Reiki is better than placebo and has broad potential as a complementary health therapy




McManus DE


Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 2017, Vol. 22(4) 1051-1057


Authors reviewed 13 research papers published between 1998-2016 which met the following criteria:
1) Published in peer reviewed journals 2) Quantitative studies 3) Hands on Reiki 4) All included “Sham” Reiki as placebo control 5) 20 or more participants in the studies Plus two studies with rats were included
Studies were grouped as:
Physiological responses to Reiki
Use of Reiki as complementary therapy for chronic conditions
Use of Reiki as a treatment of chronic conditions;
Use of Reiki as complementary therapy for acute conditions


Assessment of physiological parameter in 5 studies showed that Reiki is better than placebo at a) inducing a physically relaxed state and was shown in humans and in rats b) reducing resting heart rate, increasing heart rate variability and reducing blood pressure.
Reiki as a complementary therapy for chronic conditions ion 4 studies – Repeated treatment with Reiki was found to be more effective than placebo in reducing anxiety and depression and improving self-esteem and quality of life
Reiki as an adjunctive treatment for chronic conditions: In 2 studies Reiki was studied as a means of alleviating pain in diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia and in neither was it shown statistically to be any better than placebo.
Reiki as complementary therapy in acute conditions – in 2 studies of pain during medical procedures, Reiki was not found to be statistically more effective than placebo.
The discussion suggests that based on the above that Reiki is more effective than placebo and is better at activating the parasympathetic nervous system than placebo.

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