Research into the Effectiveness of Reiki

Pain Relief

Cochrane Review: touch therapies for pain relief in adults.

The Cochrane Review is regarded as gold-standard research evidence. The Cochrane Review is independent and publishes systematic reviews of evidence – putting evidence from many trials together to see what the bigger picture may say. “Although the lack of sufficient data means that the results are inconclusive, the evidence that does exist supports the use of touch therapies in pain relief. Studies involving more experienced practitioners tend to yield greater effects in pain reduction. It is also apparent that studies with greater effects are carried out by highly experienced Reiki practitioners.”

To read more online:  Touch therapies for pain relief in adults (Review)

Source:  Wiley Online Library, Copyright © 2012 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.



In a study by Shore (2004) a group of 45 participants were split into three and given: hands on healing, distant healing and placebo. Reiki was found to be effective in relieving the symptoms of depression and stress. The placebo group was later given reiki treatment and produced similar results to the others.

Source:  The Reiki Council


Cancer Related Fatigue

In a trial by Tsang et al (2007), it was seen that there were significant decreases in tiredness, pain and anxiety. It was recommended that further and more extensive trials be conducted with a control group.

Source:  The Reiki Council


Rehabilitation from Drugs and/or Alcohol

Reiki as intervention by G. Milton and E. Chapman (2002)

A paper produced after 10 years of work at a treatment center for rehabilitation from substance misuse.

Our hypothesis, therefore, is that Reiki appears to induce a profound relaxation response within 10 minutes for nearly all recipients. This relaxation may last from a few hours to even a week, and is usually coupled with a reduction in client anxiety, tension and aggression. Recipients of Reiki also generally express feelings of ‘peace’, ‘wellbeing’ and spiritual ‘upliftment’, with a greater ability to sleep after treatment. This is of very significant benefit for residents during the early stages of drug withdrawal, because difficulty in sleeping is a common problem.”

The paper provides extensive information into the benefit of reiki, during the recovery period and into long-term abstinence.

To read more, link to the pdf:  Reiki as an Intervention in Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal and Rehabilitation

Source:  Reiki Australia



Hartford Hospital, Connecticut carried out research, under Dr Molly Punzo, MD into using Reiki to reduce anxiety and pain across a number of departments including Cardiology, Orthopedic, Oncology, and Palliative Care units, as well as in the outpatient Cancer Center. During the pilot phase, outcome measurements were obtained from patients rating their anxiety and pain pre and post Reiki sessions. The Quality Management Department analysed the results which showed a statistically significant decrease in anxiety and pain regardless of the specialty area.

Source:  The Reiki Council


Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A small trial conducted by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Medway, Kent and a GP from Dartford referred 13 patients to the Reiki Research Foundation. Results show a positive improvement in the symptoms of pain, depression, lethargy, bowel and urinary disfunction.

Source:  The Healing Pages


Research into Reiki for people with Cancer

There is no scientific evidence to prove that Reiki can prevent, treat or cure cancer or any other disease. But many healthcare professionals accept Reiki as a useful complementary therapy that may help to lower stress, promote relaxation and possibly help reduce some types of pain.

A Canadian phase 2 study in 2003 looked at whether Reiki could control pain in people with advanced cancer. People did have a significant reduction in pain after Reiki treatment but the study was small and had only 20 patients.

Source:  Cancer Research UK


Reiki and HIV / AIDS

Reiki can help HIV/AIDS patients reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and more – they can improve their outcomes with other therapies that they are undergoing. Reiki’s salutary effect on the immune system may have long-term impact.  Experiments are needed to determine the full extent of the effect of Reiki on the immune system.

Source:  The Healing Pages