What is Reiki?
Reiki is described as healing or palm healing where a practitioner puts hands on or over to ease the patient’s process of recovery.
Houston Reiki combines the Japanese and Japanese word-characters of “rei” (religious or supernatural) and “ki” (vital energy). One of the fundamental ideas held by people who practice Reiki is this vital energy can be channeled to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
There is no sign to support claims that energy that is vital exists, nor is there evidence that Reiki is useful for any purpose, as stated by the NCCIH. But in spite of the fact that Reiki has not been proven effective in treating certain health conditions, that does not mean it is a practice that is harmful.
“Reiki can do no harm — the worst thing it can do is nothing,” said Ann Baldwin, a professor of physiology at the University of Arizona and a trained Reiki master, or practitioner.
In recent decades, Reiki has been integrated into healthcare settings, including hospitals, Live Science was told by Baldwin. And overlapping information from a few of the more scientifically valid studies on Reiki indicates that this complementary therapy may play some part in reducing pain and anxiety, causing relaxation, enhancing fatigue and helping alleviate the symptoms of depression, according to the Center for Spirituality & Healing at the Academy of Minnesota (UMN).
Reiki’s origins are sometimes disputed, but most agree that the treatment dates back to the late 19th or early 20th centuries as well as the teachings of a Japanese monk named Mikao Usui. Usui based his recovery techniques on philosophies and procedures drawn from traditional healing practices, according to the Langone Medical Center at New York University.
In the root of Reiki is that the theory — after referred to as Western medicine through the Middle Ages and still seen today in Eastern medicine — that disease is caused by imbalances of vital energy within the human body and that correcting these imbalances promotes recovery, according to UMN’s Center for Spirituality & Healing.
Usui is believed to have “rediscovered” this traditional notion of an inexhaustible energy source which may be harnessed for healing. Through a procedure called attunements, a Reiki Master (Usui was the first) could teach other people to master this healing power, also. In 1937, a Japanese-American named Hawayo Takata brought Reiki’s practice when she returned after an extended period of Reiki training to her native Hawaii in Japan, according to the International Center for Reiki Training.
How it works
During a Reiki treatment session, a patient lies on a massage table. The Reiki practitioner places their fingers over (or directly on top of) the individual’s body in a variety of positions, beginning at the crown of the head, according to Baldwin.
“The Reiki energy flows through the practitioner, from [their] hands to the man who’s lying on the table,” Baldwin said. However, the mechanism by is unknown, she added. And a few Reiki experts claim that they can treat patients without being anywhere near them — a practice called “distance healing.”
“Nobody knows just how Reiki works,” Baldwin said. “One idea is that Reiki is perhaps linked to electromagnetic-type energy and that it interacts with an individual’s electromagnetic field.”
Another hypothesis is that Reiki promotes comfort, which promotes healing and lowers a patient’s stress response, according to the Center for Spirituality & Healing of UMN. However, the efficacy of Reiki isn’t well founded according to the NCCIH.
What the studies say
Medical therapies have been tested using what is called a double-blind study. In these studies, groups of patients have been given either a real treatment or a fake treatment (such as a sugar pill). Neither the participants in the study nor the researchers themselves know which patients received the actual thing and that received a so-called “sham therapy,” according to Langone Medical Center.
But conducting a Reiki study since the person will know if he or she is administering the real thing or a sham treatment isn’t feasible. Since the procedures can not test Reiki, those in the community dismiss it.
But those who review Reiki studies have found no evidence that the practice is successful beyond the placebo effect. Reiki study is a review of all Reiki study, which appeared. The researchers concluded that many Reiki studies “suffered from methodological flaws such as small sample size, inadequate study design and bad reporting” and “the evidence is insufficient to indicate that Reiki is an effective treatment for any condition.”
This fact doesn’t appear to discourage Reiki advocates like Baldwin, who point to studies which show the effectiveness in reducing the anxiety of Reiki and at reducing pain.
“When Reiki is used on cancer patients, as an instance, it’s not to heal the tumor. It is to put the patient more at ease and to decrease their anxiety and pain,” Baldwin said. A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that Reiki does serve that purpose for some cancer patients.