William Lee Rand’s International
Center for Reiki Training recently
forwarded the following article that AOL has posted on Reiki and pain
management. It is a positive article
stating that Reiki helps manage pain.
Can Reiki Help Your
ancient Japanese touch therapy similar to massage has shown real results for
managing chronic pain.
Myers Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III,
The practice of Reiki sounds almost
too good to be true. By "laying on hands" on specific parts of your
body or even just positioning hands slightly above your body, a qualified Reiki
practitioner can help bring relief to your chronic pain and make you feel
better than you have in years. It is an ancient Japanese technique and a form
of alternative medicine also sometimes referred to as a "biofield"
In alternative medicine, Reiki is a
treatment in which healing energy is channeled from the practitioner to the
patient to enhance energy and reduce stress, pain, and fatigue. Practitioners
say that it works by opening up a channel between healer and patient to
transfer energy — a Reiki healer restores the body both physically and
During a Reiki session, muscles are
relaxed, and energy flow is unblocked. This helps reduce physical tension and
pain. Anxiety and stress also are reduced, helping to unblock and release
emotional pain. Although you may not be completely pain-free, you feel relaxed,
refreshed, and better able to cope
with your condition.
Reiki and Chronic Pain:
What the Research Shows
Though Reiki may sound very
"new-agey," the effectiveness of this ancient treatment has been
shown in some studies. "A [recent] issue of the International Journal
of Behavioral Medicine reviewed 66 clinical trials on biofield
therapies," says Julie Kusiak, MA, a Reiki practitioner in the integrative
medicine department at Beaumont Hospital
in Royal Oak, Mich.
The authors of the review concluded that there was strong evidence that
biofield therapies help reduce the intensity of pain in general and moderate
evidence that these therapies help reduce the intensity of pain for people who
are hospitalized or who have cancer, Kusiak says.
In addition, Kusiak says, a
separate review article of 24 studies also showed that touch therapies were
successful in reducing pain. This review article noted that the studies
involving Reiki therapy seemed to have the most success.
When Reiki is examined for its
impact on more specific types of pain, the results seem to hold up equally
well. "Recent studies on Reiki therapy reflect a broad spectrum of its
benefit for pain relief," says Kusiak. "During colonoscopy, Reiki
treatment resulted in decreased anxiety and pain. With abdominal
hysterectomies, the women who had Reiki therapy both before and after their
procedures experienced lower anxiety and pain. Cancer patients being treated
with Reiki reported lower fatigue, less pain, less anxiety, and better quality
of life. And in a community of older adults, those who received Reiki therapy
were documented to have reduced pain, anxiety, and depression."
Another plus about Reiki, adds
Kusiak, is that it seems to be effective with very few side effects. "No
serious side effects or risks have been identified in the medical literature on
Reiki, and it is considered to be a very low-risk intervention," she says.
"Since Reiki is facilitated either with a very light touch or with no
touch — slightly off the body — it provides a therapeutic option for those who
are in pain or unable to be touched."
Finding a Reiki
Practitioner for Chronic Pain
If you're interested in finding a
qualified practitioner of this alternative medicine, Kusiak points out that
standardization of the practice of Reiki is lacking in the United States, so
your best bet might be to get a good reference and do some research on
potential practitioners that you might be interested in.
National standards are lacking for
Reiki and other biofield therapies, so a key factor to consider would be the
practitioner's level of experience and training," she says. "Ask them
if they have an understanding of and experience treating your particular health
concern. With serious medical concerns, you may need a practitioner who is
affiliated with an integrative medicine program. Finally, as with any therapy,
one needs to feel comfortable with the practitioner."