In the past over one decade, evidence has been steadily growing through research experiments of the efficacy of biofield therapies in alleviating illness and pain. I will touch upon just one of these therapies here - Reiki - and show how science has begun taking seriously the notion that a subtle energy exchange between two human beings - without any physical contact whatsoever - can cause the healing process to accelerate in the recipient of the therapy.
In the Reiki study I have come across, 18 undergraduates of a Psychology course were subjected to Reiki sessions spread over a period of two to twelve weeks, along with 17 other participants who formed the control group. None of the participant could know which group they belonged to, even the researchers did not know upfront, as the entire exercise of assigning participants to the various groups and sub-groups was randomized. All participants were asked to undergo self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques. A Reiki Master administered Reiki by holding her hand about 3.5 inches above the head of the intervention group participant or towards their back, through the chair. For the control group participants, the Reiki Master simply sat behind each participant impassively, without sending any Reiki. To those whom it matters, the technique used by the Reiki Master involved using Ascension Reiki symbols.
Besides putting the participants through a host of self-assessment questionnaires, their salivary cortisol too was measured. This particular chemical's presence in the saliva is directly positively correlated to stress levels in the human being.
It was found that the intervention participants (that is, those who underwent Reiki treatment without their knowledge) showed an improvement in general well-being, especially in depression and stress levels, while the control group participants showed a further decline on these two scores. These findings are significant, since the implication is that the "attuned" Reiki Master-Teacher can cause bio-psycho-physiological changes in another human being by placing their hand over the human being's head or back, at a distance of about 3.5 inches.
This is just one paper that I am quoting here. There are other papers which report the beneficial effect of similar complementary healing techniques (Johrei, Qigong, and LeShan, to name a few). Self-development enthusiasts will find this an interesting domain to explore, if they are not doing so already.
[It is not only the hidden and unmeasurable exchange of energies taking place between the Reiki healer and the recipient that science is now going ga-ga about. Considerable churning is taking place as the rigid boundaries of science are dissolving. Hard-nosed, short-sighted scientists who earlier used to refuse to even acknowledge events that their instruments couldn't detect; have begun to look for ways and means aside of their tried-and-tested approaches to understand inexplicable phenomena. As this article points out: "When Science Meets Sentience".]