Parapsychology researcher Dr Dean Radin has posted a summary of a newly published scientific paper (which he co-authored) to his blog: "Compassionate Intention as a Therapeutic Intervention by Partners of Cancer Patients" (subtitle: "Effects of Distant Intention on the Patients' Autonomic Nervous System"):
Objective: This double-blind study investigated the effects of intention on the autonomic nervous system of a human “sender” and distant “receiver” of those intentions, and it explored the roles that motivation and training might have in modulating these effects.
While it's a little strong to use the word "healing", the results of this study do seem to suggest that 'intention' may have an effect on the autonomic system of the 'target':
Results: Overall, receivers’ skin conductance increased during the intention epochs (z = 3.9; p < 0.00009, two-tailed). Planned differences in skin conductance among the three groups were not significant, but a post hoc analysis showed that peak deviations were largest and most sustained in the trained group, followed by more moderate effects in the wait group, and still smaller effects in the control group.
Conclusions: Directing intention toward a distant person is correlated with activation of that person’s autonomic nervous system. Strong motivation to heal and to be healed, and training on how to cultivate and direct compassionate intention, may further enhance this effect.
The full paper is published in the July/August edition of Explore.