Reiki – studies and use in hospitals

Reiki – studies and use in hospitals


The benefits of reiki are starting to be recognized by communities around the world. Public, private and veterinary hospitals, universities, schools of nursing, health insurances, foundations and charities promoting health or supporting the sick, are thus starting to take an interest in reiki treatment. Depending on their calling, they offer information, treatment, contributions to scientific research, initiation and reimbursement of treatment fees.

Below are links to the websites of some of these establishments in the United Kingdom, Canada, United-States, Australia, Germany and Switzerland, taking you directly to the pages concerned (new windows ; if necessary, type « reiki » in your browser search box).

United Kingdom

University College London Hospitals NHS, London :
– reiki treatment offered to patients with stress and mood disorder
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments
– reiki treatment offered to complement the treatments of endometriosis

Southampton University Hospitals NHS, Southampton :
– reiki treatment offered to palliative care cancer patients (day care)

Aintree University Hospitals NHS, Liverpool :
– reiki treatment offered by elderly medicine services

Wallace Cancer Care (works with Addenbrooke’s Hospital-Cambridge University Hospitals NHS), Cambridge :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments

South Tees Hospitals NHS, Middlesbrough :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments

The Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health (HRH Prince Charles’s foundation) :
– information about reiki (complementary therapies)

Breast Cancer Care (charity) :
– information about reiki in a guide on complementary therapies (pp. 12-13)


University Health Network-Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario :
– reiki treatment given by nurses at the lodge for cancer patients and families
– information on complementary therapies including reiki (guide on breast cancer survivorship, p. 80)

Université de Moncton, Moncton, Nouveau-Brunswick  :
– reiki offered as a customized training (Santé et mieux-être section)


The Cleveland Clinic (America’s Best Hospitals 2009), Cleveland, Ohio :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (integrative medecine)
– reiki treatment offered to patients and hospital staff (patient experience)
– reiki treatment offered to gynecology patients
– reiki treatment offered to heart patients (integrative approach)
– reiki treatment offered to heart patients and their families (resources)
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments
– research : effects of reiki on stress
– research : reiki and prostate cancer

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (America’s Best Hospitals 2009), Boston, Massachusetts :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments (handbook for patients, families and friends, pp. 7, 10)
– reiki mentioned in a handbook on coping with cancer pain (p. 4)
– monthly reiki share sessions offered to nurses and visitors (newsletter for nurses, Feb. 2009)
– reiki initiation offered to nurses (newsletter for nurses, Nov. 2006)
– peri-operative nurses inform their colleagues on complementary therapies including reiki (newsletter for nurses, Dec. 2007)
– nurse-reiki practitioner’s testimonial (newsletter for nurses, Aug. 2005)
– study of complementary medicines including reiki in men with prostate cancer (radiation oncology research)

Johns Hopkins Hospital (America’s Best Hospitals 2009), Baltimore, Maryland :
– part of complementary therapies, including reiki, in the nurses’ practice and education (school of nursing journal, spring 2007, pp. 26, 29, 32-33)

Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New-York Presbyterian (America’s Best Children’s Hospitals 2009), New York, New York :
– reiki treatment offered to children to complement conventional cancer treatments

Yale-New Haven Hospital (America’s Best Hospitals 2009), New Haven, Connecticut :
– reiki treatment offered to families and intensive care heart patients
– reiki treatment offered as a complementary therapy to cardiology patients
– complementary therapies, including reiki, recommended to cancer survivors (newsletter July 2007)
– reiki practitioners recruitment (newsletter Sept. 2006)

Harvard University, Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts :
– reiki treatment offered at the Harvard Cancer Center (David Rosenthal M.D.)
– reiki treatment offered to all by the university health services (well-being)
– reiki mentioned as a best practice by an insurance company working with the university (best practices)
– hypothesis on cortical dynamics as a therapeutic mechanism for
touch healing
including reiki (Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York :
– reiki treatment offered to children with cancer
– reiki treatment given during Employee Health and Wellness Day (journal June 23rd 2003)

New York University Medical Center (America’s Best Hospitals 2009), New York, New York :
– reiki treatment offered to children with cancer or blood disorder
– reiki treatment offered to patients with joint disease (services)
– reiki treatment offered to patients with multiple sclerosis (programs)
– reiki treatment offered to women with disabilities

Concord Hospital, Concord, New Hampshire :
– reiki treatment offered to patients nearing the end of life

Cooper University Hospital-Cooper Cancer Institute, Voorhees, New Jersey :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments

Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, Massachusetts :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments

St. Joseph Hospital, Nashua, New Hampshire :
– reiki treatment offered to seniors

Washington Hospital Center, Washington DC :
– reiki treatment offered to complement conventional cancer treatments

York Hospital, York, Maine :
– pre-op, post-op and inter-op reiki treatment offered to surgical patients (wellness)

St. Mary’s Hospital, Amsterdam, New York :
– reiki initiations offered (center for complementary therapies)

George Washington University Medical Center, Washington DC :
– reiki treatment offered to patients

California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, California :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (clinical massage and bodywork)

Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts :
– reiki treatment offered to children (integrative therapies)

Saint Agnes Medical Center, Fresno, California :
–  reiki treatment offered to patients

Hawaii Pacific Health-Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Lihue, Hawaï :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (patient support services)

Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut :
– reiki treatment offered to patients

Stamford Hospital, Stamford, Connecticut :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (services)

Windham Hospital, Willimantic, Connecticut :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (integrative health services)
– reiki treatment offered to patient visitors (family and friends)

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Englewood, New Jersey :
– reiki treatment offered to patients (massage, healing and relaxation therapies)

Carroll Hospital Center, Westminster, Maryland :
– reiki treatment offered (complementary health)

South San Diego Veterinary Hospital, San Diego, California :
– reiki treatment offered for animals (approach to pets’ care)


St Patrick’s Care Centre, Fremantle, Western Australia :
– reiki treatment notably offered to people with alcohol or drug problems (Drug and Alcohol Office)

Mission Australia – Youth Withdrawal and Respite Service, East Perth, Western Australia :
– reiki treatment offered to young people wanting to withdraw from alcohol or other drugs (Drug and Alcohol Office)

Queensland’s Health  :
– relaxation services including reiki sessions for Central Highlands Health Services
staff (magazine nov. 2005, p. 14)


CGG Klinik (Centrum für ganzheitliche Gynäkologie), Mannheim :
– reiki treatment and initiations offered for pain management and to complement conventional cancer treatments

St. Augustinus Krankenhaus, Düren :
– reiki treatment offered (well-being)

DRK Krankenhaus Lichtenstein (Red-Cross), Lichtenstein :
– reiki treatment offered (physiotherapy)


Groupe mutuel’s insurances :
– reiki treatment repayment (special conditions, p. 2)

SWICA insurance :
– reiki services repayment (preventive health)

Supra insurance :
– reiki treatment repayment (special conditions)

ASCA (foundation for the recognition and development of alternative and complementary therapies) :
– certification for reiki practitioners (therapies, p. 3 ; health insurances)

RME (register of empiric medicines) :
– certification for reiki practitioners (therapies)

validation>Scientific studies

Though using only small samples, scientific studies on reiki have begun to appear. Below are data from the abstracts of several published studies on reiki and other energetic practices with links to the complete abstracts on the Pubmed website (a service of the National Library of Medicine and of the National Institute for Health, developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the United-States) :


“The effectiveness of tai chi, yoga, meditation, and reiki healing sessions
in promoting health and enhancing
problem solving abilities of registered nurses”

Authors : Raingruber B., Robinson C. (University of California-Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California, USA)
Year : 2007
Publication : Issues in Mental Health Nursing , 28(10) : 1141-55


  • Subjects : nurses
  • Program : yoga, tai chi, meditation classes and reiki healing sessions
  • Measures : self-care journals, analyzed with a Heideggerian phenomenological approach

Among the results

  • Relaxing sSensations of warmth, tingling, and pulsation
  • Enhanced problem solving ability
  • Increased ability to focus on patient needs


“Autonomic nervous system changes during reiki treatment :
a preliminary study”

Authors : Mackay N., Hansen S., McFarlane O. (Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom)
Year : 2004
Publication : Journal of Alternative et Complementary Medicine, 10(6) : 1077-81


  • Subjects : 45 people
  • Program : 3 random groups assigned each to 1 condition, no treatment (rest), reiki treatment, placebo treatment
  • Measures : quantitative measures recorded, values during and after the treatment period compared with baseline data

Significant outcomes in the reiki group compared to both placebo and control groups

  • Heart rate decreased
  • Diastolic blood pressure decreased


“Biological correlates of Reiki touch(sm) healing”

Authors : Wardell D.W., Engebretson J. (School of Nursing, University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, United-States)
Year : 2001
Publication : Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(4) : 439-45


  • Subjects : 23 essentially healthy people
  • Program : 30-minute reiki session
  • Measures : data collected before, during and immediately after the session

Significant results

  • During the session :
    • skin temperature increased
    • muscle tension decreased
  • Before/after the session :
    • anxiety reduced
    • salivary IgA levels rose
    • drop in systolic blood pressure


“Using reiki to manage pain : a preliminary report”

Authors : Olson K., Hanson J. (Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Year : 1997
Publication : Cancer Prevention and Control, 1(2) : 108-13


  • Subjects : 20 volunteers experiencing pain at 55 sites and using opioid therapy
  • Program : reiki treatment
  • Measures : pain measured before and after the treatment

Significant results

  • Highly significant reduction of pain


“A phase II trial of reiki for the management of pain
in advanced cancer patients”

Authors : Olson K., Hanson J., Michaud M. (Faculty of Nursing and International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
Year : 2003
Publication : Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 26(5) : 990-7


  • Subjects : 24 patients with cancer pain
  • Program : 2 groups, either standard opioid management plus rest (2 rest periods within 7 days) or standard opioid management plus reiki (2 reiki treatments within 7 days)
  • Measures : pain ratings, blood pressure, heart rate and respiration before and after treatment/rest periods ; analgesic use and pain ratings reported for 7 days ; quality of life assessed on days 1 et 7

Results for the reiki group compared with the rest group

  • Improved pain control following treatments
  • Improved quality of life


“The effect of reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies : a quasi-experimental pilot study”

Authors : Vitale A.T., O’Connor P.C. (Community Medical Center, Toms River, New Jersey, United-States)
Year : 2006
Publication : Holistic Nursing Practice, 20(6) : 263-274


  • Subjects : 22 women after abdominal hysterectomy
  • Program : 2 groups, the experimental one receiving traditional nursing care plus 3 30-minute sessions of reiki, the control one receiving traditional nursing care

Results for the experimental group compared to the control group

  • Less pain
  • Fewer analgesic requested
  • Reduced state anxiety on discharge at 72 hours postoperation


“Pilot crossover trial of reiki versus rest
for treating cancer-related fatigue”

Authors : Tsang K.L., Carlson L.E., Olson K. (Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Year : 2007
Publication : Integrative Cancer Therapies, 6(1) : 25-35


  • Subjects : 16 cancer patients
  • Program : 2 conditions, reiki condition (daily reiki sessions, then days without treatment, then reiki sessions, then days without treatment) and resting condition (rest sessions instead of reiki sessions)
  • Measures : questionnaires before and after reiki/rest sessions

Significant results in the reiki condition

  • Fatigue decreased over the course of all treatments
  • Improvements in quality of life compared to the resting condition
  • Scores of presession 1 versus postsession 5 (results not seen in the resting condition) : significant decreases in tiredness, pain, and anxiety


“Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of
psychological depression and self-perceived stress”

Author : Shore A.G. (PhD)
Year : 2004
Publication : Alternative Therapies: A Guide to Complementary Medicine, 10(3) : 42-48


  • Subjects : 46 participants
  • Program : 3 random groups, receiving either hands-on reiki, or distance reiki, or distance reiki placebo ; 1 to 1,5 hour treatment each week for 6 weeks
  • Measures : symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress

Significant results for the treatment groups compared with the placebo group

  • Reduction in symptoms of psychological distress
  • Differences still present 1 year later


“Integrating complementary therapies into
community mental health practice : an exploration”

Authors : Collinge W., Wentworth R., Sabo S. (Collinge and Associates, Kittery Point, Maine, United-States)
Year :  2005
Publication : Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(3) : 569-74


  • Subjects : 25 people receiving ongoing psychotherapy, with a mean history of 7.4 years of mental health treatment, all histories including trauma, and a DSM-IV diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, anxiety disorder, or dual diagnosis
  • Program : 5 sessions in the mean of either massage, or acupuncture, or reiki, or healing touch
  • Measures : interview data before treatments ; ratings of satisfaction and perceived changes in four dimensions of trauma recovery after treatments


  • High levels of satisfaction of the service
  • Significant levels of perceived change on each outcome measure
  • Enhanced psychotherapeutic outcomes reported by mental health clinicians


“Using reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems
in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease”

Authors : Crawford S.E., Leaver V.W., Mahoney S.D. (Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, Perry, Maine, United-States)
Year :  2006
Publication : Journal of Alternative et Complementary Medicine, 12(9) : 911-3


  • Subjects : 24 participants, aged from 60 to 80 years old, with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease
  • Program : 2 groups, either 4 weekly reiki treatment, or no treatment
  • Measures : before and after treatment

Significant results

  • Increase in mental functioning
  • Improvement in memory problems
  • Improvement in behavior problems


“A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing
in a population with advanced AIDS. Report of a small scale study”

Authors : Sicher F., Targ E., Moore D. 2nd, Smith H.S. (Geraldine Brush Cancer Research Institute, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, California, United-States)
Year :  1998
Publication : Western Journal of Medicine,169(6) : 356-63


  • Subjects : 40 patients with advanced AIDS
  • Program : 2 groups, either 10 weeks of distance healing treatment (by healers located throughout the United States), or no treatment
  • Measures : psychometric testing and blood draw at enrollment, and subjects followed for 6 months

Significant results at 6 months for the treatment subjects compared with the control group

  • Fewer new AIDS-defining illnesses
  • Lower illness severity
  • Fewer doctor visits required
  • Fewer hospitalizations required
  • Fewer days of hospitalization required
  • Better mood

2 thoughts on “Reiki – studies and use in hospitals

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.