||Number of Patients
|No evidence of disease ||14 ||22.2
|Tumor regressing ||12 ||19.1|
|Disease stable ||17 ||27.1|
|New tumor growth ||20 ||31.8|
Simonton reminds us to "keep in mind that 100 percent of these patients were considered medically incurable."
These findings, which were published in the Medical Journal of Australia, stood the test of time. As detailed in Simonton's 1992 book The Healing Journey, follow-up reports were obtained on 98 percent of the patients in the original study, and their survival times were twice those achieved at the world's leading cancer centers.
Skeptics have argued that Simonton, a man whose reputation has been built on using the power of the mind to facilitate physical healing in cancer patients, may not qualify as a credible and unbiased observer. And Simonton himself admits that due to limited funds, his initial study lacked "the randomization, and a matched control population, necessary for maximum scientific credibility."
At the time of Simonton's initial studies, no scientifically air-tight research existed to demonstrate the powerful effect of the mind in surviving cancer. There is now such a study. In 1989 a controlled, randomized study on women with advanced breast cancer was published by researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, led by Dr. David Spiegel of Stanford. They reported that rates of survival among those who received counseling were twice the national average, and their statistics matched Simonton's percentages almost exactly. This study was conducted by researchers who did not expect that counseling would have any effect on cancer survival rates.
While Spiegel's research utilized counseling rather than visualization, the results were comparable, and the central point had been made-our thoughts and emotions are intimately related to our health status.
In gradually increasing numbers, physicians and other health care providers have incorporated healing imagery into their work. Psychiatrist Gerald Epstein, author of Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery, found that his patients, even those with physical illnesses, responded best when he prescribed imagery rather than medicine. This approach clearly goes far beyond the usual definitions of psychiatric practice, and the results Epstein describes in his book likewise transcend usual expectations.
Epstein gave a patient with warts an imagery exercise in which the man was to remove his face, turn it inside out, wash it in a crystal-clear, fresh-flowing mountain stream, hang it out to dry in the sun, and then turn it right side out and put it back on, with no warts remaining. This visualization was to be done four times a day for three minutes each time, for a period of three weeks. At the end of that time, the patient's warts were gone.