Reiki Research

Research into Reiki from a medical perspective is still in its early stages but with interest in the value of integrative therapies gaining ground across a wide spectrum of clinical settings, more and more studies are emerging.

Over time, our hospital based projects first developed at St George’s aim to produce and publish well designed case reports, pilot studies and clinical research. See our Mission Statement.

The Body of Evidence

To date, most research studies into the efficacy of Reiki are typically small and, from a scientific or medical viewpoint, generally not all are well designed. Robust clinical research methodology is required if Reiki is to gain the recognition many feel it deserves as a natural adjunct to allopathic medicine. Many Reiki organisations list Reiki research findings which accumulatively represent a good body of evidence. On this page we aim to reference resources for well-designed Reiki research studies, critical evaluations and systematic reviews which have been published in Clinical, Nursing or peer-reviewed journals. The list will be expanded as we gather appropriate information.

Helpful Resources

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and National Institutes of Health (NIH)

PubMed® A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. Website:


Assefi, N., Bogart, A., Goldberg, J., & Buchwald, D. (2008). Reiki for the treatment of fibromyalgia: A randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(9), 1115-1122.

Baldwin, A., Vitale, A., Brownell, E., Scicinski, J., Kearns, M., & Rand, W. (2010). The touchstone process: An ongoing critical evaluation of Reiki in the scientific literature. Holistic Nursing Practice, 24(5), 260-276.

Baldwin, A.L., Wagers, C., & Schwartz, G. (2008). Reiki improves heart rate homeostasis in laboratory rats. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 14(4), 417-422.

Baldwin, A., Vitale, A., Brownell, E., Kryak, E., Rand. W. (2017) Effects of Reiki on Pain, Anxiety, and Blood Pressure in Patients Undergoing Knee Replacement: A Pilot Study. Journal of Holistic Nursing Practice; 31(2):80-89.

Bossi, L.M., Ott, M.J., DeCristofaro, S. (2008). Reiki as a clinical intervention in oncology nursing practice. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 12(3), 489-94.

Carraca, A., and Persinger, V., (2014) Enhanced coherence within the theta band between pairs of brains engaging in experienced versus naïve Reiki procedures Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(8):649-653.

Chirico A, D’Aiuto G, Penon A, Mallia L, DE Laurentiis M, Lucidi F, Botti G, Giordano A. (2017) Self-Efficacy for Coping with Cancer Enhances the Effect of Reiki Treatments During the Pre-Surgery Phase of Breast Cancer Patients. Anticancer Research, Vol. 37 (7), pp. 3657-3665.

Diaz-Rodriguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M, Fernandez-de-las-Penaz, C., Garcia-Royo, C., & Tomas-Rojas, I. (2011). Immediate effects of Reiki on heart rate variability, cortisol levels, and body temperature in health care professionals with burnout. Biological Research for Nursing, 13(4), 376-382.

Engebretson, J., and Wardell, D. (2002). Experience of a Reiki Session. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 8,48-53.

Evanoff,  A., and Newton, W. (1999) Therapeutic Touch and osteoarthritis of the knee Journal of Family Practice, 48(1), 11-12.

Friedman R., Burg M., Miles P., Lee F., and Lampert. (2010) Effects of Reiki on autonomic activity early after acute coronary syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(12), 995-996.

Gronowicz G., Jhaveri A., Clarke L., Aronow M., and Smith T. (2008). Therapeutic Touch Stimulates the Proliferation of Human Cells in Culture.. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(3), 223-239.

Hulse, R.S., Stuart-Shore, & Russo, J. (2010), Endoscopic procedure with a modified Reiki intervention: A pilot study. Gastroenterology Nursing, 33(1),20-26.

Jahantiqh. F., Abdollahimohammad. A., Firouzkouhi. M., Ebrahiminejad. V. (2018) Effects of Reiki versus physiotherapy on relieving lower back pain and improving activities daily living of patients with intervertebral disc hernia. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine; 23.

Jain, S., & Mills, P.J. (2009). Biofield therapies: Helpful or full of hype? A best evidence synthesis. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17(1), 1-16.

Joyce, J. & Herbison, G.P. (2009). Reiki treatment for psychological symptoms [Intervention Protocol]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4.

Lacorossi L, Di Ridolfi P, Bigiarini L, Giannarelli D, Sanguineti G. (2017) The impact of Reiki on side effects in patients with head-neck neoplasia undergoing radiotherapy: a pilot study. Professioni Infermieristiche, 70 (3): p. 214 – 222

Lee, M.S., Pittler, M.H., & Ernst, E. (2008). Effects of Reiki in clinical practice: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 62(6), 947-954.

Mackay, N., Hansen, S., McFarlane, O. (2004). Autonomic nervous systems during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 10(6), 1077-81.

Mansour, A.A., Beuche, M., Laing, G., Leis, A., & Nurse, J. (1999). A study to test the effectiveness of placebo Reiki standardization procedures developed for a planned Reiki efficacy study. The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 5(2), 153-164.

Martin, R., Glanville, M., Ball, C., Ruggles, S., Elanko, A., Elanko, S. (2019) Quality Improvement Project (QIP) exploring effectiveness of Reiki therapy on Quality of Life (Qol) outcome measures for cancer patients when used In Integrated Healthcare (IH). European Journal of Surgical Oncology 45, P2228, #132.

Meland, B. (2009). Effects of Reiki on pain and anxiety in the elderly diagnosed with dementia: A series of case reports. Alternative Therapies, 15 (4), 56-57.

Miles, P., True, G. (2003). Reiki-Review of a Biofield Therapy: History, theory, practice and research. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 9(2), 62-72: .

Olson, K., Hanson, J., Michaud, M. (2003). A Phrase II trail of Reiki for the management of pain in advanced cancer patients. Journal of Pain Symptom Management. 26 (5), 990-97.

Raingruber, B., Robinson, C. (2007). The Effectiveness of Tai Chi, Yoga, Meditation, and Reiki Healing Sessions in Promoting Health and Enhancing Problem Solving Abilities of Registered Nurses. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 28 (10), 1141-1155.

Richeson, N., Spross, J., Lutz, K., & Peng, C. (2010). Effects of Reiki on anxiety, depression, pain, and physiologic factors in community-dwelling older adults. Research in Gerontological Nursing, 3(3), 187-199.

Rosada, R., Rubik, B., Mainguy, B., Plummer, J., Mehl-Madrona, L. (2015) Reiki Reduces Burnout among Community Mental Health Clinicians, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(8):489-95.

Rozanova NL and Rozanova N. (2010) The effect of energy healing on in vitro tumour cells proliferation cell cycles and apoptosis: an experimental study. Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy. 2(1), 11-15.

Shore, A.G. (2004). Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 10(3), 42-48.

Schwartz, G., Russek, L. (1997). Dynamical Energy Systems and Modern Physics: Fostering the Science and Spirit of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 3(3), 46-56.

So, P.S., Jiang, Y. ,& Qin, Y. (2008). Touch therapies for pain relief in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Tsang, K., Carlson, L. (2007). Pilot Crossover Trial of Reiki Versus Rest for Treating Cancer-Related Fatigue. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 6(1), 25-35.

Turner, J., Clark, A., Gauthier, D., Williams, M. (1998) The effect of therapeutic touch on pain and anxiety in burn patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 28, 10–20.

VanderVaart, S., Gijsen, V.M., de Wildt, S.N., & Koren, G. (2009). A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(11), 1157-1169.

Vitale., A. (2007). An integrative review of Reiki touch therapy research. Holistic Nursing Practice, 21(4), 167-179.

Vitale A., O’Connor, P.C. (2006). The effect of Reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies: A quasi-experimental pilot study. Holistic Nursing Practice, 20(6), 263-272.

Wardell, D.W., Engebretson, J. (2001). Biological correlates of Reiki touch healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 33(4), 439-45.