Scientific Research On Reiki

Although Reiki continues to gain popularity as a alternative energy healing therapy, the jury is still out on its possible benefits. While patient testimonials are often very favorable, scientific research on Reiki treatment is difficult to measure. One of the reasons for the inconclusive evidence is that Reiki techniques are difficult to isolate in a controlled experiment.

Favorable Studies
Multiple studies support the positive benefits of treatment. In these studies, scientists administered Reiki treatment to rats and found that the therapy significantly lowered and stabilized their heart rates. The studies were based on previous findings that established that rats exposed to high-stress white noise tended to have faster heart rates when the noise was administered.

One Reiki study included rats both unexposed and exposed to white noise. Some of the test animals were administered with authentic Reiki practices, while others were administered placebo “sham-Reiki,” or no treatment.

Rats that received Reiki established and maintained lower heart rates whether they were exposed to noise or not. The control group’s untreated and placebo rats saw normal elevation of heart rates when exposed to white noise.

Unfavorable Studies
In another study, researchers attempted to measure the effect of Reiki on individuals rehabilitating from strokes. The practitioners involved in the study included:

  • A control group of sham practitioners
  • A group of certified Reiki practitioners
  • A Reiki master.
  • At the conclusion of this study, no observed improvement in the rehabilitation of any of the patients exposed to Reiki was found. Their rate of rehabilitation and performance in tests was on par with patients of their age and gender who received no treatment.

    Among the practitioners, those who received sham training reported the highest incidents of feeling energy flow or heat during the Reiki process.

    Why Study Is Problematic
    Accurate study of the effects of Reiki is problematic because the standards of medical study are high, and Reiki is more of a spiritual practice.

    Although studies of patients suffering from stroke reflect poorly on Reiki’s effects, it’s notable that the group of practitioners was comprised of a single Reiki master who trained one group of practitioners, then “remotely initiated” a select few in a meditation ceremony. This was the only difference between the control and variable groups in this area of the study.

    Though scientific studies provide mixed results, patient feedback is often positive. If you’re interested, you may want to learn what to expect from a Reiki session.