The following abstracts were obtained from Pub Med:

Journal of Advanced Nursing 2001 Feb;33(4):439-45

Biological correlates of Reiki Touch(sm) healing.

Wardell DW, Engebretson J.
School of Nursing, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center , Houston, Texas, USA.

BACKGROUND : Despite the popularity of touch therapies, theoretical understanding of the mechanisms of effect is not well developed and there is limited research measuring biological outcomes. AIMS: The aim of this study was to test a framework of relaxation or stress reduction as a mechanism of touch therapy. METHODS: The study was conducted in 1996 and involved the examination of select physiological and biochemical effects and the experience of 30 minutes of Reiki, a form of touch therapy. A single group repeated measure design was used to study Reiki Touch’ssm effects with a convenience sample of 23 essentially healthy subjects. Biological markers related to stress-reduction response included state anxiety, salivary IgA and cortisol, blood pressure, galvanic skin response (GSR), muscle tension and skin temperature. Data were collected before, during and immediately after the session. RESULTS : Comparing before and after measures, anxiety was significantly reduced, t(22)=2.45, P=0.02. Salivary IgA levels rose significantly, t(19)=2.33, P=0.03, however, salivary cortisol was not statistically significant. There was a significant drop in systolic blood pressure (SBP), F(2, 44)=6.60, P < 0.01. Skin temperature increased and electromyograph (EMG) decreased during the treatment, but before and after differences were not significant. CONCLUSIONS : These findings suggest both biochemical and physiological changes in the direction of relaxation. The salivary IgA findings warrant further study to explore the effects of human TT and humeral immune function.

PMID: 11251731 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2001 Feb;7(1):4-7

Working with survivors of torture in Sarajevo with Reiki. Kennedy P.

Reiki Master, Bearsden, Glasgow, UK.

While working as a nurse/therapist in Sarajevo, I had the opportunity to work in an experimental situation at a center for torture survivors. This was to see if the use of Reiki would have a beneficial effect on this type of patient. It involved a rethink on traditional Reiki hand positions, music, and the general set-up of the room being used. It was a challenge, and one I was delighted to have had. The people I worked with were wonderful, and the changes in them over the period were so positive. The staff at the Center were delighted; I was delighted; but so much more importantly, the patients were delighted. The ground has now been broken and hopefully will be considered in a positive light for other traumatized patients.

PMID: 11855528 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv 2001 Apr;39(4):42-9

Reiki. A complementary therapy for nursing practice.

Nield-Anderson L, Ameling A.

Florida International University, School of Nursing , 3000 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL 33181, USA.

1 . Reiki is an ancient healing art involving the gentle laying on of hands. It can be practiced anytime and anywhere. 2. Reiki can be used as a complementary treatment to medical protocols. 3. Hand positions customarily correspond to the body’s endocrine and lymphatic systems and major organs, focusing on seven main chakras. 4. More research investigating the effects of Reiki on persons with psychiatric and medical disorders is necessary.

PMID: 11324176 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Ann Intern Med 2000 Jun 6;132(11):903-10. Healing touch: applications in the acute care setting. Umbreit AW.

Comment in: ACP Journal Club 2000 Nov-Dec;133(3):107 Ann Intern Med. 2001 Dec 18;135(12):1094. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jun 19;134(12):1150. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Mar 20;134(6):532-3. Ann Intern Med. 2001 Mar 20;134(6):532; discussion 533.

Fairview University Medical Center , Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Nursing has been dedicated throughout its history to addressing the physical, psychologic, and spiritual aspects of the patient that influence the healing process. Current nursing practice in acute care is focused increasingly on monitoring equipment, giving medications, and administering medical treatments in a fast-paced environment that affords few opportunities for the deeper human connectedness between the nurse and the one who is ill and suffering. Healing touch (HT) is an energy-based complementary therapy fostering that nurse-patient connection. Nurses are beginning to use HT with their patients to assist in easing pain and anxiety, promote relaxation, accelerate wound healing, diminish depression, and increase a patient’s sense of well-being. This article reports a conceptual framework for use of HT in acute care settings, describes specific HT techniques, and reviews numerous studies that have reported positive outcomes of HT as a noninvasive complementary therapy.

PMID: 11040557 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


The efficacy of “distant healing”: a systematic review of randomized trials. Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E.

University of Maryland School of Medicine , Baltimore, USA.

PURPOSE: To conduct a systematic review of the available data on the efficacy of any form of “distant healing” (prayer, mental healing, Therapeutic Touch, or spiritual healing) as treatment for any medical condition. DATA SOURCES: Studies were identified by an electronic search of the MEDLINE, PsychLIT, EMBASE, CISCOM, and Cochrane Library databases from their inception to the end of 1999 and by contact with researchers in the field. STUDY SELECTION: Studies with the following features were included: random assignment, placebo or other adequate control, publication in peer-reviewed journals, clinical (rather than experimental) investigations, and use of human participants. DATA EXTRACTION: Two investigators independently extracted data on study design, sample size, type of intervention, type of control, direction of effect (supporting or refuting the hypothesis), and nature of the outcomes. DATA SYNTHESIS: A total of 23 trials involving 2774 patients met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Heterogeneity of the studies precluded a formal meta-analysis. Of the trials, 5 examined prayer as the distant healing intervention, 11 assessed noncontact Therapeutic Touch, and 7 examined other forms of distant healing. Of the 23 studies, 13 (57%) yielded statistically significant treatment effects, 9 showed no effect over control interventions, and 1 showed a negative effect. CONCLUSIONS: The methodologic limitations of several studies make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of distant healing. However, given that approximately 57% of trials showed a positive treatment effect, the evidence thus far merits further study.

PMID: 10836918 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Brewitt, B., Vittetoe, T, and Hartwell, B., 1997.

“The Efficacy of Reiki Hands-On Healing: Improvements in spleen and nervous system function as quantified by electrodermal screening”.

Alternative Therapies , July 1997, Vol.3, No.4, pg.89

Improvement in spleen, immune, and nervous system function were quantified by electrodermal screening, and a reduction of pain, an increase in relaxation, and more mobility was reported in patiens with chronic conditions as multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, thyroid goiter.


Aladydy, Patricia and Kristen Alandydy, 1999.
“Using Reiki to Support Surgical Patients”.

Journal of Nursing Care Quality , 1999 Apr;13(4): pp. 89-91.

Surgical patients at Columbia/HCA Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire are given the option of a 15 minute pre- and post-surgery Reiki treatment. In 1998 more than 870 patients participated. As a result there was less use of pain medications, shorter lengths of stay, and increased patient satisfaction. This article discusses how this program was set up. Plans for the future include documentation of the benefits and the further use of complementary therapies.


Motz, Julie, 1998. “Hands of Life”. New York; Bantam Books, 1998

Reiki was used in the operating room of the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. The New York Times magazine reported about the use of Reiki during open-heart surgeries and hart transplantations performed by Dr. Mehmet Oz. None of the 11 heart patients treated with Reiki by Reiki Master Julie Motz experienced the usual postoperative depression, the bypass patients had no postoperative pain or leg weakness; and the transplant patients experienced no organ rejection.

“Reiki Technique Study to Control Chronic Pain in Diabetic Neuropathy”

The Department of Public Relations & Marketing Communications, University of Michigan,

The University of Michigan Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Center is studying Reiki, to determine whether chronic pain in diabetic neuropathy can be controlled, thereby increasing the patients’ quality of life. This is one of the first studies of this technique funded by the National Institutes of Health, and has the full support of the University of Michigan Health System.

top[divider_with_top]Cancer Prev Control 1997 Jun;1(2):108-13. Using Reiki to manage pain: a preliminary report.
Olson K, Hanson J.

Cross Cancer Institute , Edmonton, Alta.

The purpose of this study was to explore the usefulness of Reiki as an adjuvant to opioid therapy in the management of pain. Since no studies in this area could be found, a pilot study was carried out involving 20 volunteers experiencing pain at 55 sites for a variety of reasons, including cancer. All Reiki treatments were provided by a certified second-degree Reiki therapist. Pain was measured using both a visual analogue scale (VAS) and a Likert scale immediately before and after the Reiki treatment. Both instruments showed a highly significant (p < 0.0001) reduction in pain following the Reiki treatment.

PMID: 9765732 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Am J Hosp Palliat Care 1997 Jan-Feb;14(1):31-3

Reiki: a complementary therapy for life.
Bullock M.

Hospice of the Valley , Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Tom was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer and received only palliative radiation and medication. At the time of diagnosis, his symptoms suggested that he had a very limited life expectancy. With the Reiki and his intent, he was able to achieve his goal of long-term stability with freedom from immobilizing pain and swelling. Tom’s comfort and quality of life improved dramatically, and he is living well with his cancer. Reiki has been associated with dramatic results for many patients. The importance of the patient’s intent during Reiki treatments cannot be overemphasized. Some general trends seen with Reiki include: periods of stabilization in which there is time to enjoy the last days of one’s life; a peaceful and calm passing if death is imminent; and relief from pain, anxiety, dyspnea and edema. Reiki is a valuable complement in supporting patients in their end-of-life journey, enhancing the quality of their remaining days.

PMID: 9069762 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


The following abstracts were obtained from

Experience of Reiki: Five Middle-Aged Women in the Midwest.

Subfile: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Format (FM): Journal Article (24).

Language(s) (LG): English.

Year Published (YR): 1998.

Author (AU): Mansour, A.A.; et al.

Source (SO): Alternative and Complementary Therapies . 4(3): 211-217. June 1998.

Abstract (AB ): This journal article describes a qualitative study of Reiki, a type of touch therapy, as experienced by the participants. The informants were a practitioner and four female patients, aged 38 to 50 years, from the Canadian Midwest. The patients had received between 15 and 50 sessions of Reiki from different practitioners under different circumstances and in different settings. Data were collected through in-depth interviewing over a 5-month period. Thematic analysis of their stories revealed some commonalities and some differences. The overriding theme was one of experiencing existential changes. All of the women spoke about experiencing major psychospiritual and/or physical changes. Four additional subthemes were identified: how the participants came to try Reiki, what they experienced during the Reiki treatments, how they felt after the Reiki sessions (short-term and long-term outcomes), and what was the nature of Reiki. The article discusses these themes, presents paradigm cases of the five participants, and discusses the implications for future research. It has 1 table, a list of recommended readings, and 27 references.

Major Descriptors (MJ): Treatment Evaluation. Reiki. Alternative Medicine.

Massage. Women.

Verification/Update Date (VE): 199908.

Notes (NT): Copyright: Yes.

Accession Number (AN): AMJA01088.


Relatives’ Lived Experiences of Complementary Therapies in a Critical Care Department – A Phenomenological Study.

Subfile: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Format (FM): Journal Article (24).

Language(s) (LG): English.

Year Published (YR): 1999.

Author (AU): Brown, B.; et al.

Source (SO): Australian Critical Care . 12(4): 147-153. 1999.

Abstract (AB) : This journal article describes the lived experiences of relatives of critically ill patients who received complementary therapies in the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania. Twenty relatives of critically ill patients completed nonstructured, audiotaped interviews. The sample included male and female relatives ranging in age from 18 to 75 years. Each participant had received aromatherapy, massage, reiki, and either Bach Flower Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using a phenomenological transformative process to identify common themes. Results revealed a central theme of extending and enriching a caring atmosphere. The complementary therapies were felt to enhance caring by way of four sub-themes: inspiring calm and relaxation, enhancing connectedness, humanizing the technology, and adding a spiritual dimension. The findings suggest that complementary therapies can positively influence the lived experiences of relatives of critically ill patients. The article has 2 figures, 4 tables, and 24 references.

Major Descriptors (MJ): Complementary Medicine. Critical Care. Relatives.
Qualitative Analysis.
Minor Descriptors (MN): Alternative Medicine.
Verification/Update Date (VE): 200107.
Notes (NT): Copyright: Yes.
Accession Number (AN): AMJA03019.


Surgery and Complementary Therapies: A Review.
Subfile: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Format (FM): Journal Article (24).
Language(s) (LG): English.
Year Published (YR): 2000.
Author (AU): Petry, J.J.
Source (SO): Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 6(5): 64-76.
September 2000.

Abstract (AB): This journal article reviews the literature on the use of complementary therapies in the surgical setting. The first part looks at the effects of psychological stress on the surgical patient, and the influence of coping style and locus of control on surgical outcome and the choice of stress-reducing intervention. The second part reviews research into the effects of specific complementary strategies on surgical outcomes. These strategies include relaxation techniques, hypnosis and suggestion, imagery, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, Reiki, music, massage therapy, and herbs/supplements such as L-arginine, bromelain, garlic, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc. The evidence suggests that relaxation techniques, imagery, and hypnosis/suggestion may have beneficial effects on anxiety, blood loss, postoperative pain, pain medication requirements, postoperative nausea and vomiting, recovery of bowel function, length of hospital stay, cost of care, and patient satisfaction. These and other complementary therapies also may affect immune function, stress hormone levels, and wound healing, but more research is needed to clarify their role in the surgical setting. The article has 5 tables and 111 references.
Major Descriptors (MJ): Complementary Medicine. Surgery. Dietary Supplements. Treatment Outcomes. Literature Reviews.
Minor Descriptors (MN): Alternative Medicine.
Verification/Update Date (VE): 200104.
Notes (NT): Copyright: Yes.
Accession Number (AN): AMJA02807.


Wellness Center at York Hospital.
Subfile: Health Promotion and Education
Format (FM): Program.
Language(s) (LG): English.
Year Published (YR): 1997.
Author (AU): Mariani, J.
Corporate Author (CN): York Hospital.
Availability (AV): York Hospital, 15 Hospital Drive, York, ME 03909. (207) 351-3402. September 1997-continuing.
Abstract (AB ): The Wellness Center at York Hospital provides a nurturing, relaxing environment for its clients to enhance their personal well-being. The staff, consisting of four wellness specialists, a massage therapist, and two contract service providers of Reiki and massage, serve people of all ages and backgrounds within the hospital and community. The Wellness Center offers (1) therapeutic massage; (2) hypnosis; (3) surgery preparation; (4) wellness and risk reduction education; and (5) Reiki, a Japanese method of relaxation and stress reduction. The staff use the Wellness Wheel as a tool to help their clients explore nine aspects of their lives: (1) Physical, (2) emotional, (3) social, (4) spiritual, (5) intellectual, (6) occupational, (7) environmental, (8) financial, and (9) cultural. Program materials are available, including leaflets describing program offerings.
Minor Descriptors (MN): Wellness Center at York Hospital.
Verification/Update Date (VE): 200107.
Accession Number (AN): HE01P0750.


The following do not have abstracts available:

Wardell DW, Mentgen J.

Healing touch–an energy-based approach to healing.
Imprint . 1999 Feb-Mar;46(2):34-5, 51. Review. No abstract available.
PMID: 10373832 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Alandydy P, Alandydy K.

Using Reiki to support surgical patients.

J Nurs Care Qual. 1999 Apr;13(4):89-91. No abstract available.

PMID: 10330795 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Mansour AA, Beuche M, Laing G, Leis A, Nurse J.
A study to test the effectiveness of placebo Reiki standardization procedures developed for a planned Reiki efficacy study.

J Altern Complement Med . 1999 Apr;5(2):153-64.

PMID: 10328637 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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