top of page

Reiki Research in a Medical Study

Using Reiki to manage pain: a preliminary report

The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of Reiki as an adjuvant to opioid therapy in the management of pain. Since no studies in this area could be found, a pilot study was carried out involving 20 volunteers experiencing pain at 55 sites for a variety of reasons, including cancer. All Reiki treatments were provided by a certified second-degree Reiki therapist. Pain was measured using both a visual analogue scale (VAS) and a Likert scale immediately before and after the Reiki treatment. Both instruments showed a highly significant (p < 0.0001) reduction in pain following the Reiki treatment.


Endoscopic procedure with a modified Reiki intervention: a pilot study

This pilot study examined the use of Reiki prior to colonoscopy to reduce anxiety and minimize intraprocedure medications compared with usual care. A prospective, nonblinded, partially randomized patient preference design was employed using 21 subjects undergoing colonoscopy for the first time. Symptoms of anxiety and pain were assessed using a Likert-type scale. Between-group differences were assessed using chi-square analyses and analysis of variance.  Although the experimental group patients had more symptoms, they did not require additional pain medication during the procedure, suggesting that (1) anxious people may benefit from an adjunctive therapy; (2) anxiety and pain are decreased by Reiki therapy for patients undergoing colonoscopy, and (3) additional intraprocedure pain medication may not be needed for colonoscopy patients receiving Reiki therapy. This pilot study provided important insights in preparation for a rigorous, randomized, controlled clinical trial.

PMID: 20145447


Effects of Reiki on Pain, Anxiety, and Blood Pressure in Patients Undergoing Knee Replacement: A Pilot Study.

This blinded, controlled pilot study investigated the effects of Reiki on 46 patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. Of the 3 groups, Reiki, Sham Reiki, and Standard of Care, only the Reiki group showed significant reductions in pain, blood pressure, respiration rate, and state anxiety, which provides evidence for a full-scale clinical study.


PMID: 28181973

Integrative Reiki for Cancer Patients: A Program Evaluation

Objective. This mixed methods study sought to evaluate the outcomes of an integrative Reiki volunteer program in an academic medical oncology center setting.

Conclusions. An integrative Reiki volunteer program shows promise as a component of supportive care for cancer patients. More research is needed to evaluate and understand the impact that Reiki may have for patients, caregivers, and staff whose lives have been affected by cancer.

Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome

This study measured the short-term autonomic effects of Reiki in immediate post-ACS inpatients, a population with autonomic dysfunction in whom improvement in HRV is known to be protective. Reiki, administered by nurses, significantly increased vagal activity as measured by HF HRV, compared with resting and music control conditions, with a decrease in negative and an increase in positive emotional states. The magnitude of the effect on HF HRV seen was similar to that of propranolol in the BHAT (Beta Blocker Heart Attack Trial) (2). These findings suggest a potential clinical role for Reiki in the post-ACS inpatient setting. Future research should evaluate whether Reiki treatment over a longer period can generate lasting benefits for autonomic balance and psychological well-being in patients after ACS.

Safety of Reiki Therapy for Newborns at Risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

This pilot study addresses feasibility and demonstrates that Reiki is safe when administered to this high-risk population.

Thrane et al examined the feasibility, acceptability, and outcomes of pain, anxiety, and relaxation using Reiki therapy with children receiving palliative care. Statistics included paired t tests or Wilcoxon signed rank tests to compare changes in these parameters after providing two 20-minute Reiki sessions. Significant decreases for pain occurred from pain in the first treatment in nonverbal children (P = .063) and for respiratory rate for the second treatment in verbal children (P = .009). This work suggests that Reiki may be beneficial to support traditional pain management and anxiety in children receiving palliative care.

Separate anecdotal reports highlight routine use of Reiki in several neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), with positive perceived effects on vital signs, improved appearance of distress, responsiveness, and body tone.

Repeated-measures analyses of physiological data suggest a possible benefit in neonatal heart rates during and after Reiki sessions. A decrease in heart rate during the Reiki session may be reflective of a relaxation response, described in a study of adults receiving Reiki for withdrawal.

PMID: 29315084

Reiki for Pain During Hemodialysis: A Feasibility and Instrument Evaluation Study - 2019

15 participants received Reiki for 20 minutes twice a week for 4 weeks.

Pain, fatigue, and depression were evaluated using established symptom scales and PROMIS CAT instruments.

Conclusion: Findings suggest Reiki provides symptom relief for individuals receiving hemodialysis, and randomized clinical trials to establish the benefits of Reiki in pain management in this population are warranted.

Source: Reiki for Pain During Hemodialysis: A Feasibility and Instrument Evaluation Study - Savannah Zins, Mary Catherine Hooke, Cynthia R. Gross, 2019 (

Observing Live Blood via Live Cell Analysis Under Darkfield Microscopy When Exposed To Reiki Ryoho Treatment

71 volunteers from November 2017 to January 2021 participated in this Vibrant Health Research project.  Each volunteer donated blood samples by capillary puncture and received a Reiki treatment of thirty minutes in length.

Results: Changes found in live cell blood samples, in its 3 forms of analysis (live cell samples, stressed samples, OST) were extensive and varied.

The PANAS results indicate that the Positive descriptors used, increased on average 69% per volunteer.  Negative emotion descriptors dropped by 262% on average per descriptor, as emotional ratings shifted from a rating of varying discomfort to a more positive rating.  Body sensations showed a decrease in ratings, averaging a drop in negative sensations of 196%.

Each volunteer’s PANAS responded to multiple positive, negative, and body sensation descriptors reflecting in the percentage numbers exceeding 100.

Source: Observing Live Blood Cells When Exposed To Reiki Ryoho Treatment (

bottom of page