Research on The Impact of Reiki Treatments

The International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) lists a variety of studies on the impact of Reiki treatments. Excerpts from these studies are shown below.  All studies suggest that further research is needed given the limited data available.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS

CANCER: Reiki and Cancer-Related Fatigue

Design: 7 Treatments; Total # Hours: NA

"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."

HEART RATE: Effect of Reiki on Autonomic Activity After Acute Coronary Syndrome 

Design: 1 Treatment; Total # Hours: NA (2010)

"In conclusion, in hospitalized post-ACS patients, Reiki increased HF HRV and improved emotional state. Further study is needed to evaluate whether Reiki treatment may represent a long-term nonpharmacologic approach to improving HRV and prognosis after ACS."

..."These findings suggest a potential clinical role for Reiki in the post-ACS inpatient setting. Future research should evaluate whether Reiki treatment over a longer period can generate lasting benefits for autonomic balance and psychological well-being in patients after ACS."...Further, this study demonstrates that Reiki treatment is safe and feasible in the acute-care setting. There were no adverse events, and none were previously reported (5). The treatments were provided by Reiki-trained nurses working on cardiac units. This suggests that Reiki can be incorporated into standard hospital care to provide therapeutic benefit without additional cost or disruption of the nurses' workday.

HEART RATE: Autonomic Nervous System Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study

Design: 1 Treatment; Total # Hours: NA (2005)

"Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group compared to both placebo and control groups....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."

HEART RATE: Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Rats 

Design:  5 Treatments; .5 hrs each; Total 2.5 hrs. (2008)  

"Reiki, but not sham Reiki, significantly reduced HR compared to initial values. With Reiki, there was a high correlation between change in HR and initial HR, suggesting a homeostatic effect. Reiki, but not sham Reiki, significantly reduced the rise in HR produced by exposure of the rats to loud noise. Neither Reiki nor sham Reiki significantly affected blood pressure....Reiki is effective in modulating HR in stressed and unstressed rats, supporting its use as a stress-reducer in humans."

PAIN: Reiki as a Pain Management Adjunct in Screening Colonoscopy

Design: NA (2012)

"Results from this pilot study suggest that there may be a decrease in meperidine needed during screening colonoscopy when patients receive Reiki treatments before the procedure.  A larger study powered to detect smaller medication differences is the next step in more accurately determining the effect of Reiki on pain management."

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL CONDITIONS

ALZHEIMER'S: Using Reiki to Decrease Memory/Behavioral Problems in Mild Cognitive Impairment/Mild Alz. Disease

Design:  4 Weeks of Weekly Treatment; #hrs NA; Total #hrs. NA  (2006) 

"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....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 hospitalization."

ANXIETY/DEPRESSION/PAIN:  Effects of Reiki on Anxiety, Depression, Pain, and Physiological Factors in Community-Dwelling Older Adults.  Design: NA   (2010)

"Significant differences were observed between the experimental and treatment groups on measures of pain, depression, and anxiety; no changes in heart rate and blood pressure were noted. Content analysis of treatment notes and interviews revealed five broad categories of responses: Relaxation; Improved Physical Symptoms, Mood, and Well-Being; Curiosity and a Desire to Learn More; Enhanced Self-Care; and Sensory and Cognitive Responses to Reiki."

BEHAVIORS: Reiki and Changes in Pattern Manifestations.

Design: NA (2009)

"Reiki was found to be associated with changes in awareness from dissonance and turbulence to harmony and well-being by helping individuals knowingly participate in actualizing their own capacities for healing. Reiki was found to be an appropriate voluntary mutual patterning nursing modality."

DEPRESSION: Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psych. Depression and Self-Perceived Stress

Design:  6 Treatments; 1-1.5 hrs each; Total 6-9 hrs.  (2004) 

"Upon completion of treatment, there was a significant reduction in symptoms of psychological distress in treatment groups as compared with controls (P < .05; Eta square ranging from .09-.18), and these differences continued to be present 1 year later (P < .05; Eta square ranging from .12-.44)."

STRESS/GENERAL HEALTH: A Randomised Controlled Single-Blind Trial of the Effects of Reiki and Positive Imagery on Well-Being and Salivary Cortisol.

Design:  10 Treatments; 20 min each; Total 3 hrs.  (2010) 

"While the Reiki group had a tendency towards a reduction in illness symptoms, a substantive increase was seen in the No-Reiki. The Reiki group also had a near-significant comparative reduction in stress, although they also had significantly higher baseline illness symptoms and stress scores. The Reiki blinding was successful - the groups did not differ statistically in their beliefs regarding group membership. The results are suggestive that the Reiki buffered the substantive decline in health in the course of the academic year seen in the No-Reiki group."

STRESS: The Effect of Reiki on Work-Related Stress of the Registered Nurse

Design: NA (2011)

"Results indicated that practicing Reiki more often resulted in reduced perceived stress levels. Data from this small pilot study supports educating nurses about Reiki practice to decrease work-related stress."

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