top of page
Research on Reiki

Reiki is one of the complementary health modalities gaining recognition in the West; several medical institutions in North America and elsewhere are researching its benefits in hospitals and wellness centres. This knowledge is relevant particularly to the medical community and to those interested in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options. Reiki is an energy method for stress reduction and promotes healing. 


There are many websites and studies providing evidence of the medicinal effects of Reiki. To illustrate the attention Reiki is gaining in the medical community, I put together a brief guide, which I hope will provide some answers to those seeking information about Reiki.


A review of the literature on randomized trials regarding the effect of Reiki therapy on pain and anxiety published in 2015 in the journal Pain Management Nursing concluded that there is evidence that it may be effective.[1]


In a study published in Oncology Nursing Forum in 2011, Reiki therapy was found to raise the comfort and well-being of cancer patients.[2]


An interesting and informative report published in 2003 in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that Reiki therapy can help to relieve pain and improve quality of life.[3]


The Center for Reiki Research has a list of the research published in journals, along with the study summaries, providing evidence of the benefits of Reiki.[4]


The book Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth: A Practical Guide edited by Melissa D. Avery provides evidence for holistic approaches to improve the pregnancy and labour experience. One chapter focuses on the role that intentional touch therapies play in supporting women through pregnancy, labour, and the postpartum period. These therapies include massage and the energy therapies of Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Reiki. The chapter ends with three case studies illustrating the role that touch therapies can play in providing comfort during pregnancy and childbirth.[5]


Ongoing Research

In 2006, the Fraser Institute commissioned a study on Canadian patterns of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which found that 74% of Canadians had used at least one complementary therapy.[1] Following up on this report, University of Toronto’s Centre for Integrative Medicine is partnering with The Scarborough Hospital to evaluate the effectiveness of CAM therapies and how they interact with conventional treatments. The therapies they will be evaluating include Reiki and other energy therapies.[6]


Anecdotal Evidence

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence on the benefits Reiki. We hear of patients in wellness and health centres who say they have benefitted during and after energy treatments. Patients report feeling relaxed after Reiki treatments, even in the later stages of cancer. Patients also report feeling more mentally and emotionally balanced after receiving a Reiki treatment. Personally, I have and continue to heal with the benefits of Reiki, and during my own cancer treatments in hospital, I met countless patients receiving Reiki treatments in hospital and at one of the cancer support centres. Like them, I believe that energy treatments reduce the side effects of conventional treatments, including pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Reiki_Supports_Pregnacy and Birth.Book.j

[1] Susan Thrane and Susan M. Cohen, “Effect of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Adults: An In-depth Literature Review of Randomized Trials with Effect Size Calculations,” Pain Management Nursing 15, no. 4 (2015):897-908. doi:10.1016/j.pmn.2013.07.008. Available at:

[2] Anita Catlin and Rebecca L. Taylor-Ford, “Investigation of Standard Care versus Sham Reiki Placebo versus Actual Therapy to Enhance Comfort and Well-Being in a Chemotherapy Infusion Center,” Oncology Nursing Forum 38, no. 3 (2011):E212-20. doi.10.1188/11.ONF.E212-E220. Available at:

[3] Karin Olson and Mary Michaud, “A Phase II Trial of Reiki for the Management of Pain in Advanced Cancer Patients,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 26, no. 5 (2003):990-997. Available at:

[4] The Center for Reiki Research. Available at:

[5] Nadeem Esmail, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Use and Public Attitudes 1997, 2006, and 2016,” Fraser Institute, April 25, 2017. Available at:

[6] University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, “Research: Centre for Integrative Medicine,” Available at:

bottom of page