Research into the efficacy of Reiki

Bowden, Deborah E. 2010. Research into the efficacy of Reiki. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

Text (Research into the efficacy of Reiki)
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Abstract or Description

The aim was to contribute to an evidence base for the efficacy of Reiki. Initially in three cases studies chronic fatigue syndrome patients received seven Reiki treatments over eight weeks. All three showed overall health improvements following treatment, although one relapsed at eight-week follow-up. Without a control group the improvements may have been due to expectation, relaxation and practitioner effects.

A randomised controlled trial was next conducted where 35 undergraduates over two­and-a-half to twelve weeks received ten 20-minute Reiki or No-Reiki sessions while their attention was absorbed in self-hypnosis or guided relaxation. The Reiki group showed comparatively greater improvements in illness symptoms and stress, although they had higher baseline scores. A constructive replication was conducted where 40 students - half with high depression and/or anxiety and half with low depression and/or anxiety - were randomised to receive Reiki or a non-Reiki-control. Participants experienced six 25-minute sessions over two to eight weeks, where they underwent a guided-relaxation to facilitate Reiki-blinding. Those with high anxiety and/or depression who received Reiki had significantly better overall mood at five-week follow-up, whereas there was no change in the other controls.
Three double-blind experiments followed involving a total of eight Reiki Masters. In each experiment different Reiki Masters each treated four dishes of gamma-irradiated canary seeds. Germination was monitored daily for 12 days and compared with control dishes. Overall analysis of the three studies found no statistical germination differences between the groups, although the dishes treated third and fourth had higher germination than their controls. However, the controls of the dishes treated first had higher germination than their Reiki dishes, and higher germination than other control dishes, presumably by chance.

In conclusion, while benefits occurred following Reiki in each study, due to limitations of the studies nothing can be concluded with regards to a Reiki effect.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Reiki, chronic fatigue, self-hypnosis, guided relaxation

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Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2020 09:25

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:37


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