Research On Energy Healing
There has been much research done on energy healing including Reiki, Qi Gong, Therapeutic
Touch, Johrei, Prayer, and more. It seems the trouble with doing healing research is finding large enough numbers of patients
that match in personal ailments in addition to as many life factor characteristics as possible to be a good comparison (age,
lifestyle, drug use, etc). Another factor to consider is that healers are not all alike either! I have compiled some information
below including some of the research that has been done, some books, and some websites for you to consider if you would like
to read about what has been done as far as energy healing research. Once again, this is just a small sampling. There is a
lot more out there and I am sure that more outstanding research will be done in the future.
General Healing Studies:
- (1950's & 60's) Dr. Bernard Grad & colleagues at McGill University in Canada found that when a healer held a container of water and sent
healing energy into it, barley sprouts grew taller and stronger than those in the control group that did not receive the treated
water. They did another study on "laying on of hands" and found that wounded mice in a container held by a healer were
healed significantly faster and with fewer complications than the control group of mice. He also showed that healers could
reduce the size of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals and that those treated had prolonged life compared with those who
were not. (Calm Healing: Methods for a New Era of Medicine - Robert Bruce Newman, Ruth Miller)
- (1988) Dr. Randolph Byrd did a double-blind remote prayer study on coronary care unit patients which showed significantly less severe symptoms
and required less assistance than those not prayed for. (The
ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena
- Diane Hennacy Powell, M.D.)
- (1990's) Dr.
Elisabeth Targ and Fred Sicher tested healing in a double-blind
study with patients having end-stage AIDS. During the 6 month trial, 40% of the control group died but all patients in the
healing group were alive and had improved! They decided to run another test with a larger group all perfectly matched down
to personal habits and found that the treated group did better physically and psychologically than the untreated group. And
none of them knew who was being treated or not since it was a double-blind study and healings were done at a distance. (The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe - Lynne Mctaggart)
- (2004) Dean Radin with molecular biologists Ryan Taft and Garret Yount from California
Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco (CPMC) tested "Possible Effects of Healing Intention on Cell Cultures and Truly Random Events." They used human brain cell
cultures to see if they would grow more when exposed to healing intention (bypassing the problem of placebo effect or expectation
since they used brain cells instead of people). They also used 3 hidden Random Number Generators in a shielded room where
Johrei practitioners projected healing to the cultures in flasks. They found that the treated cells grew more as the experiment
progressed with no significant trend in the control cell cultures. The odds of that happening being 1,100 to 1. In addition,
they found that all 3 random number generators produced peaks on the same day that the cell cultures deviated from chance-
with the odds of that happening being 1.3 million to 1. Their conclusion was that certain forms of focused attention appear
causally to influence both living and non-living systems. The environment was affected: the Johrei practitioners would condition
the space that they did the healings in by meditating and chanting as well as doing healings on each other. (Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality - Dean Radin)
Reiki Specific Studies
abstract from ISSSEEM (International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine ) website:
"Efects of Reiki on Pain and Selected
Affective and Personality
Variables of Chronically Ill Patients by Linda J. Dressen & Sangeeta Singg, Ph.D.
examined the effects of Reiki (a laying-of-on-hands healing modality) on pain, mood, personality, and faith in God. Participants
(N = 120) were randomly assigned to one of the four groups (ns = 30). The Reiki Group received ten
sessions of Reiki. Progressive Muscle Relaxation Group received ten sessions of relaxation therapy. Control Group received
no treatment. Placebo Group received ten sessions of false-Reiki. Statistical analysis led to the following conclusions: (1)
Reiki is an effective modality for reducing pain, depression, and anxiety. (2) Reiki is effective in enhancing desirable changes
in personality and strengthening the faith in God. (3) Gains made by Reiki tend to persist over longer periods of time. (4)
Attunement seems to be a vital part in Reiki training. (5) Chronically ill patients experiencing stress and pain tend to be
receptive to Reiki.
- Study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine website:
"The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Autonomic Nervous System Changes During Reiki Treatment:
Nicola Mackay, M. Sc.; Stig Hansen, Ph.D.; Oona McFarlane, M.A.;
Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital NHS
Trust, Glasgow, UK.; The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. December
2004, 10(6): 1077-1081. doi:10.1089/acm.2004.10.1077. Published
in Volume: 10 Issue 6: March 9, 2005
Objectives: to investigate if a complementary therapy,
Reiki, has any effect on indices of autonomic nervous system function.
Design: Blind trial.
Setting/Location: Quiet room in an out-patient clinic.
Subjects: Forty-five (45) subjects assigned at random into three groups.
Interventions: Three treatment conditions: no treatment (rest only); Reiki
treatment by experienced Reiki practitioner; and placebo treatment by a person
with no knowledge of Reiki and who mimicked the Reiki treatment.
Outcome measures: Quantitative measures of autonomic nervous system function
such as heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to
baroreflex, and breathing activity were recorded continuously for each
heartbeat. Values during and after the treatment period were compared with
Results: Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased
significantly in the Reiki group compared to both placebo and control groups.
Conclusions: The study indicates that Reiki has some effect on the
autonomic nervous system. However, this was a pilot study with relatively few
subjects and the changes were relatively small. The results justify further,
larger studies to look at the biological effects of Reiki treatment."
- Scientific Evidence for Reiki chart found on the "Transition to Parenthood" website which is compiled from studies
listed in "Natural Standard" which is an organization that produces scientifically based reviews of complimentary and alternative
Autonomic nervous system function
One randomized trial suggests Reiki may have
an effect on autonomic nervous system functions, such as heart rate, blood
pressure, or breathing activity. Large, well-designed studies are needed
before conclusions can be drawn.
Depression and stress
There is evidence that Reiki can reduce
symptoms of distress when compared with placebo. More information is needed
before a conclusion can be drawn.
Patients in a preliminary ("phase
II") trial of Reiki in combination with standard pain medications (with
opioids) were reported to experience improved pain control. Further research
is needed to confirm these findings.
In a randomized controlled trial, Reiki did
not have any clinically useful effect on stroke recovery in patients
receiving appropriate rehabilitation therapy. Selective positive effects on
mood and energy were noted.
Reiki may contribute to reduced perception
of pain, improved quality of life, and reduced fatigue in cancer patients.
More studies are needed.
Cognitive impairment (mild)
Early research suggests that Reiki therapy
may improve behavioral and memory problems in patients with mild cognitive
impairment or mild Alzheimer's disease. However, additional studies are
needed to confirm these findings.
Reiki instruction may help HIV/AIDS patients
reduce pain or anxiety, but study results are unclear.
More Reiki studies listed from that website:
Astin JA, Harkness E, Ernst E. The efficacy of "distant
healing": a systematic review of randomized trials. Ann Intern Med
Crawford SE, Leaver VW, Mahoney SD. Using Reiki to decrease memory
and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's
disease. J Altern Complement Med 2006;Nov, 12(9):911-913.
Eliopoulos C. Integrative care-Reiki. Director 2003;Spring,
Fleming D. Reiki: a gift and a skill anyone can learn. Beginnings
Kennedy P. Working with survivors of torture in Sarajevo with
Reiki. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2001;7(1):4-7.
Mackay N, Hansen S, McFarlane O. Autonomic nervous system changes
during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study. J Altern Complement Med
Miles P. Preliminary report on the use of Reiki HIV-related pain
and anxiety. Altern Ther Health Med 2003;Mar-Apr, 9(2):36.
Miles P. Reiki vibrational healing. Interview by Bonnie Horrigan.
Alt Ther Health Med 2003;Jul-Aug, 9(4):74-83.
Miles P, True G. Reiki-review of a biofield therapy history,
theory, practice and research. Alt Ther Health Med 2003;Mar-Apr, 9(2):62-72.
Comment in: Alt Ther Health Med 2003;Mar-Apr, 9(2):20-21.
10.Olson K, Hanson J, Michaud M. A phase II
trial of Reiki for the management of pain in advanced cancer patients. J Pain
Symptom Manage 2003;26(5):990-997.
11.Potter P. What are the distinctions
between Reiki and therapeutic touch? Clin J Oncol Nurs 2003;Jan-Feb,
12.Scales B. CAMPing in the PACU: using
complementary and alternative medical practices in the PACU. J Perianesth Nurs
13.Schmehr R. Enhancing the treatment of
HIV/AIDS with Reiki training and treatment. Alt Ther Health Med 2003;Mar-Apr,
14.Schflett SC, Nayak S, Bid C, et al.
Effect of Reiki treatments on functional recovery in patients in poststroke
rehabilitation: a pilot study. J Alt Compl Med 2002;Dec, 8(6):691-693.
15.Schiller R. Reiki: a starting point for
integrative medicine. Alt Ther Health Med 2003;Mar-Apr, 9(2):62-72.
16.Shore AG. Long-term effects of energetic
healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress.
Altern Ther Health Med 2004;10(3):42-48.
17.Tsang KL, Carlson LE, Olson K. Pilot
crossover trial of Reiki versus rest for treating cancer-related fatigue.
Integr Cancer Ther 2007;Mar, 6(1):25-35.
18.Vitale AT, O'Connor PC. The effect of
Reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies: a quasi-experimental
pilot study. Holist Nurs Pract 2006;Nov-Dec, 20(6):263-272. Quiz, 273-274.
19.Wardell DW, Engebretson J. Biological
correlates of Reiki Touch(sm) healing. J Adv Nurs 2001;33(4):439-445.
20.Whelan KM, Wishnia GS. Reiki therapy:
the benefits to a nurse/Reiki practitioner. Holist Nurs Pract 2003;Jul-Aug,
21.Witte D, Dundes L. Harnessing life
energy or wishful thinking? Reiki, placebo Reiki, meditation, and music. Altern
Compl Ther 2001;7(5):304-309.
22.Wong SS, Nahin RL. National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine perspectives for complementary and
alternative medicine research in cardiovascular diseases. Cardiol Rev
Websites that include energy healing studies:
Books to Consider:
- Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis; James L.
Oschman Churchill, 2000
- Spiritual Healing: Scientific Validation of
a Healing Revolution; Daniel Benor, 2001
- Vibrational Medicine; Richard Gerber, 2001
- Infinite Mind: Science of Human Vibrations of
Consciousness; Valerie V. Hunt, 1996
- The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (Lynn McTaggart)
- The Intention
Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World (Lynn McTaggart)