Reiki Art (#1) - by Gil and Natalie

Different energies and sensations are experienced in Reiki session (artwork Reiki Art (#1) – by Gil and Natalie)

by Tamisha Sabrina.

Part 2. Back to Part 1.‎

Reiki Induces Meditative State

Zimmerman’s studies show that the brain wave patterns of practitioner and receiver are not only ‎synchronised in the alpha or theta state, but become left-right balanced, both indicators of deep ‎relaxation and meditation. This experience is typical of Reiki. The effects of regular meditation on ‎health have been extensively studied at more than 200 universities, hospitals, and research institutions ‎in 27 countries. The most important contribution to health appears to be in primary prevention. Over a ‎‎5 year period, meditators consistently had fewer than half the number of doctor visits and days in ‎hospital, compared with controls. Hospital admission rates for medical and surgical conditions were 60-‎‎70% less in the meditating group, with 87% less for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, 55% less for ‎tumours, 73% less for respiratory disorders, 87% less for neurological problems, and 30% less for ‎infections. Notably, the meditating group showed relatively little increase in need for healthcare with ‎increasing age, whereas this trend was clearly seen in controls, as would normally be expected. ‎Further studies showed effective relief from stress, a significant reduction in use of alcohol, cigarettes ‎and non-prescribed drugs, and a significant reduction in medical expenditure.‎

Although the above studies are not directly about Reiki, they do show the positive effects of regular ‎meditation, the state known to be induced by Reiki, and are consistent with the reported benefits. ‎They also support the purported holistic nature of this type of therapy, that is, it works to achieve ‎overall balance and wellbeing rather than being symptom specific.‎

It is perhaps worth mentioning that those who receive Reiki regularly seem to find it easier to meditate ‎than before. Most probably the treatments provide an example of ‘body learning’, whereby repeated ‎exposure to the alpha or theta states makes it easier to achieve by oneself.‎

Research Highlights

An elegantly designed experiment by Wirth et al. (1993) shows that Reiki significantly reduces post-‎operative pain following the surgical extraction of impacted wisdom teeth. The study utilised a ‎‎‘randomised, double-blind, within subject, cross-over’ design, which will be further explained. 28 ‎dental patients each received two separate operations for the removal of their teeth, only one of ‎which received Reiki in addition to standard medication for pain relief. 15-20 minutes of Reiki was ‎provided from a distance, with neither the patient nor the independent statistician being aware that ‎this was the focus of the experiment. They all thought the effect of the medication was being tested. ‎The reduction in pain provided by Reiki was therefore neither a placebo nor the result of personal ‎interaction with the patient.‎

An earlier study by Wirth (1990) on Therapeutic Touch (TT), a therapy very similar to Reiki [more about ‎TT at bottom of this page], examined the healing rates of a punch-biopsy on 46 volunteers. The ‎experimental method was similarly sound, being randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled. ‎The volunteers were randomly split into two groups, only one of which received a daily 5 minute ‎session of TT for a total of 16 days. Each participant was isolated in an empty room and passed their ‎arm through a sleeved hole into an adjoining room. The experimental group received non-contact TT, ‎whereas the controls received nothing. Neither the participants, the physician who performed the ‎biopsies, nor the technician who measured the wounds were aware that the study involved TT. All ‎thought that the bio-electric properties of healing were being monitored, thus ensuring that ‎suggestion and placebo effects were nil. The size of the wound was measured on the day of the ‎biopsy, and again on days 8 and 16. Day one was identical for all. Day 8 showed an average wound size ‎ten times smaller in the TT group than in the controls, and by day 16 almost half the wounds of the TT ‎group had completely healed, whereas none had in the controls. Average size of the treated wounds ‎was then 0.418 mm2 compared with 5.855 mm2. This showed that TT significantly assists wound ‎healing.‎

A pilot study by Hartwell and Brewitt (1997) explored an ingenious method to investigate the effects of ‎Reiki. A small group of chronically ill patients were given eleven, weekly, one-hour Reiki sessions, ‎during which period no other new allopathic or complementary treatments were received. The ‎electrical skin resistance of each patient was measured at a large number of conductance points on the ‎hands and feet, using a Life Information System TEN (LISTEN) device. All patients were measured ‎three times: before the first session, and after sessions 3 and 11. Three test points showed highly ‎significant differences before and after Reiki. These acupuncture / meridian points correlate with the ‎spleen, adrenal glands, and cervical, thoracic region of the spine. Together they might be termed ‎representative of the neuroendocrine-immune system. The greatest change was seen in the spinal ‎readings which started on average 25% below normal and gradually improved to within the optimal ‎range. Following Reiki all patients experienced a reduction in pain, and an increase in relaxation and ‎mobility. Schlitz & Braud (1985) used biofeedback devices to measure the galvanic skin response (GSR) ‎of people receiving distant Reiki. Stress is measured as skin resistance. There was a greater effect with ‎subjects who had a high GSR and were stressed.‎

In 1997, Dr Olson, coordinator of Nursing Research, and Dr Hanson, research scientist at the Cross ‎Cancer Institute in Edmonton, USA conducted some preliminary research into the usefulness of Reiki ‎as an adjuvant to opioid therapy in the management of pain. Since high doses of opioids frequently ‎aggravate other common symptoms of cancer patients, they wished to explore nonpharmaceutical ‎adjuvants that might allow control of cancer pain with lower dosed of opioids. Patient perception of ‎pain was measured using two standard tests immediately before and after the Reiki treatment. Both ‎tests showed a highly significant reduction in pain following Reiki, and a further, more extensive study ‎is now underway. ‎

Samarel (1992) conducted a thorough investigation into the patient’s experience of receiving ‎Therapeutic Touch, using a qualitative approach with one open-ended interview followed by a second ‎to clarify details. It was felt that this would best reveal the multidimensional nature of the therapy and ‎its simultaneous impact on the physiological, mental/emotional, and spiritual aspects of life. Patients ‎recalled focusing on unmet needs in all three areas prior to treatment, in particular physical discomfort. ‎During the course of TT, there was a change in focus from negative to positive experiences, and from ‎physical dimensions to more mental/emotional ones, especially relationships and roles. Finally, ‎following treatment, experiences emphasised the spiritual dimension, referring to such things as ‎spiritual love and faith. A typical example is, “It seemed as if the pain was the most important reason I ‎sought TT. But now it’s not the pain that’s important. I mean I have less pain, but what’s really ‎important is how I feel as a whole person.” Samarel summarised the results in the following way: “The ‎lived experience of TT is a dynamic, multidimensional experience of developing awareness and personal ‎change leading to resonating fulfilment.”‎

Leading-edge Research in China

Over the last ten years, ‘qi’ or ‘ki’ energy has been studied at leading universities and scientific ‎institutions in China. Quantum physicist Dr Yan Xin has spearheaded the research. Not unexpectedly, ‎it seems that the physiological changes that occur during the ‘ki state’ mirror those of regular ‎meditation, as do the health benefits. Of note is the use of ki energy for pain control through its ‎potential to produce enkephalin in the brain and intestinal walls, and excite the body’s morphine ‎receptors to accept the enkephalin easily. ‎

Experiments using ‘external qi emissions’, similar to sending distant Reiki, have been shown to affect ‎the molecular properties of RNA and DNA, and various biochemical processes. This has led to an ‎innovative collaboration between science and the pharmaceutical industry, in which ki is used to ‎improve the production of antibiotics. In 1990, final formal certification of the process concluded that

‎1) ki methods can improve the properties of certain antibiotic bacteria, optimizing the selection ‎process;

‎2) through the methods of mass production ki can save large amounts of raw material;

‎3) ki can shorten the production period;

‎4) the efficacy of medicines are improved using ki; and

‎5) ki can increase production yields.

No harmful effects of any kind were found to occur to humans or the environment using these ‎methods.‎

In summary of the Chinese research, Dr Yan Xin concludes that ki is known to have properties of ‎matter, energy and information. At the same time, according to different purposes of the ‎experiments, ki can also display different attributes, such as being bi-directional, distance-‎transcending, self-controllable, reversible and targeting. He comments, “Currently, due to the ‎difficulty in monitoring and investigating qi phenomena, qi-related research is still superficial and ‎limited in scope. At best we can measure only a tiny fraction, or an extremely small portion of the qi ‎phenomena. The major portion of the qi phenomena remains to be investigated.” “Qi needs science ‎to resurrect itself, and through the process of resurrection and renewal, qi will enable science to make ‎a great leap forward.”‎

End of Part 2. Back to Part 1.‎

References (for both parts 1 and 2)‎

Becker, Robert O. ‘The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life’, Pub: William ‎Morrow & Co. Inc. 1985‎

Bunnell T., ‘A tentative mechanism for healing’, Positive Health, Nov/Dec 1997.‎

Cade M. & Coxhead N., ‘The Awakened Mind;Biofeedback and the Development of Higher States of ‎Awareness’, pub: Element Books, 1996 (reprint).‎

Davies P, & Gribben J., ‘The Matter Myth’, Pub: Penguin, (1991).‎

Hartwell B. & Brewitt B., ‘The efficacy of Reiki hands-on healing: improvements in adrenal, spleen and ‎nervous function as quantified by electro-dermal screening’, Alternative Therapies, July 1997, Vol 3, 4.‎

Oschman J, & Oschman N., ‘Energy Review (parts 1,2,3,4,5)’, Jnl of Bodywork and Movement ‎Therapies. Vol 1, issues 1,2,3, Churchill Livingstone (1996/7).‎

Olson K. & Hanson J., ‘Using Reiki to manage pain, a preliminary report’, Prevention & controle en ‎cancerologie, 1 (2) , 1997.‎

Samarel N., ‘The experience of receiving therapeutic Touch’, Jnl of Advanced Nursing 17, (1992).‎

Seto A. et al., ‘Detection of extraordinarily large bio-magnetic field strength from human during ‎external ‎Qi emission’, Acupuncture and Electro-therapeutics Int. Jnl. Vol 17. 1992.‎

Schlitz M. & Braud W., ‘Reiki Plus natural healing: an ethnographic / experimental study’, Psi Research, ‎‎4, (1985).‎

‎‘Scientific Research on Transcendental Meditation, Part 1, Jan 1998’. British Association for the Medical ‎Application of TM.‎

Wirth D. et al. ‘The effect of complementary healing therapy on postoperative pain after surgical ‎removal of impacted third molar teeth’, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 1, (1993).‎

‎‘Dr Yan Xin on Scientific Qigong Research’, International Yan Xin Qigong Assoc., (1999).‎

Yan Xin, ‘Exploring the Mechanisms of Qigong Healing’, 1999 Yan Xin Qigong Assoc.‎

‎‘Structure and property changes in certain materials influenced by the external qi of qigong.’ Material ‎Research Innovations, 2, 349-359 (1999).‎

‎‘The effect of short and long term qi emissions on three biochemical processes: nucleotide ‎polymerization, protein (Fab fragment) crystallization, and enzyme (Phosphatidylinositol-3 Kinase) ‎activity.’ Materials Research Innovations, 2 (1999).‎

‎‘Observation of the effect of external qi on the ultraviolet absorption of nucleic acids.’ Ziran Zazhi (The ‎Nature Journal, in Chinese), 11 (1988).‎

‎‘Observation on the bromination in solution of n-hexane and bromine under the influence of external ‎qi.’ Ziran Zazhi (The Nature Journal, in Chinese), 11 (1988).‎

Zimmerman J., ‘New technologies detect effects of healing hands’, Brain/Mind Bulletin, Vol 10, No 16. ‎Sept 30, 1985.‎

Zimmerman J, ‘The laying-on of hands, healing and therapeutic touch: a testable theory BEMI ‎currents’, Journal of the Bio-Electromagnetics Institute. Vol 2, 1990.‎

* About Therapeutic Touch (TT)‎

Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a form of laying-‎on hands ‘energy’ therapy specifically ‎adapted by Krieger and Kunz for use by ‎nurses in a medical setting. Like Reiki it is ‎not practised within a religious context, and ‎requires no faith or belief by either ‎practitioner or patient. TT has been taught, ‎researched and widely practised by nurses ‎in US since the mid-1970s, and is now ‎endorsed by the National League for ‎Nurses. It has a growing interest in the UK, ‎and is taught and researched by the ‎Didsbury Trust in nursing schools, post-‎basic education departments, and nursing ‎development units. Sayre-Adams, Senior ‎Tutor at the Trust says of TT: “Nurses are ‎drawn to it because it is safe, uses only the ‎hands, and allows practitioners to capture ‎the essence of nursing, an essence many ‎believe has become lost amid high ‎technology medical care. Managers are ‎drawn to it because of the possibility of ‎cutting costs… It is of greatest value in ‎degenerative disease in that pain and anxiety ‎can be reduced. It is also found to be of ‎great comfort in the dying process.”‎

First uploaded to this website 5 Feb 2015, and updated 29 March 2015. © Tamisha Sabrina, March 2000.‎
I originally saw this article on 18 Nov 2003 on UK Reiki ‎Federation website I ‎contacted the ‎federation in 2015 and they contacted Tamisha and obtained permission from her to ‎re-publish this article here. Permission obtained on 5 Feb 2015. The federation also emailed me this ‎article in word document. Minor style amends were needed to format the article to the web. There is ‎a shorter version of this article circulated over the web, but here you can read the complete article in ‎full. Do not copy or publish this article without written permission. Thank you. – Gil Dekel.‎