The Body of Evidence
There is a significant body of evidence which suggests Reiki’s positive effects for the relief of stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, chronic and acute pain, especially among staff with burnout syndrome. By helping to promote relaxation and improve sleep, Reiki may help to boost the immune system.
First Reiki Medic-Care findings
Our research mission
Together with our research partner, Ann Baldwin PhD, Department of Physiology, University of Arizona, Reiki Medic-Care has developed a system to deliver Reiki remotely to frontline physicians, nurses and paramedics. Each medical professional will be virtually linked to a team of experienced Reiki practitioners who will send them Reiki for four consecutive days.
Recipients are able to opt in to complete a short questionnaire addressing their symptoms before and after their four treatments if they wish to do so. Although there is anecdotal evidence that Distant Reiki is effective in reducing stress and burnout, there is very little published research on the topic. By opting to participate in this study, frontline medical professionals will make a valuable contribution to scientific research on Reiki.
Effects of Reiki on stress, anxiety, sleep and pain
This simple hands-on therapeutic system can be helpful to both the body and mind. One of the most commonly reported effects of Reiki is that of relaxation or a reduction in stress. It is believed that a link may exist between ‘energy’ therapies and activation in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (1,2).
For instance, Wardell and Engebretson (3) measured the biological effects of Reiki on the ANS and found significant reduction of anxiety and systolic blood pressure, and a significant increase in salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels.
Three studies show that Reiki reduced burnout syndrome (BS) in health-care professionals. Diaz-Rodriguez et al (4) indicated that Reiki treatment produces a mild but significant relaxation response in nurses with BS symptoms. A second study (5) showed that a single session of Reiki brought immediate and measurable physiological stress relief to nurses as indicated by reduced blood pressure and enhanced secretion of the protective antibody IgA. Rosada et al (6) showed that Reiki treatments given weekly for six weeks significantly reduced BS among mental health clinicians. Specifically, Reiki reduced emotional exhaustion and feelings of depersonalization.
At St Georges in Tooting, the areas of anxiety, sleep and pain look promising for Reiki research based on raw data collection at the Connecting Reiki with Medicine project (7). This comes under the umbrella of Full Circle Fund Therapies a charity working within the hospital. The Connecting Reiki with Medicine website references resources for well-designed Reiki research studies, critical evaluations and systematic reviews which have been published in Clinical, Nursing or peer-reviewed journals.
- Mackay, N., Hansen, S., McFarlane, O. (2004) Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study, The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine (10) 6., 1077-1081.
- Ramnarine-Singh, S. (1999) The surgical significance of therapeutic touch. AORN J 69:358–369.
- Wardell, D., Engebretson, J. (2001) Biological correlates of Reiki Touch healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 33, 439– 445.
- Diaz-Rodríguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M., Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., García-Lafuente, F., García-Royo, C. and Tomás-Rojas, I. (2011) Immediate effects of Reiki on heart rate variability, cortisol levels, and body temperature in health care professionals with burnout. Biol Res Nurs 13(4), 376- 382.
- Diaz-Rodriguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M., Cantarero-Villanueva, I., Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C. et al (2011) The application of Reiki in nurses diagnosed with Burnout Syndrome has beneficial effects on concentration of salivary IgA and blood pressure. Rev. Latino-Am. Enfermagem [online], 19(5) 1132-1138.
- Rosada, R.M., Rubik, B., Mainguy, B., Plummer, J. and Mehl-Madrona, L. (2015) Reiki reduces burnout among community mental health clinicians. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 21(8), 489-495.
- Martin, R., Glanville, M., Ball, C., Ruggles, S., Elanko, A., Elanko, S. (2019) Quality Improvement Project (QIP) exploring effectiveness of Reiki therapy on Quality of Life (Qol) outcome measures for cancer patients when used In Integrated Healthcare (IH). European Journal of Surgical Oncology 45, P2228, #132.
Ann Baldwin PhD is the author of ‘Reiki in Clinical Practice. A science-based guide’. If you are logged in as a medical professional to receive our service, you will receive a 20% discount and free p&p when purchasing the book from www.handspringpublishing.com/product/using-reiki-in-clinical-practice/