Questioning the Place of Subjective States and Conscious Awareness in Anomalous Healing
William F. Bengston
Data from experiments which tested 1) the effect of healing with intent on cancerous laboratory mice, and 2) fMRI brain correlates to healing, are selectively summarized to address the question of whether there is a connection between conscious states of mind and healing efficacy. The alternative and complementary medical community has enthusiastically embraced spirituality and selected altered states of consciousness as positive corollaries to healing. A transcendent experience of wonder is often taken as a sign that a larger force can work through both the healer and healee to produce medically verifiable improvements that would not otherwise occur. Similarly, it is widely assumed that both the healer and healee’s state of mind can have direct and powerful implications for healing efficacy.
In these experiments, however, volunteer healers with no previous experience or belief in healing with intent were successful in producing full lifespan cures in mouse cancer models that are normally fatal. Further, fMRI brain data indicate a non-conscious response in the brain of the healer to the need for healing. Successful healing has been produced by volunteers who have experienced a wide range of subjective sense of connection (and lack of connection) to their experimental mice, and fMRI data indicate a strong and reliable difference in healer brain output in which the healer and experimenter were blinded as to the health needs of experimental animal subjects.
While it may initially seem reasonable to conclude that the subjective sense of connection may not be necessary to affect healing, methodological complications resulting from an apparent resonant bonding between experimental and control groups render interpretation problematical. These resonant bonds are interpreted as fluid, with the potential of being either strengthened or weakened by both consciousness and shared experience.
Bio: Bill Bengston is a professor of sociology at St. Joseph's College in New York, and President of the SSE. His research has produced the first successful full lifespan cures of transplanted mammary cancer and methylcholanthrene induced sarcomas in experimental mice by “energy healing” techniques that he helped to develop. He has also investigated assorted correlates to healing such as geomagnetic micropulsations and EEG harmonics and entrainment. email@example.com