Psychic Engineer

"Trick or Treatment", by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst
A review of the page on Spiritual Healing in the book which contains a surprisingly large number of errors

Richard King, Chartered Engineer, Healer, Psychic, Havant, Hampshire



These comments on the single page in the book "Trick or Treatment" devoted to Spiritual Healing

They were written separately, before the "Trick or Treatment" book review, using the device of putting quotes in colour and denoting the reason for quoting that part of the page, as an error, or comment. I wrote these comments first because I have been involved with spiritual healing since the early 1990s giving me many years of experience as well as plenty of time to relate it to the science I know. The number of errors made by Singh and Ernst is startling high, easily avoided by anyone prepared to research properly and talk to relevant people, and far beyond what is acceptable from those supposedly carrying out a critical appraisal.


The interactions between a healer and a patient for the purpose of improving health

The interactions between healer and healee are on a spiritual level and it is for the healing of the spirit, which may or may not have a beneficial effect on a specific physical condition, though often, usually, it does. In any case the interaction is not primarily between the healer and the healee but between spirit and the healee, the healer simply acting as a facilitator, channel. The understanding of those of us with the sensing ability to go beyond the physical is that it is the non-physical, the spiritual, which is prime, not the physical. The physical comes, emanates, from the spiritual, so healing of the spiritual has a beneficial effect on the physical.



Many different forms of spiritual healing exist: faith healing, intercessory prayer, reiki, therapeutic touch, psychic healing, Joheri healing, wart charming, etc. The common denominator is that healing ‘energy’ is channelled via the healer into the body of the patient.

The “definition” of spiritual healing is incorrect. It is a fundamental error, almost schoolboy, error to fail to research, consult and establish a correct definition of a subject, topic, before discussing it, let alone criticising it.

As pointed out on the National Federation of Spiritual Healers Web Site (

“Spiritual Healing is not Faith Healing. The term 'Faith Healing' implies that the recipient needs to believe in a deity and that that deity is the source of healing.”

“Spiritual Healing is not linked to a particular religion. Faith by the patient is not required and healing can help people regardless of their religious beliefs.”

While reiki is, arguably, a form of spiritual healing, along with, possibly, Johrei healing, the rest of those listed, specifically faith healing, intercessory prayer, therapeutic touch, psychic healing, wart charming, etc., are specifically not spiritual healing. For example, spiritual healing does not require faith; I have no religious denomination or faith, nor do most of my colleagues. Therefore, there is no common denominator as claimed in the text.

Erroneous definitions and false premises are not a good basis on which to begin anything, including, especially (?), a scientific investigation. If particular scientists are unable to accept that, there is little chance of them making progress as they are already out of their depth. There are many of us with scientific and technical background who have no such problems.

It is a fairly trivial and nave exercise to come up with ones own definitions, premises etc., and then argue against something on that basis, though hardly an exercise for, supposedly, high calibre scientists.


This ‘energy’ is supposed to enable the patient’s body to heal itself.

The human body is, at root, energy, as is all of the material world; that is basic physics, apart from anything else. The body is capable of self healing, in that sense. In practice the energy structure includes the non-physical bodies, without which the physical body would not exist. Spiritual healing is at the level of the higher bodies rather than the physical body.


The term ‘energy’ needs to be put in inverted commas because it certainly is not energy as understood by scientists, but rather has a spiritual or religious basis.

There is no real definition for energy as no-one yet knows what energy really is, according to Richard Feynman, among others. The usual “definitions” are not definitions of energy at all, only descriptions of what energy does, or is observed to do by means of the physical senses and instruments at the present level of mainstream technology. Those of us with higher level senses are ware of what else energy does apart from just in the physical world, though there are different types and forms of energy at that level as in the physical world, as well as them impacting on the physical worlds as that is whence the physical came. There are also instruments which appear to be able to detect higher energies, albeit on the basis of secondary, perhaps even tertiary, effects.


All attempts to detect or quantify it have so far failed.

It is completely untrue to say that “All attempts to detect or quantify it have failed”. The work of Tiller, Oschman, Korotkov, Levichev, et al, demonstrates that such energies exist. I have attended a number of presentations, conferences, etc., and met many of those involved in such work.

Scientists of any great repute would list all such attempts and point out any errors, in their view, of course, or refrain from such blanket statements, though I have already mentioned researchers who have produced positive results, at least from the point of view of those of us with the knowledge and experience to understand what they are doing and how it relates to the reality our senses tell us exists.


Healers view themselves as instruments of a higher power with healing ability bestowed upon them from above.

That statement is untrue. Healers do not regard themselves as instruments of a higher power. Various people have knowledge, abilities and skills. Healer’s abilities simply derive from a particular form, combination, of knowledge, abilities and skills. They are no more “bestowed from above” than those of anyone else.


Most state that they have no idea how their treatment works, but are nevertheless convinced that it does.

Healers are, generally, well aware of how what they do for a patient, healee, works. They may not be able to express it in ways that mainstream scientists understand, or accept. However, those of us with a scientific and technical background are well able to relate it in scientific terms, at least as far as the present level of science allows.


The patient on the receiving end often feels sensations of warmth or tingling as the ‘energy’ apparently enters the body.

Patients, healees, often do feel sensations of warmth, also other sensations, including the occasional coolness. There is no “apparent” about the energies; we feel, see and, sometimes, hear those energies.


Consulting a healer usually involves a short conversation about the nature of the problem.

That statement is incorrect, or, at least, severely lacking. An initial “consultation” usually involves a fairly detailed conversation including notes of name, address, background, history of health problems, experience of complementary therapies, name and address of doctor, present and past medication, etc., as well as the current problem, or problems, or problems.


The healer then starts the healing ritual.

There is no ritual, certainly not in the religious sense and, arguably not in any other sense either. Healing begins with a “tuning in”, for which there is guidance but tends to be individual to each healer and rarely involves anything much in the physically visible sense.

It could equally be argued that a medical practitioner goes through the “ritual” of getting his/her stethoscope out, putting one end to their ears and the other on the patient’s chest, etc.


Initially this can be diagnostic by nature.

In that the first act is to sense the aura generally, and to assess the state of the chakras (energy centres) that is, broadly, correct, though the “diagnosis” is on the spiritual level and anomalies connected with any particular physical condition tend to be secondary, even tertiary.


For instance, the healer’s hands may glide over the patient’s body to identify problem areas.

It is not the patient’s physical body that is of greatest importance. Sensing is at the level of the non-physical bodies on which the physical body depends for its existence. Any sensing of problem areas (in the physical body sense) is, usually, by the way they are reflected in the non-physical bodies. For example, as well as feeling and seeing chakras in other that optimum condition, I have sensed a "hot" swelling in the aura around an upper arm that I already knew was causing problems, a "hot, fiery" sensation in the region of the lower chakras (later being informed, by the person concerned, that his pelvis had been broken by a falling heavy metal plate and he had suffered serious gastric problems, both some years previously), an anomaly in a woman's arm that turned out to have been broken at one time in the previous few years (she had said there was nothing wrong; he daughter later brought her back to see me to confirm that I did have reason to know there had been something wrong), etc., etc. Those anomalies were in the non-physical bodies, though resulted from what had happened to the physical body. there have been times when I have sensed something at that level while not being within physical touching distance of the person's physical body. That is not particularly unusual.


Eventually the healing starts, and ‘energy’ is supposed to flow.

The healing, arguably, starts at the first meeting, before the formal healing begins. There is, as already mentioned, no “supposed” about it; the energies are able to be sensed by the higher senses, broadly the higher level equivalent of the physical senses. They have also been detected by instrumented means (Tiller, Korotkov, Levichev, et al.).


Many patients experience this as extremely relaxing, while healers often feel drained after a session.

Many patients do, indeed, find the experience extremely relaxing, in fact almost all do, in our experience. However, healers do not “often feel drained after a session”. Healers channel energy, not give it of themselves. So, on the contrary, healers usually benefit from the healing themselves as a little of the channelled energy tends to stay with them. If healers do give of themselves, they are not carrying out the healing process correctly and that situation is almost always confined to inexperienced, novice, healers. Our Healers' Group always feels very relaxed after giving healing; no one goes away feeling in the least "drained"; totally the reverse.


With other forms of spiritual healing, however, there is no personal contact between the healer and the patient.

Healer’s techniques vary but there is no need for physical contact at all. Healing involves structures and energies that are not in, or not entirely in, the world as perceived by the physical senses. To put it scientifically, healing deals primarily with structures and energies that are partly, or mostly, outside Minkowski/Einstein Space-Time.


Sessions can be conducted as great distances, over the phone or the internet.

Because healing is outside physical world space-time, of course distance is irrelevant; similarly with telepathy, remote viewing and other matters at that level. Discussions and conversations may take place over the telephone, or internet; the healing does not as it is separate from, over and above, physical world considerations and restrictions; as do forms of communication at that level, of which I have some experience.


Some healers offer services for free, while others charge up to 100 for a half-hour session.

Healers I know do not charge but ask for a donation to cover the cost of the room; the cost are barely covered and often subsidised by the healers. I know healers who charge for their time, simply in lieu of them using that time to earn money by other means. I have never met a healer who charges anywhere near 100 for any session, let alone for half an hour.

What is the evidence?


The concept of healing ‘energy’ is utterly implausible.

That is an opinion, a personal one, with no substantiation, let alone “proof”. It is an unqualified opinion with no evidence, reasoning, references, etc., is not science and not what would be expected of “real scientists” as opposed to “scientists with an agenda”. There is a large body of research by well qualified scientists to show that the “concept of healing energy” is entirely plausible. On each of the subjects of healing energy, energy medicine, the human aura, etc., I have scores of references. Either my literature search capabilities comfortably exceed the combined capabilities of Messrs Ernst and Singh, or there are other reasons for those references not being mentioned; cannot be bothered, bias?, etc.


Many clinical trials of various healing techniques are available. Some initially generated encouraging result, but about twenty of these studies are now suspected to be fraudulent.

The authors fail to state how many proved positive compared with the twenty that “are now suspected to be fraudulent”. Suspected by whom, on what grounds? Suspicion is not proof, though it does happen to be in line with the authors’ prejudices; perhaps that is why they are so ready to turn anonymous suspicion into something far greater than is justified.

In addition, there are fundamental flaws in experiments I have seen on television programmes, as well as those I have read about, flaws that are blatantly obvious to all the healers I know, though not obvious, it seems, to those who dabble in fields they do not understand.


More recently, rigorous trials have emerged and shown that spiritual healing is associated with a large placebo effect – but nothing more.

The placebo effect is defined as, for instance: “An effect usually, but not necessarily, beneficial that is attributable to an expectation that the regimen will have an effect, i.e., the effect is due to the power of suggestion.” ( In other words it is in the mind, which conventional medicine, mainstream science does not understand. Simply saying that the effect of something is equivalent to something that is not understood and therefore we understand that effect, is nonsense. It is a mind effect because the physical world is a construct of mind, which exists at levels beyond the physical. Healing works at those levels; hence the confusion in the limited intellect of limited scientists, purveying and working with limited science.

Typical of the sensible approach is:
”Is spiritual healing a valid and effective therapy?”
R D Hodges PhD, A M Scofield PhD



Spiritual healing is biologically implausible and its effects rely on a placebo response.

Implausibility is opinion without reasoning, let alone proof. Besides, healing is at a level above physical world biology. There are connections and they have been researched. Either the author’s literary research capability, in this instance, as well as others, is very poor, or those sources have been wilfully ignored.


At best is may offer comfort; at worst is can result in charlatans taking money from patients with serious conditions who require urgent conventional medicine.

The medical system in the United States is expensive, as is private medicine (as opposed to the national Health Service) in the U.K. and elsewhere. Are all those practitioners “whiter than white”? There is also the fact that mainstream medicine also kills a large number of people. The third largest cause of death in the United States in 2006 was the medical profession.

In practice, healing provides more than comfort. From their "scientific" point of view, the authors give an opinion but offer no evidence to support it. in addition is is an opinion on a subject that they have comprehensively demonstrated they know nothing much about, though they appear to believe that that do.