In Vitro Effect of Reiki Treatment on Bacterial Cultures: Role of Experimental Context and Practitioner Well-Being

Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA 94611, USA.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.59). 01/2006; 12(1):7-13. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.7
Source: PubMed


To measure effects of Reiki treatments on growth of heat-shocked bacteria, and to determine the influence of healing context and practitioner well-being.
Overnight cultures of Escherichia coli K12 in fresh medium were used. Culture samples were paired with controls to minimize any ordering effects. Samples were heat-shocked prior to Reiki treatment, which was performed by Reiki practitioners for up to 15 minutes, with untreated controls. Plate-count assay using an automated colony counter determined the number of viable bacteria. Fourteen Reiki practitioners each completed 3 runs (n = 42 runs) without healing context, and another 2 runs (n = 28 runs) in which they first treated a pain patient for 30 minutes (healing context). Well-being questionnaires were administered to practitioners pre-post all sessions.
No overall difference was found between the Reiki and control plates in the nonhealing context. In the healing context, the Reiki treated cultures overall exhibited significantly more bacteria than controls (p < 0.05). Practitioner social (p < 0.013) and emotional well-being (p < 0.021) correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on bacterial cultures in the nonhealing context. Practitioner social (p < 0.031), physical (p < 0.030), and emotional (p < 0.026) well-being correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on the bacterial cultures in the healing context. For practitioners starting with diminished well-being, control counts were likely to be higher than Reiki-treated bacterial counts. For practitioners starting with a higher level of well-being, Reiki counts were likely to be higher than control counts.
Reiki improved growth of heat-shocked bacterial cultures in a healing context. The initial level of well-being of the Reiki practitioners correlates with the outcome of Reiki on bacterial culture growth and is key to the results obtained.

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    • "While various design limitations were present including a sample size of only 14 Participants [26], these studies were the first of their kind to employ randomised , double-blind designs, where healing was administered distantly or through a one-way screen. A randomised design that avoided expectation effects was employed by Rubic et al. [17] to investigate how Reiki affects the growth of overnight cultures of heat-shocked Escherichia coli K12 bacteria in vitro compared with untreated control cultures. In the experiments where the practitioners gave healing to a pain patient before treating the bacteria, the Reiki treated cultures exhibited statistically significantly more bacteria than controls. "
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