Reiki is an observable system measurable only in its effects and increasingly research into the effects of Reiki on pain control as well as anxiety, depression and wellbeing, are suggesting this can be a positive addition to pain relief strategies.
In 2006 the Nursing Times published a placebo controlled, randomised study by Vitale and O’Conner measuring the effects of Reiki with respect to pain relief in women with abdominal hysterectomies. Not only did they find that after surgery, those who had received Reiki used less in the way of analgesics in the first few days – generally the most painful – after surgery, they also reported significantly less pain. In addition, length of time spent in surgery for the group was shorter for the group who had had Reiki treatments.
Anxiety was also clearly and significantly reduced in the Reiki treatment group, particularly before the operation.
This study is significant in that both the treated group and the control (those who did not have treatments) group were given exactly the same nursing care, post operative medical care and the same operation.
Reiki clearly made a positive contribution to these women’s experience of surgery and its after effects. Most Reiki practitioners have anecdotal evidence that this is not unusual – pre and post operative treatments significantly reduce pain and anxiety. Practitioners will often go further and offer anecdotal evidence that recovery is also speedier when Reiki treatments are given.
In other research carried out in 1998 by Dressin and Singg, people with chronic pain were divided into four groups to compare how Reiki performed against muscle relaxants, placebo (pretend Reiki) and control (no treatment). In this study, the results indicated that those who had been treated with Reiki had significant pain relief, reduced anxiety and depression and experienced enhanced spiritual faith.
Unfortunately, there is not as much research into Reiki generally as most practitioners would like, however there are quite a few published, peer reviewed studies indicating that Reiki helps significantly reduce pain, whether chronic or acute. When we’re in pain, we can’t help but feel anxious; when we’re in chronic pain, it’s not surprising that this can lead to significant depression. What these and other studies indicate is that Reiki breaks the cycle of pain/anxiety/depression and can therefore form a foundation upon which to build to recovery.
Equally, these studies suggest that Reiki works wonderfully well as a complement to traditional allopathic medicine.