Study of the therapeutic effects of proximal intercessory prayer (STEPP) on auditory and visual impairments in rural Mozambique

South Med J. 2010 Sep;103(9):864-9. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3181e73fea.


Background: Proximal intercessory prayer (PIP) is a common complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy, but clinical effects are poorly understood, partly because studies have focused on distant intercessory prayer (DIP).

Methods: This prospective study used an audiometer (Earscan(R) 3) and vision charts (40 cm, 6 m "Illiterate E") to evaluate 24 consecutive Mozambican subjects (19 males/5 females) reporting impaired hearing (14) and/or vision (11) who subsequently received PIP interventions.

Results: We measured significant improvements in auditory (P <0.003) and visual (P <0.02) function across both tested populations.

Conclusions: Rural Mozambican subjects exhibited improved audition and/or visual acuity subsequent to PIP. The magnitude of measured effects exceeds that reported in previous suggestion and hypnosis studies. Future study seems warranted to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients with auditory and/or visual impairments, especially in contexts where access to conventional treatment is limited.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Audiometry
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mozambique
  • Prospective Studies
  • Religion*
  • Rural Population
  • Touch
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*
  • Vision Screening
  • Visual Acuity