Reiki, the Japanese spiritual healing system, can be a complementary form of therapy for most illnesses of the body and mind. Reiki has been used to heal addictions, treat mood disorders, and manage pain in AIDS and cancer patients. Reiki not only offers us increased self-awareness, and emotional release, but also faster recovery times, return to homeostasis, increased range of motion, and a decrease in cognitive symptoms. 

Reiki for Pain Management

Reiki is increasingly offered in hospitals and hospices around the world post-surgery. Four randomized controlled clinical trials, with 212 participants, revealed Reiki as an effective modality for relieving pain. When the Reiki group was compared with the control group, a statistically significant decrease in VAS score was observed.

The effect of reiki on pain: A meta-analysis.
Demir Doğan M.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:384-387. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.02.020. Epub 2018 Mar 10. Review.
PMID: 29551623

Reiki and Knee Surgery

Reiki can help patients who are receiving knee surgery. One study measured the pain and pain medication use in patients with and without Reiki after a total knee arthroplasty. Forty-three patients were randomized into two groups. Each group’s levels of pain were assessed before and after Reiki therapy with a numeric rating scale in the preoperative area, postanesthesia care unit, and for three days thereafter. Except for the sessions in the postanesthesia care unit, all Reiki sessions led to statistically significant reductions in pain. Patients did not use less pain medication but Reiki energy healing did help manage surgical patient’s postoperative pain. Due to the success of this study, ten nurses at this hospital received Reiki certification and began a Reiki program.

Reiki’s effect on patients with total knee arthroplasty: A pilot study.
Notte BB, Fazzini C, Mooney RA.
Nursing. 2016 Feb;46(2):17-23. doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000476246.16717.65.
PMID: 26760383

Reiki Effects on Pain, Anxiety and Blood Pressure prior to Surgery

A blinded, controlled pilot study observed 46 patients undergoing knee replacement surgery to measure the effects of Reiki healing. Of the 3 groups, Reiki, Sham Reiki, and Standard of Care, only the Reiki group had significant reductions in pain, blood pressure, respiration rate, and anxiety. This study depicts how Reiki can help us destress prior to medical procedures.

Effects of Reiki on Pain, Anxiety, and Blood Pressure in Patients Undergoing Knee Replacement: A Pilot Study.
Baldwin AL, Vitale A, Brownell E, Kryak E, Rand W.
Holist Nurs Pract. 2017 Mar/Apr;31(2):80-89. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000195.
PMID: 28181973

Reiki Post-C Section

Whether women are delivering naturally or via c-section, they may receive Reiki to reduce pain. This study, specifically, measured the effects of Reiki on pain post-cesarean section and vital signs. Fifteen minutes of Reiki was given to the incision area of the body after surgery. The study was single-blinded, randomized, and double-controlled with three groups – Reiki, sham Reiki, and control. Reiki patients were noted to have a reduction in pain of 76.06% between day 1 and after application on the second day. They were also noted to have used fewer pain relieving medications and were able to go a longer time without them than the sham Reiki and control groups. The study observed no effect on vital signs with 15 minutes of Reiki.

Effects of Reiki on Pain and Vital Signs When Applied to the Incision Area of the Body After Cesarean Section Surgery: A Single-Blinded, Randomized, Double-Controlled Study.
Sagkal Midilli T, Ciray Gunduzoglu N.
Holist Nurs Pract. 2016 Nov/Dec;30(6):368-378.
PMID: 27763932

Reiki Improves Range of Motion compared to Physical Therapy

Patients with muscle tension and tightness, in their shoulders, jaw, hips or other areas, seek Reiki to expand their range of motion. A study compared two forms of energy healing, Reconnective Healing (RH) and Reiki, for their ability to improve range of motion against physical therapy (PT). There were 5 groups, PT, Reiki, RH, Sham Healing, or no treatment. Only the patients who were not receiving treatment, were aware of which group they were in. Patients’ range of motion, self-reported pain, and heart rate variability (HRV) were measured before and after 10 minutes of treatments. On average, for PT, Reiki, RH, Sham Healing, and no treatment, respectively, range of motion increased by 12°, 20°, 26°, 0.6°, and 3° and pain score decreased by 11.5%, 10.1%, 23.9%, 15.4%, and 0%. Reiki was observed to improve range of motion in the shoulders more than physical therapy.

Comparison of physical therapy with energy healing for improving range of motion in subjects with restricted shoulder mobility.
Baldwin AL, Fullmer K, Schwartz GE.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:329731. doi: 10.1155/2013/329731. Epub 2013 Nov 14.
PMID: 24327820 

Reiki after Hysterectomy

A pilot study compared reports of pain and levels of anxiety in 2 groups of women after abdominal hysterectomy. Ten patients received traditional nursing care plus three 30-minute sessions of Reiki, while the control group of 12 patients, received only nursing care. In the end, the experimental group reported less pain and requested fewer analgesics than the control group. Also, the experimental group reported less state anxiety than the control group when they were discharged 72 hours post surgery. 

The effect of Reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies: a quasi-experimental pilot study.
Vitale AT, O’Connor PC.
Holist Nurs Pract. 2006 Nov-Dec;20(6):263-72; quiz 273-4.
PMID: 17099413

Reiki Reduces Burnout amongst Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals are often stressed, under pressure, and at high risk for burnout. They can be emotionally weighed down, and feel unfulfilled. One study measured to see if 30 minutes of Reiki could reduce burnout in community mental health clinicians. They were offered Reiki or sham Reiki, a pseudo treatment designed to mimic true Reiki, but they did not know which group they were in. The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) and the Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile Version 2 (MYMOP-2) were used to measure results. Reiki was statistically significantly better than sham Reiki in reducing burnout among community mental health clinicians. It may be helpful for the mental health of the practitioners.

Reiki Reduces Burnout Among Community Mental Health Clinicians.
Rosada RM, Rubik B, Mainguy B, Plummer J, Mehl-Madrona L.
J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Aug;21(8):489-95. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0403. Epub 2015 Jul 13.
PMID: 26167739

Reiki and HIV/AIDS

A program was created to train clients of a supported residence in Brooklyn, NY. Every client was older than age 50 years, and had HIV/AIDS and substance-abuse and/or mental-health disorders. This study was a qualitative, and narrative-inquiry based. Over three years, a Reiki master kept a journal of her treatments that were 90 minutes long and offered once weekly. Thirty-five participants shared their experiences which included a greater ability to cope with addictions, a greater ability to manage counseling, healing of wounds, improvement of T-cell counts, and improved skills of daily living. Although this study was not a controlled, quantitative study, it did find benefits for those who are dealing with HIV/AIDS, substance-abuse, and mental health disorders. 

Mehl-Madrona, Lewis et al. “Qualitative Assessment of the Impact of Implementing Reiki Training in a Supported Residence for People Older Than 50 Years with HIV/AIDS.” The Permanente journal vol. 15,3 (2011): 43-50.

Reiki for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

A qualitative study with a thematic analysis looked at the experience of 22 patients receiving Reiki. 13 patients with irritable bowel disease, 6 patients with ulcerative colitis and 3 patients with Crohn’s Disease partook in a single semi-structured interview following a Reiki treatment. Nine of the twenty two patients reported physical benefits and 11 reported psychosocial benefits. Three patients reported less bloating and four noted less pain. One patient reported that even though she continued to experience vomiting, her symptoms were less severe. Four patients specified that they slept better in terms of quality after the healing sessions. Eight patients cited greater confidence in their ability to cope with their condition or have a perception of control over the symptoms as they occur. One patient did feel extremely tired, while another felt emotional, right after the healing; both of which are common to feel for 1-2 days after a session. 

Experiences of healing therapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Soundy A, Lee RT, Kingstone T, Singh S, Shah PR, Edwards S, Roberts L.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Apr 3;15:106. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0611-x. Erratum in: BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015;15:326. Edwards, Sandy [added]
PMID: 25888247 

Using Reiki for Patients with Alzheimer’s disease

An empirical study explored how Reiki can support patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease to improve memory and behavior deficiencies. Twelve participants received weekly Reiki treatments for 4 weeks, while another 12 participants did not receive treatment. Pre- and post-test scores of the Annotated Mini-Mental State Examination (AMMSE) and Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) showed statistically significant increases in mental functioning, and memory and behavior problems. 

Using Reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease.
Crawford SE, Leaver VW, Mahoney SD.
J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):911-3.
PMID: 17109583

Reiki for Pain During Hemodialysis

Patients who were undergoing hemodialysis, a typically painful process, received Reiki for 20 minutes, twice a week for 4 weeks. The study measured self-reported levels of fatigue, pain, and depression. Participants noted they felt general relaxation, and reported a significant decrease in mean symptom scores. This suggests that Reiki can relieve symptoms for individuals receiving hemodialysis.

Reiki for Pain During Hemodialysis: A Feasibility and Instrument Evaluation Study.
Zins S, Hooke MC, Gross CR.
J Holist Nurs. 2019 Jun;37(2):148-162. doi: 10.1177/0898010118797195. Epub 2018 Aug 31.
PMID: 30170509

Studies have witnessed Reiki’s wide range of healing benefits. The modality’s effects on stress, pain, surgical recovery, and muscle tension amongst others were noted in numerous studies. These studies provide reasons to conduct more double-blind, controlled studies. As this research becomes available and well-known, more hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and other institutions may offer Reiki as a complementary form of mind and body healing.

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