There’s a growing body of research on Reiki, an ancient Japanese energy healing therapy. What research shows is that Reiki for pain management can be an effective part of your personal plan by relaxing your muscles, reducing your stress and leaving you refreshed and more in tune with managing your chronic pain.
Is Reiki for Pain Management Effective?
Let’s dive into the effects of Reiki and how it can transform your energy flow and pain journey.
What is Reiki?
Anne Vitale, MSN, APRN, BC, describes Reiki therapy as an “energy-based touch therapy that provides a means for life force energy.” It’s meant to recharge, realign and rebalance your energy. This helps create optimal conditions for your body to heal.
Thanks to the hands of a Reiki healer (or a Reiki master), a client can work toward greater pain management. This integrated medicine can “strengthen the body’s ability to heal, inspiring balance and involves a mind-body connection.”
Here’s what you can expect with your Reiki treatments:
- Length of time: Practitioners offer Reiki sessions that typically last between 60-90 minutes. One session may be helpful for you. Or you may decide to have a series of sessions.
- Clothing: You will be fully clothed. It’s a good idea to wear loose and comfortable clothing. If you work with a Reiki healer who is also a licensed massage therapist, talk to her about your preference.
- Touch: This is your preference. Your Reiki healer can perform a session with a gentle touch. Or, if you would prefer, she can hold her hands above your body with no touch. Talk to your healer about which method you prefer.
- Your body during the session: You can receive Reiki typically while seated and reclined or while lying on a massage table. Healers can help you make adjustments to your position if you have concerns about mobility and pain.
- Your mind during the session: Your mind is likely to experience a sense of calm, and your body will likely relax. Typically, the healing energy of Reiki sessions is passed along in quiet. Your healer will likely not talk, but may play relaxing music.
If you have a question or a request during the session, it is perfectly acceptable to speak up.
What does the research on Reiki for pain management tell us?
However, a 2018 meta-analysis of Reiki on pain management concluded that it is “an effective approach in relieving the pain.”
More specifically, research has shown that:
- Reiki can provide valuable support to “traditional methods to manage pain and anxiety in children receiving palliative care.”
- It can reduce “the intensity of pain, the value of anxiety and the breathing rate” and is recommended to relieve pain and anxiety in women after cesarean delivery.”
- Along with other alternative treatments such as yoga and meditation, it “provides a cost-effective, minimally invasive and relatively harmless option” for patients who are working toward rehabilitation.
- Combined with music therapy, Reiki helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps “nurses help patients better manage HIV-related symptoms.”
Who is the ideal candidate for pain relief with Reiki?
If you are interested in integrated health modalities, Reiki may be your answer. It’s not about abandoning your prescribed traditional medical plan. Instead, it’s about trying an alternative that can relax your mind and body.
Consider Reiki if you:
- struggle with chronic pain and are seeking a new way to manage the physical and mental strain
- are a caregiver and need to find some peace of mind
- want to try an alternative method to dealing with stress and anxiety
- are looking for a modality to help you manage headaches
- need to find a spiritual healing outlet for personal growth
Have you tried Reiki for pain management?
Remember: Talk to your health care team before you visit a Reiki practitioner. While Reiki is a biofield therapy that may help to reduce pain and stress, it is not meant to be a replacement to your traditional medical treatment.
The team at Pain Resource updated this post in May 2019 with new information and resources.