Complementary spiritist therapy: systematic review of scientific evidence.


Spiritism is the third most common religion in Brazil, and its therapies have been used by millions worldwide. These therapies are based on therapeutic resources including prayer, laying on of hands, fluidotherapy (magnetized water), charity/volunteering, spirit education/moral values, and disobsession (spirit release therapy). This paper presents a systematic review of the current literature on the relationship among health outcomes and 6 predictors: prayer, laying on of hands, magnetized/fluidic water, charity/volunteering, spirit education (virtuous life and positive affect), and spirit release therapy. All articles were analyzed according to inclusion/exclusion criteria, Newcastle-Ottawa and Jadad score. At present, there is moderate to strong evidence that volunteering and positive affect are linked to better health outcomes. Furthermore, laying on of hands, virtuous life, and praying for oneself also seem to be associated to positive findings. Nevertheless, there is a lack of studies on magnetized water and spirit release therapy. In summary, science is indirectly demonstrating that some of these therapies can be associated to better health outcomes and that other therapies have been overlooked or poorly investigated. Further studies in this field could contribute to the disciplines of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by investigating the relationship between body, mind, and soul/spirit.

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