(Investigator 186, 2019 May)
No specific date or origin is known for Pranic Healing, believed by
practitioners to be a system of natural healing, although it has been
practised for millennia.
In modern times, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
and anthroposophist followers, and Chao Kok Sui, a Filipino of Chinese
decent, have promoted this type of occult healing system.
Proponents claim that in addition to our physical body, we also have a
spiritual body consisting of three auric layers. It is claimed that
this "spiritual skin" is perceptible to clairvoyants and can be
detected by Kirlian photography. It is also claimed that Pranic
Psychotherapy using Pranic Healing techniques helps to alleviate
psychological and emotional problems by removing negative energy from
In Pranic Healing, the healer passes a hand over the body "scanning"
for "hollows" and "protrusions." These are said to indicate "pranic
depletion" and "pranic congestion" respectively. Prana supposedly being
an "energy", "life force" or "breath of life" postulated by vitalists,
which in fact, cannot be measured by scientific methods.
By sweeping his hands over the aura, the practitioner supposedly
automatically "seals" the holes in the outer aura through which the
prana leaks out. After sweeping, the "bioplasmic waste" is deposited in
a bowl of salt water or simply flicked into the air. Occasionally the
procedure is accompanied by invocations to God or to angels.
Sui also claims that proficient healers can effect remote healing and
that pranic healing can be used for treating, among other diseases,
cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, leukemia, tuberculosis and venereal
Kirlian photography, while supposedly proving the existence of an aura
in the metaphysical sense of a "life force" radiating from a human
body, does exactly the opposite. Inanimate objects that one would
assume to possess no "life-force" such as plastic, stones and metal
objects, also reveal auras. Kirlian photography has nothing to do with
proving the existence of a life force but rather evidences an
electromagnetic anomaly which is produced by a reaction between the
photographic paper and the object placed upon it, a phenomenon well
known to physicists as a corona discharge in air.
The claim made by psychic healers that the aura can be divested of the
"negative vibrations" simply by performing a stroking motion
presupposes that the aura extends well beyond the body and that
clothing is no barrier. In fact a two to three millimetre radiation is
One only has to consider the implications of this in everyday situations to see just how ludicrous is the concept.
In balancing Pranic Healing against science-based medicine, the
question of whether or not such a "life force" exists is paramount.
David Aldridge, Ph.D. states in the Fall, 1993, issue of Advances, the
journal of the Fetzer Institute that:
"(The) notion of "energy field" is the sticking point between orthodox
researchers and spiritual practitioners. If such a field exists,
researchers maintain, then it should be possible to measure it by
physical means, which no one has yet done to the satisfaction of modem
Likewise, there is no evidence to support the claims that Pranic Healing can cure any of the ailments mentioned above.
Aldridge, David. Advances, Fetzer Institute. Fall 1993.
ATN Channel 7, 1989. Exploring Psychics Live. July.
Brindley, G.S. 1970. Physiology of the Retina and Visual Pathway. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd.
Co, S. 1991. Pranic Healing, American Institute of Asian Studies, Chino, California.
Copen, B. Magic of the Aura. Academic Publications. UK.
Edwards, Harry. 1992. "Heigh Ho, Come to the Fair." the Skeptic. 12(1): 41-42.
_______________ 1992. "All About Auras." the Skeptic.12(2):41-42.
McKay, C. 1932. Extraordinary Popular Delusions. Page & Co. NY.
Randi. James. 1982. Flim-Flam! Prometheus Books. Buffalo. NY.
Raso, Jack. (Ed. Stephen Barrett) 1994. Alternative Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide. Prometheus Books.
Watkins, A.J. and Bickel, William S. 1986. "A Study of the Kirlian Effect." Skeptical Inquirer 10 (3):244-257.
Watson, Lyall. 1974. Supernature. Coronet Books. Hodder Paperbacks.