housed in a casing of arteries, neurons and bony sutures, but exists essentially as a field without physical dimensionality, and crucially, as a nonlocal entity.

The efficacious nature of thought spoken of by Professor Stapp implies that thought – or conscious intention – can interact with biological, physical reality, changing the essential structure or configuration of that physical reality. Such a hypothesis by a highly respected proponent of quantum physics does support the conclusion that focused intention by the healer is capable of effecting actual bodily change in the recipient of the healing intent, or healee. Thought, which is classically thought of as an event occurring “within” the healer’s mind, works through nonlocal field dynamics where “inner” and “outer”, “within” and “without” and other spatial references do not apply. In this way, thought can “enact” upon subatomic configurations of molecular structures within the body of the ailing person upon whom the healing intent is directed. Moreover, it would be wrong to assume that this thought, or healing intention is, by nature, “alien to” or “other than” the molecular body it interacts with. On the contrary, the thoughts of the healer are essentially compatible with the body of the person needing healing. Thought, originating in the mind of the healer, and cellular activity, constituting the body of the patient, share the same “currency”. Thus, thoughts delivered by the healer to an absent patient can fuse with her body, they can alter it from a sick state to a well, or at least to an improved state. This phenomenon occurs by virtue of the fact that, in a nonlocal universe, consciousness and “matter” are not distinct, discrete realms, they are interactive and interfusing, sharing the same currency: life-force energy, which is inseparable from consciousness itself.

The Metaphysical Perspective

Life-force energy? If we use such a term, are we not back again in the woolliness of pre-scientific concepts? Well, perhaps we are. Certainly, that would be the knee-jerk reaction of self-styled guardians of scientific orthodoxy, not to mention the medical establishment which continues to act as though Einstein had never existed. And yet, to quote Einstein himself, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality”. Reality is far wider, deeper and more complex than our cognitive representations of it, however mathematically precise these might be. Healing in general, and distant healing in particular, have been successfully practiced since long before what today passes as “science” and which is rather, as often as not, just institutionalized opinion. Indeed, centuries before Bell, nonlocal phenomenology had been discovered by physicians in ancient cultures as varied as the continents of the earth itself. In matters of medicine, as Dr. Dossey emphasizes, we should not be exclusively beholden to conventional science, whose adherents continue to insist upon a schism between mind and matter. Non-physical healings have occurred and will occur, regardless of whether institutionalized science approves of the methods used. For these reasons, I am proposing that the term life force energy be included along with the term nonlocal to describe the subject of healing performed from a remote location.

Life force energy is an inclusive term that conflates terms from other cultures such as India, China and Japan, for whom such energies were self-evident, and to whom they gave names such as Ki, Chi, and Prana. These ancient names do not imply “energy” the way we customarily think of it in the West (i.e. as a kind of fuel, or even as a non-physical equivalent to matter). Rather, they root this energy in the mind of the cosmos itself, or in what we might call spirit, a primal cosmic awareness or soul dimension to things. This spirit confers oneness upon everything and allows for all things to share existence and to intercommunicate. In Hebrew, the term Ruah refers to a holy wind enlivening everything. In Sanskrit, the term Purusha describes a cosmic Person that includes and at the same transcends us all. In Japanese, the term Hado describes a kind of vital fluid or breath flowing through the whole of nature and through all of us, even uniting the living and the dead. (10)

Nonlocality and the Concept of UNIVERSAL RADIANCE

One of the greatest and least known contributors to the discipline of nonlocal healing was the Indian scholar, iconographer and professor of esoteric buddhism, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Ph.D. (1897-1964). In seminal works such as The Science of Cosmic Ray Therapy (11), Bhattacharyya referenced a series of ancient sacred writings from India, the Puranas, in which the universe is described as being esoterically made up out of one great radiant being whose innumerable rays pass into and through all living and inorganic matter. These rays are described as “omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent”. (11) By stimulating certain of these rays to act remotely on a sick person, Bhattacharyya was able to heal many people he never met in the flesh. We can compare this with the language of a recent Western text on subtle energies in the universe. According to N. Herbert, the author of “Quantum Reality” (12), nonlocal healing has three characteristics which differentiate it from what are considered to be normal, everyday events. They are unmitigated, unmediated and immediate. Let us see what exactly he means by these terms: Unmitigated means that the strength of the healing action does not diminish with increasing distance, thus contradicting the inverse square law of classical physics, whereby increasing distance reduces the potency of the originary action. Unmediated means that the healing action does not need to travel through a medium (space, time, or electromagnetic field) in order to reach its “target”. (Experiments have been set up where Faraday shielding has been used to block reception of healing effects directed to the recipient. No reduction of effects have been observed in these experiments, implying that whatever is “carrying” the effects as a medium cannot be electromagnetic). And immediate clearly signals that the action occurs instantaneously, without any lag due to effects of distance, time, friction etc. There is clearly some common ground between Herbert’s triad of terms unmitigated, unmediated,immediate and omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. The principal difference between them is that the Indian terms imply a divine being which, as it were, occupies and composes the nonlocal domain. The secular triad of terms simply contradistinguishes nonlocal events with everyday type events, where the terms unmitigated, unmediated and immediate will obviously not apply.

Other Views and Interpretations

William A. Tiller, professor Emeritus at MIT, is one of the most distinguished researchers and theoreticians in the field of nonlocal healing. Besides his work in superluminal theory (energies which travel faster than the speed of light), Tiller has suggested the configuration of multidimensional realities composed of dimension-specific subtle energy fields. (13) Higher dimensional fields include the emotional (9th dimension), mental (10th dimension) and spiritual (11th dimension). A multidimensional paradigm lies at the core of the work of the influential contemporary physician Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, and his “Vertical Healing System”. (14) Multidimensionality is basic to the medical system developed on the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, the human body is encompassed by progressively more refined sheaths corresponding to higher dimensional fields of vibration. Only the highest field of all, (the spiritual) is viewed as being completely non-material. Could it be that nonlocality, as understood in quantum physics, is a scientific window on to the unified field architecture described in the pre-scientific writings from India, as well as from other ancient traditions?

Tiller, along with Walter E. Dibble, Jr., and Michael J. Kohane, has also proposed, on the basis of experimental results, that humans have the ability to raise the vibratory signature of specific locations. That is, we can build up an “elevated and tangible ‘field of consciousness’” in a particular place out of a “metastable condition in the ‘vacuum state.’” (15)

This process can be done slowly and progressively over a period of many years, inducing a “stable phase change” from a “vacuum state”. This theory would correspond to infusing a site with an energy state durable in space and time. In other words, this would allow for the energetic development of a highly charged object, or even for the conversion of a mundane space into a sacred space. Incidentally, this hypothesis could also scientifically explain the actions of indigenous wisdom keepers such as the Q’eros of the Andes who, through unbroken commitment to specific rituals and invocations, have been able to maintain the potency of their sacred pre-Inca sites in Peru over many centuries.

In Japan, Dr. Masaru Emoto has proposed that consciousness is both nonlocal and imbued with conscience, and that its principal essence is the dyad “love-gratitude”. (16) Through his research into the response of water molecules exposed to words of strong emotion such as love or hate, praise or insult, music of various sorts, chemical pollutants and human intention in general, he has been able to document via stunning, kryo-photographic images of water crystals, how hydrogen bonds within water molecules uncannily mirror the “consciousness” that they have been exposed to. From his work, Dr. Emoto has concluded that, just as we are composed of 75% water, so our thoughts and emotions, which are carried by this universal medium, can directly affect the water within the bodies of other people we interact with. Indeed, even our unspoken thoughts and emotions can alter the bond structure within bodies of water such as lakes and rivers, which Emoto has shown can be cleaned up of pollutants simply by the power of focused prayer from a distance.

Taken together, Tiller (et. al.’s) work on stable phase change, and Emoto’s work on the interaction of thought and water, converge in the domain of liquid crystals. Crystals, can be encountered in solid form, as in rocks, but also in liquid form, as in water, or in certain human tissues such as the myelin sheath surrounding nerves.(17) All crystals are evidently composed of highly organized molecular structures, and therefore will function as semiconductors. (18) These organized structures have taken great periods of time, in some cases millions of years, to form. A beautiful crystal is a metaphor of phase change through aeons of influence. (19) They are structures that can attune consciousness further in the direction of harmony, or else be used to enhance interface potential in nonlocal healing dynamics.

Structures of Interface in Nonlocal Healing

By what pathways and through which portals can we access the body of the recipient in nonlocal healing? How can an intention held in the imagination of the healer take effect on the physical body of the patient, or recipient? There do exist, currently, hi-tech delivery systems for distant healing that are not truly nonlocal. These technical advances do appear to make it possible to deliver specific healing frequencies to patients via ELF (extremely low frequency carrier waves). Devices have been designed for use with Rifean frequencies that will, supposedly, deliver these frequency sets to distant persons using ELFs as vectors. However, this is not true nonlocal healing as described above. True nonlocal healing is immediate, unmediated and unmitigated. But, practically speaking, how do we gain access to the other person? It all depends upon how we image them. The recipient is held as an image within the mind of the healer using the inner light of the mind. Perhaps the crucial difference between medicine as typically practiced, and healing when practiced effectively, is that in medicine, the emphasis is on diagnosis, whereas in healing, diagnosis is essentially secondary and may even become an impediment. In healing, what is most vital is for the healer to be able to hold in his/her mind an image of the ailing person in perfect health. The more powerfully this can be done, the more powerful the healing that can be generated. Imagination – imaging via and within the mind – is the way to interface with a subject nonlocally.

Nevertheless, the way in which this imaging is carried out by the healer must be of the utmost delicacy. If it is too forced, too insistent, it will be at best an imposition and will not prove effective. The healing intention and the imaging that goes along with it must, paradoxically, include both willing for an optimal outcome and letting go of that willing. There must be a surrender to a higher, or deeper reality to resolve the problem. Essentially, this deeper reality is one with the nonlocal field itself. It is the oneness that unites all in a common matrix, and that allows for healing to occur. Ideally, a zen-like state of awareness, in which there is perfect focus on recognizing and identifying the “problem” but at the same time no seeing it as a “problem”, and no conscious attempt to enforce beneficial change upon the recipient.  This zen-like state will allow the sick aspect to come back into balance in its own way and within its own time.

If the rational, analytical left side of the brain, once it has determined what and where the problem is, can surrender control to the imagination and mystical outreach of the right portion of the brain, this will allow for a nonlocal fusion to be “precipitated” between healer and recipient. The preferred state of emptiness or innocence will not intrude on the disturbed condition of the patient and try to bend it to a will that is not its own. Rather it will permit access from a deeper and more unidentifiable source to communicate a state of healing to the subliminal awareness of the patient.

Because the human being is composed of known energy pathways as mapped out in the medical traditions of, amongst others, China, India and Tibet, it is possible to direct healing to the recipient using already mapped, subtle portals of influence. That is, the chakras, meridians and subtle organs of both healer and healee can be brought into a nonlocal resonance through the healing focus, which is an act of imaging and telepathic resonance with the patient. The healer’s imagination will pick up threads of information nonlocally from the body of the patient. These data inform the healer what is wrong and where the problems lie, whether in a tissue, an organ, meridian, chakra or portion of the patient’s emotional, mental or possibly even soul body. But for this to occur successfully, once the dovetailing of telepathic engagement has occurred, there must be a state of bonding or unison in which the mind plays only a secondary, observing role, for it is not the mind of the healer that can instigate healing. This can be produced only by the healer’s capacity to induce positive change from elsewhere: from the limitless  cosmos, with its uncharted oceans that we are always embarking on anew with a mixture of fascination, hope and humility.


1) Puchalski, CM. The Role of Spirituality in Health Care. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. 2001;14. pp.353-357.

2) Dossey, L. The Case for Nonlocality. Reinventing Medicine, San Francisco, CA, HarperSanFrancisco, 1999, pp 37-84.

3) Dossey, L. How Healing Happens: Exploring the Nonlocal Gap.  Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2002; 8(2)12-16, 103-110.

4) IBID. p.16.

5) Josephson BD, Pallikara-Viras F. Biological utilization of quantum nonlocality.

Foundations of Physics . 21 (1991), pp. 197-207.

6) Rauscher EA, Targ R. The speed of thought: Investigation of a complex space-time

metric to describe psychic phenomena. Journal of Scientific Exploration.


7) Brenda J. Dunne & Robert G. Dunne. Experiments in Remote Human/Machine

Interaction, Journal of Scientific Exploration. 1992; 6(4). pp.311-32.

8) Stapp H. Harnessing Science and Religion: Implications of the new scientific

conception of human beings.” Research News, February 2001; 1(6): 8.

9) Sheldrake R. A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Formative Causation.

London, England: 1981.

10)   Matsuzaki, T. The Healing Power of HADO. Hillsborough, OR. 2005, Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.

11) Bhattacharyya, B. The Science of Cosmic Ray Therapy or Teletherapy. Calcutta, India, Firma KLM Private Ltd. 1976. pp 16-21.

12) Herbert N. Quantum Reality. New York, NY: Dustton; 1987: 214.

13) Tiller WA, Dibble Jr WE, Kohane MJ. Conscious Acts of Creation: The Emergence of a New

Physics. Walnut Creek, CA: Pavior Publishing; 2001.


15) Dossey, L. How Healing Happens: Exploring the Nonlocal Gap. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2002; 8(2)12-16, p.13.

16) Emoto, M. The Hidden Messages in Water, New York, NY. 2005. ATRIA Books. p.134.

17) Cousins, G. The Human Crystal. Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet. San Rafael, CA. 1986, Cassandra Press. pp 81-87.

18) Starwynn, D. Microcurrent Electro-Acupuncture. Phoenix, AZ. 2005. Desert Heart Press. p.34.

19) Frasl, J. and Marquist, C. Crystalline Communion. Kirkland, WA. 1999. Earthlight Inc. pp. 175-176.