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A Systematic Review of the Use of Reiki in Health Care

Authors:

Abstract

The main purpose of the study was to determine what the national and international evidence reveals about the use of Reiki in health care. The study was designed as a systematic review of the available literature on Reiki, with extraction of all papers presenting primary research on its use in health care. Two chief independent assessors (S.H-M. and F.P-K.) conducted this systematic review over a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Specific data collected in the review included the: (1) aims and health care focus of the research and the country in which it was conducted; (2) professional group(s) involved in the research; (3) designs, samples, and methods used in each research study; (4) Reiki technique used and the duration and frequency of treatment, and level of expertise of the practitioner; and (5) outcomes of the research. Studies were also reviewed for the recommendations the researchers made for development of the practice of Reiki, its adoption and the scope of its use, and future research in Reiki.
Sandy Herron-Marx, Ph.D.,
Femke Price-Knol, B.N.(Hons),
Barbara Burden, M.Sc., and Carolyn Hicks, Ph.D.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of healing that was redis-
covered and developed by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan in the
late 1800s.1Reiki is founded on the notion that an energy
flow that supports life exists within all living beings. This energy
is known as ki in Japan, as chi or qi in China, and as prana in India.3
The word “Reiki” means “universally guided” or “spiritual life en-
ergy,” and consists of the two Japanese words Rei, which means
“the hidden force” or “spiritual,” and “ki,” or “life energy.”3
When ki is reduced or blocked, ill health can occur.1
Reiki is based on the concept of manipulating the body’s energy
field, located around the body, to assist in the healing process. In Reiki
healing, the Reiki practitioner channels ki to the recipient, bringing
about balance in mind, body, and spirit. In this procedure, the Reiki
healer most commonly places his or her hands lightly on or just above
the patient’s body in a series of positions, so as to allow the flow of
Reiki to wherever it is most needed. The Reiki practitioner does not
“heal” anyone, but rather acts as a channel for the flow and rebalanc-
ing of the subject’s energy, which is derived from the universe.
Despite the popularity of “touch therapies” such as Reiki, the
theoretical mechanisms for their effects are not well understood.4
There is little scientific “proof” of how or why Reiki works. In 1990,
however, a photograph made with Kirlian photography showed a
beam of energy or light emanating from a Reiki practitioner’s hand
while the practitioner was focusing on initializing the flow of
Reiki.5More commonly seen are temperature changes in the hands
of the Reiki healer during the treatment.
Independent research by Becker and Zimmerman during the
1980s into what happens during the practice of Reiki revealed that
the brain wave patterns of the practitioner and receiver become
synchronized in the alpha state that is characteristic of deep relax-
ation and meditation, but that the waves also pulse in unison with
the earth’s magnetic field, a phenomenon known as Schuman Res-
onance. During such episodes, the biomagnetic field around the
practitioner’s hands is at least 1000 times greater than normal, in-
dependently of the practitioner’s internal body current.
Reiki is practiced universally. Training for Reiki includes a se-
ries of initiations, also called “attunements,” by experienced Reiki
master teachers. These attunements open the student’s channels to
facilitate the flow of Reiki for treating oneself as well as others.7
Several levels of Reiki practitioner exist, ranging from basic or
level I practitioners, who engage in self-treatment or treatment of
friends and/or family members, to master teachers, or level III prac-
titioners. After undergoing attunement, the Reiki practitioner learns
a series of symbols in a specific sequence, together with visualiza-
tions and breathing training, with the aim of concentrating the prac-
titioner’s attention and intent. A number of symbols may be used in
Reiki to facilitate the flow of energy. Practitioners at higher levels
can also direct energy flow to recipients at distant locations.7
Even though Reiki healing can be practiced on any person after
level I training, competence in its practice comes with consistent
and disciplined self-treatment as well as experience and attune-
ments at higher levels.8Where there is no formally accredited Reiki
training, such as in the United Kingdom, use of the technique may
be unregulated, and its use by suboptimally qualified practitioners
may be ineffectual at best and potentially damaging at worst.
The practice of Reiki has seen rapid growth since its introduc-
tion in Japan in the 1930s.4,9 As with many other complementary
and alternative therapies, Reiki is also popular in hospice and pal-
liative care settings in the United Kingdom and United States.1,10
These facts and particularly the vulnerable nature of hospice and
palliative care populations, make the need for Reiki’s regulation
and evaluation imperative.
There is a paucity of well conducted research on the effectiveness of
Reiki in the health care environment. The research that has been done
has tended to concentrate on selective outcomes, such as the physio-
logic effects of Reiki treatments,4,11 the relaxing properties of Reiki,2
pain relief,12 and experiences of Reiki treatments.13,14 Given the claim
of Reiki to be a holistic treatment, such research may be considered as
excessively narrowly focused and only peripherally relevant. Fur-
thermore, few systematic reviews have been done on the use of Reiki
or its overall value within health care, and those reviews that have
been done are also narrowly focused and highly specific.8,15,16
The more encompassing holistic and highly therapeutic orienta-
tion of Reiki would seem to demand greater emphasis on its general
effects on the individual, especially in ill health. A systematic eval-
uation of this would be consistent with the recommendations of the
37
DOI: 10.1089/act.2008.14108
A Systematic Review of the Use
of Reiki in Health Care
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Reiki Regulatory Working Group (RRWG), an organization com-
prising the British Complementary Medicine Association (BCMA)
and a number of other organizations involved in Reiki in the United
Kingdom. The RRWG commissioned the present study in the be-
lief that such an evaluation might identify gaps and trends in the ev-
idence for Reiki, which in turn could help support and inform
existing Reiki practice and regulation of training and practice in this
healing technique, and direct the commissioning and development
of future research in Reiki.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to determine what the na-
tional and international evidence reveals about the use of Reiki in
health care. The study was designed as a systematic review of the
available literature on Reiki, with extraction of all papers present-
ing primary research on its use in health care. Two chief inde-
pendent assessors (S.H-M. and F.P-K.) conducted this systematic
review over a 12-month period in 2005 and 2006. Specific data col-
lected in the review included the: (1) aims and health care focus of
the research and the country in which it was conducted; (2) pro-
fessional group(s) involved in the research; (3) designs, samples,
and methods used in each research study; (4) Reiki technique used
and the duration and frequency of treatment, and level of expert-
ise of the practitioner; and (5) outcomes of the research. Studies
were also reviewed for the recommendations the researchers made
for development of the practice of Reiki, its adoption and the scope
of its use, and future research in Reiki.
Methods
Search Strategy
Studies were identified through a combination of searches of
electronic databases (see box entitled Electronic Databases
Searched) and supplementary searches including purposive
manual searching of journals and citations (see box entitled
Journals and Citations Searched), searches of Internet sites for
associations and foundations related to Reiki (see box entitled
Reiki-Associated Associations and Foundations Searched), and
direct communications with experts and relevant organizations
involved in Reiki. Global Health Search engines such as Ovid
and Blackwell Synergy were used to identify other data sources,
and Google Scholar was also searched. Project reports, unpub-
lished doctoral dissertations, and other literature not generally
available on Reiki were identified through the System for Infor-
mation on Grey Literature in Europe (SIGLE), the National Re-
search Register, Dissertation Abstracts, and the Social Science
Information Gateway (SOSIG). The box entitled Terms Used in
Search of Studies of Reiki for review lists the words/terms used
in the search. These evolved as the search progressed, with the
searched areas being recorded and tracked against each search
term to ensure reproducibility and avoid omissions and over-
laps in the search strategy.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
In order to be selected in the initial process, a study had to (1)
represent primary research; (2) involve any research methodology,
including randomized, qualitative, and other methodologies, and
any research method, including interview-based, questionnaire-
based, and other methods; (3) be reported in English; (4) have been
conducted in any sector or area of health care, including a national
health service/program, private care, or voluntary care; (5) have
been conducted by any professional health care group; and (6) have
been based on funded or nonfunded research.17 Studies were ex-
cluded if they were based on (1) the use of Reiki in social care,
which in the United Kingdom is not funded through the National
Health Service; (2) the use of Reiki on animals; (3) Therapeutic
Touch; (4) Healing Touch; or (5) the use of Reiki on healthy subjects
except for investigation of the physiologic or other scientific as-
pects of Reiki.
Selection Framework
The selection of studies for the review was done in four stages.
In the first stage, one of the two chief investigators (F.P-K.) con-
ducted an independent examination and review of the titles and
abstracts of all studies with potential for inclusion in the review,
using the inclusion and exclusion criteria described above. This in-
vestigator discussed the selected items with the second chief in-
vestigator (S.H-M.), and retrieved full-text papers. These were then
independently assessed for inclusion and the outcome was
recorded. Because studies were not identified on the basis of
methodology or method, a combination of quality assessment cri-
teria was used to establish a threshold of acceptability for the re-
search of studies. The criteria used for qualitative studies were
those listed by May and Pope.18
The criteria for inclusion of experimental, observational, co-
hort, case-control, and case-series studies were the checklists
published by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination Quality
Assessment.19 Studies that presented insufficient information
for an assessment of quality were discarded. Only studies, for
which the two chief investigators were in agreement, on a sim-
ple “Yes/No” basis, were selected for inclusion in the review.
No further quality assessment of the included studies occurred.
38 ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—FEBRUARY 2008
Electronic Databases Searched
MEDLINE®
CINAHL
EMBASE
PsychINFO
Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED)
British Nursing Index, MIDIRS, the RCN research database
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Database of Abstract of Reviews of Effects (DARE)
Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL)
Cochrane Database of Methodology Review
Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR)
Health Technology Assessment database (HTA)
NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED)
Zetoc
Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Pain Database
(CAMPAIN)
Health Management Information Consortium Database (HMIC)
Global Health
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ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—FEBRUARY 2008 39
Findings
Twenty-four (24) electronic databases were searched, with 1321
papers identified as potentially suitable for inclusion in the review.
Of these, 111 were initially selected, to which the supplementary
search added a further 15 studies that were identified as potentially
suitable. Abstracts for these 126 studies were retrieved and further
reviewed, with 20 of the studies then being excluded. Full-text ar-
ticles for the remaining 106 studies were retrieved, with further ex-
amination leading to the exclusion of 96 of the studies on the basis
of the criteria given earlier. The remaining 10 studies were included
in the review.
Included Studies
We found no previous systematic or structured reviews of Reiki
in health care, although we did find a review of the available re-
search on Reiki in general5and two systematic reviews of its use in
distant healing, in which the practitioner focuses on a distantly lo-
cated patient, using Reiki symbols and the patient’s name (and pos-
sibly also a picture of the patient) to assist healing.15,16
Research on the use of Reiki has been undertaken in the areas of
surgery,12 chronic illness,20 neurology,21 stroke rehabilitation,22
cancer care,* cancer pain,23,24 and mental health.25–27 One study
was undertaken in the voluntary sector25 and two in private
health care.26
The professional groups that tended to conduct research on the
effects of Reiki were organizations for nurses,23,24 psychologists,20
mental health professionals,27 medics,21 rehabilitation profession-
als,22 and cancer care professionals.* Several studies did not specify
this information.12,25,26
Among the papers that were reviewed, research into the use of
Reiki in health care took place in the United States of Amer-
ica,12,20,22,26,27 Canada,23–25 India,21 and Australia.* No research
on Reiki in the United Kingdom was deemed suitable for inclu-
sion in the final review. Experimental,12 quasi-experimental,22
cohort-study,20,24,26 and case-series21,23,25,27,* designs were
used in the studies included in the review. Data-gathering meth-
ods tended to consist of questionnaires or visual or analogue
scales. None of the included studies used interviews or focus
groups to gather data.
The aims of the research in the reviewed studies varied enor-
mously and ranged from the use of Reiki in poststroke rehabili-
tation to its effects on pain after surgical removal of molar
teeth12; on pain in chronically ill patients20; in reducing pain and
the use of analgesic agents and improving the quality of life of
advanced cancer patients23,24; on changes in pain, fatigue, nau-
sea, breathing, and sleeping in cancer patients*; on changes in
the isoprenoid pathway with Transcendental MeditationTM and
Reiki healing practices in seizure disorders in epilepsy21; and on
survivors of child sexual abuse25; on the effects of Reiki as com-
pared to touch on symptoms of depression and stress26; and on
the use of Reiki and psychotherapy in patients receiving long-
term care for mental health.27
Three (3) of the reviewed studies20,22,26 used placebo Reiki to
minimize the suggestive effect of Reiki and the effects of therapists’
time and attention on patients who had never previously had Reiki
treatment, and to ensure that the effective element of the treatment
was Reiki and not simply physical touch. The placebo consisted of
the use of lay assistants who had been trained in Reiki I but had not
been attuned in Reiki.20,22 In two of these studies neither the pa-
tients nor the lay assistants were aware of the lack of attunement. In
the third study the participants believed that all of the subjects
would receive distance Reiki healing.26 Authentic Reiki treatment
with full attunement was offered to all participants and Reiki prac-
titioners at completion of the 3 studies.
Some of the papers selected for review did not identify full details
of the Reiki intervention used,23 but most of the studies attempted to
list the duration of treatment, type of treatment, and level and train-
ing of the practitioner. Duration of Reiki was reported to be 15 min-
utes or more.12,24,26 Several papers did not state the duration of
intervention.21,27 The course of Reiki treatment varied from a few
sessions within a 1-week period20,24 to 1 treatment every 9 weeks.25
The type of treatment ranged from the Usui system of Reiki,
which is the most widespread style of Reiki treatment,22,24 to Reiki-
like hand healing, which was not described in further detail,21 and
distance healing.12 Several studies used direct physical touch on
participants,22,24,26 and 1 study reported no direct physical
touch.20 Various studies reported using a number of specific hand
placements.20,22,24,26
The level of expertise of the Reiki practitioner varied from
Reiki Master20,22,24,26 to Reiki practitioner at level II.26,27 In 1
study, Reiki was performed by Reiki practitioners of level I as
In patients with advanced cancer,
Reiki reduced pain over a 4-day period,
as well as improving quality of life
over a 7-day period.
Journals and Citations Searched
Alternative Therapies
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Alternative & Complementary Therapies
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice and Holistic Health
British Medical Journal
Holistic Health Practitioner
International Journal of Palliative Nursing
Holistic Nursing Practice
Journal of Holistic Nursing and Advances
*Popescu A. SCGH Brownes Cancer Support Centre Patient Care Report.
Unpublished report. Perth, Australia, 2002.
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a comparison to treatment by a Reiki Master.23 However, sev-
eral studies did not state the level of expertise of the practi-
tioner.12,21,25
With regard to study outcomes, Wirth et al. suggested that Reiki
may significantly reduce postoperative pain after tooth extrac-
tion.12 In patients with advanced cancer, Reiki reduced pain over
a 4-day period, as well as improving quality of life over a 7-day pe-
riod.24 Shore demonstrated that after 6 weekly sessions of Reiki,
symptoms of depression, hopelessness, and stress were reduced26
with effects that were reported to last for at least 1 year. MacDer-
mott and Epstein suggested that Reiki is effective in improving
quality of life as well as improving sleeping and eating habits and
reducing anxiety and body pain in survivors of child sexual
abuse.25 Dressen and Singh indicated that Reiki could be effective
in reducing pain, depression, and anxiety in chronically ill pa-
tients,20 and Popescu found that Reiki treatments reduced pain, fa-
tigue, and nausea.*
However, Shiflett et al. stated that Reiki was ineffective in func-
tional recovery during rehabilitation from subacute stroke.22
Excluded Studies
Some interesting trends in the use of Reiki were identified in the
studies excluded from review, and do have some contextual rele-
vance to our findings. In general, these studies suggest that (1)
Reiki is practiced on healthy subjects rather than in the health care
environment or in patient groups13,28,29; and (2) in terms of Reiki’s
physiologic effects, Reiki improves the relaxation and immune re-
sponses, reduces anxiety, and reduces heart rate, and diastolic and
systolic blood pressure.4,30–32
Anecdotal evidence suggested that Reiki can reduce stress
preoperatively, decrease recovery time, decrease use of anal-
gesia, and reduce hospital length of stay following surgery33–
37; reduce stress38–40; reduce fatigue and improve coping
ability in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)41; re-
duce pain and improve comfort and quality of life in palliative
care42,43; and aid relaxation in patients with human immuno-
deficiency virus (HIV) infection/acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (AIDS).45,46 No anecdotal evidence was found to
suggest that Reiki can harm recipients, although this is unsur-
prising given the tendency of journals to publish reports with
positive findings.
Discussion
The review revealed a corpus of methodologically sound re-
search into Reiki, generally supporting the conclusion that it can
have a positive effect on health. Most of the evidence for this fo-
cuses on the impact of Reiki on human physiology, the experience
of Reiki for both the therapist and the client, Reiki as a comple-
mentary and alternative therapy, and the professionalization of
Reiki. Substantial anecdotal evidence for Reiki also exists. How-
ever, most of the empirical research on Reiki involves healthy vol-
unteers, with little evidence derived from its use on specific patient
groups within a health care environment.
Research on Reiki has been conducted in a variety of clinical set-
tings, mainly in fields of physical health care (e.g., surgery, chronic
illness, and cancer care), with a few studies of Reiki’s effects on
mental health. Yet the present review may not give an accurate pic-
ture of the extent of Reiki practice in health care. Thus, for instance,
Reiki treatment is offered to patients undergoing cardiac rehabili-
tation at some hospitals in the United Kingdom (e.g., Worcester-
shire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust), but no documented research is
available about this service.
As a treatment technique, Reiki is not linked with any specific
professional group. A range of health care professionals, from
nurses to psychologists, have undertaken research on the use of
Reiki in health care, suggesting that Reiki is widely used by dif-
ferent health care professionals in a variety of health care settings.
However, it is essential that increasing numbers of practitioners
of Reiki become more involved in research on this technique to
ensure that its practice is evidence-based. This is especially im-
portant in view of the often-unregulated nature of Reiki applied
to vulnerable patient groups. In this regard, Kelner and col-
leagues reported some Reiki practitioners as having found con-
ventional health care practices to be inappropriate for their own,
individual use.46
Among the interesting methodological aspects of the studies
included in our review was the use of Reiki as a placebo. It has
been argued that this use of Reiki is not possible, since patients
would be aware of not undergoing Reiki28 and it has been sug-
gested5that Reiki practitioners, once given attunement or initia-
tion by their teachers, cannot provide sham versions of energy
healing. This was overcome by training lay assistants to level I of
Reiki practice without attunement, which is the crucial part of
Reiki training. Several studies have shown placebo Reiki treat-
ments to be effective20,22,26 and have suggested that the conse-
quences of Reiki are not due to physical touch but to the effects of
Reiki healing. Much research exists on physical touch in health
care, with reported benefits including calming and comforting ef-
fects,47 and it is these effects that need to be distinguished from
Reiki. All use of placebos demands ethical consideration with re-
gard to participants’ human vulnerability.
40 ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—FEBRUARY 2008
Reiki-Associated Associations
and Foundations Searched
Royal College of Nursing
Prince of Wales’ Foundation for Integrated Health
Reiki Regulatory Working Group
British Complementary Medicine Association
Embody: Complementary Therapists Association
Federation of Holistic Therapists
Independent Professional Therapists International
UK Reiki Federation
UK Reiki Alliance
Reiki Healers and Teachers Society
Reiki Association in the United Kingdom
Reiki Alliance
International House of Reiki
International Centre for Reiki Training
International Association of Reiki Professionals
Tera-mai Reiki and Seichem Healers Association
Canadian Reiki Association Reiki and Seichem Masters
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Sampling may have been biased in many of the studies selected
for review, since recruitment often depended on subjects’ desire to
be part of a study.24–26
The lack of random selection and treatment allocation could also
conceivably influence results, since participants seeking to derive
beneficial effects of an intervention are likely to create demand
characteristics for themselves that obscure the real effects of the in-
tervention. Another issue in the studies reviewed was sample size,
which was typically small (N = 21–50), thereby compromising the
statistical power of the studies. While the available research on
Reiki is often exploratory, it is nonetheless the case that the findings
would have greater validity if derived from larger and ascertain-
ably randomly selected samples.
The wide methodological variation in the studies examined in
the review—in purpose or focus of Reiki use, type of Reiki treat-
ment given, and duration of treatment sessions and courses of
treatment, to consider but a few variables—makes comparison of
their findings impossible.
Worthy of particular comment is the range of individual treat-
ment times found in our review, which ranged from 15 minutes to
1.5 hours. While this probably reflects the reality of practice of
Reiki, whose use is patient-centered and holistic, it is conceivable
that short treatment sessions (e.g., ~15 minutes) may be too short
for full and effective treatment. Furthermore, some studies pro-
vided Reiki therapy for as little as 1 week, while others provided it
for 6 weeks. Because it has been suggested that the effects of a Reiki
treatment last for 2–3 days and are cumulative,24 greater method-
ologic rigor and outcome comparability are likely to be achieved by
standardizing the timing of the evaluations across studies. Of fur-
ther interest was the finding by Shore and colleagues of a reduction
in symptoms of depression and stress when measurements were
made a year after the last Reiki treatment.26 Their study included
45 subjects, each treated over a 6-week period with Reiki sessions
lasting 1.5 hours. While this long-term effect of Reiki may simply
reflect the normal recovery process, it may also be a direct effect of
therapeutic intervention, since anecdotal evidence suggests that
Reiki can have a life-changing spiritual effect. Further research is
needed to establish the duration of effects of Reiki.
It also appears that the type of treatment given depends on the
training and philosophical/theoretical orientation of the Reiki
practitioner. This may not be problematic in practice, but it is prob-
lematic in research into a procedure or process where interventions
need to be identical or at least very similar to ensure reliable re-
sults of a review such as ours. Furthermore, assurance of the clin-
ical effectiveness of Reiki may mean that its practice needs to be
standardized, which in practical terms would mean regulation of
its professional use, training, and education.
Recommendations for Reiki Research and Practice
Although previous research on Reiki has not necessarily fo-
cused on its use in health care, the spectrum of evidence suggests
that it has potential as a treatment modality for health care and
also as an adjuvant therapy. Our review indicates the need for
more research in order to establish a rigorous evidence base for
Reiki practice. Such research should be conducted in all areas of
health care in which Reiki is practiced, and should examine the
impact of Reiki standardized according to type, frequency, dura-
tion, and other aspects of Reiki on large, matched sample groups,
with use of a control group whenever possible, and over extended
periods. Much prior research has tended to concentrate on the ef-
ficacy of Reiki healing evaluated against a range of measurable
clinical outcomes. Although this is important for research on
Reiki in health care, more patient-focused investigations are
needed to assess the experiential facets of Reiki therapy. Albeit
the randomized controlled trial is the current “gold-standard”
method for generating valid empirical results in health care re-
search, the holistic nature of Reiki suggests a need to incorporate
qualitative methods, such as Q methodology, a methodology
based on factor analysis and which draws on the strengths of both
qualitative and quantitative methodologies for studying subjec-
tive experience, for capturing the experiential aspect of Reiki.48 In
any event, studies of Reiki need to involve collaborations between
caregives, patients, and differing health care groups to ensure that
their results reflect health care needs.
It is difficult to make recommendations about the practice of Reiki
on the basis of the limited evidence provided by a single review such
as ours. However, it clearly emerges that all Reiki practice needs to be
evidence-based, especially given the unregulated nature of its prac-
tice and the widely varied patient groups on whom its use is typically
focused. Insufficient attention has been given to where, when, and
how Reiki can be used in health care and who practices it, but in an in-
creasingly litigious culture, it would seem to be a minimum condition
that practitioners of Reiki satisfy stipulated training criteria, especially
if people are to practice within health care settings. In the United King-
dom, the RRWG has taken steps toward voluntary self-regulation
among practitioners of Reiki, and recommends that all of its practi-
tioners be trained to Reiki level II and be able to demonstrate evidence
of ongoing clinical experience and continuing professional develop-
ment in order to practice on the public.
Conclusion
Our review demonstrates that Reiki has potential as both a treat-
ment modality and an adjunct therapy in health care. However, further
research is needed to establish a rigorous evidence base as a platform
for the practice of Reiki. This research should be done in all areas of
health care in which Reiki is practiced, and should examine its effect on
large, matched patient groups over extended periods, using a Reiki in-
tervention standardized according to type, frequency, and duration of
ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES—FEBRUARY 2008 41
Terms Used in Search of Studies
of Reiki for Review
Reiki
Healthcare
Energy Healing
Surgery
Non-procedural Touch
Palliative Care
Vibrational Healing
Older Adult
Complementary Therapies
Adult
Alternative Therapies
Children
Vibrational Medicine
Disability
Integrated Therapies
Learning Disability
Integrated Health
Mental Health
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practice, with a control group included whenever possible. While
much past research has tended to concentrate on the efficacy of Reiki
healing as measured against a range of clinical outcomes, it is also im-
portant to assess the experiential aspects of the therapy from the pa-
tient’s standpoint, and to consider the use of more qualitative
methodologies. Additionally, the way in which anecdotal evidence can
influence practice must be debated, and all health care practitioners
using Reiki in any care practice or setting must be fully trained in it
and subject to ongoing regulation of its practice.
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Sandy Herron-Marx, Ph.D., is a principal research fellow at the University
of Warwick, United Kingdom. Femke Price-Knol, B.N.(Hons), is a gradu-
ate nurse at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Barbara Bur-
den, M.Sc., is a Reiki therapist at Compton Hospice, in the United
Kingdom. Carolyn Hicks, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Birm-
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To order reprints of this article, e-mail Karen Ballen at: Kballen@
liebertpub.com or call at (914) 740-2100.
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... Despite incomplete evidence (19) there are some clinical documentation (12,13,(16)(17)(18)20) and studies (20)(21)(22) indicating that reiki could be a complementary treatment/caring method increasing mental and physical well-being at various conditions, possibly including alcohol addiction. However, there is a lack of research on reiki effects during alcohol withdrawal which justifies this study. ...
... Despite incomplete evidence (19) there are some clinical documentation (12,13,(16)(17)(18)20) and studies (20)(21)(22) indicating that reiki could be a complementary treatment/caring method increasing mental and physical well-being at various conditions, possibly including alcohol addiction. However, there is a lack of research on reiki effects during alcohol withdrawal which justifies this study. ...
... There are quantitative studies supporting some findings of this study. The subcategory Greater harmony is consistent with the studies indicating that reiki has the potential to reduce anxiety and depression (7)(8)(9)(20)(21)(22)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34), and those that have found increased peace and relaxation and improved sleep (27,(31)(32)(33)(34). The findings of this study indicate that pain can be reduced or disappear after reiki, which is indicated in previous studies (20)(21)(22), and that reiki can cause reduced heart rate and blood pressure, which is supported by a study showing significant reduced heart rate and diastolic blood pressure in the reiki group (35). ...
... Despite incomplete evidence (19) there are some clinical documentation (12,13,(16)(17)(18)20) and studies (20)(21)(22) indicating that reiki could be a complementary treatment/caring method increasing mental and physical well-being at various conditions, possibly including alcohol addiction. However, there is a lack of research on reiki effects during alcohol withdrawal which justifies this study. ...
... Despite incomplete evidence (19) there are some clinical documentation (12,13,(16)(17)(18)20) and studies (20)(21)(22) indicating that reiki could be a complementary treatment/caring method increasing mental and physical well-being at various conditions, possibly including alcohol addiction. However, there is a lack of research on reiki effects during alcohol withdrawal which justifies this study. ...
... There are quantitative studies supporting some findings of this study. The subcategory Greater harmony is consistent with the studies indicating that reiki has the potential to reduce anxiety and depression (7)(8)(9)(20)(21)(22)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)(32)(33)(34), and those that have found increased peace and relaxation and improved sleep (27,(31)(32)(33)(34). The findings of this study indicate that pain can be reduced or disappear after reiki, which is indicated in previous studies (20)(21)(22), and that reiki can cause reduced heart rate and blood pressure, which is supported by a study showing significant reduced heart rate and diastolic blood pressure in the reiki group (35). ...
... Vårdområden där Reiki integreras utökas kontinuerligt, så 2008 finns metoden även inom palliativ vård och hjärtrehabilitering (Herron-Marx, Price-Knol, Burden, & Hicks, 2008). Nu erbjuds Reiki på över 800 sjukhus i USA (Clark, 2013) Så trots att effekterna av Reiki ännu inte utforskats fullständigt har Reiki integrerats inom den konventionella vården i USA på olika sätt (Miles & True, 2003): ...
... Ett fåtal studier fokuserar på Reikis effekt vid psykisk ohälsa (Herron-Marx et al., 2008). Med specifikt fokus på drogberoende framkom ett konferensföredrag (Chapman & Milton, 2002) ...
... I fallstudier (Chapman & Milton, 2002) beskrivs hur känslor kommer upp till ytan och orsakar tillfälligt obehag, men att det sedan upplevs som en lättnad. I reviewartiklar från samma år kommer författarna till olika slutsatser: Studierna visar inga evidens för att Reiki har någon effekt på något tillstånd alls (Lee et al., 2008) och att Reiki kan vara en kompletterande metod inom hälso-och sjukvård och ha en positiv effekt på hälsa (Herron-Marx et al., 2008). Kan deras olika tolkningar möjligtvis bero på deras personliga förkunskaper och erfarenheter av Reikimetoden? ...
Research
Full-text available
Finns det vetenskap och beprövad erfarenhet bakom Reiki? I studien beskrivs hur Reiki används inom klinisk vård och vad det finns för vetenskaplig grund för metoden.
... Även om det saknas fullständig evidens (22) så finns det klinisk dokumentation (14,16,(19)(20)(21)23) och studier (23)(24)(25) som pekar på att reiki kan vara en kompletterande behandlings/omvårdnads-metod för ett allmänt ökat psykiskt och fysiskt välbefinnande vid varierande tillstånd, vilket även skulle kunna inkludera personer med alkoholberoende. Det saknas dock studier som visar effekter efter reikibehandlingar vid alkoholavvänjning, vilket motiverar denna studie. ...
... Även om det saknas fullständig evidens (22) så finns det klinisk dokumentation (14,16,(19)(20)(21)23) och studier (23)(24)(25) som pekar på att reiki kan vara en kompletterande behandlings/omvårdnads-metod för ett allmänt ökat psykiskt och fysiskt välbefinnande vid varierande tillstånd, vilket även skulle kunna inkludera personer med alkoholberoende. Det saknas dock studier som visar effekter efter reikibehandlingar vid alkoholavvänjning, vilket motiverar denna studie. ...
... Det visade sig samband mellan sociala livet och förbättrade relationer, som att släppa gamla konflikter och strider: Det finns kvantitativa studier som stödjer vissa delar av denna studies resultat. Subkategorin Ökad harmoni stämmer väl överens med de studier som funnit att reiki har potentialen att minska oro och depression (8-10,23-25,30-37) och de som funnit ökat lugn och avslappning, samt förbättrad sömn (30,(34)(35)(36)(37). Resultatet i denna studie pekar på att smärtor kan reduceras eller försvinna efter reiki, vilket framkommit i tidigare studier (23)(24)(25), samt att reiki kan ge effekter som sänkt puls och blodtryck, vilket stöds av en studie som visade signifikant sänkning av puls och diastoliskt blodtryck för reikigruppen (38). ...
Research
Full-text available
Syfte: Att beskriva hur personer under avvänjning av alkoholberoende upplever effekter av den energimedicinska metoden reiki och dess påverkan på alkoholberoendet. Bakgrund: Ett behandlingshem för alkohol- och drogavvänjning i Australien har sedan 1992 använt reikimetoden med framgång. Reiki har visat sig ha en potential att minska depression och oro och är integrerad inom klinisk vård i USA. Metod: Nio personer under alkoholavvänjning fick cirka sju reikibehandlingar vardera. Deras upplevelser av effekterna efteråt dokumenterades genom kvalitativa intervjuer och narrativ metod. Resultat: Analysen visar ett övergripande tema: Naturliga processer mot ökat harmoniskt normaltillstånd och minskat alkoholbehov. Temat innefattar två kategorier: Psykiska förändringar och personlig utveckling, samt Fysiska processer. Slutsatser: Resultatet pekar på att reikimetoden kan vara en kompletterande metod vid alkoholavvänjning då den kan ge ökat välbefinnande och minskat alkoholbehov. Samtidigt kan processerna dit innebära tillfälliga obehag. Fler studier behövs som belyser reikimetodens komplementära effekter.
... Interested volunteers completed an initial informed consent to proceed to the screening questions. Inclusion/exclusion criteria were: (1) aged 18 years or older, (2) no COVID-19 symptoms, (3) agree to Reiki session at the site, (4) willingness to complete study activities, and (5) current presence of one of the following: physical injury, memory loss symptoms, anxiety, or depressive symptoms. ...
... While usual Reiki therapy involves a practitioner guiding energy to a living receiver (hetero-Reiki), it is also possible to be the practitioner and the recipient at the same time (self-Reiki). To date, scientific evidence has mainly focused on hetero-Reiki [18]. ...
Article
Full-text available
While the world faces an unprecedented situation with the pandemic, other chronic diseases such as chronic pain continue to run their course. The social distancing and restrictive displacement imposed by the pandemic situation represents a new barrier to access to pain management and tends to reinforce chronification process. Given this context, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) might offer new opportunities to manage CP, notably with a hand-touch method, such as self-Reiki therapy. Although Reiki administered by a practitioner has shown promising results to reduce pain and psychological distress, and to improve quality of life, self-Reiki practice needs evidence-based medicine to be disseminated. Overall, self-Reiki could bring positive results in addition to, and without interfering with, conventional medicine approaches in patients experienced chronic pain.
... A técnica apresenta diversas vantagens evidenciadas pela literatura, tais como redução da ansiedade, dores, fadiga, estresse e depressão, aumento da imunidade e diminuição dos níveis pressóricos (7,9) . Contudo, não há nessas revisões ensaios clínicos que avaliem a eficácia da técnica no âmbito da cirurgia cardíaca, validando se a mesma pode ser útil em contribuir com o paciente, seja na dimensão subjetiva, no enfrentamento do trâmite cirúrgico, seja na recuperação da cirurgia (7,(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14) . ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective To assess the effectiveness of Reiki in reducing anxiety, depression, and improving preoperative well-being in cardiac surgery. Method A non-randomized, two-arm controlled clinical trial conducted in a cardiology referral hospital with patients in the preoperative period of cardiac surgery, with up to five days for surgery, between May and November 2018. The intervention group (n=31) was submitted to a Reiki protocol, and the control group (n=59) received only conventional care. Results One hundred twenty-four patients were assessed. The mean anxiety and depression did not obtain a significant difference between the groups. Spiritual well-being, in religious and existential dimensions, has improved significantly. Conclusion Anxiety and depression were lower in the intervention group, with no statistically significant difference. There was a better result in the assessment of well-being with the intervention group. Religiosity may interfere in some cases with acceptance of holistic and integrative practices. Brazilian Registry of Clinical Trials: RBR-4cxw37
... According to MacLeod & Mathews, one such potential intervention is attention bias modification (ABM), a computer-delivered treatment for anxiety that emerged from research in experimental psychopathology. 6 The goal of ABM is to reduce anxiety by reducing attention bias (AB) towards the threat, which refers to the preferential tendency to allocate attention to threatrelated information rather than nonthreat information. Despite initial promise, ABM has limited effectiveness in reducing anxiety. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: According to scientific evidence, high levels of sensitivity anxiety are one of the predictors of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. The multidimensional anxiety sensitivity (cognitive, social, and physiological) is base on cognitive biases such as attention biases which are due to selecting threatening stimuli instead of neutral or positive stimuli. Despite the initial promise, attention bias modification (ABM) has a limited effect on reducing anxiety. This study aims to modify attention bias by reducing the focus on the threatening stimuli based on Bioenergy Economy (BEE) protocol; as an integrated model of care. Methods: The present study is base on a quasi-experimental design with pre-test and post-test and follow-up in both groups. Thirty women between the ages of 23 to 50 selected from the patients referred to Bozorgmehr Neurology clinic in Mashhad. People who scored more than 70 in anxiety test, were randomly put into the experimental and control groups. The data collection tool was dotprobe test. The experimental group participated in the entire BEE protocol. Results: The mean score sensitivity anxiety of the experimental group in the pre-test, post-test, and follow-up was significantly lower than those in the control group by using multivariate analysis of covariance. Also, the mean score of the experimental group in dot-probe test, neutral reaction time, emotional response time, and interference score in the post-test phase, as well as the components of dull reaction time and sensitive response time in the follow-up and post-test were significantly lower than the control group. Conclusion: The BEE protocol is effective in ABM and reducing high sensitivity anxiety.
... Reiki and HT have roots in ancient medicine and often are discussed in education for modern medical practices, such as nursing and massage therapy. Reiki and HT benefits mentioned in the literature include relaxation, pain relief, physical healing, reduced emotional stress, and greater spiritual awareness [3][4][5][6]. At our institution, the impetus for initiating a Reiki/HT volunteer program was largely to meet the increasing patient demand and interest in the therapy. ...
Article
As the patient experience gains more attention, hospitals are responding by offering a broader range of options to support patient health and healing. One type of integrative therapy is biofield therapy or energy-based therapy and includes practices of Reiki and Healing Touch. At 1 large Midwest medical center, a small group of care providers came together to address increasing patient interest and requests for Reiki and Healing Touch. The group developed a volunteer program in response. The purpose of this article is to outline the background, development process, and experiences with establishing a medical center's Reiki and Healing Touch volunteer program.
Article
Health care organizations are responding to consumer demand by offering more complementary and integrative health services in inpatient, outpatient, and clinic settings. Nursing has long embraced energy-based modalities such as Reiki and has been at the forefront of introducing body, mind, and spirit healing practices into health care settings. This article describes how nurses can integrate Reiki into both their personal lives for self-care as well as their professional patient care practices. An overview of Reiki's integration into hospital systems is presented as well as Reiki's use with various patient populations. The status of Reiki research is discussed.
Article
A quantal perceptive model of brain function has been postulated by several groups. Reiki-like healing practices in seizure disorder (ILAE classification-ll E-generalized seizures tonic clonic), involving transfer of life force or low level of electromagnetic force (EMF) from the healer to the recipient patient, may act via quantal perceptive mechanisms. Increased synthesis of an endogenous membrane Na+-K+ ATPase inhibitor digoxin and a related tyrosine/tryptophan transport defect has been demonstrated in refractory seizure disorder (ILAE classification-ll E-generalized seizures-tonic clonic). Reiki-like healing practices in refractory epilepsy results in a reduction in seizure frequency. Reiki-like healing practices produce membrane stabilization and stimulation of membrane Na+-K+ ATPase activity by quantal perception of low levels of EMF. The consequent intracellular hypermagnesemia inhibits HMG CoA reductase activity and digoxin synthesis resulting in the alteration of the neutral amino acid transport (tryptophan/tyrosine) defect. A hypothalamic digoxin-mediated quantal perception model of brain function is proposed. The phenomena of biological transmutation and consequent hypermagnesemia occurring in the resultant neuronal quantal state is also discussed.
Article
This study utilized a randomized, double-blind, within subject, crossover design to examine the effect of Reiki and LeShan healing in combination on iatrogenic pain experienced after unilateral operative extraction of the lower third molar. Two separate operations were performed on 21 patients with bilateral, asymptomatic, impacted lower third molar teeth. The patients were randomly assigned to the treatment or control condition prior to the first operation. For the second operation, patients crossed over to the opposite condition - i.e. those subjects who were in the treatment group for the first operation became control group subjects for the second operation, and those subjects who were in the control group for the first operation became treatment group subjects for the second operation.All pre-operative and postoperative conditions were identical for the treatment and control groups for both operations, with the exception that the treatment group received Reiki and LeShan healing postoperatively. The patients assessed their pain intensity using a 100 mm visual analogue scale for postoperative hours 3 through 9, and pain relief using a 5 point scale for hours 4 through 9. A statistically significant difference was found between the treatment and control groups in both the level of pain intensity and degree of pain relief experienced for postoperative hours 4 through 9.
Article
Healing therapies which employ touch and are based on the premise of a human energy field are gaiping in popularity and support. Reiki, a Tibetan healing art, is one such modality. But Reiki has not yet been submitted to close scientific scrutiny. Using Krieger's protocol for hemoglobin studies within the context of Therapeutic Touch, forty-eight adults participating in First Degree Reiki Training were tested. Findings revealed a statistically significant change in the hemoglobin and hematocrit levels of the participants at the P =.01 level. A comparable control group, not experiencing the training, demonstrated no change within an identical time frame. Further research is necessary to clarify the physiologic effects of touch healing.