Have There Been Any Scientific Studies on Reiki?

Before exploring Reiki, many people ask, “Have there been any scientific studies?” Reiki, and other complementary treatments are becoming more and more popular. The Mayo Clinic states that “nearly 40% of adults report using complementary and alternative medicine.” The Mayo Clinic Health System in Onalaska says that “Reiki is now being used in a growing number of hospitals and clinics throughout the United States and throughout the world.”

Reiki practitioners

Reiki was started in 1922 by Mikao Usui. It is estimated that there are “at least one million Reiki practitioners presently in the world. In the next five years, the number of Reiki practitioners could increase to over ten million.” (International Center for Reiki Training)

I would guess that these estimates are low. Many Reiki practitioners are not professionals. They are regular people who use Reiki to help family and friends.

Scientific studies on Reiki

Considering how long Reiki has been around and the number of practitioners there are relatively few scientific studies. According to the Mayo Clinic “One reason for the lack of research in complementary and alternative medicine is that large carefully controlled studies are costly. Trials for conventional therapies are often funded by big companies that develop and sell drugs. Fewer resources are available to support complementary and alternative medicine.”

With that said, there have been a number studies. Briefly here are a few results:

  • Reiki can reduce diastolic blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reiki has a positive effect on the immune system
  • Reiki can reduce anxiety in heart patients
  • With Reiki treatment, wounds heal faster

To learn more, read the complete article on Reiki.org.

Books on Reiki research

If you wish to delve deeper into research studies on Reiki, here are two books:

Spiritual Healing: Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution by Daniel J. Benor, M.D.
This book includes 124 scientific studies that demonstrate that alternative healing practices, including Reiki, are effective.

Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James L. Oschman
This book brings together evidence from a variety of scientific disciplines to explain how energy healing techniques work.

A website for Reiki research

The Center for Reiki Research promotes a scientific awareness of Reiki. On this site you will find:

  • A list of evidenced based research papers in peer reviewed journals
  • Guidance for those who wish to do future studies
  • A list of hospitals, clinics, and hospice programs which offer Reiki

In 2007, over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki. I am sure this number has grown in recent years.

Are there scientific studies on Reiki?

I hope this article convinced you that many people are taking Reiki and other forms of complementary medicine seriously. The answer is yes. We do have scientific evidence. I expect to see more studies in the future. We will keep you informed of any new research studies on Reiki.

Donna Weber, M.A., LPC


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