MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The purpose of this feasibility study was to:

(1) educate participants about the concept of Reiki,

(2) give participants the opportunity to experience six Reiki therapy sessions and subsequently assess outcomes on chronic pain,

(3) assess participants’ impression of and willingness to continue using and recommending Reiki therapy as adjunct for the treatment of chronic pain.

Using a prospective repeated measures pre- and postintervention design, a convenience sample of 30 military health care beneficiaries with chronic pain were educated about Reiki and received six 30-minute Reiki sessions over 2 to 3 weeks. Pain was assessed using a battery of pain assessment tools as well as assessment of impression of and willingness to share the concept of Reiki.

Repeated measures ANOVA analyses showed that there was significant decrease (P < 0.001) in present, average, and worst pain over the course of the six sessions with the most significant effect occurring up to the fourth session. When a variety of descriptor of pain was assessed, Reiki had a significant effect on 12 out of the 22 assessed, with the most significant effect on pain that was described as tingling/pins and needles (P = 0.001), sharp (P = 0.001), and aching (P = 0.001). Pain’s interference with general activity, walking, relationships, sleep, enjoyment of life, and stress significantly decreased (P < 0.001 to P = 0.002). Impression of improvement scores increased 27 % by session 6, and one’s knowledge about Reiki improved 43%. Eighty-one percent of the participants stated that they would consider scheduling Reiki sessions if they were offered with 70% desiring at least four sessions per month.

The authors concluded that 30-minute Reiki session, performed by a trained Reiki practitioner, is feasible in an outpatient setting with possible positive outcomes for participants who are willing to try at least four consecutive sessions. Reiki has the ability to impact a variety of types of pain as well as positively impacting those activities of life that pain often interferes with. However, education and the opportunity to experience this energy healing modality are key for its acceptance in military health care facilities as well as more robust clinical studies within the military health care system to further assess its validity and efficacy.

Where to begin?

  • As a feasibility study, this trial should not evaluate outcome data; yet the paper focusses on them.
  • To educate people one does certainly not require to conduct a study.
  • That Reiki ‘is feasible in an outpatient setting‘ is obvious and does not need a study either.
  • The finding that ‘Reiki had a significant effect’ is an unjustified and impermissible extrapolation; without a control group, it is not possible to determine whether the treatment or placebo-effects, or the regression towards the mean, or the natural history of the condition, or a mixture of these phenomena caused the observed outcome.
  • The conclusion that ‘Reiki has the ability to impact a variety of types of pain as well as positively impacting those activities of life that pain often interferes with’ is quite simply wrong.
  • The authors mention that ‘This study was approved by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Institutional Review Board’; I would argue that the review board must have been fast asleep.

10 Responses to Reiki as a Therapy for Chronic Pain?

  • Googling “British Medical Corps” or “British army” plus the terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” produced nothing except a few links to the US army. The same search for “US army” produced many links. The US military has bought into magic medicine it would appear.

  • The purpose reads like the purpose was to market reiki – communicate about it, give people a placebo effect, then promote it to them and encourage them to promote to others, by push-polling or more active ways.

  • I am very concerned.

    Reiki Masters at II level can transmit energy over intercontinental distances.

    Might this energy be used in warfare?
    Is that why the US military are interested?

    We should be told.

    • or might they be about to develop bullshit cannons or worse?

    • Reiki Masters at II level can transmit energy over intercontinental distances

      Great! Let’s put that to good use by transporting them all to the Sahara desert and other locations with an abundance of energy, and make them send that energy to places where it’s needed. This may well solve all of our energy and CO2 troubles in one fell sweep!

      Let me be the first to pledge $100 for travel costs over there – one-way, of course.

  • For the avoidance of misunderstanding:

    https://www.reiki.org/articles/what-possible-reiki-master.

    “Because of the nature of the master level and the energies that become available to us, being a Reiki master can be an ongoing process involving continuous personal growth. With the master attunement and the use of the master symbol, we receive the opportunity to open more and more completely to the limitless potential of Reiki and to develop in ourselves the qualities that are contained in the Reiki energy…

    When we receive the Usui master symbol and the attunement that empowers it, it creates the possibility for us to become aware of the Ultimate Reality. This is expressed in the definition of the Usui master symbol which indicates that it represents that part of the self that is already completely enlightened!…

    In Reiki II, you are given three Reiki symbols. These symbols are empowered by the Reiki II attunement. One of these symbols is for distant healing. By using a picture of the person you would like to send Reiki to or by writing the person’s name on a piece of paper or simply by thinking of the person and also activating the distant symbol, you can send Reiki to them no matter where they are.

    They could be hundreds of miles away, but it makes no difference. The Reiki energy will go to them and treat them. You can also send Reiki to crisis situations or world leaders and the Reiki energy will help them too.”

    It’s obviously working…

    • By using a picture of the person you would like to send Reiki to or by writing the person’s name on a piece of paper or simply by thinking of the person and also activating the distant symbol, you can send Reiki to them no matter where they are

      Translation:
      “You are now capable of SCAMming people from your comfy chair and at your leisure, without all the hassle of having to see them in person, making appointments, or even maintaining an office.”

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