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Reiki Research

Why say yes to trying Reiki. What is it and how does it help people?


‘Reiki’ (ray-key) is Japanese for ‘universal life energy’ and is used to describe a system of natural healing. This tradition was founded by Dr Mikao Usui in the early 20th century and evolved as a result of his research, experience and dedication. 


Reiki treatment can help anyone in the normal course of their life.  It can be used alongside other conventional or complementary treatments and often helps to provide support during recovery.


The practice is taught by Reiki masters/teachers who have trained in the tradition and is passed on in person from master to student.

[Copyright: The Reiki Association]


There is a significant body of evidence which suggests Reiki’s positive effects for the relief of stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, chronic and acute pain, especially among staff with burnout syndrome.  By helping to promote relaxation and improve sleep, Reiki may help to boost the immune system.


First Reiki Medic-Care findings 

Preliminary results of the Reiki-Medic Care programme were presented at the International Congress of Integrative Medicine and Health in 2021. Interim analysis of interim data collected from doctors, nurses and paramedics treated through Reiki Medic-Care show improvements in their anxiety, stress, and levels of wellbeing.The abstracts from the congress are available here (see abstract P13.07): 2021 Integrative Medicine & Health Symposium Abstracts

Effects of Reiki on stress, anxiety, sleep and pain - research summaries:


This simple hands-on therapeutic system can be helpful to both the body and mind.  One of the most commonly reported effects of Reiki is that of relaxation or a reduction in stress. It is believed that a link may exist between ‘energy’ therapies and activation in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) (1,2).


For instance, Wardell and Engebretson (3) measured the biological effects of Reiki on the ANS and found significant reduction of anxiety and systolic blood pressure, and a significant increase in salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels.


Three studies show that Reiki reduced burnout syndrome (BS) in health-care professionals. Diaz-Rodriguez et al (4) indicated that Reiki treatment produces a mild but significant relaxation response in nurses with BS symptoms. A second study (5) showed that a single session of Reiki brought immediate and measurable physiological stress relief to nurses as indicated by reduced blood pressure and enhanced secretion of the protective antibody IgA. Rosada et al (6) showed that Reiki treatments given weekly for six weeks significantly reduced BS among mental health clinicians. Specifically, Reiki reduced emotional exhaustion and feelings of depersonalization.


This comes under the umbrella of Full Circle Fund Therapies, a charity working within the hospital. references resources for well-designed Reiki research studies, critical evaluations and systematic reviews which have been published in Clinical, Nursing or peer-reviewed journals.


  1. Mackay, N., Hansen, S., McFarlane, O. (2004) Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study, The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine (10) 6., 1077-1081.

  2. Ramnarine-Singh, S. (1999) The surgical significance of therapeutic touch. AORN J 69:358–369.

  3. Wardell, D., Engebretson, J. (2001) Biological correlates of Reiki Touch healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 33, 439– 445.

  4. Diaz-Rodríguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M., Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., García-Lafuente, F., García-Royo, C. and Tomás-Rojas, I. (2011) Immediate effects of Reiki on heart rate variability, cortisol levels, and body temperature in health care professionals with burnout. Biol Res Nurs 13(4), 376- 382.

  5. Diaz-Rodriguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M., Cantarero-Villanueva, I., Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C. et al (2011) The application of Reiki in nurses diagnosed with Burnout Syndrome has beneficial effects on concentration of salivary IgA and blood pressure. Rev. Latino-Am. Enfermagem [online], 19(5) 1132-1138.

  6. Rosada, R.M., Rubik, B., Mainguy, B., Plummer, J. and Mehl-Madrona, L. (2015) Reiki reduces burnout among community mental health clinicians. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 21(8), 489-495.

Reiki can help nurses with burnout syndrome. (Diaz-Rodriguez et al., 2011 and 2011; Mackay et al.,2004; Rosada et al., 2015). Since Reiki can be given remotely by suitably qualified practitioners, medical professionals can receive Reiki in the comfort of their own home at a time of their choosing. This means I can channel Reiki into any recordings with the intention that the listener receives Reiki, which will help them relax from anxiety and stress.

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