The power of prayer really can help to heal the sick, an international study has found - especially if the well-wisher is standing near the person they are praying for. Researchers say the vision and hearing of patients in their tests improved after healing practitioners prayed for them.
One elderly woman who could not see a person's hand when they held two fingers up in front of her face from a foot away is said to have been cured after a healer placed their hands over her eyes and prayed for less than one minute.
The tests were carried out by a team from Indiana university, led by religious studies Professor Candy Gunther Brown, who were looking into 'proximal prayer' - or prayers near the patient. However, experts at the National Secular Society branded the research 'highly suspect.'
Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS, said: 'This is a highly suspect study, based on vague results in places where checking would be impossible. There is a quite obvious religious motivation which undermines its impartiality.'