At the risk of sounding like I'm straddling the fence (which I am not), I think there is truth all around here.
As I said, this web site leaves a lot to be desired. For instance it talks about a bunch of NIH-sponsored studies on their therapy, and about dissertations done on the topic. Well.....my dissertation was an NIH-funded study that basically trashed a line of research. Just because the men of the cloth have been in the building doesn't mean that they have blessed the temple.
In doing any double-blind study, we remove the placebo effect and measure what remains. But in many cases the placebo effect (as it is narrowly defined in the particular double blind study) is exactly the cause of the observable phenomena, and it can be considerable. While I'm not fond of dogs that can substitue for dust mops, Anthony brings up that issue from another point of view. Studies have indeed shown that people who live with companions (whether they be pets or significant others) live healthier lives than those who don't. "Pet therapy" has been associated with a lowering of blood pressure, etc.
I read another web page that went into the details of the therapy. The more they talk about feeling energy balances and trying to correct them, the more I want to look for my cross (figuratively speaking) and put it in front of my computer screen (sorry if I offend the believers). But just as the believers rant on about their anecdotes, so I see that there is "something" there, even though the believers may not understand what "it" is, or admit that there is no majic.
Try this anecdote, J.D. Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine you aren't feeling well and you are in the hospital. Now imagine Uma Thurmond comes into your room dressed in a low cut nurses's outfit with a very brief skirt. She's got those semi-see-through white stockings on that carress every curve of her beautiful legs. Her chest heaves with each and every breath. She comes on over to your bed, bends over top of you, and starts running her hands millimeters away from your body from head to foot. She stops briefly at various points. At each of the pauses, she coos in a breathy voice "Oooooh, I feel a big imbalance here. Let me drain the negative energy from you. Mmmmmmm.... Ahhhhhh..... OOOOOooooohhhh! There, dear, does that feel better?"
OK, J.D., fess up. Look straight into your computer screen and tell me "I will not respond to such rubbish!" Are you going to tell me that there is NO physiologic response? NO change in the dilation of the pupils and the speed of the heart beating? No sweating? No heavy breathing? NO change in distribution of blood flow?
[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 03-02-99).]