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Reiki research to support Stress, Anxiety and wellbeing

Reiki: a supportive therapy in nursing practice and self-care for nurses.

Reiki is a complementary, energy-based healing modality. It has ancient roots, but is uniquely suited to modern nursing practice. Reiki training offers a precise technique for tapping into healing energy, or ki, and transmitting it through touch. Reiki treatments are gently balancing and provide energy that supports the well-being of the recipient in a holistic and individualistic way. Relaxation, pain relief, physical healing, reduced emotional distress, and a deepened awareness of spiritual connection are among the benefits attributed to Reiki in anecdotes, case studies, and exploratory research, as summarized in this review of literature. Reiki is easily adaptable to nursing practice in a variety of settings, and can provide support for the practitioners of Reiki themselves, as well as benefiting those they treat with Reiki.

PMID: 14639776

The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Experience and measurements show that sustained contact with the Earth yields sustained benefits. Specifically, grounding an organism produces measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response.

Grounding reduces or even prevents the cardinal signs of inflammation following injury: redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of function. Rapid resolution of painful chronic inflammation was confirmed in 20 case studies using medical infrared imaging.

Multi-disciplinary research has revealed that electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth (grounding or earthing) produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The purpose of this report is two-fold: to 1) inform researchers about what appears to be a new perspective to the study of inflammation, and 2) alert researchers that the length of time and degree (resistance to ground) of grounding of experimental animals is an important but usually overlooked factor that can influence outcomes of studies of inflammation, wound healing, and tumorigenesis. Specifically, grounding an organism produces measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response. We present several hypotheses to explain observed effects, based on current research results and our understanding of the electronic aspects of cell and tissue physiology, cell biology, biophysics, and biochemistry. An experimental injury to muscles, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, has been used to monitor the immune response under grounded versus ungrounded conditions. Grounding reduces pain and alters the numbers of circulating neutrophils and lymphocytes, and also affects various circulating chemical factors related to inflammation.

PMID: 2584831



PMCID :PMC4378297

Effects of Reiki Treatment on Depression and Anxiety

There were statistically-significant levels of improvement in all three measures in Group 1: State Anxiety (p<.001), Trait Anxiety (p<.001) and Depression (p<.001) from Baseline to Post-test.
In Group 2 change in State Anxiety was not significant for time (p=.07), however, changes in both Trait Anxiety (p<.001) and Depression (p<.001) were significant.

Findings indicate approximately 10% reduction in State Anxiety, Trait Anxiety and Depression after completion of the three Reiki treatments. These reductions were maintained at the 30-day Post-Intervention measure.

Source: 2012 Effects of Reiki Treatment on Anxiety and Depression: A Randomized Control Trial Vera A. Porter, ThD, PhD, David A. Eicher, PhD and Nanci Avitable, PhD

A Randomised Controlled Single-Blind Trial of the Efficacy of Reiki at Benefitting Mood and Well-Being

The beneficial effects following Reiki found in this study for those participants with initially high levels of anxiety/depression, as evinced by the total Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, are in keeping with the findings of our previous study. There the Reiki group demonstrated comparatively greater overall mood and stress benefits than the controls who did not receive Reiki, accompanied by a buffering of the increase in symptoms of illness seen in the controls. Here the benefits were specific to those with high negative mood and were not found in the corresponding high negative mood control group. Post treatment the total DASS score had improved with Reiki, and this was sustained over five weeks at follow-up. 

Source: A Randomised Controlled Single-Blind Trial of the Efficacy of Reiki at Benefitting Mood and Well-Being Deborah Bowden, Lorna Goddard, and John Gruzelier

A Large-Scale Effectiveness Trial of Reiki for Physical and Psychological Health - 2019

The study design was a single arm effectiveness trial with measures at pre-and post- intervention.

99 Reiki Masters participated N=1411 Reiki sessions were conducted and included in the analysis.

The 20 item Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) was used to assess effect. Single-item self-report measures were used to assess a wide range of physical and psychological variables immediately before (pre) and after (post) the Reiki session.

Physical and psychological health-related measures included pain, tiredness, drowsiness, nausea, appetite, shortness of breath, depression, and anxiety. Conclusion: A single session of Reiki improved physical and psychological health variables in a non-clinical population.

Source: A Large-Scale Effectiveness Trial of Reiki for Physical and Psychological Health | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (

Alpha power increases during energy healing. EEG studies of healers, mystics and shamans 

This scientific comparative study provides objective data demonstrating that Energy Healers (Bioenergy Healers) from diverse traditions can shift their EEG to produce more Alpha power when engaged in the act of healing (local and distant). Moreover, clients receiving the healing also produced robust increased Alpha power. The unexpected finding that different healing traditions all share a common denominator, viz. increased Alpha power during HS, and that the Alpha power increase is also measured in the clients during RH is discussed.


Enhanced coherence within the theta band between pairs of brains engaging in experienced versus naïve Reiki procedures

The study objective was to discern whether the coherence between brain activities of the "patient" and practitioner differ between Reiki experts and novices.Only the coherence within the theta range increased over time between the brains of the Reiki pairs relative to the Sham pairs, particularly over the left hemisphere. The pleasantness-unpleasantness rating for the words employed to describe experiences written after the experiment were more congruent for the Reiki pairs compared to the reference pairs.

The increased synchronization of the cerebral activity of the participant and the practitioner during proximal therapies involving touch such as Reiki may be an important component of any subsequent beneficial effects.

PMID: 24967637 DOI: 10.1089/acm.2012.0909

An Evaluation of the Subjective Experience of Receiving Reiki: Qualitative Results from a Pragmatic Effectiveness Study

The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the subjective experience of Reiki in a large sample. 

A total of 99 Reiki practitioners met the inclusion criteria and participated in the study. Reiki practitioners invited each of their Reiki clients to complete a survey before and after the Reiki session. Of the N = 1575 Reiki sessions recorded, N = 1284 qualitative responses were completed (82% of total) and included in the analysis. Trained and experienced Reiki masters conducted Reiki sessions in person, with each session lasting between 45 and 90 min.

The findings from this study suggest that Reiki can elicit the relaxation response and alter emotions and perception in such a way as to facilitate a transformative subjective healing experience.

8 Sep 2022

Study assesses reiki benefits for mental health in pandemic

Conducted by Fiocruz (Portugal) researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic, a study points out that reiki is a practice that can reduce emotional symptoms such as fear of death, panic and anxiety with improved mental health. Conducted from March 2020 to December 2021, at the National School of Public Health (Ensp/Fiocruz), the study aimed to apply reiki – with therapeutic listening in cell phone teleservice – in women under psychiatric care in the Covid-19 pandemic, subjecting to limitation of face-to-face access to medical consultations and psychosocial interventions. As a critical analysis, we recommend that reiki is needed for a greater number of users assisted by mental health services and in the long term so that the effectiveness of the results can be better established," the researchers said. In view of the results, they emphasize the importance of monitoring the effect of reiki on the maintenance of mental health, "since there was a gradual decrease in psychiatric medications in half of the people treated." Two users discontinued use under medical guidance".


The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults

Forty participants were randomly assigned to either a breathing intervention group (BIG) or a control group (CG). BIG showed a significant decrease in negative affect after intervention, compared to baseline. BIG showed significantly increased sustained attention after training, compared to baseline. BIG had a significantly lower cortisol level after training.

Source: PMID: 28626434

The Laughter Prescription

Research is indicating that the physical act of laughing, even without humor, is linked to chemical changes in the body that potentially reduce stress and increase pain tolerance.


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