Reiki Clinical Studies and Scientific Research
Reiki Energetic Healing with Dr. Oz at Columbian Presbyterian Hospital
Dr. Oz Reiki says:
2. On the heart by-pass patients, no one experienced post-operative pain or leg weakness.
3. and in the transplant group, no a single one experienced organ rejection.
Click on the links to clinical studies done
Donna Karan Rethinks Healthcare
Science of the Heart: The Heart follows
From the Heart Math Institute:
“The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain. This field, measured in the form of an electrocardiogram (ECG), can be detected anywhere on the surface of the body. Furthermore, the magnetic field produced by the heart is more than 5,000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain, and can be detected a number of feet away from the body, in all directions, using SQUID-based magnetometers”
Pilot Crossover Trial of Reiki Versus Rest for Treating Cancer-Related Fatigue
- Kathy L. Tsang, BA,Department of Psychology
- Linda E. Carlson, PhD, CPsychDepartment of Psychology; Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Alberta Cancer Board-Holy Cross Site, Department of Psychosocial Resources, 2202 2nd Street SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2S 3C1 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Karin Olson, RN, PhDFaculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Canada
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 counter balanced 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.
Case Study 1
Michael (not his real name) did not mention any pain or injury, on presentation. After treatment, he
reported the sensation of energy travelling from where the practitioner’s hands were placed on his chest, to
his hip which he said was almost always painful due to arthritis, resultant from a road accident some years
previously. He said that “the energy created an increasing sensation of pain in my hip which became almost
intolerable and then gradually subsided”. When asked how his hip was feeling after the treatment he said that
it was pain free. As this was a chronic condition, it was explained to him that the pain could re-occur. When
we saw him again some weeks later, he told us that the pain had indeed returned – but never to the degree
that it had been prior to his previous Reiki treatment.
Reiki as a meditation
Reiki treatment consistently tends to produce a relaxation response in residents. This, on its own,
has enormous therapeutic benefits both physically and psychologically. Both the practitioner and recipient
appear to achieve a meditative state during treatment, and the benefits of mediation to health and wellbeing
are well known. For example, Hassad (1998) has documented a summary of research on the effects of
meditation and relaxation as follows:
- Restful alertness with marked changes in EEG pattern. Increase in alpha & theta waves & increased EEG coherence
- Changes in neurotransmitter profiles with high serotonin production (like those recovering from depression)
- Selective large increase in cerebral blood flow
- Seduction in cortisol levels and improved immune response.
Psychological effects of meditation include:
- decreased anxiety
- decreased depression
- improved coping capabilities
- unconditional happiness
- reduced reliance on drugs or alcohol
- improved sleep
- reduced aggression and criminal tendency
- reduction in personality disorders Hassad, 1998
Relaxation and Clarity
The themes of relaxation and personal clarity referred to above, embrace a broad range of responses
within these categories, which are experienced as profound by the recipients. For example it is not
uncommon for clients to mention that they are afflicted in varying degrees, sometimes chronically, by what
they term ‘mind chatter’ and are often greatly relieved to have a quietened mind after their treatment. They
often state that the peaceful mind has permitted them to think clearly and positively. (Adrian ‘My mind
slowed from 1000 mph to 500 mph. I thought about my options and decided not to use after leaving detox.).”
Some equate it with the experience of meditation, one stating that Reiki is the nearest he comes to meditation
which he “finds hard to do”.
Some other comments by DWH clients, apart from the almost invariable, “That was great; I feel
wonderful/better; that was amazing”, etc. are: “Now I know what people mean, when they talk about utter
peace or inner peace”; “The last Reiki brought up a lot of negativity which was uncomfortable but it was
good because it really set me going and today (in treatment) my body relaxed for the first time”; “I felt a lot
of aggression (during treatment) and understand why”; “Some of the fog has lifted”; “It was magic. The past
and what I have to do in the future are clearer to me.”
For some the Reiki experience appears to bring a feeling of protection or reassurance, as illustrated
by the following feedback from some DWH residents following Reiki treatment; “I began to feel I am a
beautiful person (improved self perception) and that my grandfather was watching over me”; “I had a dream
(during treatment) which told me that everything is going to be alright”; “I felt wrapped in tenderness and
kindness and the bad things disappeared”. We would state that although these statements could be dismissed
as illusions, they are nevertheless real to those who experience them and provide the basis for making
positive changes in their lives.
There is also clearly a spiritual component. The theme of spirituality for this Conference fits well
with Reiki. This system of healing is a spiritual discipline for its practitioners and frequently produces
results for the recipient, which could be described as spiritual. In clarification, we would state that spirituality
has different meanings in different times and different cultures. The Concise English Dictionary gives one
definition of ‘spiritual’ as ‘pertaining to the soul or inner nature’. It is the definition referring to inner nature,
which we apply to the responses and experiences of many of the DWH clients. 9
The clients frequently report the experience of being in another state, different from ordinary
awareness – a totally new experience which they describe as both peaceful and deeply relaxing – and are
surprised at the passage of time that has occurred during treatment. This is synonymous with the meditative
Also, the recipients of Reiki in the Clinic often describe their experiences of peace, relaxation and
clarity, etc. in a way which appears to indicate that these represent more than purely emotional, mental or
physical benefits and that they have experienced a degree of upliftment which one might equate with a
spiritual experience. Many experience seeing colours, which they describe variously as, “beautiful”,
Clients at times indicate that they are searching for something beyond ordinary awareness, described
by some as a spiritual search. They often indicate that this need is satisfied by the Reiki experience. Some
find this need satisfied by drug use and it is interesting to observe that they subsequently recognise in the
Reiki treatment an experience of being in a state previously induced by drugs. They are pleasantly surprised
to learn that this is a state that can be simply and safely induced by natural means. One DWH resident stated
that he was reluctant to leave “La La Land”, where he had experienced imagery and stress release during
treatment; and then more seriously said, “The true La La Land.” Another said, “Reiki is better than any
drugs I’ve ever used.”
One client after his first Reiki treatment, during which he had been physically restless, said that he
felt he had been “forgiven by the Great Spirit”; had been “on the verge of breaking through”; that “there was
a reason for everything”, and he was seen by the practitioner to be left feeling very positive. One could
describe this as a spiritual experience which had relieved the client of a burden of guilt which resulted in a
sense of uplift with space for the possibility of change. This is significant, as many of those who abuse drugs
carry, consciously or unconsciously, a sense of guilt which makes the concept of changing their lives seem
Themes of release of guilt, awareness of inner nature or spirituality and subsequent hope are
beautifully illustrated in the following case study.
Case Study 2
At the time of his first Reiki treatment, John (not his real name) was twenty-two years of age, had
been raised in a climate of violence and crime and was the survivor of life on the inside of four state prisons.
He presented as wary, defensive, bordering on aggressive, and sceptical and firmly declared himself an
atheist but was curious to know why other DWH residents were so impressed by their Reiki experience. After
being reassured that there was no belief system attached to Reiki and that he was free to leave the treatment
room at any time, he decided to receive Reiki. After treatment, he declared the experience of the treatment
as, “…amazing”, followed by “Quite spiritual, really.” He appeared to be quite unconscious of using the term
spiritual and was later overheard telling another resident, “This Reiki is not bullshit, mate.” John was
thereafter a regular attendee at the Reiki Clinic. He later told us that Reiki had give him, “ ….hope – hope
that I can change my life”.
In the following case study, there is an interesting combination of responses.
Case Study 3
Malcolm (not his real name) had been in a car accident some months previously in which he had
received a broken limb, back injury and nerve damage. His response after Reiki treatment was, “That was
just wonderful. I felt heat in my knee, ankle and back. (The) warmth was not just physical – (it was)
emotional, spiritual and love. There were colours and I felt aware of the energy of the universe coming into
me.” In this response, the client indicates that, apart from the injured areas being addressed, he felt upliftment
The following case study provides examples of different experiences and a progression, leading to
Case Study 4
In the first treatment, Gerald (not his real name) presented with no previous knowledge of Reiki and
no expectations of what it might do for him other than that it might help him in some way. After treatment,
he lay very still and silent with eyes wide open for a long time. He stated that the experience was
“overwhelming – but in a good way”; that he felt he had been “miles way with no thoughts but heaps of
colours”. He also said, “I haven’t felt like this for ages.” Although unable to identify this feeling, he implied
that it was very special and good. 10
Second treatment. Gerald reported that he had been “up and down all week”. After treatment he
stated that a lot of painful thoughts concerning family issues had surfaced. He then shed what he described as
painful, emotional tears and said that he realised that he had to “let go of a lot of stuff”. Gerald’s counsellor
was extremely pleased with the spontaneous awareness arising out of the Reiki as, Gerald had not been able
to let go, and this had been a big issue blocking progress.
Third treatment: Gerald reported that after his last Reiki he had cried a lot of “painful tears”. Since
then, he had continued to cry quite a lot, but described this as “now not painful crying – more like letting go,
peaceful crying”. During this treatment, Gerald appeared to be deeply asleep and in fact snored steadily.
However, at the end of the treatment he reported having had “lots of thoughts concerning J….. (a family
member with a long term illness), and said that he felt he could forgive her “for what she has done – for all
her mistakes” and that he felt compassion for her.
Fourth treatment: On this occasion Gerald appeared to fall into a deep sleep almost immediately.
He reported noticing a lot of colours around him during the treatment. He then wept briefly about past
Fifth treatment: Gerald again enjoyed seeing many colours during this treatment. He said that he
felt Reiki was helping him in many ways and looked forward to continuing the treatments.
We see this as a very significant case study. It demonstrated a very positive, enjoyable experience in
the first session, which allowed Gerald to develop confidence in what was for him, until then, an unknown
form of treatment. The second and third sessions, although accompanied by the emotional pain of grieving,
allowed him to firstly let go, then to forgive and feel compassion. Feeling compassion is a significant step
beyond forgiveness and the sense of upliftment that this brings could be described as spiritual experience.
During the fourth and fifth sessions, Gerald began to see colours again, an experience he enjoys. He
was also aware of feeling peaceful at the end of treatments, which has restored his original perception of
Reiki being a pleasurable experience. He expressed a commitment to using Reiki to help rebuild his life and
became a regular attendee at the Reiki Clinic as an outpatient.
Our hypothesis, therefore, is that Reiki appears to induce a profound relaxation response within 10
minutes for nearly all recipients. This relaxation may last from a few hours to even a week, and is usually
coupled with a reduction in client anxiety, tension and aggression. Recipients of Reiki also generally express
feelings of ‘peace’, ‘wellbeing’ and spiritual ‘upliftment’, with a greater ability to sleep after treatment. This is of
very significant benefit for residents during the early stages of drug withdrawal, because difficulty in sleeping is
a common problem.
We suggest that anecdotal reports from residents and staff at Windana are true, and that most, if not all,
of the positive physiological and psychological effects that have been attributed to meditation and relaxation
techniques (Hassad, 1998), are promoted by giving Reiki treatment to residents.
Furthermore, we believe that from client and staff feedback, the promotion of relaxation and meditation
(by the use of Reiki) for those undergoing drug withdrawal helps residents to cope with difficult withdrawal
symptoms and to stay in the rehabilitation program. This is a significant reason, for continuing and expanding
the Reiki program.
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