prayerBush babies are also known as galagos  or nagapies (nagapies means “little night monkeys” in Afrikaans). They are small, nocturnal primates native to continental Africa. According to some accounts, the name bush baby comes from either the animal’s cries or appearance. The South African name nagapie comes from the fact they are almost exclusively seen at night. A study that appeared in Alternative Therapy in Health and Medicine (2006 Nov-Dec;12(6):42-8) that looked at the effect prayer had on healing in 22 bush babies.

The study involved 22 bush babies with chronic self-injurious behavior. They were divided into two groups, with members of the groups being matched by the severity and total area of their wounds. Both groups were given L-tryptophan as treatment. Prayer was directed at one group, daily for a period of four weeks. The second group acted as a control and did not have prayer directed toward it. The animals that were prayed for had a greater increase in red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit. They also had a reduction in wound size when compared to the control group.

Research that appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine (2000;132:903-910) analyzed 23 earlier studies of “distance healing” (like prayer) and therapeutic touch (like the “laying on of hands’). Seven of the studies involved distance healing and 11 of the studies involved therapeutic touch. Therapeutic touch is based on the idea that the patient has an energy field that can be affected by a practitioner. This is not massage, which physically works on the soft tissues.

Data was gathered from more than 2,700 patients. More than half of the studies 13 or the 23 studies) showed that therapeutic touch and distance healing had some positive effect such as decreased pain or improved healing.