A Range of Healing Subjects and
Below we review some of
the work of pioneering researcher Bernard Grad. This brief review will reveal other studies with mice and with a
wide range of organisms that have been the subject of healing studies. Grad’s work is also important because it
reveals the kinds of healing effects that are possible.
Dr. Bernard Grad is one of the
pioneers of energy healing studies. He has undertaken dozens of controlled studies with healers, especially
with Oscar Estebanay. He studied Estebanay’s ability to heal, through laying on of his hands, mice with
goiters and mice with skin wounds. Estebanay was able to speed the rate of healing in both groups relative to
control groups, who had no healing energies directed at them. In another experiment with mice with goiters,
Estebanay “treated” wads of cotton or wool, instead of trying to directly affect the mice. The “energized”
cotton and wool was then placed in the cages with the goitered mice for one hour a day, six days a week, for
the experimental period. Untreated cotton and wool was placed in the cages of the control mice for the same
time spans. The mice exposed to the “treated” wool and cotton showed much slower growth in their goiters than
did the control mice (cited in Dr. Larry Dossey’s book, Healing Beyond the Body, 63). These types of studies are
important, as they show that the healing “energy” does not have to be directed at the animal, person or organism
itself. Only coming in contact with something that has been energized by a healer can have a therapeutic effect.
This confirms the results of William Bengston cited above.
Grad also tested Estebanay’s ability to affect enzymes in a test tube. As David R. Hamilton
reports in his book, It’s the Thought that Counts (53-54), the enzymes were trypsin, molecules that help
convert food in the digestive system. They were placed in a beaker and Estebanay had no direct contact with them.
Every day for three weeks Estebanay sent healing energy to them, intending to accelerate their ability to work.
When researchers tested their efficacy, they found that they indeed worked more efficiently in converting
substances. Other healers have been asked by various researchers to affect the performance of other kinds of
organisms, from enzymes to bacteria, and have been able to use intention to direct them in specific ways, for
example speeding or slowing the mutation rates in e coli bacteria. They, too, have been successful to
significantly significant degrees.
Many experiments, especially those of Cleve Backster, show how plants appear to have some form of
“information” awareness, such that if someone even has the intention to harm them, they respond with stress a
response that is detectable using monitoring equipment. Many other plant experiments show how healing energy
directed at seeds or plants can speed a seed’s germination rate or a plant’s growth
In controlled experiments of this kind, Grad asked
Estebanay try to protect a group of seedlings that were watered with a saltwater solution, which would stress the
plants and retard or prevent their sprouting. However, Estebanay would “treat” only the salted water that was to be
poured over the seedlings, not the seedlings themselves. He would intend that it not be harmful to the seedlings. A
control group of seedlings was watered with the same solution, but it had not been “neutralized” by Estabanay. When
the results were in, it was revealed that the seedlings watered with the neutralized saline water showed less
injury than those in the control group, with more seeds sprouting and the seedlings growing more
Grad says, “Although
little can be said about the nature of the force that is producing the biological effects . . . or the mechanism
whereby it acts, the experiments on wound healing . . . and plant growth have demonstrated that the so-called
‘laying on of hands,’ at least when done by certain individuals, has objective demonstrable effects, which, because
it was done on animals and on saline poured over plants, can hardly be explained as being due to the power of
suggestion. . . .” (quoted in Dossey, Healing Beyond the Body, 64).
These experiments barely scratch the surface of the evidence that has been amassed that both
direct and indirect healing intention and energy have a positive therapeutic effect. They raise a host of questions
that are spurring scientists to probe more deeply into the mysteries of mind-over-matter
Back to Healing Intentions I: Influencing Non-Human Systems