Reiki Research

There is a growing body of research available on Reiki.

Cochrane Review: touch therapies for pain relief in adults

The Cochrane Review is regarded as gold-standard research evidence. The Cochrane Review is independent and publishes systematic reviews of evidence - putting evidence from many trials together to see what the bigger picture may say. "Although the lack of sufficient data means that the results are inconclusive, the evidence that does exist supports the use of touch therapies in pain relief. Studies involving more experienced practitioners tend to yield greater effects in pain reduction. It is also apparent that studies with greater effects are carried out by highly experienced Reiki practitioners."

Can you measure Reiki in some way?

Reiki is often regarded by practitioners as being a ‘hot’ energy. They feel extra heat as Reiki flows. The University of Arizona has used an Extra Low Frequency meter to see if it could pick up heat changes in the body. When practitioners reported that they were flowing Reiki, the ELF (extra low frequency) meter picked up significant increases in emissions from e.g. the palms of the hands. The emitted energy was more marked in people who had studied to third degree/master level. Researcher Melinda Connor said: ‘We have discovered a number of things: First, that master healers seem to be emitting at the same time in the extra low range from 20Hz - 1000Hz, in the ultra violet, the visible light, the infrared, the gamma and x-ray and at the 3 GHz range. I do not have the equipment to map more ranges yet. So it turns out that potentially millions of frequencies are being emitted from a single cell.”

Arizona University recruited only highly regarded and experienced Reiki practitioners for its research who also were regularly giving Reiki. (Communication from Melinda Connor, 2006).

Reiki Research and Stress Reduction in rats

Reiki has been shown to work on rats and reverse the effects of gut leakage caused by stress. Please note that Reiki was compared with ‘sham-Reiki’ and a control group. Reiki reduced leakage significantly compared with the two other groups. The research indicates that Reiki could be used to reduce the environmental stress experienced by laboratory animals and hospital patients. The researchers went on to show that Reiki would also modulate the heart rates of stressed rats.

Here’s what Ann Baldwin wrote while on a research trip to Bristol: “I am a professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA and during the last few years I have become concerned about the environment in which animals (mainly rodents) are housed for research. I have also become interested in Reiki. Although most facilities are extremely clean and the animals are free of disease, the environment is often extremely noisy and I have shown that this type of noise actually causes inflammation of the animals’ blood vessels and intestine (Wilson and Baldwin, Microcirculation 5, 299-308, 1998; Wilson and Baldwin, Microcirculation 6, 189-198, 1999). In addition, more often than not, rodents are housed in tiny cages with little or no enrichment. There is evidence to show that noisy and/or Spartan conditions affect the scientific data obtained from rodents and so confound experimental results. I came to Bristol for a month to study a technique to measure stress hormones in rodents so that I can provide data to show that the animals are stressed by such living conditions. By doing this, I hope to improve the welfare of research animals and the validity of the data obtained from them.

How does Reiki fit into this? Well, one reason that I jumped at the chance of learning Reiki was to see whether it would help the rats that are stressed by excessive noise. The answer was yes! (see reference). Of course, when I arrived in Bristol one of the first things I did was to search the Internet for a Reiki group because I was curious about Reiki in England. I would be interested to see if there are any other scientists who read this and are using Reiki in their experiments.” Anne Baldwin PhD (personal communication to Jeanne Long).

Personal Interaction with a Reiki Practitioner Decreases Noise-Induced Microvascular Damage in an Animal Model, J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jan-Feb; 12(1):15-22.

Ann L. Baldwin, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Reiki and Rats’ heart rates and blood pressure, J Altern Complement Med. 2008 May;14(4):417-22

Baldwin AL, Wagers C, Schwartz GE, Laboratory for the Advances in Consciousness and Health, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0068, USA. 

Reiki Research and anxiety reduction

Hartford Hospital, Connecticut carried out research, under Dr Molly Punzo, MD into using Reiki to reduce anxiety and pain across a number of departments including Cardiology, Orthopedic, Oncology, and Palliative Care units, as well as in the outpatient Cancer Center. During the pilot phase, outcome measurements were obtained from patients rating their anxiety and pain pre and post Reiki sessions. The Quality Management Department analysed the results which showed a statistically significant decrease in anxiety and pain regardless of the specialty area. This is summarised in the diagram. Thanks to Hartford Hospital for producing this.

Is Reiki just a ‘placebo’ effect?

We have already shown that Reiki has been demonstrated to work on animals. In the research below, Reiki was shown to increase the growth rate of heat-shocked bacteria. The researchers also showed that this happened effectively when Reiki practitioners had first given a treatment to a person for 30 minutes beforehand (the healing context) as opposed to giving the Reiki treatment ‘cold’ (non-healing context). The research also suggested that the better the well-being (social, emotional and physical).of the practitioner, the more effective the treatment.

Objective: To measure effects of Reiki treatments on growth of heat-shocked bacteria, and to determine the influence of healing context and practitioner well-being.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: 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.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, In Vitro Effect of Reiki Treatment on Bacterial Cultures: Role of Experimental Context and Practitioner Well-Being, Jan 2006, Vol. 12, No. 1: 7-13. Beverly Rubik, Audrey J. Brooks, Ph.D. , Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D. 

Holistic Nursing Practice

Abstract: The purpose of this pilot study was to compare reports of pain and levels of state anxiety in 2 groups of women after abdominal hysterectomy. A quasi-experimental design was used in which the experimental group (n = 10) received traditional nursing care plus three 30-minute sessions of Reiki, while the control group (n = 12) received traditional nursing care. The results indicated that the experimental group reported less pain and requested fewer analgesics than the control group. Also, the experimental group reported less state anxiety than the control group on discharge at 72 hours postoperation. The authors recommend replication of this study with a similar population, such as women who require nonemergency cesarian section deliveries.

November/December 2006 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 263-272. The Effect of Reiki on Pain and Anxiety in Women With Abdominal Hysterectomies: A Quasi-experimental Pilot Study. Vitale, Anne T. MSN, APRN, BC; O'Connor, Priscilla C. PhD, APRN, BC

Anxiety reduced and immune function enhanced with Reiki

Background: Despite the popularity of touch therapies, theoretical understanding of the mechanisms of effect is not well developed and there is limited research measuring biological outcomes. AIMS: The aim of this study was to test a framework of relaxation or stress reduction as a mechanism of touch therapy. Methods: The study was conducted in 1996 and involved the examination of select physiological and biochemical effects and the experience of 30 minutes of Reiki, a form of touch therapy. A single group repeated measure design was used to study Reiki Touch's effects with a convenience sample of 23 essentially healthy subjects. Biological markers related to stress-reduction response included state anxiety, salivary IgA and cortisol, blood pressure, galvanic skin response (GSR), muscle tension and skin temperature. Data were collected before, during and immediately after the session. Results: Comparing before and after measures, anxiety was significantly reduced, t(22)=2.45, P=0.02. Salivary IgA levels rose significantly, t(19)=2.33, P=0.03, however, salivary cortisol was not statistically significant. There was a significant drop in systolic blood pressure (SBP), F(2, 44)=6.60, P < 0.01. Skin temperature increased and electromyograph (EMG) decreased during the treatment, but before and after differences were not significant. Conclusions: These findings suggest both biochemical and physiological changes in the direction of relaxation. The salivary IgA findings warrant further study to explore the effects of human TT and humeral immune function.

Biological correlates of Reiki Touch(sm) healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 2001 Feb;33(4):439-45. Wardell DW, Engebretson J. School of Nursing, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center , Houston, Texas, USA.

On-going study in Maine into anxiety/depression/pain

Recently (October 2008) I became involved in an exciting research study at the University of Southern Maine. A Reiki student of mine, who is an associate professor at USM, received a grant to study the therapeutic effects of Reiki on patients, age 60 years and over, who suffer from anxiety and depression and/or pain. The subjects were carefully screened, and then they answered questionnaires to determine their levels of anxiety, depression and pain prior to starting the study. Each Reiki practitioner (master/teacher level) met with the same subjects every week and gave 30 minutes of Reiki to each subject once a week for 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, each subject was interviewed again to determine any change in level of anxiety, depression or pain. At every visit each of the subjects had his or her blood pressure and pulse recorded before and after the Reiki session as well as his level of pain. The study is still underway even though my part in the research is over. I got so much positive feedback from the subjects that I had the privilege of working with for 8 weeks that I am already convinced of the therapeutic effects of Reiki. I now eagerly await the tabulated results of this research study to be published .

Reiki: Healing hands in Kennebunk Maine. Pauline M Wilson, BA, CRM. Reiki Research Study-2008-2009.

Can you measure the biological effects of Reiki?

This preliminary study was carried out in Glasgow and indicated that Reiki may be able to decrease heart rate and diastolic blood pressure. The heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group compared to both a placebo and a control group.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Objectives: to investigate if a complementary therapy, Reiki, has any effect on indices of autonomic nervous system function. Design: Blind trial. Setting/Location: Quiet room in an out-patient clinic. Subjects: Forty-five (45) subjects assigned at random into three groups. Interventions: Three treatment conditions: no treatment (rest only); Reiki treatment by experienced Reiki practitioner; and placebo treatment by a person with no knowledge of Reiki and who mimicked the Reiki treatment. Outcome measures: Quantitative measures of autonomic nervous system function such as heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing activity were recorded continuously for each heartbeat. Values during and after the treatment period were compared with baseline data. Results: Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group compared to both placebo and control groups. Conclusions: The study indicates that Reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system. However, this was a pilot study with relatively few subjects and the changes were relatively small. The results justify further, larger studies to look at the biological effects of Reiki treatment.

This paper was cited by: Personal Interaction with a Reiki Practitioner Decreases Noise-Induced Microvascular Damage in an Animal Model
Ann L. Baldwin, Gary E. Schwartz, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Jan 2006, Vol. 12, No. 1: 15-22.

Autonomic Nervous System Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study, Dec 2004, Vol. 10, No. 6: 1077-1081, Nicola Mackay, M.Sc. Stig Hansen, Ph.D., Oona McFarlane, M.A. 

Immune System

Objectives: Although energy medicines such as Reiki have been shown to have an overall effect on health, the mechanisms by which energy medicine act are currently unknown. This study examines the effects of Reiki on cellular immunity. Materials And Methods: Two protocols have been used. The first protocol randomized people subjects into 3 groups: Reiki, relaxation control, or neither Reiki nor relaxation control. Blood was drawn before treatment, immediately following treatment, or 4 hours post treatment. The second protocol exposed each subject to each treatment through the following process: blood draw, relaxation, blood draw, Reiki, blood draw. In both studies, white blood cells were isolated using ficoll blood tubes and stained with markers for CD4 and CD8 T-cells, B-cells, NK-cells and macrophages. All the cells were stained with an early activation marker (CD69) to measure activation. A flow cytometer was used to quantitate amount of activation of each cell type. In the second protocol, heart math was also used to measure general mental-emotional state. Results: While this study is ongoing, preliminary results indicate an increase in cell activation in the group of each cell type. In the second protocol, heart math was also used to measure general mental-emotional state. Conclusions: Our study shows a white cell activation (most likely macrophages) in patients receiving Reiki. These results provide the basis for further study of the immunological effects of energy medicine.

The Effect of Reiki on the Immune System, Wendy Hodsdon, Elissa Mendenhall, Rebecca Green, Sara Kates-Chinnoy, Elizabeth Wacker, and Heather Zwickey; Helfgott Research Institue at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, OR, 97201.

Can Reiki help with recovery from surgery?

Reiki reducing pain medications, duration of stay and patient satisfaction

Surgical patients at Columbia/HCA Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire are given the option of a 15 minute pre- and post-surgery Reiki treatment. In 1998 more than 870 patients participated. As a result there was less use of pain medications, shorter lengths of stay, and increased patient satisfaction. This article discusses how this program was set up. Plans for the future include documentation of the benefits and the further use of complementary therapies.

Aladydy, Patricia and Kristen Alandydy, 1999. "Using Reiki to Support Surgical Patients". Journal of Nursing Care Quality , 1999 Apr;13(4): pp. 89-91.

Complementary Therapies and Surgery

Abstract: This journal article reviews the literature on the use of complementary therapies in the surgical setting. The first part looks at the effects of psychological stress on the surgical patient, and the influence of coping style and locus of control on surgical outcome and the choice of stress-reducing intervention. The second part reviews research into the effects of specific complementary strategies on surgical outcomes. These strategies include relaxation techniques, hypnosis and suggestion, imagery, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, Reiki, music, massage therapy, and herbs/supplements such as L-arginine, bromelain, garlic, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. The evidence suggests that relaxation techniques, imagery, and hypnosis/suggestion may have beneficial effects on anxiety, blood loss, postoperative pain, pain medication requirements, postoperative nausea and vomiting, recovery of bowel function, length of hospital stay, cost of care, and patient satisfaction. These and other complementary therapies also may affect immune function, stress hormone levels, and wound healing, but more research is needed to clarify their role in the surgical setting.

Surgery and Complementary Therapies: A Review (2000), Petry, J.J. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 6(5): 64-76. 

Can Reiki help with pain?

Reiki and pain with cancer

The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of Reiki as an adjuvant to opioid therapy in the management of pain. Since no studies in this area could be found, a pilot study was carried out involving 20 volunteers experiencing pain at 55 sites for a variety of reasons, including cancer. All Reiki treatments were provided by a certified second-degree Reiki therapist. Pain was measured using both a visual analogue scale (VAS) and a Likert scale immediately before and after the Reiki treatment. Both instruments showed a highly significant (p < 0.0001) reduction in pain following the Reiki treatment.

Cancer Prev Control 1997 Jun;1(2):108-13. Using Reiki to manage pain: a preliminary report. Olson K, Hanson J.

Reiki and Palliative Care

Tom was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and received only palliative radiation and medication. At the time of diagnosis, his symptoms suggested that he had a very limited life expectancy. With the Reiki and his intent, he was able to achieve his goal of long-term stability with freedom from immobilising pain and swelling. Tom's comfort and quality of life improved dramatically, and he is living well with his cancer. Reiki has been associated with dramatic results for many patients. The importance of the patient's intent during Reiki treatments cannot be overemphasized. Some general trends seen with Reiki include: periods of stabilization in which there is time to enjoy the last days of one's life; a peaceful and calm passing if death is imminent; and relief from pain, anxiety, dyspnea and edema. Reiki is a valuable complement in supporting patients in their end-of-life journey, enhancing the quality of their remaining days.

Am J Hosp Palliat Care 1997 Jan-Feb;14(1):31-3. Reiki: a complementary therapy for life. Bullock M. Hospice of the Valley , Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

NHS Supportive and Palliative Care Specialist Library

Note here, the suggestion that the more experienced the practitioner, the better the results.

Background: Pain is a global public health problem affecting the lives of large numbers of patients and their families. Touch therapies (Healing Touch (HT), Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Reiki) have been found to relieve pain, but some reviews have suggested there is insufficient evidence to support their use. Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of touch therapies (including HT, TT, and Reiki) on relieving both acute and chronic pain; to determine any adverse effect of touch therapies. Search strategy: Various electronic databases, including The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and others from their inception to June 2008 were searched. Reference lists and bibliographies of relevant articles and organisations were checked. Experts in touch therapies were contacted. Selection criteria: Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) or Controlled Clinical Trials (CCTs) evaluating the effect of touch on any type of pain were included. Similarly, only studies using a sham placebo or a 'no treatment' control was included. Data collection and analysis: Data was extracted and quality assessment was conducted by two independent review authors. The mean pain intensity for completing all treatment sessions was extracted. Pain intensity from different pain measurement scales were standardised into a single scale. Comparisons between the effects of treatment groups and that of control groups were made.

Main results: Twenty four studies involving 1153 participants met the inclusion criteria. There were five, sixteen and three studies on HT, TT and Reiki respectively. Participants exposed to touch had on average of 0.83 units (on a 0 to ten scale) lower pain intensity than unexposed participants (95% Confidence Interval: -1.16 to -0.50). Results of trials conducted by more experienced practitioners appeared to yield greater effects in pain reduction. It is also apparent that these trials yielding greater effects were from the Reiki studies. Whether more experienced practitioners or certain types of touch therapy brought better pain reduction should be further investigated. Two of the five studies evaluating analgesic usage supported the claim that touch therapies minimised analgesic usage. The placebo effect was also explored. No statistically significant (P = 0.29) placebo effect was identified.

Authors' conclusions: Touch therapies may have a modest effect in pain relief. More studies on HT and Reiki in relieving pain are needed. More studies including children are also required to evaluate the effect of touch on children.

Can Reiki help with addiction treatment?

Milton, G., & Chapman, E. The benefits of Reiki treatment in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Pathways to healing: Enhancing Life Through Complementary Therapies, Conference Proceedings 1995 September; 24-25. Canberra: Royal College of Nursing Australia.

Can Reiki help with cancer-related fatigue?

Fatigue is an extremely common side effect experienced during cancer treatment and recovery. Limited research has investigated strategies stemming from complementary and alternative medicine to reduce cancer-related fatigue. This research examined the effects of Reiki, a type of energy touch therapy, on fatigue, pain, anxiety, and overall quality of life. This study was a counterbalanced crossover trial of 2 conditions: (1) in the Reiki condition, participants received Reiki for 5 consecutive daily sessions, followed by a 1-week washout monitoring period of no treatments, then 2 additional Reiki sessions, and finally 2 weeks of no treatments, and (2) in the rest condition, participants rested for approximately 1 hour each day for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 1-week washout monitoring period of no scheduled resting and an additional week of no treatments. In both conditions, participants completed questionnaires investigating cancer-related fatigue (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Fatigue subscale [FACT-F]) and overall quality of life (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy, General Version [FACT-G]) before and after all Reiki or resting sessions. They also completed a visual analog scale (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS]) assessing daily tiredness, pain, and anxiety before and after each session of Reiki or rest. Sixteen patients (13 women) participated in the trial: 8 were randomized to each order of conditions (Reiki then rest; rest then Reiki). They were screened for fatigue on the ESAS tiredness item, and those scoring greater than 3 on the 0 to 10 scale were eligible for the study. They were diagnosed with a variety of cancers, most commonly colorectal (62.5%) cancer, and had a median age of 59 years. Fatigue on the FACT-F decreased within the Reiki condition (P=.05) over the course of all 7 treatments. In addition, participants in the Reiki condition experienced significant improvements in quality of life (FACT-G) compared to those in the resting condition (P <.05). On daily assessments (ESAS) in the Reiki condition, presession 1 versus postsession 5 scores indicated significant decreases in tiredness (P <.001), pain (P <.005), and anxiety (P<.01), which were not seen in the resting condition. Future research should further investigate the impact of Reiki using more highly controlled designs that include a sham Reiki condition and larger sample sizes.

Pilot crossover trial of Reiki versus rest for treating cancer-related fatigue. Integr Cancer Ther. 2007 Mar;6(1):25-35. Tsang KL, Carlson LE, Olson K. Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Can Reiki help with depression?

The following is a summary by Pat Cougar of the research article "Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress" by Adina Goldman Shore, PhD. Originally published in the May/June 2004, Vol. 10, No. 3 issue of Alternative Therapies magazine, reprints of the original article may be obtained by contacting: InnoVision Communications, 169 Saxony Road, Suite 103, Encinitas, CA 92024; phone, (866) 828-2962 or (760) 633-3910; email,

Dr. Adina Goldman Shore's article is the result of a one-year study of the effects of Reiki, a form of energy healing, on psychological depression and self-reported stress. The study investigated the hypothesis that it is the Reiki energy itself, and not the "hands on" touch, that is the healing factor, and examined the long-term effects of Reiki on depression and stress. Dr. Shore also provides some basic information regarding the uses of Reiki, including it usefulness in psychotherapy.

Forty-five participants with symptoms of depression and stress volunteered for this study. Participant were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Hands-on (touch) Reiki, Distance (non-touch) Reiki, and distance Reiki placebo. Participants were not aware of which group would be receiving placebo Reiki. Twelve Reiki Masters, and three second degree Reiki practitioners were chosen to conduct the one to one and one-half hour sessions. Each participant received one treatment weekly for six weeks. The article describes the protocols for the selection of Reiki practitioners and participants for the study, as well as uniformity in the manner in which sessions were conducted.

Three tests, designed to measure levels of depression and stress, were administered to each participant before and after the series of six sessions. One year later, the participants retook the three tests. After testing was completed, the control/placebo group received another six weeks of Reiki treatments, this time with actual Reiki, and the three tests were administered to this group again.

Findings of the study demonstrated that there were no changes in the control/placebo group until they received the six sessions of actual Reiki a year after the first six placebo sessions. Both the hands-on and the distance Reiki were effective in relieving symptoms of depression and stress. Distance Reiki was shown to be slightly more effective than hands on, which ruled out touch as the causative factor, although the difference may have been influenced in part by the project's design (please see original article for details). The results of the placebo group served to rule out any changes due to expectations of the participants. Re-testing a year later demonstrated that the positive results of the six Reiki treatments had remained intact.

Dr. Shore suggests combining Reiki with traditional forms of treatment for psychological depression, because of Reiki's effectiveness, and cost reduction. She encourages further studies of energy healing on other psychological and physiological disorders.

Can Reiki help with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease?

Objectives: This empirical study explored the efficacy of using Reiki treatment to improve memory and behavior deficiencies in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's disease. Reiki is an ancient hands-on healing technique reputedly developed in Tibet 2500 years ago. Design: This study was a quasi-experimental study comparing pre- and post-test scores of the Annotated Mini-Mental State Examination (AMMSE) and Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) after four weekly treatments of Reiki to a control group. Location: The participants were treated at a facility provided by the Pleasant Point Health Center on the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation. Subjects: The sample included 24 participants scoring between 20 and 24 on the AMMSE. Demographic characteristics of the sample included an age range from 60 to 80, with 67% female, 46% American Indian, and the remainder white. Interventions: Twelve participants were exposed to 4 weeks of weekly treatments of Reiki from two Reiki Master-level practitioners; 12 participants served as controls and received no treatment. Outcome: The two groups were compared on pre- and post-treatment scores on the AMMSE and the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC). Results: Results indicated statistically significant increases in mental functioning (as demonstrated by improved scores of the AMMSE) and memory and behavior problems (as measured by the RMBPC) after Reiki treatment. This research adds to a very sparse database from empirical studies on Reiki results. Conclusion: The results indicate that Reiki treatments show promise for improving certain behavior and memory problems in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers can administer Reiki at little or no cost, resulting in significant societal value by potentially reducing the needs for medication and hospitalisation.

Using Reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease.J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):911-3.

Qualitative Research and Reiki

Reiki and Women

Abstract: This journal article describes a qualitative study of Reiki, a type of touch therapy, as experienced by the participants. The informants were a practitioner and four female patients, aged 38 to 50 years, from the Canadian Midwest. The patients had received between 15 and 50 sessions of Reiki from different practitioners under different circumstances and in different settings. Data were collected through in-depth interviewing over a 5-month period. Thematic analysis of their stories revealed some commonalities and some differences. The overriding theme was one of experiencing existential changes. All of the women spoke about experiencing major psychospiritual and/or physical changes. Four additional subthemes were identified: how the participants came to try Reiki, what they experienced during the Reiki treatments, how they felt after the Reiki sessions (short-term and long-term outcomes), and what was the nature of Reiki. The article discusses these themes, presents paradigm cases of the five participants, and discusses the implications for future research. It has 1 table, a list of recommended readings, and 27 references. 

Experience of Reiki: Five Middle-Aged Women in the Midwest, Subfile: Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Format (FM): Journal Article (24). Language(s) (LG): English. Year Published (YR): 1998. Author (AU): Mansour, A.A.; et al.

Complementary Therapies in Critical Care

Abstract: This journal article describes the lived experiences of relatives of critically ill patients who received complementary therapies in the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania. Twenty relatives of critically ill patients completed nonstructured, audiotaped interviews. The sample included male and female relatives ranging in age from 18 to 75 years. Each participant had received aromatherapy, massage, reiki, and either Bach Flower Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using a phenomenological transformative process to identify common themes. Results revealed a central theme of extending and enriching a caring atmosphere. The complementary therapies were felt to enhance caring by way of four sub-themes: inspiring calm and relaxation, enhancing connectedness, humanizing the technology, and adding a spiritual dimension. The findings suggest that complementary therapies can positively influence the lived experiences of relatives of critically ill patients. The article has 2 figures, 4 tables, and 24 references.

Relatives' Lived Experiences of Complementary Therapies in a Critical Care Department - A Phenomenological Study (1999), Brown, B.; et al. Source (SO): Australian Critical Care . 12(4): 147-153. 1999.

Links to articles

Vitale A An Integrative Review of Reiki Touch Therapy Research MSN, APRN,BC in Holistic Nursing Practice, July/August 2007 , Volume 21 Number 4, 167 - 179, 

Miles P and True, G PhD. 2003 Reiki – Review of a biofield therapy history, theory, practice and research in Alternative Therapies, March/April 2003, VOL. 9, NO. 2 63,