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    The Science of Reiki

    October 15, 2021 5 min read

    Dr. Imelda S. Edodollon, GPI, NMD, MD, MT

    What is Reiki?

    Reiki (pronounced as ray-key) is a form of energy healing developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. According to Oxford English dictionary, the English alternative medicine word reiki comes from two words rei (higher power/soul/ spirit) and ki (life force energy/ vital energy). In essence, it means spiritually guided life force energy. It is said that Ki is the non-physical energy that flows to all living things. We get Ki from air, food, sunshine, sleep and increasing it by breathing exercises and meditation.

    Reiki as a therapy

    Energy transference is the basic of Reiki practice. Practitioners usually do palm healing or hands on healing to patient as a part of wholistic healing of body, emotions, mind and spirit. One session usually lasts between 45-90 minutes with client usually on a table or chair, fully clothed. Reiki energy flows from practitioner to the client, placing hands on or near the client’s body in certain hand positions.

    According to practitioners, Reiki has a positive effect on every known diseases and negative conditions. As the energy flows, there are no side effects on healer and client. Pregnant women had received therapies and considered generally safe but should not replace conventional care about a severe or long-lasting symptoms or any health problem that needs urgent care.

    Reiki vs Pranic

    Reiki and pranic are both energy transference therapies, the difference is the method of doing it. Good Intention is a vital ingredient of healing to the client. Reiki is gentle, warm, doesn’t require intensifications. Pranic healing needs skills and practice, requires cleansing and scanning while reiki has no comparable technique. Pranic healing draws energy from the sun, air etc while reiki come from the practitioner itself.

    Science behind Reiki

    For centuries, the scientific validation was dependent on physics terminology for the need of rational explanation on the logic of sound scientific principles. Clinical trials of effectiveness of Energy medicine has been conducted since mid-1990’s though it has been concluded that further study is still needed.

    The human energy field or biofield is the term medical science has adopted for the intricately layered vibrational energy field that surround and penetrate the physical body, which can be manipulated and channeled.

    It must be understood that mind exists not only in the brain, but also throughout the body. Brain waves are not confined to the brain but spread throughout the body via the perineural system. The nervous system extends to every organ and tissue and even extends outside the body in a subtle energy field 2-3 feet thick which called aura. Negative thought and feeling is where Ki is restricted to flow that causes dysfunction and illness. Compassion and loving intention amplify the magnetic field.

    The kinetic theory of matter also called particle theory says that matter consists of tiny particles in the form of atoms, molecules, or ions moving at different speeds. Relating this to Einstein’s theory of relativity and assume all matter is made from energy, our physical body is therefore made of energy vibrating at a particular frequency. Naturally, the vibration of our physical body coincides with the earth vibrational frequency as is with all of nature’s elements.

    Laws of physics demand that any electrical current generates a corresponding magnetic field that can be measured. Mapping the magnetic fields around the body provides a more accurate indication of physiology and pathology alters the biomagnetic field.

    Our physical bodies consist of myofascial system linking us like an energetic superhighway that carries signals in the form of biophotons, tiny electrical impulses that produces that smallest sparks of conscious energy. The myofascial system has seven major points where there is more fascia than others corresponding to seven main energy centers called chakras, like a large energy hot spot.

    From Lynne McTaggart in her book Intention Experiment, intention has the power to manipulate energy. A negative intention or vibration creates a negative response that create dis-ease which can be healed with positive intention.

    Benefits of Reiki

    Since 2005, there have been over 1,200 Reiki science research into the effectiveness of Reiki with 2000 session planned in total. Reiki works well on different levels of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. Reiki triggers the body’s natural healing abilities, helps better sleep and maintain health.

    In a study in 2011, “A Randomized Controlled Single Blind Trial of the Efficacy of Reiki at Benefitting Mood and Wellbeing”, 40 university students with depression or anxiety in a span of 5 weeks showed: Those with high depression and/or anxiety who received Reiki had progressive improvement in overall mood while no change was seen in control participants (Bowden, Goddard, Gruzelier, 2011)

    Reiki treatments has been useful in these ailments: post-operative pain after tooth extraction and surgical operation, cognition in elderly related to dementia, pre-operative relaxation, pain in chronically ill patients, depression, stress, well-being even in Reiki practitioners.

    In a 2017 article by Kramer D called Energetic Modalities as a Self-Care Technique to Reduce Stress in Nursing Students, Nursing students reported decreased stress and improved concentration, academic performance, productivity, and problem-solving while experiencing a greater appreciation of their clinical experiences. Using Therapeutic Touch and other subtle energy interactions, the students also cited improved interpersonal relationships, increased feelings of calmness, a higher degree of self- awareness and self-care, reduced physical pain, increased energy, and greater appreciation of the world around them.

    Another article dated October 2017 by Macmanus DE reviews the available clinical studies of Reiki to determine whether there is evidence for Reiki providing more than just a placebo effect. Specifically for peer-reviewed clinical studies with more than 20 participants in the Reiki treatment arm, controlling for a placebo effect. Of the 13 suitable studies, 8 demonstrated Reiki being more effective than placebo, 4 found no difference but had questionable statistical resolving power, and only one provided clear evidence for not providing benefit. Viewed collectively, these studies provide reasonably strong support for Reiki being more effective than placebo.

    On 2007, Gillespie wrote on Diabetes – “The reduction of pain symptoms observed in both treatment groups is consistent with the concept that the formation of a “sustained partnership” between the health care provider and the patient can have direct therapeutic benefits.”

    Bremner MN on 2016 found out “Significant improvements in relief of pain and stress in those receiving RMG (Reiki Music Groups) were found. At the 6-week assessment, semi- structured interviews were conducted with all participants. Qualitative findings indicated that Reiki and music therapy helped reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Evidence- based data regarding the effectiveness of Reiki will help nurses help patients better manage HIV-related symptoms.” Source: Rosenbaum on 2016 found “All three services (Yoga, Massage, Reiki) helped decrease stress and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance cancer center patrons’ perceived overall health and quality of life in a similar manner. Reiki reduced the pain of patients with cancer to a greater extent than either massage or yoga.”

    From the information currently available, Reiki is a safe and gentle “complementary” therapy that activates the parasympathetic nervous system to heal body and mind. It has potential for broader use in management of chronic health conditions, and possibly in postoperative recovery. Research is needed to optimize the delivery of Reiki.

    2. Enhance your Reiki Energy with a Healthier Diet B Y W ILLIAM L E E R AND
    3. World Peace B Y W ILLIAM L E E R AND
    4. Center for Reiki Research (CRR). Retrieved June 23, 2012, from
    5. Semple, D.; Smyth, R. (2013). “Ch. 1: Psychomythology”. Oxford Handbook of Psychiatry (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780199693887.

    Dr. Imelda S. Edodollon, GPI, NMD, MD, MT
    Gerson Practitioner Intern
    International Gerson Institute
    San Diego, California USA
    Medical Director
    Holistic Integrative Care Center
    Makati, Philippines