What is it?
Reiki (pronounced Ray-Kee) is a form of “energy medicine” that uses touch. Practitioners say it will heal disease by correcting energy imbalances.
Reiki is considered to be a “touch therapy” because it involves placing the hands on or very near to a person’s body. By applying the hands on or near the body, the Reiki practitioner attempts to transmit or deliver energy. The Reiki practitioner uses 12-15 different hand positions and keeps them in place for 2-5 minutes. Some people use the terms “Healing Touch” and “Reiki therapy” interchangeably. Although these practices share many similarities, there are some difference in theory, principles, and training.
Reiki practitioners are largely unregulated in North America. In some states Reiki practitioners must also be licensed massage therapists. There is no consistent standard for training in Reiki therapy. However, most schools recognize three or four levels of expertise. Training for each level takes 1-2 days.
Reiki therapy is used for pain, stress, fatigue, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Possibly Ineffective for …
- Fibromyalgia. Some research shows that receiving Reiki therapy twice weekly for 8 weeks does not reduce pain or other symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.
Insufficient Evidence to Make a Determination for …
- Alzheimer disease. Early research shows that Reiki therapy might improve memory and behavioral problems in people with mild Alzheimer disease.
- Anxiety. Early research shows that Reiki therapy might slightly improve pain and anxiety in women.
- Tiredness in people with cancer. Early research shows that Reiki therapy can reduce fatigue in people undergoing cancer treatment. Reiki seems to work better than guided imagery and resting. But it doesn’t seem to be better than having a companion during treatment.
- Pain in people with cancer. Early evidence shows that Reiki therapy relieves pain in the short-term in people with cancer. Reiki might work better than listening to a guided imagery tape.
- Depression. Early research shows that hands-on Reiki or distance Reiki can improve depression and stress in people with self-reported depression.
- HIV/AIDS. Early research shows that practicing self-Reiki therapy improves anxiety and pain in people with HIV/AIDS.
- Pain. Early research shows that Reiki therapy might slightly improve pain and anxiety in women.
- Pain after surgery. Early research shows that adding Reiki therapy to normal care reduces pain and anxiety in women after surgical removal of the uterus. But other early research shows that Reiki does not reduce pain in children after dental surgery.
- Anxiety before surgery. It’s unclear if Reiki therapy reduces anxiety before surgery. But Reiki therapy might reduce anxiety before a colonoscopy.
- Feelings of well-being. Early research shows that giving Reiki therapy to patients undergoing cancer therapy improves feelings of comfort and well-being.
- Stroke recovery. Early research shows that adding Reiki therapy to rehabilitation therapy does not further improve recovery from stroke.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Reiki for these uses.
Reiki is referred to as an “energy medicine” therapy because practitioners believe that it can improve the flow and balance of energy. It is believed that energy imbalances or disturbances result in disease.
People undergoing Reiki therapy sometimes can experience tingling sensations, sleepiness, or relaxation. People with pain, nausea, or fatigue sometimes experience relief of these symptoms.
Currently, the beliefs and theories of Reiki therapy are not supported by scientific research.
Reiki therapy has not been associated with any side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if Reiki therapy is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. But there’s no reason to believe that it might be harmful.
Natural Medicines disclaims any responsibility related to medical consequences of using any medical product. Effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this monograph is accurate at the time it was published. Consumers and medical professionals who consult this monograph are cautioned that any medical or product related decision is the sole responsibility of the consumer and/or the health care professional. A legal License Agreement sets limitations on downloading, storing, or printing content from this Database. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from this Database is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of the Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2021. Therapeutic Research Faculty, publishers of Natural Medicines, Prescriber’s Letter, and Pharmacist’s Letter. All rights reserved.