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Reiki in the Clinical Setting is on the Rise

Reiki is increasingly finding its way into institutional settings, from hospitals to hospices, and the push appears to be coming from patients as well as clinical practitioners

Reiki is increasingly finding its way into institutional settings, from hospitals to hospices, and the push appears to be coming from patients as well as clinical practitioners.

“More and more, patients are requesting care beyond what most consider to be traditional health services, and hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies,” according to researcher Sita Ananth of Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

“And hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies.”

Reiki is now one of the top three complementary in-patient therapies in U.S. hospitals, according to an AHA survey.

Massage therapy takes first place, with 37% of hospital patients requesting it. Number two is music and art therapy at 25%

A very close third is “healing touch therapies” at 25%, which included Reiki and Therapeutic Touch

Reiki in the clinical setting is becoming mainstream

Hospitals are responding, discovering for themselves the many benefits Reiki can offer

“As our health care system challenges institutions to offer high-quality but cost-effective service, Reiki is being recognized as an important tool to maximize patient care and minimize recovery time”

Reiki - Patients love it

For example, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York not only offers Reiki therapy to patients but also teaches Reiki once a month, inviting the patients’ caregivers, the patients themselves, and the general public to learn it.

“Patients love Reiki,” says Simone Zappa, RN, an administrator in the Integrative Medicine Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. “And they love it because it works.”

According to an International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) study of

“America’s Best Hospitals” (the top 25 ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2002), 60% of them had formal or informal Reiki programs in place.

All hospitals using Reiki said that they believed Reiki to be at least somewhat beneficial for patients and 67% said they believed Reiki to be highly beneficial.

Reiki in Institutions

Acceptance of Reiki in Institutions comes in part because it is so easy to incorporate into the clinical setting. It requires no specific setting, technology, or preparation.

Reiki is a touch therapy, and RNs and other professionals routinely touch patients as part of their job.

If they are Reiki-trained, every time they touch a patient, the patient automatically receives Reiki energy.

Since long, formal sessions are not required to support a patient with Reiki therapy, opportunistic mini-treatments in the normal course of patient care make Reiki very easy to incorporate.

What Nurses and Physicians say about Reiki in the Clinical Setting

Mounting anecdotal evidence confirms its benefits over and over again.

Nurses and physicians who use Reiki in the clinical setting consistently say it:

  • Makes a patient relaxed, calm and cooperative
  • Relieves acute and chronic pain
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduces stress
  • Decreases the need for pain medication
  • Improves sleep and appetite
  • Accelerates the healing process
  • And has no side effects or contraindications.

They also say that Reiki reduces many of the unwanted side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, including nausea and fatigue.

Self Reiki for Nurses

Since health care service in general and nursing in particular are industries with very high burnout rates, the benefits of Reiki for practitioners cannot be underestimated.

Reiki is just as easily incorporated into the clinical setting for a nurse as it is for a patient, allowing the nurse immediate stress relief and relaxation after just a few minutes of self-treatment on the job.

Ongoing Research

 Reiki and Surgery

Perhaps most importantly, increasing research allows Western healthcarepractitioners to see quantifiable data about the effects of Reiki on patientswith a variety of conditions.

The largest ongoing study of Reiki in the clinical setting continues tobe conducted at Columbia/HCA Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Portsmouth, NH, USAwhere more than 8,000 surgical patients have been given pre-and post-surgeryReiki treatments.

Reiki is incorporated into their admission procedure and is alsoadministered during transport to surgery. Treatments are given by trained RNs,physical therapists, technicians, and support staff

Research results continue to be consistent

All the patients in this (above) study who received Reiki had the need for -

  • Less anesthesia
  • Had less bleeding during surgery
  • Used less pain medications
  • Had shorter lengths of stay in the hospital
  • And indicated greater satisfaction with their hospital experience than other patients

Reiki for Pain Management

The Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Canada conducted a study on the effects of Reiki with 20 oncology patients in chronic pain. Study supervisors used both a VAS (visual analog scale) and Likert scale to measure pain before and after Reiki, and their conclusion was that Reiki greatly improved pain levels.

Reiki and Cancer Oncology

Other research with oncology patients shows that Reiki -

  • Speeds up the elimination of toxins
  • Improves immune response
  • Helps manage side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Helps reduce the inevitable fear and anxiety that accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

Reiki and the Heart

The Section of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, at Yale University USA conducted a study to determine if Reiki would improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in patients recovering from acute coronary syndrome.

Reiki is an ongoing clinical program offered on Yale-New Haven Hospital cardiac units, so the Reiki therapists in this study were 5 Reiki-trained nurses already employed in that program.

To compare Reiki to musical intervention and resting control, continuous electrocardiographic readings were obtained for 12 control, 13 music, and 12 Reiki patients.

The change with Reiki was significantly greater than with music (p=0.007) or resting (p=0.025).

Reiki and Chronic Illnesses

Several studies on Reiki and chronic illness indicate –

  • Improvement in spleen, lymphatic and nervous system function in patients with multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and thyroid disorder
  • As well as better management of symptoms in patients with AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, and sleep disorders.

Reiki during Pregnancy

Research conducted at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT, USA showed that Reiki used during pregnancy reduced –

  • Anxiety by 94 percent
  • Nausea by 80 percent
  • Pain by 78 percent
  • And improved sleep by 86 percent.

Reiki and Children

Clinicians have found that Reiki is equally safe and effective for children.

At California Pacific Medical Center, one of California’s largest hospitals, Dr. Mike Cantwell, a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, provides one to three-hour-long Reiki sessions.

Dr. Cantwell says

“I have found Reiki to be useful in the treatment of acute illnesses such as musculoskeletal injury, pain, headache, acute infections, and asthma.

Reiki is also useful for patients with chronic illnesses, especially those associated with chronic pain.”

Reiki and End of Life Issues

  1. For end of life issues, hospice studies show that Reiki addresses physical and emotional symptoms while improving quality of life during palliative care.
  2. Reiki promotes deep relaxation, pain management, and relief from depression with less medication.
  3. It also facilitates the release of anxiety, grief, and fear, supporting positive emotional closure with loved ones and a calm, peaceful passing.

Reiki from Cradle to Grave

Literally from cradle to grave, patients in neonatal units, hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, surgical suites, organ transplant units, and other clinical settings are increasingly being helped by Reiki, and as a result, Reiki is being incorporated into the clinical setting more and more.

Reiki and the Body’s Creative Ability to Heal Itself

“Incorporating Reiki with conventional healthcare not only assists with curing the curable, but also provides a solution for caring for the incurable.

Because Reiki facilitates the body’s creative ability to heal itself, dramatic healing shifts can occur when Reiki…is part of a medical treatment plan”

With thanks to ©Libby Barnett & Maggie Babb ‘Reiki Energy Medicine’ 1996 & 2022