Changing the conversation about health

Complementary Medicine Roundup – February 2019

Reiki therapy: the benefits to a nurse/Reiki practitioner.
Whelan KM, Wishnia GS.
Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Spalding University, Louisville, KY, USA

This study evaluates how nurses who gave Reiki therapy perceived the benefit of this therapy on their clients and themselves;

TOMS, Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Examined Reiki Therapy and explored Reiki as a valuable nursing intervention;

Autonomic nervous system changes during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study.
Mackay N, Hansen S, McFarlane O.
Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital NHS Trust, 1345 Govan Road, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland, UK
This [pilot] study indicates that Reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system;

The increasing use of Reiki as a complementary therapy in specialist palliative care.
Burden B, Herron-Marx S, Clifford C.
Compton Hospice, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK
This article considers the position of Reiki as an emerging Complementary therapy within the field of specialist palliative care and, within this context, the rise in popularity of Reiki and its potential benefits;
Reiki as a clinical intervention in oncology nursing practice.
Bossi LM, Ott MJ, DeCristofaro S.
Children’s Hospital Boston, MA, USA

This article describes the process of Reiki, reviews current literature, presents vignettes of patient responses to the intervention and makes recommendations for future study;

Biological Correlates of Reiki Touch Healing 
Wardell DW and others,
Journal of Advanced Nursing Vol.33 Issue 4, Pages 439-445
Findings suggest both biochemical and physiological changes in the direction of relaxation;

BALDWIN and SCHWARTZ, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5051, USA, have found that Reiki can reduce bleeding caused by excessive noise exposure.

Reiki is beginning to be used in hospitals to accelerate recovery. Despite many anecdotes describing Reiki’s success, few scientific studies are reported and none of those use animals. The aim of this study was to determine whether Reiki can significantly reduce microvascular leakage caused by exposure to excessive noise using an animal model.

In all three experiments, Reiki significantly reduced the outcome measures compared to the other noise groups (p < 0.01);

SHORE AG: Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceive stress. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 10 (3): 42-48, May-Jun 2004:

SHORE writes about a trial on the long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of depression and stress.
The aim of the study was to examine the long-term effects of Reiki healing on symptoms of depression and self-perceived stress.
46 patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: hands-on Reiki, distance Reiki, or distance-Reiki placebo, with patients blinded to treatment conditions. Each patient received a 1 to 1.5 hour treatment weekly for 6 weeks. Beck Depression, Beck Hopelessness, and Perceived Stress were completed at baseline, port treatment, and one year later.
At the end of treatment, there was a significant reduction in symptoms of psychological distress in both treatment groups compared with controls (p < 0.05), and these differences persisted at one-year follow-up (p < 0.05).
Reiki, whether administered hands-on or at distance, leads to long-lasting improvements in people’s emotional state;

GALLOB, University of Rochester School of Nursing, Loving Touch Center of East Rochester, NY, USA, has reviewed (13 references) the literature on Reiki:

Reiki treatments support the wellbeing and healing process of each individual patient in whatever way the patient needs, on all levels of body, mind and soul. Relaxation, pain relief, physical healing, reduced emotional distress, and a deepened awareness of spiritual connection are among the benefits that have been reported in case studies, anecdotes, and exploratory research.
Reiki is easily adaptable to any setting and provides support and healing for the practitioner as well as for the recipient;

RUBIK and Others
Reiki improved growth of heat-shocked bacteria in a healing context;

Reiki Review of a Biofield Therapy history, theory, practice and research
Miles P, True G
Altern. Ther. Health Med. 2003 Mar-Apr; 9(2): 62-72

Palliative Care Service at NIH includes Reiki and other mind-body modalities
Miles P, Adv. Mind Body Med. 2004 Summer; 20(2
); 30-1;

Miles P, Explore (NY). 2005 Sep; 1(5): 414

If there is any significant experience with using Reiki in the hospital or ER Setting and if there is any literature to support this use?;

FERRARESI and COLLEAGUES,  (1) SS Nephrology ASOU, san Luigi (regione Gonzole 10), Orbassano 10043, Torino, Italy, applied integrated evidence based approaches and ethical discussion, to discuss the pros and cons of CAM in the dialysis ward

Results (excerpt):

 ‘According to the EBM approach, Reiki allows a statistically significant but very low-grade pain reduction without specific side effects. Gentle-touch therapy and Reiki are thus good examples of approaches in which controversial efficacy has to be balanced against no known side effect, frequent free availability (volunteer non-profit associations) and easy integration with any other pharmacological or non-pharmacological therapy.’ 

Listed in Positive Health Online, Issue 225 (17.09.15)

KERR CE, WASSERWMN RH and MOORE. Cortical dynamics as a therapeutic mechanism for touch healing. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 13 (1): 59-66, Jan-Feb 2007:

Touch Healing therapies, treatments whose primary route of administration is tactile contact and/or active guiding of somatic attention, are ubiquitous across cultures. Despite increasing integration of touch healing into mainstream medicine through therapies such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch and somatically focused meditation practices such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, relatively little is known about potential underlying mechanisms.

This review presents a neuroscientific explanation for the prevalence and effectiveness of these therapies for relieving chronic pain.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE NURSING 2016, Vol 22, No4 An exploratory study of Reiki experiences in women who have cancer Marilynne N Kirshbaum, Maxine Stead & Serena Bartys & listed here;

Distant Healing Intention Therapies: An Overview of the Scientific Evidence.

Radin D, Schlitz M, Baur C.

This, understandably inconclusive but interesting, research may be viewed in the above hyperlink and in the full article here which concludes [italics added]:

 ‘…[experiments on ‘Distant mental interactions with living systems – DMILS] studies indicate that DHI [Distant Healing Intention] effects are on average small in magnitude, but they do exist, and thus, in principle, some clinical applications of DHI may be efficacious…’;

THE REIKI FEDERATION: (Check for updates);


CANCER RESEARCH UK research into Reiki for people with cancer

FURTHER RESEARCH IN “NHS EVIDENCE”: (insert “reiki” in the search box).

There can surely be no rational objection to healing modalities, including Reiki, receiving recognition and pro-active support for use within the Health and Social Care sectors. 


Held at the King’s Fund, Cavendish Square, London on the 29th November 2018, this inspiring and outstandingly successful Conference brought excellent speakers together with an audience that was full to capacity who principally consisted of leading CAM practitioners and representatives of the FHT’s 16,000 membership.

Details of the speakers (Professor Nicola Robinson, Dr Julie McCullough, Sir Sam Everington, Dr Michael Dixon, Anita Mehrez MFHT and Jennifer Young MFHT) and of the topics they, respectively, introduced and then discussed with the audience may be viewed here. The Conference host was Janey Lee Grace who ended the day announcing the winners of the 2018 FHT Excellence Awards who may be viewed here.

Congratulations to all of the above and to the FHT staff/conference organisers who made a brilliantly presented event so interesting and informative.