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Benefits of Reiki

Forbes Health recently wrote an article called “What is Reiki and How Does it Work?”

The article discusses many aspects of trying and/or using Reiki. It discusses the history of Reiki, the process, the benefits, the risks, the costs and how to find a practitioner. We wanted to highlight some of our favorite parts of the article and a link at the bottom for more information.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a complementary health approach in which practitioners place their hands on or just above different areas of the body. It’s based on an Eastern medicine belief that living beings have energy fields that support their health and vitality.

3 Benefits of Reiki

Promotes Relaxation

Yale Study : Dr. Rachel Lampert, M.D., a professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and her colleagues studied 37 patients after having a heart attack. The patients were randomized into three groups: patients who simply rested, those who received a single session of reiki treatment from a nurse trained in reiki and those who listened to relaxing music. The researchers measured activity of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and digestion.

Lampert’s team zoomed in on heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of the pattern of heartbeats that’s controlled by the ANS. The higher the HRV after a heart attack, the better the outlook for the patient, explains Lampert.

In the Yale study, patients who received reiki had a higher HRV and improved emotional state. “Our study was a very nice demonstration that doing things that are relaxing has benefits,” says Lampert. “We showed increased activity of the healthy arm of the nervous system.”

Boosts Mood and Sleep

Harvard Study : Researchers at Harvard Medical School followed 99 patients at multiple sites to determine the effects of a single reiki session. The study—a single arm effectiveness study published in 2019 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine—found statistically significant improvements in anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as pain and nausea.

Eases Physical Pain and Promotes Quality of Life

Portuguese researcher Zilda Alarcao and her colleagues looked at the impact of reiki treatment versus sham or fake reiki in two groups of patients with blood cancer. Each group contained 58 patients who received an hour-long treatment once a week for four weeks—either someone trained to administer reiki worked on them or someone pretending to do reiki (sham reiki) spent an hour with them.

The researchers found the patients who received real reiki showed significantly more improvements than the other group in general, physical, environmental and social dimensions of quality of life using the Portuguese version of the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life survey (WHOQoL-Bref), a well-regarded research tool that measures pain and other quality of life issues after undergoing an intervention.

Risks and Side Effects of Reiki

Multiple studies report no adverse effects of reiki, likely because it’s a noninvasive treatment. Practitioners note clients usually report feeling relaxed after a session, but some feel energized.

One potential risk is that clients can misunderstand the role reiki should play in a treatment plan. The code of ethics of the Reiki Alliance, a professional reiki association, clearly states that reiki practitioners work as a complement—not a replacement—to the medical care a patient receives.


The article is a 5-7 minute read, very informative and fact based.


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