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Clinical Studies of Reiki

Clinical Studies on the Effectiveness of Reiki

While Reiki is a common form of treatment throughout the world, its many benefits are only recently becoming recognized by western medicine. A number of national and international programs identify how Reiki can integrate into traditional medical treatments. Following are selected areas of research and reporting: The United States Army unveiled a $4 million program to mend the psyches of returning veterans through Reiki and other bioenergies [http://blog.wired.com:80/defense/2008/03/army-bioenergy.html.] The Department of Veterans Affairs uses Reiki in their Hepatitis C treatment program. Fort Bliss’ Warrior Resilience program — the same one Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey believes should be replicated throughout the military — uses it as one tool to help soldiers strengthen and recover following combat. Click here for more information Sensitive instruments have been developed that can detect the minute energy fields around the human body. Of particular importance is the SQUID magnetometer which is capable of detecting tiny biomagnetic fields associated with physiological activities in the body. This is the same field that sensitive individuals have been describing for thousands of years, but that scientists have ignored because there was no objective way to measure it. [http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/ScienceMeasures.htm] Reikimedresearch.org is dedicated to collecting, documenting and publicizing the information about medical effects of Reiki therapy. It is intended to promote Reiki use in hospitals and to connect Reiki practitioners of different lineages, their patients and physicians through summarizing and providing medical information about Reiki therapy. Reiki practitioners in Europe track the effectiveness of Reiki treatments on dozens of illnesses, reporting their findings in the site www.reiki-research.co.uk. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health notes that Reiki belongs to "Biofield Medicine, which involves systems that use subtle energy fields in and around the body for medical purposes". Refer to nccam.nih.gov/health/reiki/#. Some recent NCCAM-supported studies have been investigating:

  • How Reiki might work

  • Whether Reiki is effective and safe for treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

  • Reiki's possible impact on the well-being and quality of life in people with advanced AIDS.

  • The effects of Reiki on disease progression and/or anxiety in people with prostate cancer.

  • Whether Reiki can help control blood sugar levels or improve heart function in people who have nerve pain from diabetes.

In January 2007, at Cranky.Com, a website devoted to interests of Baby Boomers, Reiki was the fourth most popular internet search in the U.S. The Cleveland Clinic announced receipt of a $250,000 study to examine the effects of Reiki on men with prostate cancer. The hospital currently incorporates Reiki into their treatments on a number of illnesses, ranging from depression to cancer (August 2004). Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Volume 10, Number 6. This study revealed a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure and heart rate in the Reiki group that didn’t appear in the placebo group or the control group, thus tending to indicate that Reiki created an important effect that was not caused by suggestion. The Reiki Research Foundation reports on a study using Reiki as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis: 90.2% Reduction of Lethargy; 87% Reduction of Depression; 78.7% Reduction of Cognitive Problems; 75.3% Reduction of Motor Problems; 73.5% Reduction of Pain; 70.2% Reduction of Fatigue; 69.1% Reduction of Urine Problems; 62.8% Reduction of Bowel Problems; 38% Reduction in Walking Time. [www.reikiresearchfoundation.org/msstudies.htm] The Clinical Center (Bethesda, Maryland) is a unique medical institution totally funded by Congress. As a research hospital affiliated with The National Institutes of Health, the Center has successfully demonstrated Reiki’s ability to integrate into even the most demanding medical settings. Diana Linnekin, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, reports that “she was especially impressed with Reiki’s ability to fill the gap when medical interventions for pain had been exhausted.” Miles, P. “Reiki at the NIH’s Clinical Center.” This article is available at www.ReikiInMedicine.org NIH-supported clinical trials, which are currently recruiting patients, will test the efficacy of Reiki (including distant Reiki) in the treatment of Fibromyalgia at the University of WA - CFS/FM Research Center, Seattle, Washington, and Reiki in the treatment of patients with advanced AIDS will be performed at Temple University and Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Planned study, which will be performed by Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio will test Reiki for prostate cancer [www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/search?term=Reiki&submit=Search] There are ongoing clinical trials of Reiki healing techniques for diabetic peripheral vascular disease and autonomic neuropathy, carried out at the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research in CVD, Adult Cardiac Surgery/Thoracic Transplantation and rehabilitation from stroke, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury, carried out at the Center for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Stroke and Neurological Disorders at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (West Orange, NJ) [The University of Michigan Taubman Health Care Center 2120, Box 0344, AnnArbor, MI 48109; www.med.umich.edu/camrc/research/reiki.html]The website Reiki in Hospitals (www.centerforreikiresearch.org) “promotes the availability of Reiki in medical settings by providing a list of hospitals, medical clinics, and hospice programs where Reiki sessions are offered.” Reiki is already used in several hospitals for cancer patients: Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, NH), Integrative Medicine Outpatient Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY), Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer at New York Presbyterian Medical Hospital (New York, NY), Metropolitan South Health Center (“ Direccion de Servicios Metropolitano Sur”, Santiago, Chile) Miles, P. True, G. “Reiki: A Biofield Therapy—Theory, History, Practice and Research.” Alternate Therapy Health Medicine, March/April 2003 9(2) 62-72. This is also available on Pamela Miles' website at www.ReikiInMedicine.org [Miles: www.alternativetherapies.com/at/pdfarticles/0103reiki.pdf] Used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments, Reiki is reported to ease the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, improve immune function, ease anxiety and enhance positive emotional attitude, decrease pain and promote relaxation. Both hands-on and distant Reiki treatments resulted in statistically-significant decrease in the symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress, and the treatments had the long-term effect [Shore]. The nature of psychological effects arising during a Reiki session were studied, and anxiety was shown to reduce after treatments [Engebretson, Wardell]. Certain physiological changes were associated with receiving Reiki treat-ments, including decrease in systolic blood pressure, increase in salivary IgA levels and decrease in salivary cortisol after treatments, increase in skin temperature and decrease in electromyographic activity during treatments [Wardell].

  • Shore, A.G., "Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and selfperceived stress", Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 10(3): 42-48 (2004)

  • Wardell, D.W., Engebretson, J., "Biological correlates of Reiki touch healing", J. Advanced Nursing, 33(4): 439- 445 (2001)

  • Engebretson, J., Wardell, D.W., "Experience of a Reiki session", Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 8(2): 48-53 (2002)

Newsweek (April 24, 2004) notes that “For more and more Americans, complementary and alternative therapies are the way to go.” Dr. David Eisenberg, head of Harvard Medical School’s Osher Institute and director of a pilot program funded by the National Institute of Health, is currently studying nonsurgical alternatives at its new complementary medicine center.” Columbus Monthly (December 2003) reports that “Articles examining alternative modalities are appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. Hundreds of medical schools across the country, including The Ohio State University College of Medicine, have added alternative medicine to their programs of study. The National Institutes of Health has created a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to conduct clinical trials.” Healthy Living, a newsletter for Ohio hospitals and clinics, reports that “Reiki is gaining acceptance in medical settings as a cost-effective way to improve patient care.” (July 2005). The International Center for Reiki Training surveyed “America’s Best Hospitals,” as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, to discover that 60% of them currently had a hospital-based Reiki program in place. Of those that did not, 50% reported that they would consider it. Prevention Magazine reports that “Many nurses and other practitioners are trained in Reiki and therapeutic touch, two gentle therapies. In a study of 230 cancer patients at the University of Minneapolis, healing touch therapies lessened fatigue while calming blood pressure and heart rate, not to mention the patients themselves.” (March 2005) Reiki therapy is safe and non-invasive. It is proving useful in hospices, nursing homes, emergency rooms, operating rooms, organ transplantation care units, pediatric, neonatal and OB/GYN units; facilitating relaxation and recovery and decreasing anxiety and pain; it can be a helpful addition to conventional therapy for HIV/AIDS and cancer patients [Miles: www.pamelamilesreiki.com]