Reiki Effectiveness - Six Scientific Studies to Support Energy Healing Technique


Here at The CMA, we are delighted to be able to bring you yet more research on the effects of a variety of complementary and integrative medical therapies.

Following on from the immense popularity of research we highlighted on Wednesday 2nd February 2022, supporting smudging – we wanted to support our outstanding Reiki Practitioner Members by taking a look at the key research studies from the last few years.

A large-scale effectiveness trial of Reiki for physical and mental health issues (see below) has shown that just a single Reiki session can make a measurable positive difference to the recipient, as it improves multiple variables of physical and psychological health

Despite the fact that there is still little known about how Reiki works, there is now a wealth of research data that support its use in both lay and hospital settings – as you’ll see from the research, we have gathered for you below.

You’ll appreciate that we can only bring you a few studies in this format, but we heartily encourage you to do your own research as we have done – and remember that research of this nature counts towards your CMA CPD hours!

We hope that you will find this information as helpful and fascinating as we have done and we welcome you to share it with your friends, colleagues and clients – and request that you credit The Complementary Medical Association, to highlight the work we do to elevate the profession for the benefit of all.



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


Objectives: The main purpose of this study was to measure the effect of a single session of Reiki on physical and psychological health in a large non-clinical group. 

Design: The study design was a single-arm effectiveness trial with specific measures implemented before and after participation.

Settings: The study took place at private Reiki practices across the United States. 

Subjects: Reiki practitioners were recruited from an online mailing list to participate in the study with their clients. A total of 99 Reiki practitioners met the inclusion criteria and participated in the study. Reiki practitioners were asked to give a leaflet to each of their clients containing information about the study. They subsequently invited the client to complete a survey before and after their next session. 

Interventions: Trained and certified Reiki Masters conducted the sessions face to face, with each session lasting between 45 and 90 min depending on the clients requirements.

Outcome measures: The well-validated 20-item Positive and Negative Affect Schedule was used to assess the effect, and brief, single-item self-report measures were used to assess a wide range of physical and psychological variables immediately before and after the Reiki session. 

(To confirm the process above The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule or (PANAS) is a scale that consists of different words that describe feelings and emotions. - Magyar-Moe, 2009).

One of these scales measures positive affect, and the other measures negative affect.)

Results: A total of N = 1411 Reiki sessions were conducted and included in the PANAS analysis. Significant improvements were observed for all outcome measures, including positive affect, negative affect, pain, drowsiness, tiredness, nausea, appetite, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and overall well-being.

Conclusions: The results suggest that a single session of Reiki improves multiple aspects related to physical and psychological health.


Dyer NL, Baldwin AL, Rand WL. A Large-Scale Effectiveness Trial of Reiki for Physical and Psychological Health. J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Dec;25(12):1156-1162. doi: 10.1089/acm.2019.0022. Epub 2019 Oct 22. PMID: 31638407.



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.

Reference: Baldwin, Ann Linda PhD; Vitale, Anne PhD, APN, AHN-BC; Brownell, Elise PhD; Kryak, Elizabeth DrNP, RN-BC; Rand, William Effects of Reiki on Pain, Anxiety, and Blood Pressure in Patients Undergoing Knee Replacement, Holistic Nursing Practice: March/April 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - p 80-89

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000195



Reiki for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy in a Brazilian Hospital

A Pilot Study


The purpose of this pilot study was to explore if Reiki given to cancer patients at a Brazilian hospital improved symptoms and well-being. Each session was personalised to suit the needs of each individual patient. Of 36 patients who received 5 Reiki sessions data was taken using the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP). The results were compared before and after their treatment and also with 14 patients from the comparison group who did not receive Reiki. 21 patients reported feeling better, 12 felt worse, and 3 reported no change. Of the comparison group, 6 patients reported feeling better and 8 felt worse.


Reference: Siegel, Pamela PhD; da Motta, Pedro Mourão Roxo MSc; da Silva, Luis G. MSc; Stephan, Celso BTE, PhD; Lima, Carmen Silvia Passos MD, PhD; de Barros, Nelson Filice PhD Reiki for Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy in a Brazilian Hospital, Holistic Nursing Practice: May/June 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 174-182

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000146



Effects of Reiki on Pain and Vital Signs When Applied to the Incision Area of the Body After Caesarean Section Surgery

A Single-Blinded, Randomised, Double-Controlled Study



This study was conducted to determine the effects of Reiki on pain and vital signs when applied for 15 minutes to the incision area of the body after caesarean section surgery. The study was single-blinded, randomized, and double-controlled (Reiki, sham Reiki, and control groups). Forty-five women, of similar age and with the same number of births, were randomly assigned to the Reiki, sham Reiki, and control groups. The treatment, which was applied to the patients in these 3 groups, was applied for 15 minutes to the incision area of the body in the first 24 and 48 hours after the operation. Data was collected using a patient follow-up form and a visual analogue scale. Mean visual analogue scale measurement values were significantly different from each other according to groups. A reduction in pain of 76.06% was determined in the Reiki group patients between day 1 post-op and after application on the second day. Mean breathing rate and systolic blood pressure measurement values were significantly different from each other groups also.

It was concluded that Reiki applied for 15 minutes to the incision area after a caesarean operation had the expected effects on pain and the need for the use of analgesics, but it had no effect on vital signs.


Reference: Sagkal Midilli, Tulay PhD, RN; Ciray Gunduzoglu, Nazmiye PhD, RN Effects of Reiki on Pain and Vital Signs When Applied to the Incision Area of the Body After Cesarean Section Surgery, Holistic Nursing Practice: November/December 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 6 - p 368-378

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000172


The Effect of Reiki on Pain and Anxiety in Women with Abdominal Hysterectomies 

A Quasi-experimental Pilot Study


The purpose of this pilot study was to compare reports of pain and levels of state anxiety in 2 groups of women post-hysterectomy. The experimental group received traditional nursing care plus three 30-minute sessions of Reiki, while the control group received traditional nursing care. The results indicated that the experimental group reported less pain and requested fewer pain control measurements than the control group. Also, the experimental group reported lower anxiety levels than the control group on discharge at 72 hours post-operation. The authors recommend replication of this study with a similar population, such as women who require non-emergency caesarean section deliveries.

Reference: Vitale, Anne T. MSN, APRN, BC; O'Connor, Priscilla C. PhD, APRN, BC The Effect of Reiki on Pain and Anxiety in Women with Abdominal Hysterectomies, Holistic Nursing Practice: November 2006 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 263-272



Integrative Reiki for Cancer Patients: A Programme Evaluation


Objective: This mixed-methods study sought to evaluate the outcomes of an integrative Reiki volunteer programme in an academic medical oncology centre setting. 

Method: Data were collected before and after each session using a modified version of the distress thermometer. The information from the assessment was analysed. Supporting evidence was derived from written responses to open-ended questions asked after each Reiki session and analysed for keywords and recurring themes. 

Results: Of the 213 pre-post surveys of first-time sessions in the evaluation period, we observed a more than 50% decrease in self-reported distress (from 3.80 to 1.55), anxiety (from 4.05 to 1.44), depression (from 2.54 to 1.10), pain (from 2.58 to 1.21), and fatigue (from 4.80 to 2.30) with P < .001 for all. Using conservative estimates that treat missing data as not endorsing Reiki, we found 176 (82.6%) of participants liked the Reiki session, 176 (82.6%) found the Reiki session helpful, 157 (73.7%) plan to continue using Reiki, and 175 (82.2%) would recommend Reiki to others. Qualitative analyses found that individuals reported that Reiki induced relaxation and enhanced spiritual well-being. 

Conclusions. An integrative Reiki volunteer programme shows promise as a component of supportive care for all cancer patients. Further research is required to evaluate and understand the impact that Reiki may have for all involved including not only the patients but caregivers, and staff whose lives have been affected by cancer also.

Reference: Fleisher KA, Mackenzie ER, Frankel ES, Seluzicki C, Casarett D, Mao JJ. Integrative Reiki for Cancer Patients: A Program Evaluation. Integrative Cancer Therapies. January 2014:62-67. doi:10.1177/1534735413503547

Living with dogs (but not cats) as a toddler might protect against Crohn’s disease

Living with dogs (but not cats) as a toddler might protect against Crohn’s disease

Young children who grow up with a dog or in a large family
may have some protection later in life from a common ...

Meditation for Peace, 9th March 2022

Vegan & Plant Based Pancake Recipe

Mindfulness as a key to success in psychotherapy

Mindfulness as a key to success in psychotherapy

Meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques have gained
widespread acceptance among broad segments of the ...

Leaves Institute – Kindness is Key

Positive Impact on Muscle Strength with 3 Seconds a Day of Weight Lifting


A mass survey of citizens aged 50 to 89 years examined whether cognitive decline could be detected by sagittal spinal balance measurement based on a radiological approach. Doctors from Shinshu University observed associations of sagittal vertical axis (SVA) anteriorization and higher age with lower cognitive function.

Although the prevalence of dementia is expected to triple over the next 40 years, research has revealed risk factors that we can influence through lifestyle choices. A new study has concluded that 30-50% of Alzheimer’s disease cases could be preventable.

Research has shown that a plant based diet is not only beneficial to the brain, but may also help to prevent dementias including Alzheimer’s disease. Eating well can help to protect our memory as we grow older.

A new Cleveland Clinic-led study has identified sildenafil – an FDA-approved therapy for erectile dysfunction (Viagra) and pulmonary hypertension (Revatio) – as a promising drug candidate to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The COMPLEMENTARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (The CMA) © 2012. No part of this site may be reproduced without the express permission of The Complementary Medical Association. If used without prior consent a charge of US $1,000 per article, or mini section is paid (US $50 per word (minimum) will be charged. This is not meant to reflect a commercial rate for the content, but as a punitive cost and to reimburse The CMA for legal fees and time costs). Use of the contents, without permission will be taken as consent to bill the illegal user in full.