Do Labyrinths Have Healing Powers?
Many folk lore stories suggest labyrinths can promote healing, but no science has proven it.
Labyrinths are ancient, maze-like patterns. Unlike a maze, however, you cannot get lost in a labyrinth, as there is only one path to the center and back out. The idea of walking the patterns started about a decade ago as a New Age fad and has grown more mainstream. Around the world, thousands of labyrinths have been placed in parks, churches, gardens, and schools. The patterns are interesting and intriguing, but can they help heal the sick as some claim?
Some labyrinth promoters suggest that the patterns may have mystical healing powers. For example, the Carbondale Labyrinth Project 2000, in southern Illinois, recommends their labyrinth for “persons with head injuries or learning disabilities [who] might use it to facilitate sensory integration.”
A handful of medical centers have also incorporated labyrinths; the first to install one on its grounds was San Francisco’s Pacific Medical Center. Unfortunately, while labyrinths can be relaxing, there is no evidence that they have any healing properties. The hospital and medical center labyrinths are used by cancer support groups and other patients to relax and reduce stress.
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