Although the name Reiki is Japanese, it is a relative new name to the ancient, God-given life force which by any name we energy channeled through the person of those who have been attuned to channel the energy: Rei meaning universal (as in universal consciousness) and Ki as being the infinite life force.
As a form of alternative energy medicine, Reiki allows access to an unlimited supply of Qi or “life energy”, with the use of energy released from the hands to promote the balance of chakra energies and overall health. When one’s life energy is low, s/he is more susceptible to illness. Reiki is a powerful way of increasing a person’s life energy as it heals the physical body, cleanses the mind of emotional problems and elevates one’s spiritual awareness.
There is much debate over when modern “Western” medicine was truly founded. What we do know is that the American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897. At some point, Western medicine began to stray from the concept that we have a soul and body to primarily studying just the physical body. Eastern Medicine has continued to practice within a framework predicated in mind, body & spirit (or soul) balance for thousands of years.
As the result of unprecedented chronic disease prevalence, stress levels and obesity within the United States, many Americans have looked to alternative methods of improving health, reducing stress and managing chronic pain. Awareness in alternative health and mind/body modalities has been increasing as the result of increased global travel and the ability to seek information comfortably from one’s home using the internet and a variety of social networks. Marrying integrative holistic practices (i.e. Reiki, Meditation, Chakra Cleansing with Gems, Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, etc) and conventional therapies with the goal for mind, body & spirit balance results in the birth of Integrative Medicine.
People from all backgrounds are enjoying Reiki energy healing treatments and classes. Since there is not a singular organization (such as the AMA) who sets forth requirements for Board-Certified licensed physicians, statistics are typically based on varied methodology surveys.
- Dr. David M. Eisenburg’s research of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital found that “ 80 million people in the United States used one or more forms of complementary health care including Reiki…[spending] more than $14 billion out-of-pocket for this care” (Rand); However, other studies estimate that “Americans spent more than $28 billion on these therapies in 1998, exceeding out-of-pocket spending for all USA hospitalizations” (“The future of,” ).
- According to the National Health Interview Survey “1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year (“The center for,”).
- “A 1994 published survey revealed that more than 60% of doctors from a wide range of specialties recommended alternative modalities to patients at least once. The same study also reported that 48% of those doctors use alternative modalities themselves” (“The future of,”).
- “Courses teach the role of religious devotion and prayer in healing in approximately 50 U.S. medical schools…[and] nearly 85% of USA medical schools offer elective courses in alternative and complementary medicine or include it in required courses. This is a historic development, a stunning reversal of the exclusion of these factors from medical education for most of the twentieth century. In addition, conventional medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), are increasingly willing to publish studies involving unconventional therapies. JAMA’s issue of November 11, 1998, was devoted exclusively to the field of alternative medicine” (“The future of,”).
REIKI IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
“The focus of offering Reiki in (our) hospital (is) to bring compassion and humanity back in the patient’s experience. Additionally, at a time when patients can feel passive in their care, Reiki offers a sense of (self-healing) empowerment. By choosing (to receive) Reiki, patients may actively participate in their healing process [quote of Patricia Alandydi at Portsmouth hospital program]” (Rand, 2011).
- Reiki is used (in partnership with conventional therapy) to reduce a patient’s time. In the hospital and the need for medication. Reiki is being introduced into hospital-based clinical programs in three primary venues:
- Medical personnel are learning First degree Reiki, using it for self-care, and integrating comforting touch into routine medical care;
- Reiki practitioners are offering treatment to patients and staff;
- Hospital-based education programs are training patients, family members and caregivers in First Degree Reiki (Miles & True, 2003, p. 67).
It is invigorating to see the growth in acceptance of Reiki within prestigious hospitals and clinics. Top U.S. hospitals provide Reiki inpatient and/or outpatient services. The following sampling includes website links with relevant information:
- Columbia University Medical Center, NY: http://ccw.columbia.edu/Reiki.html
- New York-Presbyterian Hospital, NY: http://rehab.ucla.edu/workfiles/Urban%20Zen/Research%20Articles/Reiki_Really_Works-A_Groundbreaking_Scientific_Study.pdf
- Duke University, NC: http://www.dukeintegrativemedicine.org/research/research-faculty-and-staff
- Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, CT: http://www.ynhh.org/smilow-cancer-hospital/patient-information/complementary_services.aspx
- Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, NJ: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/integrativemedicine/reiki_therapy.aspx
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY: http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/individual-therapies
- University Medical Center, AZ: http://www.hospitalreiki.com
- Children’s Hospital, MA: http://www.childrenshospital.org/clinicalservices/Site1593/mainpageS1593P0.html
- Dana Farber Cancer Institute, MA: http://www.dana-farber.org/Adult-Care/Treatment-and-Support/Patient-and-Family-Support/Zakim-Center-for-Integrative-Therapies.aspx
- Hartford Hospital Integrative Medicine, CT: http://www.harthosp.org/integrativemed/About/default.aspx.
Integrative medicine (including Reiki) is being offered and promoted at a number of Top Hospitals, including University of Penn & Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Local hospitals, such as Penn State Milton S. Hershey Hospital, have nurses and physicians who participate in Reiki attunements and education.
A spokesperson from Columbia Integrative Medicine Program at the New York Presbyterian Hospital (CIMP) perhaps expresses it best, saying, “I find the practice of Reiki very rewarding, as a practitioner. Patients have reported deep relaxation and a sense of profound healing, after one session. I feel that Reiki is a huge asset for any hospital setting, because patients sense that they are in a truly caring environment.”…As Reiki continues to become “a huge asset” for the hospital setting, analytical reporting such as The Touchstone Process continues to add to the much needed pool of evidence that Reiki is indeed a worthy, effective method for facilitating the healing process; one that can contribute to the betterment of patients everywhere and to the betterment of our health care systems (Lotus).
Other signs of a growing public interest and support in Reiki includes prominent leaders and influential celebrities being showcased in news programs and with media spotlight. As Oprah Winfrey continues to develop her spiritual following on the path to serve others, she has introduced and explored discussions regarding Reiki, and energy medicine in a number of public forums (television, website, blog). Interviews with recognized medical professionals and prominent physicians such as Dr. Oz, is increasing support and credibility of what Western medicine views as unorthodox treatment. In addition to interviewing other physicians on the topic of energy medicine, “Dr. Oz offered his take on energy healing so his viewers could make their own decision about what might work for them. He said that he can speak to Dr. Eric Pearl’s specific approach, but he has experienced other forms of energy healing in his life. He believes that it has an important role in medicine and helping our through stressful times so he said to keep your eyes and mind open (“Dr oz energy,”).
“There are many well established uses of measurable [veritable] energy fields in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Some of these include: magnetic resonance imaging, laser eye correction surgery, cardiac pacemakers, radiation therapy and UV light therapies for psoriasis and seasonal affective disorder” (Olivo, 2006). Typically, however, energy medicine is based in the putative energy fields, which are not yet able to be measured with current technologies. There is a rapidly growing body of research on the effectiveness of Reiki and mind, body & spirit approaches. Research is being conducted at a variety of levels from Reiki organizations, hospital systems to the government. Reiki continues to test favorably in treating —
- Post operative pain after tooth extraction
- Cognition in elderly, related to dementia/Alzheimers
- Pre-operative relaxation and post-op pain
- Pain in chronically ill patients
- Depression and stress
- Well-being in Reiki practitioners
- New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Campus conducted one of the first studies ever performed to determine the effectiveness of Reiki treatments on the autonomic nervous system. This “blind, random study” included a Reiki treatment group, a “sham” treatment group and a “control” group. The testing began with all participants at “baseline” autonomic nervous systems levels. The results within the Reiki treatment group showed a lowering of these levels including heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. These positive results led the team to recommend further, larger studies to look at the biological effects of Reiki treatment (Lotus).
- Of the 25 studies that underwent review through the stringent Touchstone process and appeared in peer-review journals with rigorous controls, “83% showed moderate to strong evidence in support of Reiki as a viable, therapeutic healing modality. Only one study proved solidly negative and that was for the treatment of fibromyalgia-associated pain levels. As is the case with conventional drug treatments, not all therapies prove to be effective” (Lotus).
- NCCAM: Although subtle energies are not yet able to be measured by current technology, outcomes of mind and body approaches are another way to holistically analyze energy medicine outcomes. In May of 2013, the NCCAM reviewed evidence of how mind and body approaches impact chronic pain. Their research “suggests that chronic pain affects the anatomy of the brain and impairs certain nerve pathways, leading to a ‘negative feedback loop’ that results in more pain and accompanying emotional and reasoning problems….[they] found growing evidence that mind and body practice may reduce acute and chronic pain…and suggest that [they] could help reverse chronic-pain-associated brain changes and may have protective effects” (Bushnell, 2013).
“We are in a renewed era of energy medicine. We are embracing a renewed belief in holism and spiritually as part of medicine thus re-embracing ancient healing wisdom. The future of Holistic/Energy Medicine is in the education of compassionate, humanistic practitioners” (McCartney, 2002). And in the words of Dr. Oz, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals” (Lotus). I anticipate continued rapid growth acceptance of Reiki and energy healing modalities, as well as, in the understanding in the mind, body, spirit connections. I am excited for the continued elevation of our collective vibrational frequencies, expanding energy of love and peace.
Bushnell MC, Čeko M, Low LA. Cognitive and emotional control of pain and its disruption in chronic pain. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. May 30, 2013. Epub ahead of print.
Dr. Oz energy healing recommendation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.drozfans.com/dr-oz-special-features/dr-oz-how-to-balance-your-body-reduce-stress-with-energy-healing/
Lotus, G. (n.d.). Reiki really works: A groundbreaking scientific study. Retrieved from http://rehab.ucla.edu/workfiles/Urban Zen/Research Articles/Reiki_Really_
McCartney, Francesca. (2002). Paper: “A Brief History of Energy Medicine.”
Miles, P., & True, G. (2003). Reiki–review of a biofield therapy history, theory, practice, and research . ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES, 9(2), 62,67. Retrieved
Olivo, D. E. (2006, January 15). Energy medicine. Retrieved from http://www.oprah.com/health/Energy-Medicine
Rand, W. (2011, May 11). Integrating reiki into hospitals: Emerging trends and future possibilities. Retrieved from http://www.reikiwebstore.com/SearchResult.cfm
Rand, W. (n.d.). Reiki news articles: The international center for reiki training. Retrieved from http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/reiki_in_hospitals.html
Reiki results: Clinical trials. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.triadlighttouch.com/reiki-results-clinical-trials
The center for reiki research: Including reiki in hospitals. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org
The future of energy medicine in holistic health. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://energymedicineuniversity.org/futureem.html