by Heather S. Friedman Rivera, R.N., J.D., Ph.D.
Previous research on the healing benefits of past-life regression is mainly based on anecdotal and individual case studies. There is a need to collect and analyze a broad cross-section of data on past-life regression and therapeutic results. A study is being conducted to collect and analyze the beneficial outcomes and healing reported by past-life experiencers. For this study, a web-based survey was created and launched for wide exposure to a broad audience. To date, 180 confidential surveys from respondents of various ages, gender, religious upbringing, and experiences have been obtained and analyzed. Analysis revealed that there are measureable and consistent beneficial effects as a direct result of past-life regression. The analysis also revealed the major types of benefits, degrees, and demographic influencers. The most prevalent beneficial outcome reported thus far by respondents is that death no longer holds as much fear for them. Religious and/or cultural upbringing does not appear to significantly affect reported benefits. The number of past-life experiences appears to be the major influencer of benefits realized.
An independent research study is being conducted in order to quantify the healing benefits and beneficial outcomes that many have reported resulting directly from the past-life experience. The goal is to evaluate the subject’s direct experience and what, if any, healing resulted from it. To date, 200 surveys have been received from around the world. This article discusses some of the results from the initial 180 survey respondents.
At the onset, here is a clarification of terms used throughout this writing. The author discussing her original research is, from this point on, referred to as Principal Investigator (P.I.). The words subject, client, patient, or experiencer may be used interchangeably to represent the individual that has had the past-life experience. Respondent refers to the individual who took the survey. The use of the word “remembering” or “memory” refers to the subject’s past-life experience. This word choice is used for ease in discussion and does not represent the P.I.’s belief or disbelief in reincarnation. Survey Section 1 refers to the demographic or background questions provided by the subjects. Survey Section 2 refers to the 25 statements and 1 fill-in question related to the possible beneficial outcomes of past-life regression.
The thesis is that past-life regression experiences lead to measurable positive and transformational benefits as indicated by factors such as life satisfaction, emotional healing, and spiritual awareness. There have been numerous reports and case studies describing in detail the benefits of past-life regression therapy. The case studies report healings in the physical body as well as emotional and spiritual awakenings. Reports of life changes, loss of fear of death, a feeling of connectedness, healing of interpersonal relationships, and a general sense of peace are found throughout the numerous books, journal articles, and internet sites.
The question of what specific types of healing people received and to what degree they were healed begged to be asked. What specific areas of a person’s life were predominantly healed? Was it in the area of physical healings? For example, did a memory of getting stabbed in the back in a previous life lead to resolution of chronic back pain in this life? Or were most healings related to a loss of a fear or phobia? As for example, an irrational fear of bees in the current lifetime disappears after the memory of death from bee stings in the past.
Maybe the healings were in the loss of the fear of death, or of the unknown. Had the re-experience of a previous life’s death helped to ease the fear in this lifetime? Did the experiencer get a glimpse of the other side of death and find peace? Did they now believe that there was a part of them that was immortal and that this body was only a temporary host for their eternal self?
Or maybe the experiencer now has more ease and connectedness with their family and others. Maybe they experience increased compassion and patience because they discovered a personal truth whereas they believe that we are all one and that we are all striving to do the best we can with the tools we currently have. But they believe they also have all the time in the universe to do just that. Their truth might include a sense of the eternal and that halts the hurriedness and worry that we only have this one lifetime to accomplish all our tasks.
The experiencer may report that they have found their loved ones, whether currently living or passed, in previous lives. They may have the realization that their loved ones are never really gone, that they will reunite again and again in other lives. This may give them a feeling of peace and continuity.
The case studies reported and reviewed in the literature reveal a resounding “Yes” to all of these beneficial outcomes. So, are past-life regression experiences truly this transformational? If they are as accurately portrayed as reported, then why is this treatment modality not more widely used and accepted?
The purpose of this study is to quantify and categorize the available information in this field, not only for professionals, researchers, and therapists, but also for the general public. If the study finds many healing benefits then another option for treatment will be available for informed evaluation by the individual. If the findings indicate the opposite, that past-life regression is of little value or produces negative healing benefits then this too would be useful for the individual when considering treatment options for various fears/phobias, anxieties, or for general sense of peace and fulfillment. The findings would also be beneficial for those who are merely curious and would like to explore the past to discover reasons for their specific likes, dislikes, and talents in the current life or to find a loved one in a previous time. The study may also encourage others to research this field to help bring past-life regression more into the mainstream.
The method for collecting data of a relatively subjective nature was thoughtfully considered. Reports of increased feelings of connectedness, peace, and contentment and loss of fear can be difficult to measure, whereas a remission of a physical condition or change in job or family situation can more readily be measured. A survey was designed with the intent of capturing the data sought. The survey data collected will assist the P.I. in analyzing the reported outcomes of the past-life experience and to report on the findings based on conclusions drawn.
An internet survey was launched on January 29, 2011 at www.pastlifesurvey .org. The survey has specific questions as to the nature and vividness of the experience, how the experience was facilitated (hypnotherapy, dreams, psychic readings, or spontaneously as in the case of Déjà vu). The survey also asks about the number of experiences, time since last experience, and early religious upbringing.
The second portion of the survey relates 25 statements describing a potential beneficial outcome as a direct result of the past-life experience. These statements attempt to cover the gamut of the healing experience. As a sampling of the type of statements in the survey, here are a few:
- “I experience less anxiety in my life”
- “Communication with my family and/or friends has improved”
- “Death no longer holds as much fear for me”
- “I had a negative outcome as a result of past-life regression.”
The respondent has the option of choosing from one of seven possible responses from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The respondent has the opportunity to fill-in their thoughts and/or experience in question 26, which asks if there is any benefit or deficit they experienced that was not mentioned in the survey.
General demographic questions such as country of origin, time since experience, and the nature of the experience are asked on the survey. The following questions provide more specific details concerning the respondents’ personal history. The following are some of the demographic findings. They are discussed in the order presented on the study.
What Prompted the Past-life Experience – Survey Section 1, Question #1 asks the respondent, “What prompted you to seek out the past-life experience?” Fifty-seven reported that curiosity prompted them to seek out the past-life experience. This was followed by: 41 having a memory or Déjà vu experience, 38 reported a personal issue, and 18 reported search for purpose. Eight respondents reported seeking the past-life experience to address a physical issue.
There were12 reports of what the P.I. termed “impersonal investigation” in which the respondent was not seeking or curious about a past life and did not have a specific issue that they were searching for answers on or healing for. These respondents either were participating as part of a class exercise or as one respondent put it “I did it on a dare.” One was a reporter and a skeptic. These impersonal investigators had healings despite being skeptical. As a side note, after the reporter had the past-life regression experience, she went back to school to study this field and obtained her Ph.D. to help others. This data suggests that the fact that someone is a skeptic or a believer is not relevant to whether a beneficial outcome could be realized.
Method Facilitated – Survey Section 1, Question #4 asks the respondent, “How was your past-life experience facilitated?” Of the various methods used to facilitate the past-life experience, the greatest reported method was via hypnotherapist: 109 of the respondents’ method. Of the remaining respondents: 22 reported spontaneous memories, 10 reported self-hypnosis, 9 reported group-hypnosis, 8 reported meditation, 5 reported dreams, and 5 reported psychic readings. Hypnotherapy appears to be the most prevalent method across the board for accessing a past-life memory.
Vividness of Experience – Survey Section 1, Question #5 asks the respondent, “What sensory experiences were predominant?” This question measured the respondents’ experience as to vividness in relation to their five senses. Forty reported the experience was most vivid to sight. Thirty-five reported that, although the experience was vivid, they did not specify which sense was involved. Thirty-two reported that it was an immersive experience. Immersive, for this study, represents that the experience was vivid as to all 5 senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Two reported that the experience was vivid to touch alone. The remaining respondents had various combinations of these senses.
Emotional Experience – Survey Section 1, Question #6 asks the respondent “Describe the emotional experience.” Ninety-one of the respondents reported that they had a heavy emotional experience. Fifty-six reported a combination of heavy and light. These respondents commented that the experience started out heavy and lightened up towards the end of the experience. Twenty-three reported a light emotional experience.
Number of Experiences –Survey Section 1, Question #8 asks the respondent, “How many past-life experiences have you had?” Seventy-one of the respondents reported having between one and ten experiences. Of those 71 respondents, 13 reported seven experiences. One respondent reported 50 experiences.
Age/Gender – Survey Section 1, Question #9 asks the respondent, “What is your age?” The ages for respondents range from age 18 to 80. The majority of males that responded to the survey are 60 years of age. However, the bulk of the respondents are middle aged females from 40 to 65 (median of 54). This may correlate to the time period when most have children that have moved away from home and the woman now has the time to explore and inquire into some deeper aspects of the self that she previously could not afford the time for.
Survey Section 1, Question #10 asks the respondent, “What is your gender? Eighty-three percent of the survey respondents are female and 17% male.
Religion/Cultural Upbringing – Survey Section 1 Question #11 asks the respondent “What was your early religious/cultural upbringing?” The results:
- 60 – Catholic
- 30 – non-denominational Christian
- 16 – Agnostic
- 15 – Judaism
- 5 – Hindu
- 5 – New Age
- 2 – Buddhist
This section summarizes the 180 responses for each of the 25 statements in Survey Section 2. This is the crux of the study and supports the thesis statement. The percentage of respondents who either agreed or strongly agreed with a given statement, indicating a high degree of benefit, is tabulated in Table 1.
Each percentage recorded in the table below was computed from a pool of 180 responses. Were we to compute the percentages from a different pool of 180 people, we might expect the numbers to change slightly. Because of this, our current percentages have a degree of uncertainty of plus or minus 5%.
|Question||Percent of Responses|
|Death no longer holds as much fear for me.||80%|
|My views on life and death have changed for the better.||76%|
|I view my current life from a more positive or meaningful perspective.||74%|
|I feel less alone and more connected to the universe.||71%|
|I have a larger sense of identity.||71%|
|I have a greater sense of purpose.||69%|
|I have more faith in a positive or meaningful future.||68%|
|My religious views or perspectives have widened.||65%|
|I have a greater sense of peace or contentment in my life.||64%|
|I have better self-esteem/self worth/self image.||61%|
|I have more control to influence my future than I previously believed.||60%|
|I have more confidence.||60%|
|I am happier and/or experience greater satisfaction in my life.||56%|
|I experience less anxiety in my life.||55%|
|I feel more closeness or interconnectedness with other people.||54%|
|I am able to handle daily stress with more ease.||54%|
|I had an emotional or psychological healing (alleviation of depression, sadness, etc).||50%|
|My personal relationships have improved.||48%|
|Circumstances in my life have changed for the better.||48%|
|Others have noticed positive changes in me.||46%|
|I had a spiritual healing (abatement of a spiritual crisis or problem).||44%|
|Communication with my family and/or friends has improved.||41%|
|I no longer have an irrational or obsessive fear(phobia) that had plagued me previously.||36%|
|I had a physical or bodily healing (abatement of a physical condition or problem).||23%|
|I had a negative outcome as a result of past-life regression.||3%|
A close look at the statements and the results regarding the beneficial outcomes revealed a trend. The most prevalent beneficial outcomes appeared to be in relation to the respondent’s thoughts. This would be how the responder thinks about him/herself and the world. The next prevalent responses appear to be in relation to perception, followed by feelings, and lastly are the observable effects. Observable effects would be those that could be objectively measured such as a physical healing or that others noticed positive changes.
The most often reported beneficial outcome, with an occurrence of 80%, was that the respondent reported “death no longer holds as much fear for me.” The least reported beneficial outcome, with an occurrence of 23%, was that the respondent had a physical or bodily healing. As the reader reviews the findings, they may note that outcomes regarding life, death, connectedness, peace, and contentment occur at a high frequency. Spiritual healing, physical healing, overcoming fears and phobias, and anxieties occurred with lesser frequency.
From the data collected it is clear that past-life regression experiences do have measurable beneficial outcomes although that occurs more frequently in some areas of healing than others. This is a strong finding that practitioners and potential experiencers may find this information useful.
Variation among different demographic factors
Next we examined the data to see if there were any differences in the responses that came from men and women, those of different religious backgrounds, or those of different age groups, etc. In short, by dividing the responses into different demographic groups and analyzing these groups separately, we can determine if demographic factors have an influence upon people’s responses. This is what we refer to as the demographic influence on reported beneficial effects. Because the sample pool is only 180 respondents at this point, future data may change these results.
The data indicates that the largest variation in responses is seen when the data is divided into groups according to the number of experiences. Not too surprisingly, those who have larger numbers of experiences tended to report more agreement with the 25 statements. This indicates that past-life experiences have a cumulative effect upon benefits reported.
The next largest variation in responses is seen when the data is divided into groups according to what prompted the individual to seek out past-life experiences. Those who sought past-life experiences to address a personal issue tended to report more beneficial effects than those who simply had a memory of a past-life episode. This would indicate that those who had a “repressed” memory found relief when the memory was relived or they became conscious of.
The third largest variation in responses is seen when the data is divided into groups according to the sensory vividness of the experience. Not surprisingly, those who had more vivid experiences also tended to report more agreement to the 25 statements. The more vivid the experience and/or the more senses that were involved in the “recall,” the more people tended to report beneficial effects. The same appears to be true for emotional level. The stronger the emotional level of the past life experience, the more agreement reported to the 25 statements.
The rest of the demographics, such as age, sex, religious background, duration of experience, facilitation, time since the experience, etc. showed no significant differences in responses. Since there was no observable variation between groups that were divided by time since the experience, this would indicate that the benefits reported do not diminish with time. Similarly, one’s religious beliefs have neither positive nor negative effect on benefits reported.
All of these variations among demographic divisions are still a bit preliminary given our initial sample pool of 180 individuals. It is our hope that future study will continue to elucidate differences among demographic groups. Differences among different demographic groups will give us some insight into the nature of the benefits seen from past life regression by showing the demographic factors that influence benefits and the demographic factors that do not influence benefits.
As stated in the beginning, the thesis statement for this study is; Past-life Regression Experiences Lead to Measurable Positive and Transformational Benefits as Indicated by Factors such as Life Satisfaction, Emotional Healing, and Spiritual Awareness. The P.I. contends that the past-life experience does just that. The use of a survey tool provides a method to quantify reported healings and the various beneficial outcomes that can be difficult to measure. Many of the benefits reported are subjective benefits without a means to measure them. Using the survey tool created for this study, the P.I. is able to categorize and measure benefits whether they were subjective or objective.
The measured factors (categories of benefits) are designed to get an overview of an experiencer’s life satisfaction, emotional healing, and spiritual awareness. Other factors looked at are: physical healings, loss of fears and phobias, loss of the fear of death, and if the experiencer had a negative outcome.
Even though the P.I. did show that past-life regression experiences do have a variety of benefits, the benefits are not equal across the board. Of the three general categories surveyed; Life Satisfaction, Spiritual Awareness and Emotional Healing, it was Life Satisfaction that saw greater benefit than the other two. Physical healings were much lower on the list, yet still measured in the positive. As for a comparison, with the literature’s case studies, one might expect a large number of physical healings to occur as a result, in contrast to the findings. The literature tends to report on observable effects. This study collects and reports “invisible” (states and processes) effects. Other positive findings from the study were a loss of the fear of death, feeling less alone, a greater sense of purpose, and more peace and contentment in life.
From the findings, the major influencers that drive the degree of benefit from past-life experiences are: the number of experiences, what prompted or motivated the experience, and how vivid the experience was. However, the number of experiences is the primary driver. Religious or cultural upbringing, as well as age or gender, do not appear to significantly influence the beneficial outcomes.
There appeared to be remarkably few negative outcomes, approximately 3%, of the past-life experience. There are many reports of a heavy emotional experience which some may deem as a “negative outcome.” But overall, the negative aspects reported are few.
Past-life regression appears to have some valid treatment and healing applications. The practitioner now has access to data showing past-life regression therapy’s effectiveness. The data not only shows where and who has the most healing but also to the degree and in what areas of the client’s life. The practitioner can make use of the data when devising a treatment plan as he/she compares this to other treatment modalities. Depending on the client’s issues, the practitioner can evaluate what method would be the most effective in the client’s specific situation. For instance, if the client is searching for meaning or purpose in his/her life, the data clearly shows that this method is highly effective for this issue. However, if the client is searching for healing chronic back pain, the results show that this may not be the most effective method for this issue. However, it may be useful in conjunction with other healing modalities. The data showed that repetitive treatment might be helpful as well as facilitating an immersive experience.
The data is not only useful for the practitioner but also the client who is looking for treatment for his/her specific issues or to satisfy curiosity. He/she now can make an informed decision and does not have to rely on anecdotes. The data demonstrates past-life regression therapy’s practical application. This may open up further areas of study, helping it to step away from the sidelines and into the mainstream use. This study would be useful as a catalyst for other researchers to build on the current findings and add to the data points in order to increase the confidence of the findings.
The web site, www.pastlifesurvey.org, continues to collect surveys. This continued collection adds data points and helps to solidify the findings. The added surveys would also allow the further analysis of the other demographic averages that the P.I. was unable to complete with the limited sample size.
Past-life regression therapy has much room for exploration. We have just seen the tip of the iceberg of the potential in this area. This is an exciting time to study this healing modality as it is this P.I.’s belief that we are on the verge of an explosion in this field.
The author would like to acknowledge the mathematical and scientific contributions and advice from Mark A. Rivera, M.S. Physics.