Science, Research and Experience 

The science of Reiki is in its infancy.  We are only beginning to explore this energy - what it is, what it does and how it works.


In our upcoming blog, we will examine in-depth the science of Reiki. We'll review existing scientific and clinical research and examine problems that must be overcome to ensure clinically valid results. 


We'll look at some relationship challenges among the energy healing, medical and scientific communities that impact not only the use of Reiki, but the research.


We'll look at Reiki's current role in contemporary medicine and wellness, and what the science and research indicate its role could become.


But for now, lets take a high-level look at our current understanding of Reiki.

The Clinical Research

Research and anecdotal evidence suggests Reiki can help

•  alleviate depression

•  regulate heart rate

•  lower blood pressure

•  improve sleep

•  accelerate healing

•  manage chronic pain

•  strengthen immunity

•  relieve stress and anxiety

The clinical studies are small; they need to be repeated on larger scales.  There are design flaws, some nominal and some critical.  However, the emerging data strongly supports continuing and expanding the research.


We are making progress.  Prominent institutions including Yale, Cleveland Clinic, and the military are studying Reiki and pushing the research forward.

  • +   Institutions conducting research

    Institutions across the world are researching Reiki, including:


    •  Yale University

    •  Cleveland

    • George Washington University

    • University of Birmingham, UK

    • University of Arizona, Tucson

    • University of London

    • University of Washington, Seattle

    • Nursing, University of Granada, Spain

    • School of Nursing, Sonoma State University

    • Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, ME

    • University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

    • Christine E Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services

    • Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Spalding University

    • University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

    • Nursing Faculty, Internat'l Inst for Qualitative Methodology, U of Alberta, Canada

    • Royal College of Nursing Australia

    • Department of Neurology, Medical College Hospital, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

    • Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Beth Israel Medical Center

    • ACLU AIDS Project and the City University of New York


    In 2008, the U.S. Army awarded $4 million in grants to study alternative approaches,

    including Reiki, to "healing for traumatic brain injuries in service members" (1)

Although we cannot yet assert that “Reiki scientifically proven," we can say that solid evidence is emerging and we are actively working towards scientifically sound answers.

The Science


•  Our body is an intricate electrical system

•  Electricity can restart a dead heart to restore life

•  Heat and ice accelerate healing of injured muscles, arthritis, migraines

•  The suns's ultraviolet rays trigger vitamin D synthesis

•  Our body converts food into energy to fuel itself

•  We create, emit and respond to light, heat and sound


Advanced medical technology is based on energy:

• Electrocardiograms, MRI, cat scan, electroencephalography measure the

body’s energy fields to diagnose the body

• defibrillators, pacemakers, pulsed magnetic field therapy and lasers use

energy to treat the  body.


Reiki is Energy


No Energy = No Life.  It’s that simple.


Reiki is another form of energy -  a gentle, deeply relaxing, healing energy that treats the whole person. 


James Oschman PhD, hypothesizes that “healing energy, whether produced by a medical device or projected from the human body, is energy of a particular frequency or set of frequencies that stimulate the repair of one or more tissues.” (2)  


A common hypothesis is that Reiki is one or more of these frequencies.


How Reiki works


Some studies show that energy with an extremely low frequency (ELF) can stimulate tissue repair and that the hands of energy healers might emit this ELF.  


Scientists believe Reiki might


• Interact with the biomagnetic fields of organs and tissues to stimulate

their repair

• Open cellular pathways and activate their healing process

• Deeply relaxing, it may help you “get out of the way” of your immune system

•  infuse damaged tissues with energy frequencies vital to their repair

•  open cellular pathways and activate their healing processes

•  act on the autonomic nervous system, increasing parasympathetic activity

•  through deep relaxation, help you “get out of the way” of your immune

    system so it can do its job


Researchers are actively working to unravel the science of Reiki; in the interim, we look to experience.


Sometimes experience, if it is strong and consistent, must be trusted until science catches up.  An excellent example is aspirin. 


Aspirin Analogy


While we did not begin to unravel the science of aspirin until the 1970s, its medical use dates back to Hippocrates in 400 B.C.


The medical profession never allowed the lack of scientific knowledge stop them from using it – their experience of aspirin’s value was far too significant to withhold aspirin's use until science caught up. 


In fact, physicians discovered aspirin's role in preventing and stopping heart attacks, strokes and related conditions through experience, not science.


Physicians used aspirin based on their experience until science caught up. 


Historical Experience of Reiki


Prominent hospitals and healthcare institutions use Reiki based on their experience - as with aspirin they are not waiting for science to catch-up.

So for today, we look to science for guidance, advocate for rigorous research, and turn to a century of recorded Reiki history to know how to best use it until science catches up.