More and more scientific studies are being conducted and research projects funded as Reiki continues to be integrated into our various health care systems. Some of the documentation of this work, which begins to answer the science questions of “what” and “how,” is available in the links on this page.

University of Connecticut Health Center Study Supports Reiki’s Efficacy

Financed by the National Institutes of Health center for complementary and alternative medicine, and published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, the tightly controlled three-year study suggests that test-tube cells grew better when people trained in reiki touch therapy passed their hands over the containers.

The cell cultures received two 10-minute treatments a week for two weeks. One set of treatments was performed by people trained in reiki. The other set was carried out by untrained people. When all of the hand waving was done, Gronowicz examined the cells. The results showed that reiki had no effect on bone cancer cells, but that the process improved bone cell growth by a statistically significant percent. Skin and tendon cells also grew under the reiki regimen.

National Institutes of Health Sponsors Reiki Study

Here is a PDF file of a pilot study on Reiki funded by N.I.H. and conducted by Beverly Rubik, Ph.D, Audrey J. Brooks, Ph.D. and Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D.

The results of the study are most intriguing. In brief, they show a statistically significant positive effect on bacterial growth in a “healing context.” Read the whole study here:

PDF File of NIH Study

Scientific Explanation for Reiki

There is a scientific explanation for Reiki that is based on scientific studies and factual information. This explanation has been presented as a testable hypothesis by James Oschman, Ph.D.

Dr. Oschman is a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. Through research, he discovered a number of important scientific studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology. “Science and the Human Energy Field.”

The electrical currents that run through every part of the human body provide the basis for Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues of the body and can be detected anywhere on the body.

Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.

The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated. Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of this hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the interview mentioned above.

Acceptance by the Medical Community

Within the medical community, many medical professionals, hospitals, and healthcare facilities recognize its benefits and accept it as an adjunct therapy. In Holistic Nursing, A Handbook for Practice, Chapter 2 “Scope and Standards of Practice,” the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA) lists Reiki as an accepted form of treatment. In addition, according to the American Hospital Association, in 2007 Reiki was offered as a standard part of patient care in 15% or over 800 hospitals across the US. Doctors have recommended Reiki to their patients for amelioration of various health-related conditions. Surgeons make use of Reiki practitioners prior to, during, and following surgery. As an example, Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most respected cardiovascular surgeons in the US, uses Reiki during open-heart surgeries and heart transplants. According to Dr. Oz, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”

Other Scientific Studies

There are a number of reputable scientific studies that provide evidence that Reiki is therapeutic. These studies can be found by using one of the professional medical databases such as PubMed or Cochrane Collection. Studies meeting medical and scientific standards are usually published in peer-reviewed journals. There are over 20 such studies on the therapeutic value of Reiki. A review of some of these studies, “An Integrative Review of Reiki Touch Therapy Research” by Anne Vitale, Ph. D., can be found here. While the Reiki studies conducted to date are preliminary in nature, they do provide support for additional studies.

One well-designed Reiki study is “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study.” Forty-five subjects were assigned randomly to three groups. One group received no treatment, another received Reiki treatment by experienced Reiki practitioners, and the third group received sham treatment by a person with no Reiki training who used the same hand positions as those receiving real Reiki.

Measurements were made of heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing. Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly for those receiving Reiki, but not for those receiving sham Reiki, or no treatment.

This study indicates that the body does respond to Reiki energy and that this response isn’t purely psychological.