Research that appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine (2000;132:903-910) analyzed 23 earlier studies of “distance healing” (like prayer) and therapeutic touch (like the “laying on of hands’). Seven of the studies involved distance healing and 11 of the studies involved therapeutic touch. Therapeutic touch is based on the idea that the patient has an energy field that can be affected by a practitioner. This is not massage, which physically works on the soft tissues.
Data was gathered from more than 2,700 patients. More than half of the studies 13 or the 23 studies) showed that therapeutic touch and distance healing had some positive effect such as decreased pain or improved healing.