Reiki treatment (along with other alternative or complementary medicine techniques) is known for its divergent reception by the public. When expressing opinions about Reiki, energy work or holistic healing, people seem to divide into two camps.
The “Believers” in Reiki are likely those who have experienced its benefits and who may try to convince others that “this energy treatment really works”. The “Sceptics”, in turn, are often people who have never tried Reiki because they strongly suspect it to be a “money-making scam”.
It is hard for the two groups to communicate their point of view to one another, since their perspectives on the matter differ so much.
In cases of such disagreement the neutral ground is usually science and its findings. What has been established through objective research and accredited by academic authorities is more readily accepted by both “Believers” or “Sceptics”.
Let’s see what science has to say about the mechanics and validity of Reiki healing. Whilst most of the research has been conducted in the medical field, it is also relevant to the broader spectrum of Well Being.
Where does Reiki come from and what does it do?
“Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” – The International Centre for Reiki Training
Contrary to what many people think, Reiki is not an ancient healing technique – although it complies with many old Eastern traditions and philosophies in which the concept of “life force energy” is very present. But the Reiki treatment as we know it only came into use in the beginning on 20th century, in Japan.
Although there were a handful of practitioners developing it simultaneously at that time, the most famous one of them (who is now commonly considered to be the Reiki founder) was Mikao Usui. In 1922 he established Usui Reiki Ryoho – a technique that became the “mainstream” style of Reiki treatment in the following century.
Reiki is a holistic practice, reported to have various positive effects on human body, mind and spirit. The most frequently mentioned benefits include: relaxation, pain relief, stress management, reduced anxiety and depression, accelerated recovery and improved overall wellbeing.
All of these sound excellent – but does Reiki pass muster in a strictly medical setup?
Center For Reiki Research: Reiki in a hospital setup
Many modern hospitals offer Reiki as a part of their medical treatment. In the United States, Reiki and Therapeutic Touch are the third most popular method of complementary treatment, right behind massage and art therapy. Some of the hospitals and clinics that offer Reiki treatment are listed here.
When it comes to research about Reiki and its medical effects, The Center for Reiki Research is the place to turn to. It is by far one of the biggest and most in-depth initiatives dedicated to recounting effects of alternative and complementary medicine. The Center’s expert group examines and rates academic papers on Reiki and then uses the highest-rated papers as raw material for their own conclusions.
Based on the most reliable papers, the Center has defined areas and patient conditions in which Reiki healing proved to be most effective. These include: depression, stress, overall level of wellbeing and pain in chronically ill patients.
Some of the highest-rated papers combined into the Center’s research were the following:
- Research on patients after knee replacement surgery. The results showed that there was a significant decrease of post-op pain in patients who were subject to Reiki treatment. This decrease was not observed in patients who didn’t receive Reiki.
- Research on Reiki and burnout. The results showed that regular Reiki treatment over the period of 6 weeks reduced burnout symptoms, such as emotional exhaustion, and increased the sense of personal accomplishment.
- Research on Reiki therapy and Companionship applied during chemotherapy. The results showed that the application of Reiki treatment reduced the side-effects caused by chemotherapy.
What are the mechanics behind Reiki treatment?
Objective statistical research shows that Reiki has really good results both in clinical and alternative medicine context. The question remains: how does it work? What are the mechanics behind energy healing?
An independent research by Dr Becker and Dr Zimmerman conducted in the 1980s is a starting point here. The two academics examined what exactly happened with Reiki healers while they were giving the treatment. Study found that while focusing their mind on good intentions and aiming to heal their patients, the practitioners’ brain waves were oscillating mostly around 7-8Hz – a very low frequency often referred to as alpha state. This is the same wavelength as the Schuman Resonance (estimated to 7.83Hz), which is the basic frequency of the Earth’ electromagnetic spectrum.
Extremely low electromagnetic frequencies (between 0.3 and 30Hz) have been documented to stimulate human tissue repair. This discovery was a foundation for the Pulsing Electromagnetic Field Therapy, which uses devices to produce electromagnetic field of frequency 7Hz to stimulate bone growth and healing. Slightly different (but also very low) frequencies are documented to facilitate other healing processes within human body: 2Hz stimulates nerve regeneration, 10Hz is used for ligament repair and 15Hz for capillary formation.
The healing effect of the Reiki treatment is simply the ability of Reiki practitioner to produce low frequency electromagnetic field that has a beneficial effect on the patient. Hence, the mechanics behind the energy healing can be summed up in the words of Dr James Oschmann:
“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 stimulates the repair of one or more tissues. The cascade of activities initiated by such signals may provide essential information to cells and tissues, and open channels for the flow of information that coordinates repair processes”.
Reiki Wellbeing Retreat at Lauvitel Lodge
The scientific evidence behind Reiki treatment is certainly interesting – however, it doesn’t give you the first-hand experience of it. If you are curious what Reiki could do for you, a great opportunity to try it is here at Lauvitel Lodge.
Between 10th-15th June we will be hosting our annual Reiki Well-being Retreat, which is a chance to experience the treatment and learn how to use Reiki yourself. The training is conducted by Dr Caroline Purkhardt – an experienced Reiki Master, accredited life coach and Tai Chi teacher.