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What is Reiki?
Reiki is a form of alternative medicine developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. Since its beginning in Japan, Reiki has been adapted across varying cultural traditions. It uses a technique commonly called palm healingor hands-on-healing in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring “universal energy”, qi, through the palms of the practitioner, which they believe encourages healing. Clinical research has not shown Reiki to be effective as a medical treatment for any medical condition.[mepr-show if=”loggedout”]
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What the Science Says About the Effectiveness of Reiki
Several groups of experts have evaluated the evidence on Reiki, and all of them have concluded that it’s uncertain whether Reiki is helpful.
Only a small number of studies of Reiki have been completed, and most of them included only a few people. Different studies looked at different health conditions making it hard to compare their results. Many of the studies didn’t compare Reiki with both sham (simulated) Reiki and with no treatment. Studies that include both of these comparisons are usually the most informative.
What the Science Says About the Safety of Reiki
Reiki appears to be generally safe. In studies of Reiki, side effects were no more common among participants who received Reiki than among those who didn’t receive it.
More to Consider
- Reiki should not be used to replace conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about a health problem. If you have severe or long-lasting symptoms, see your health care provider. You may have a health problem that needs prompt treatment.
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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- Assefi N, Bogart A, Goldberg J, et al. Reiki for the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2008;14(9):1115–1122.
- Catlin A, Taylor-Ford RL. Investigation of standard care versus sham Reiki placebo versus actual Reiki therapy to enhance comfort and well-being in a chemotherapy infusion center. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2011;38(3):E212–220.
- Demir M, Can G, Celek E. Effect of Reiki on symptom management in oncology. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2013;14(8):4931–4933.
- Ferraresi M, Clari R, Moro I, et al. Reiki and related therapies in the dialysis ward: an evidence-based and ethical discussion to debate if these complementary and alternative medicines are welcomed or banned. BMC Nephrology. 2013;14:129.
- Friedman RS, Burg MM, Miles P, et al. Effects of Reiki on autonomic activity early after acute coronary syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2010;56(12):995–996.
- Kundu A, Lin Y, Oron AP, et al. Reiki therapy for postoperative oral pain in pediatric patients: pilot data from a double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2014;20(1):21–25.
- Lee MS, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Effects of Reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2008;62(6):947–954.
- Nield-Anderson L, Ameling A. Reiki: a complementary therapy for nursing practice. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. 2001;39(4):42–49.
- Semple, D.; Smyth, R. (2013). “Ch. 1: Psychomythology”. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780199693887.
- Thrane S, Cohen SM. Effect of Reiki therapy on pain and anxiety in adults: an in-depth literature review of randomized trials with effect size calculations. Pain Management Nursing. 2014; February 27.
- vanderVaart S, Gijsen VM, de Wildt SN, et al. A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2009;15(11):1157–1169.