Reiki research

The Center for Reiki Research (CRR) was established in 2005 to compile a comprehensive list of current evidence-based research into the efficacy of Reiki that has been published in peer-reviewed journals in the United States. The CRR went on to establish the Touchstone Process, a project to carefully critique and analyse the quality of the scientific research studies into Reiki. The research studies listed below have been rated by the Touchstone Process as ‘very good to excellent’ in terms of scientific rigour, and they show Reiki to have a positive effect on relieving stress and anxiety, depression, emotional burnout and pain.  A number of studies also show that Reiki improves the mood and wellbeing of cancer patients and relieves the symptoms of cancer treatment.

Reiki to reduce to stress and anxiety 

Title: Massage and Reiki used to reduce stress and anxiety: Randomized Clinical Trial
Authors: Kurebayashi, LFS.  Turrini, RNT.  Souza, TPB.  Takiguchi, RS.  Kuba, G. and Nagumo, MT.
Publication and Date: Rev. Latino-Am Enfermagem, 2016
Conclusion: The study showed that both groups who received a massage followed by 10 minutes of Reiki or 10 minutes of rest benefitted from significantly reduced stress.  However, only the massage + Reiki group also experienced a significant reduction in the symptoms of anxiety.
Title: A randomised, controlled, single-blind study of the effects of Reiki and positive imagery on well-being and salivary cortisol.
Authors: Bowden, D.  Goddard, L.  and Gruzelier, J.
Publication and Date: Brain Research Bulletin, 2010
Conclusion: The group who received Reiki experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms of illness and stress and experienced greater health and wellbeing benefits than the control group.
Title: Nurses’ lived experience of Reiki for self-care.
Authors: Vitale, AT.
Publication and Date: Holistic Nursing Practice, 2009
Conclusion: The study interviewed 11 nurses about their daily practice of Reiki self-care and how it enabled them to cope with the stresses of their jobs.  All nurses reported that giving Reiki to themselves helped them to manage daily stress and improved their ability to connect with others including their patients.
Title: Harnessing life energy or wishful thinking? Reiki, placebo Reiki, meditation and music.
Authors: Witte, D and Dundes, L.
Publication and Date: Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 2001
Conclusion: At pre-test assessment, 13% of participants were physically stressed.  After the test, the group that received Reiki were much more physically relaxed than the groups that took part in other relaxation methods.

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Reiki to reduce depression

Title: A randomized, controlled single-blind trial of the efficacy of Reiki at benefitting mood and well-being.
Authors: Bowden, D.  Goddard, L.  and Gruzelier, J.
Publication and Date: Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, 2011
Conclusion: The participants with high levels of depression and anxiety showed a greater degree of improvement in their mood and wellbeing after six 30-minute sessions of Reiki.
Title: Long term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress.
Authors: Shore, AG.
Publication and Date: Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2004
Conclusion: The study included the long-term effects of Reiki by testing participants before a Reiki treatment, immediately after and at the end of one year.  The pre-test data showed no significant differences among the three test groups. After the Reiki treatments and at the end of one year, the Reiki groups’ scores were significantly different to the control group, showing a sustained reduction in the symptoms of  stress and depression.
Title: The clinical effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy and an alternative medicine approach [Reiki] in reducing symptoms of depression in adolescents.
Authors:  Charkhandeh, M and Talib, MS and Hunt, CJ.
Publication and date:  Psychiatry Research, 2016
Conclusion: Reductions in the symptoms of depression on the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) scale were significant for the CBT group and less significant for the Reiki group, when compared to the control group. However, Reiki treatment was found to be statistically significant in reducing symptoms of depression over the 12 week treatment period even though the Reiki group received only 4 hours of treatment compared to 36 hours of treatment for the CBT group.

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Reiki to reduce emotional burnout

Title: Reiki reduces burnout among community mental health clinicians
Authors: Rosada, RM;  Rubik, B;  Mainguy, B;  Plummer, J;  Mehl-Madrona, L.
Publication and date: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2015.
Conclusion: Results showed that weekly 30-minute Reiki treatments for a period of 6 weeks reduced burnout symptoms among mental health clinicians, reported as reductions in emotional exhaustion.  The study found that Reiki was even more effective after the ‘sham-Reiki’ (fake Reiki) treatment, and when both groups were receiving the ‘sham-Reiki’, they perceived a worsening quality of life.
Title: Immediate effects of Reiki on heart rate variability, cortisol levels and body temperature in health care professionals with burnout.
Authors: Diaz-Rodriguez, L.  Arroyo-Morales, M.  Fernandez-de-las-Penas, C.  Garcia-Lafuente, F.  Garcia-Royo, C. and Tomas-Rojas, I.
Publication and date: Biol Res Nurs, 2011
Conclusion: The study proved that Reiki produces a significant relaxation response in nurses with Burnout Syndrome.  The control group, who received sham-Reiki (fake Reiki) did not experience the same response, proving that touch or attention alone, without Reiki, was not effective.

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Reiki to reduce pain

Title: Effects of pain and vital signs when applied to the incision area of the body after Caesarean section surgery.
Authors:  Midilli, TS and Gunduzoglu, NC.
Publication and date:  Holistic Nursing Practice, 2016
Study design:  Single blinded, randomized, double controlled study
Conclusion: The group that received Reiki had significantly less pain and less need for analgesics than the control groups.
Title: Effects of Reiki on pain and selected affective and personality variables of chronically ill patients.
Authors:  Dressin, LJ and Singg, S.
Publication and date:  Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 1998.
Conclusion: Reiki significantly reduced pain, depression and state anxiety.  Personality changes such as reduction in state anxiety and enhancement of self-esteem were evident after Reiki.  The follow-up, three months after treatment, showed that Reiki has a lasting effect.

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