Scientific evidence proves why healers see the ‘aura’ of people

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AuraUniversity of Granada researchers affirm that healers present synesthesia, a neuropsychological phenomenon involving a “mingling” of the senses. The results of this study have been published in the prestigious journal Consciousness and Cognition. The authors remark the significant “placebo effect” that healers have on ill people.

Researchers in Spain have found that many of the individuals claiming to see the aura of people –traditionally called “healers” or “quacks”– actually present the neuropsychological phenomenon known as “synesthesia” (specifically, “emotional synesthesia”). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged “virtue”. In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. This way, synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people with a particular color.

The study was conducted by the University of Granada Department of Experimental Psychology Óscar Iborra, Luis Pastor and Emilio Gómez Milán, and has been published in the prestigious journal Consciousness and Cognition. This is the first time that a scientific explanation is provided on the esoteric phenomenon of the aura, a supposed energy field of luminous radiation surrounding a person as a halo, which is imperceptible to most human beings.

In neurological terms, synesthesia is due to cross-wiring in the brain of some people (synesthetes); in other words, synesthetes present more synaptic connections than “normal” people. “These extra connections cause them to automatically establish associations between brain areas that are not normally interconnected”, professor Gómez Milán explains. Many healers claiming to see the aura of people might have this condition.

The case of the “Santón de Baza”

The University of Granada researchers remark that “not all healers are synesthetes, but there is a higher prevalence of this phenomenon among them. The same occurs among painters and artists, for example”. To carry out this study, the researchers interviewed some synesthetes as the healer from Granada “Esteban Sánchez Casas”, known as “El Santón de Baza”.

Many people attribute “paranormal powers” to El Santón, such as his ability to see the aura of people “but, in fact, it is a clear case of synesthesia”, the researchers explain. El Santón presents face-color synesthesia (the brain region responsible for face recognition is associated with the color-processing region); touch-mirror synesthesia (when the synesthete observes a person who is being touched or is experiencing pain, s/he experiences the same); high empathy (the ability to feel what other person is feeling), and schizotypy (certain personality traits in healthy people involving slight paranoia and delusions). “These capacities make synesthetes have the ability to make people feel understood, and provide them with special emotion and pain reading skills”, the researchers explain.

In the light of the results obtained, the researchers remark the significant “placebo effect” that healers have on people, “though some healers really have the ability to see people’s auras and feel the pain in others due to synesthesia”. Some healers “have abilities and attitudes that make them believe in their ability to heal other people, but it is actually a case of self-deception, as synesthesia is not an extrasensory power, but a subjective and ‘adorned’ perception of reality”, the researchers state.



  1. This study is off base. I have seen auras all of my life. When I was a child I thought everyone saw people, animals, and plants that way. I also am dyslexic so maybe, just maybe there is something to this study. However, I don’t think it has anything to do with mixing up people and colors. Auras look more like the heat waves we see in the Summer on hot roads, except they are not wavy. It is the same subtle transparent light, sometimes in colors but do not have to be. Seeing auras doesn’t have anything to do with healing or empathy, but it might be the way my brain is wired. Just as some can hear sounds at higher or lower frequencies than others, some should be able to “see” frequencies that not everyone can see. 

    • Hello Connie, I also have seen auras my whole life, and as a child called them “people’s lights.” I was 10 when I realized no one else saw them. I agree with you. that this study may be flawed. I see egg-shaped layers of light over people, and over the years learned to interpret what the colors mean. I can heal, but don’t consider myself especially good at that — so again, I don’t think this study is necessarily on target. But with the aura reading I am very good at seeing a person’s character, strengths, etc., and have used this to help law enforcement profile and target suspects. Statistically, I have over a 90% accuracy rate with this, but don’t see what this talent has to do with healing. It’s nice to meet another natural aura-reader!  Ann Castle,

      •  Well I feel like I’m coming “out of the closet”. I’m also dyslexic, and I see auras. I’ve seldom told people, not wanting to be labeled a kook. I’ve never tried to heal anyone, I try to ignore the light. Sometimes I see colors, the best ever was watching a preacher with golden light, but most often its just a faint glow.

    • Well, you aren’t SEEING them–you’re sensing them. Your brain is translating that perception into a visual image, instead of the unfiltered psychic impression that you got. That is synaesthesia, and that is why 2 different psychics will not SEE the same thing, but they will interpret it the same way. (What’s blue to you may mean sad, while someone else sees green as sad, etc–but your seeing blue, and their seeing green is still ‘seeing’ the same thing–you both picked up on ‘sad’). This is why understanding synaesthesia is actually important to psychic development.

  2. Title should read, “Scientific evidence proves why healers see auras which aren’t there.” lol

  3. This has fascinated me ever since I read about it. To me, the taste of raspberries and the smell of violets are the same shape.

  4. The wording in this article is terribly biased and unscientific. It seems to be designed specifically to attack the beliefs of certain people, not to actually present a study or finding.

  5. Hoggcollision on

    The aura is proven scientific verifiable and  evidenced by Kirlean photography

  6. then explain how you can teach a person how to see an aura. i have taught a few people who were willing to learn how to see the aura. and also explain how you can learn empathy from a young age from being taught by your parents. i am not happy with this article. it is not well researched and i do not see any bibliographies where i can find this “research”

  7. BULL SHIT. Coincidence alone can make the most non believer believe. at the bottom of this page there is some one called cowboy santos. My name is santo and my favorite team is cowboys.scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see what i mean………superstition.

  8. Lightinside on

    I am a healer & I’ve seen auras my whole life. I too didn’t understand why other ppl didn’t see them. I thought as a child of 8 yrs old that other ppls vision was bad. Lol I’ve taught my children to look past the phyical body & see what surrounds them & last wk my 11 yr old daughter said “mom look at that mans color is he sick”? She sees auras easily & was taught by me, so I think anyone can learn to see the full color spectrum of life. I am an artist I oil paint & do stained glass. I’ve been told my work is very different color wise. Just wanted to make a point to the non-believers that it is so very possible & So Beautiful. Some may see color while others feel the color or mood. Both works!!!

  9. Interesting as this research is, it would have been useful to know how the aura perceived by the ‘healers’ compared with those that are photographed by Kirlian cameras or those seen by another healer. Surely only then could the researchers draw a valid conclusion.

    It seems that so far, the researchers have a poor understanding of the subject of ‘spiritual’ or ‘energy’ healing; they have no realisation that healing can be done by anyone, or that seeing auras can be taught quite easily and done by most people who bother to practice. A clear definition and distinction between healing and auras does not seem to have been established. 

  10. So… science proves that people who see auras are either associating faces and colors or forcing themselves to do that (“being taught”) – there is nothing there. If you think you can really see auras, there is one million dollars on the table. All you have to do is be able to tell when a person stands up behind a wall just higher then their head, and when they are not standing up. The aura should be visible, as it is behind a magazine. One. Million. Dollars.

  11. I don’t understand why it is called scientific evidence if very little is known about how the brain accually works.  I think a better title would be scientific explaination.

  12. So, basically, synesthesia is contagious. Is that what this article is trying to say? Because I’ve taught several people how to see auras (and I’m not the only one; just take a look at the comments). Face it; we ALL have the potential to develop ‘synesthesia’, in most cases within one teaching session. And as someone else has mentioned, it would be interesting to match aura readers with Kirlian cameras. Instead of marking this as something being wrong with the brain, it’s entirely possible that aura readers are seeing a subtle part of reality that goes unnoticed by untrained brains and eyes, i.e. a subtle part of reality that actually exists, but which science – with bias and cherry picking – refuses to explore. Science has a long way to go until it can explain everything. And until it does, there will always be missing pieces to the universal puzzle.

  13. The researchers seem to have made up their minds beforehand…a most unscientific approach. I would point out that all psychics would be considered ‘schizotypal’…IF you assume that there is no such thing as psi ability….but not otherwise. The presumption that the placebo effect is involved is another flaw. Double blind testing would need to be used to compare genuine healing to faked healing, to determine that….and you’d have to use actual well-trained healers to do the fake healing, so as to prevent the unconscious use of healing ability by someone untrained. (This is why so many psi experiments are flawed–failure to account for different levels of ability, and different types of abilities, in different people–it’s like testing people for carpentry skill, and throwing in a bunch of random people from the street who claim they can build stuff–you may get Mike Holmes, or you may get one of the guys he cleans up after).

  14. I am sorry. I read and re-read this post, but could find find the TITLE OF THE DISCUSSED PUBLICATION. I need to peruse the published article myself to come to my own conclusions. Why was THIS MOST CRUCIAL information not provided here???

  15. This article and/or the research makes very little sense. Not sure that people who know nothing about what they are researching should be conducting the research because all it shows me is just that; they don’t know what they are talking about. Healers and people who see auras are not the same and yet could be. I am a healer and probably have synaesthesia but I don’t see auras yet I see inside and around the body. This research is very mundane. I find the correlation between the ability and the brain interesting. It doesn’t prove anything other than the fact that something is going on in the brain of someone who sees aura’s. OK….that’s nice. Now what. The last paragraph is ridiculous and says nothing about anything. If someone is healed then they are. It’s pretty simple. Do all healers claim to have extra sensory powers? Are extra sensory powers negated by the fact that something happens in the brain while reading an aura? People who see auras may or may not be able to heal. One does not prove the other. These guys need to do more research on the topic they are researching….then they might get something really interesting. Or, as others have said, invite in people who actually do know this topic and study them and what they do and cross reference that with a few machines that register these kinds of things