Research: Reiki Induces Relaxation
Reiki reduces anxiety and blood pressure, and increases
relaxation, according to recent research.
Source: Massage Magazine
The study involved 23 participants, ages 29 to 55, each of whom
received a standardized reiki treatment in a soundproof, windowless,
softly lit room. A single reiki master provided Reiki Touch, a form
of the Usui Reiki System.
According the Usui System of Reiki Healing's Web site, "The Usui
System of Reiki Healing is a hands-on healing practice.
Reiki—universal life energy—is channeled through the practitioner's
hands for self-treatment or treatment of others."
For this study, the practitioner's hands were lightly placed on
the subject's face and abdomen for 15 minutes each.
Before and after each session, quantitative information was
collected: Participants filled out questionnaires; salivary
specimens were gathered; and biofeedback and blood-pressure data
were recorded. "These were chosen as markers to explore a
physiological relaxation response," state the study's authors.
The measurements all changed in the direction of relaxation.
Participant anxiety and systolic blood pressure decreased
significantly following the session, while skin temperature and
salivary IgA levels rose after receiving reiki, which indicates a
physiological relaxation response.
Interviews were conducted and recorded after each session by one
of two investigators, who later transcribed and analyzed them for
persistent patterns. Participants were asked to describe their
experience and answer questions specific to the session. This falls
into the category of qualitative data.
"Consistent with other touch studies, these recipients reported a
holistic experience," state the study's authors. "Touch therapies
appear to engage the recipient in an integrated experience that
links body, mind and spirit in a unique manner that allows the
recipient to experience paradox."
Subjects described a change in their state of awareness as
liminal, or between two known states, such as sleeping and waking,
floating and sinking, hot and cold, fear and safety.
"I knew my mind had thoughts, but didn't know what they were,"
said one participant. The word "threshold" was used by several
subjects to describe the reiki experience as bordering on two
different states of being.
"Liminal states of consciousness, by definition paradoxical, are
frequently associated with profound religious experiences and have
been linked to ritual healing practices across cultures," the
Qualitative descriptions of the session as peaceful, soothing,
quiet and gentle were consistent with the relaxation response
indicated by the quantitative data.
However, besides this expected response, the authors of the study
noted that the effects of reiki may be beyond the capacity of
traditional research. "The narratives suggest that the experience of
Reiki is dynamic and incorporates subtle fluctuations and
variations; hence it may defy measurement." Note: Monumental Massage
offers Reiki. Reiki can be integrated with your next massage session
or you can schedule a session of just Reiki. Call for an appointment
Source: University of Texas Health Science Center.
Authors: Joan Engebretson, R.N., Dr.Ph., and Diane Wind Wardell,
R.N.C., Ph.D. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in
Health and Medicine, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 48-53.