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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 23, 2018

Effects of Spiritist “passe” (Spiritual healing) on stress hormone, pain, physiological parameters and length of stay in preterm newborns: a randomized, double-blind controlled trial

  • Élida Mara Carneiro EMAIL logo , Luana Pereira Barbosa , Ana Carolina Bittencourt , César Gómez Hernández , Rodolfo Pessato Timóteo , Claudienne de Oliveira Almeida and Maria de Fátima Borges



Among the practices of complementary medicine used to treat several diseases is the Spiritist “passe (SP).” Experimental studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of this energy therapies in reducing anxiety in adults. However, studies evaluating the effects of the “passe” energy therapy on health outcomes in newborns (NBs) are lacking. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of SP on stress hormone levels, pain, physiological parameters and length of stay in NBs.


NBs were randomly allocated into two groups: intervention (3 days SP sessions, n=13) and control (3 days sham sessions, n=12).


In the SP group, respiratory frequency (RF) was found significantly lower (p<0.05), and reduction of heart rate and length of stay were observed, without statistical differences. While in the control, there was higher tendency of cortisol levels (p=0.05).


In this pilot study, RF reduced and prevented the elevation of the salivary cortisol concentration in preterm NBs receiving the SP compared with the control group.


This research is part of the project approved by the Ethics Committee in Research of the Federal University of Triângulo Mineiro (UFTM), under number 712,466 and all the subjects responsible for the newborns signed the Free and Clarified Consent Term.


To the volunteers, friends and Sueli of Melo Bueno, for their effort to make this study possible.

  1. Contributions of the authors: CME contributed to the conception and planning of the study, data acquisition, data interpretation and manuscript preparation. BPL contributed to the conception and planning of the study, data acquisition, data interpretation and critical review of the intellectual content. BCA made substantial contributions in data acquisition. HGC and TPR analyzed and interpreted data and worked on critical review of the intellectual content. AOC contributed to data acquisition and critical review of the intellectual content. BFM contributed to the data interpretation, manuscript preparation and critical review of the intellectual content.

  2. Conflict of interest: Authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest related to the publication of this work.

  3. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  4. Research funding: Trial Registration: The trial is registered at the US National Institutes of Health ( ID: NCT02489136.

  5. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  6. Honorarium: None declared.

  7. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2018-02-06
Accepted: 2018-04-02
Published Online: 2018-10-23

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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