Is there scientific evidence that Reiki works?

Q: Is there scientific evidence that Reiki works?

A: That’s an interesting question. There is both scientific and experiential evidence that Reiki works. Just ask someone who gives Reiki, or the clients who receive it. All will report many stories of significant improvements. I’m included in that – I have plenty of anecdotal evidence from my own experience both as a giver and a receiver of Reiki for me to know conclusively that Reiki works.

As far as scientific evidence, though…it’s time for more people to know that there IS!

Reiki’s effects can be experienced and noted in different ways.

For example, it’s understood scientifically that intention, Reiki and other thought-energy imprints itself on the state of water. Naturopaths know this. They often work with little vials of water that have been imprinted with the energy of different substances to muscle test for allergies and adverse reactions.

Also, a Random Event Generator, such as the Mind Lamp developed by Psyleron, shows visibly that a program that generates random numbers changes behavior in the presence of intention/ Reiki/ energy. I actually have a Mind Lamp, and it’s extremely fascinating. You can see how it changed behavior in this replay of the 11/11/11 distance healing that I recorded. During most of the time we were sharing energy, the lamp remained steadily white, rather than changing colors randomly as it usually does. Also, when someone participating suggested a color, the lamp changed to that color, as if on demand.

The effects of Reiki energy make a visible difference in the spoil rate and quality of cooked rice in experiments, like this one by one of my colleagues.

People who experience Reiki, and Reiki practitioners alike know what they feel. And there are many, many anecdotes about miraculous healings that occurred after one or several Reiki sessions. I have seen those I share Reiki with relax, feel relief from pain and stress, and even more. There are many testimonials such as this one that you could watch to hear it from the people themselves.

Recently, I have been introduced to a very important book. It’s not well known in the United States, maybe because it was published in London. In any case, the book is called Healing Research, Holistic Energy Medicine and Spirituality, by Dr. Daniel J. Benor. It is, I think, a very well put together series of research studies on many aspects of energy research. It needs to be more known! I have personally given a copy of this book to the Director of the Transdisciplinary Holistic Studies Program at The Cleveland Clinic, of which I am a participant. He said he would take it to the Research Department and introduce it to them. Included in this book are controlled studies of the effects of energy healing on bacteria, cells, enzymes, fungi, animals, electrodermal activity, and many other topics. I’m very impressed with it! I did not know that there was so much research actually documented, and I’m very relieved that now I do know about this book. I encourage all who might be in need of some real science to get a copy of this book.

So ask yourself this – how do you decide what matters? Do you need some scientific evidence, or do you believe what you feel and experience? If you feel it, notice a difference, does that make it real enough for you? If Reiki could help you feel better when something was wrong, would that be enough? Or do you need scientific data to convince you to try it? Do you trust yourself enough to discern the truth in your own life?

Either way, you’ll find what you need. Reiki is real.

When you’re ready, come find me. I’ll be here ready to show you.


About Reiki Awakening

Alice Langholt is a parent, author and teacher with Master level training in several Reiki modalities. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Reiki Awakening Academy School of Intuitive Development ( Alice is the author of the new Reiki resource, Practical Reiki TM: for balance, well-being, and vibrant health. A guide to a simple, revolutionary energy healing method, which won second place for Best Reiki Book in the 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards. Alice maintains a local Reiki practice as an Associate at Insight Learning and Wellness Center in the Cleveland, Ohio area. In addition, she has authored eBooks in Distance Healing and Energetic Protection, as well as specific curricula in Reiki for Parents, Reiki for Nurses and Caregivers (approved by the Ohio Board of Nurses for continuing education units), and more. Alice spent a year volunteering at The Cleveland Clinic offering Reiki to patients and staff, and is a Group Leader with The Distance Healing Network ( She will teach Practical Reiki in Lily Dale, NY (August 2013), and gives workshops at holistic expos around the US. Alice is rated the #1 most influential person on Twitter under the category Reiki by Her husband, Evan, and their four kids know and use Reiki. As a teacher, Alice believes that close guidance and mentoring are essential elements for learning energy healing. She provides this support to each student, getting to know each and assist him or her in growing intuition and becoming confident practitioners. Receive Reiki, order pendulums, energy charged stones, and more by visiting Alice at
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66 Responses to Is there scientific evidence that Reiki works?

  1. Scott Smith says:

    This just in! No really Reiki sister, I JUST read this. 🙂

    As my partner said when I read it aloud to him, “Yeah… But WE already knew that!”


    • What an excellent article, Scott! Thank you so much for enriching the discussion with more “proof” if people need that! It’s good to have this resource. Much love and light for all you do to share great energy! Alice

  2. pamelamiles says:

    With all respect, Alice, you’re really stretching the science here, and so is the article Scott linked to. The question to ask yourself is: who are you trying to impress? If you want to get the Reiki community jazzed up, this version of science will do it. But if you want to get the attention of conventional medicine, this version of science will really cement the opinion that Reiki practitioners don’t understand and are not credible. For example, the word “evidence” in science means data from studies that has been statistically analyzed for significance and deemed worthy of publication by disinterested scientific colleagues.

    The problem with the Touchstone process is that they’ve lowered the standards of scientific research. Again, Reiki practitioners who don’t understand science will be thrilled with the results, but if you want to demonstrate the viability of Reiki treatment in a real world medical environment, a more effective route is to meet the existing standards. The person who made the YouTube video about rice says himself that his experiment does not meet research standards.

    If anyone is interested, Reiki papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals (meaning they have met existing standards for scientific evidence), including the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology are available for download and personal use here

    • Hi Pamela,

      Thank you for commenting here. Absolutely you are well respected as an authority for credible scientific studies for Reiki, especially as it pertains to medicine. And I do appreciate your offering a resource for more accepted scientific studies, for readers who are interested in finding more.

      Truly, though, my goal in writing this post was to present the thought that maybe it’s not all that important for us to find scientific “proof” to validate the power in what we do, when we feel the energy, those we share it with feel it, and those of us who practice Reiki mindfully and regularly will all have some story to share of powerful results for someone we’ve shared Reiki with. On some level, that could be enough to keep going and knowing that this is valid work.

      It can take a lot of time and effort to “prove” that the energy is real by accepted scientific standards. I vote instead to let you do that (hee hee, I tease you a little!), and I’ll spend my time teaching and sharing energy with all who are interested in benefiting from Reiki. From now on, I’ll refer those interested in the science of it to your page. That way, all our bases are covered.

      I know of course, that you also teach and offer Reiki, Pamela, and so I’m grateful to count you among my colleagues in this fascinating and meaningful work.


      • pamelamiles says:

        Alice, I completely agree with your comment “maybe it’s not all that important for us to find scientific “proof” to validate the power in what we do…” And it is definitely not my goal to “‘prove’ that the energy.”

        The point of research is not to prove Reiki to us or anyone else. Proof is actually not even a research concept. Rather, scientific research documents effects and evaluates the likelihood that those effects are due to chance rather than the treatment offered.

        What valid research documentation of the benefits of Reiki practice can do is start the conversation in health care, which is allegedly evidence-based. I write “allegedly” because doctors are very aware that there is little evidence for much of what they do, but it is done within the scientific paradigm. What we are offering is from the traditional healing paradigm, not the scientific paradigm, so whatever we can offer that is credible helps doctors to put it together in a way that is meaningful to them and defensible in their community. Doctors cannot advise people on the basis of their personal whim; they need a bit of credible evidence, and a reasonable argument, offered by a credible practitioner.

  3. Pamela,

    Thank you so much for enriching the discussion with your points. I absolutely agree that we need a credible voice for Reiki in the medical system so Eastern and Western medicine can work together for greater wellness. It IS important for doctors to be able to recognize the benefits of Reiki, and learning to speak the language is the key to making that possible. You are a pioneer in that effort, and thank you so much for all you do.

    I’ve spent a year giving Reiki at The Cleveland Clinic, and am beginning to be involved in a program at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital which combines aromatherapy and Reiki for children dealing with cancer. I’m happy that there is the possibility of being involved, but also know that there is far to go. Both programs are excellent, yet both are volunteer. How many other treatment programs require the practitioner to volunteer?

    In any case, Pamela, again, thank you so much for being an advocate and a resource. You set a lot of things straight for me and for my readers.

    Love and light,

    • pamelamiles says:

      Alice, it’s wonderful that you have been at The Cleveland Clinic, which is one of the institutions that is pioneering the development of integrative medicine. They are fortunate to have you.

      I know I push the envelope in the Reiki community, and I appreciate your patience. I do so because I have a vision in which there are no Reiki volunteers, but rather paid Reiki practitioners who first complete a Reiki internship in which they are mentored and supported to function effectively and healthfully amidst the profound suffering that exists in even the most elite conventional healthcare settings.

  4. One of the private groups of spiritual folks I work with discussed the article. I want to say “proof” is by and large for those who want to believe. Research is not proof; I think the energy of the word proof wants validation. Research is for science AND spirituality, to study explore and understand the world and our human existence within it. Science and spirituality are paths to seek, to ask, to know, to bring understanding.

    My friend teaches and explains that practitioners often categorize Reiki in two paths, “medical” Reiki and “Reiki as a spiritual path.” I fall into the latter without excluding the other, and not without both miraculous and mundane result. In my time I have seen fractures vanish in as little as 30 minutes (observable by x-ray day of, and following day); Sarcoma shrinking in a 24 hour Reiki intensives; aiding my little nieces with comfort; watching a client rise out of his body and go to the beach, and discussing the journey post session. Reiki… Energy and Spiritual healing can have a profound and practical influence in our life.

    Reiki as an energy, not as one of the many systems, from Dainichi Nyorai the Great Sun Buddha, or the Great Light Within, The Spiritual Sun, God, Light has shown that it is wellness on all levels. Not just mending flesh and bone.

    I want to make a few observations in light of the commentary. I don’t need to clout anything with my experience. Suffice to say it [my history] has time and with many extraordinary people and began as a conscious, learning exploration, in a little shop back in 1989 in Newark California. My original Reiki instruction was taught by women who were part of the free clinic in San Francisco, and later at St. Luke’s out-patient center in the 90’s. They were taught by one of the 22.

    I am assuming we’ve all been bedside offering love, compassion and light for the ill, and the dying. When I take the measure of a healer it is in the demonstration of compassion, not the papers they have on their wall or the lists of achievements. I think the standard of giving and experience is established and that is the credential that matters. My “proof” is putting my hands on someone and demonstrating. To try to explain the experience of Reiki… Well I am sure you know that words often fail the actual reception.

    It will take a lot of convincing for me to go the route of “official” accreditation on what I live as a spiritual path. I appreciate your insight and experience in that you are bringing forward a healing energy and applaud your compassion to bring love to suffering, very Buddha, but I am drawn to some of your words, specifically the internship and Vision you mentioned. I am sure both the international and American organizations for Reiki are as well, it’s an exciting thought. Although my concept of such a system of accreditation may be shortsighted, and it brings up certain thoughts with dirty words like Reiki “authority,” and “regulation” or what “the experts” define as Reiki.

    Reiki is put into the hands of the people for the people by people in a very tangible sense. Those days of ridiculous $10,000.00 charges and lodge-like mentalities should be put to rest. Though there are valid points to dogmatic systems, and often higher level experiences can only be had within certain set parameters that cause one to lift out and up to the next level, I am wary of spiritual practices becoming mainstreamed and regulated. As a spiritual practitioner moving ever further along the path of representing Reiki as a Spiritual Path with integrity, this is one of my focuses, that the stewards of the healing energy might look more like the diversity of the Pagan and other earth focused spirituality communities with no “one standard.”

    This brings me back around to practices of Reiki and ultimately the “scientific” expectation that medical practitioners may have about a spiritual practice used for clinical / laboratory purposes.
    It is true that I have a high degree of excitement about these studies, because they are in the hands of doctors and we are, from my perspective, working with a broke system of medicine. Not to take a hammer to it, I am not a Doctor or a licensed medical practitioner but I am a spiritual functionary, a Reiki master and teacher. I believe in the happy unification of spirit and science, a being that has been broke apart for some time.

    I use the word “broke” because the Spirit in Western Medicine is clinical to the body, without relation to the other parts (mind, soul) of the system. The unseen nature of medicine is removed. The practice is reduced to the body systems only. Then Reiki, or as often is the case something like “prayer” which requires no spiritual awakening, is used as a study and suddenly we have pseudo-spirituality in the operating room and it’s lumped together with every other practice and dissected in the same vein. I think the end result is often hopelessly set to fail because there is no well paved bridge where science is cut away from the spirit of medicine, religion is confused with spirituality, and spirituality is confused about our connection to nature and so no panacea. As if there is some holy grail of a cure all.

    The hope is that the manifested work sinks through the math-of-scrutiny and the “Ma- (mother, the spirit) –Thematic (theme, root, source),” meaning of mathematics in the collaboration of spirit-of-understanding is practically applied and draws out the true nature of medicine in an over regulated, stressed, toxic system.

    That is of course requiring medical science to make a metaphysical leap. It’s fortunate that we have light workers like you on the forefront. I’ve pointed clients and practitioners alike to your writing, as well as Williams, Walter Lübeck, Frank Peter-Ajvar, and try to avoid the fluff, the fast-track, and instant Reiki practitioner (obvious) traps. These pollute the system for everyone and serve no purpose but to create more confusion.

    Here I think we find use for some level of Reiki policing in the form of corrective education. My Reiki masters called it “Reiki rescue.”

    Seems like this conversation has happened over and over again, for many years, what say you? Do you think that the bigger purpose is in clarifying the message and the spiritual purity of the energy?

    I believe our evolution is in expanding consciousness, education in its purest form. May the minds of all expand and the intelligence seat comfortably in the heart, with five paths body, mind, spirit, feeling, and soul.

    To quote Star Trek*, “If you can see everything what is left to believe in?” In this instance we can see belief as the vehicle that brings us out of the past and into freely exploring the possibilities so that we can be present within the moment and express the expanding field of consciousness and free our minds (and those we encounter) from suffering.

    By the way I wrote this while receiving healing.

    I hope that translated clearly and well.


    *Voyager, Season 3, Ep. 7 “Sacred Ground.”

    • Scott,

      I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very thoughtful, poetic, and deep thinking response. I love what you wrote. Plain and simple, there is nothing I would add to it except only to say thank you for writing it.

      Pamela, if you’re still following these comments, I believe that Scott directed some of his response to you directly.

      Thank you all for sharing in the light,

  5. i have felt the effect of reiki through several different sources. some treatments were through individuals and other times by a group of people. in all cases i felt my body receiving energy and a sense of calm and relaxation. all the practitioners possessed a serenity within themselves. i felt better after receiving the treatment. the treatments were for different reasons. some treatments were to release pain, others to release stress and the other treatments were when i was in the hospital for treatments before a procedure and while going through the healing process for cancer. i feel in each case, i felt much better after the Reiki energy flowed through my body. i have not trained in Reiki but fee that i also have an ability to do what i all “laying on of hads.” when i was in college, my philosophy professor and i treated a freind;s mother who was dying. we stayed with her the whole night. by morning, the doctors came to us with miraculous news. they were amazed, the most recent tests showed that our friend’s mother had made a miraculous recovery. she was going to live. her vitals had altered dramatically. it made me a believer that energy can be utilized for the purpose of healing. i don’t need a study to “prove” to me if it works. i have seen that it does.

    • That is a beautiful comment! Anecdotal evidence is the strongest we have right now, but it is real enough for those who have experienced it. Thank you so much for sharing this powerful story.
      Love, Alice

      • Reiki means a great deal to me. it has been significant in my life. you are welcome and i will look forward to following your future posts reading through others that you have already posted. there is a certain symetry to that for me. namaste, jen

  6. JGC says:

    “Just ask someone who gives Reiki, or the clients who receive it. All will report many stories of significant improvements. ”

    The plural of “anecdote” isn’t evidence, I’m afraid. If it really does work surely there’s something more in support of Reiki’s effectiveness than a collection of personal testimonies. Where are all the appropriately controlled clinical studies of sufficient scale to demonstrate the reported improvements iare due to something other than placebo effects?

    • JGC,

      I hear you, although let’s just say that I don’t need scientific proof to believe that something is happening, or that what I’m doing is helping someone. So that’s one issue – whether science needs to “prove” something is real in order for it to be real. For me, the answer is no. Anecdotal evidence is working just fine for me there, plus my own experiential evidence (e.g. my tingles).

      That said, there is research being done by scientific institutions. One that I’ve been asked to participate in is being done by researchers at The Cleveland Clinic. I will be participating in a two-year study beginning around January, that involves Reiki’s effectiveness for people suffering from Gulf War Syndrome. Perhaps something like that, or others being done around the country, will satisfy you and the rest of the people who need that sort of evidence to attest to their ability to believe Reiki is real.

      Meanwhile, I’ll be here, helping people.

  7. JGC says:

    To be clear, I don’t doubt that you sincerely believe Reiki works and that what you’re doing is helping people. As with acupuncture, homeopathy and other types of what’s most frequently called ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ medicine, I’m sure most proponents/practitioners believe just as you do that there’s ‘something happening’ and what they’re doing works. Faith, however, isn’t evidence, and no amount of belief, however sincerely held, is capable of establishing what one believes to be true actually is true

    Reiki’s been around for about 90 years. If it is as effective as claimed, don’t you find it surprising that after all that time there doesn’t exist a real body of credible evidence demonstrating its efficacy, and instead confidence in Reiki rests entirely on anecdote and personal testimony?

    • There are studies about Reiki. See this:

      And I will be participating in an upcoming study conducted by researchers at The Cleveland Clinic.

      But I am not, and do not claim to be, a scientist. So that’s why I refer you to those who are doing research. Did you even look for research? It exists. But I’m not the scientist doing it. So commenting on my blog that there isn’t credible evidence (in your opinion) that Reiki is effective is not addressing the right people.

      I’m here to teach Reiki to those who want to learn it. I welcome skeptics, but not those who have decided without being open to trying. I’m here to offer Reiki energy to those who need and want it. I’ve seen fantastic things happen. These sorts of “anecdotal” results motivate me to continue. Science can catch up when it gets here, but I’m not waiting for it.

      I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    • Oh, and by the way, I don’t find it surprising, as much as I find it a bit frustrating.

  8. Reblogged this on Reiki Questions and Answers and commented:

    January 10, 2013 – Addendum to this post

    Since the time in which I originally wrote this blog post, I have been introduced to a very important book. It’s not well known in the United States, maybe because it was published in London. In any case, the book is called Healing Research, Holistic Energy Medicine and Spirituality, by Dr. Daniel J. Benor. ( It is, I think, a very well put together series of research studies on many aspects of energy research. It needs to be more known! I have personally given a copy of this book to the Director of the Transdisciplinary Holistic Studies Program at The Cleveland Clinic, of which I am a participant. He said he would take it to the Research Department and introduce it to them. Included in this book are controlled studies of the effects of energy healing on bacteria, cells, enzymes, fungi, animals, electrodermal activity, and many other topics. I’m very impressed with it!

    I did not know that there was so much research actually documented, and I’m very relieved that now I do know about this book. I encourage all who might be in need of some real science to get a copy of this book.


  9. JGC says:

    If the studies represent real science, wouldn’t they have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, rather than as a popular press book release?

  10. JGC says:

    I’ll be happy to review the studies–can you provide citations?

    • Just get the book. They are all in there.

      • JGC says:

        If they’re published in peer-reviewed journals they’re indexed in Pubmed and there’s no need to get the book–all that’s needed are the citations to the studies themselves. If they’e publsiehd in peer-reveiwed journals -indexed in Pubmed, on the other hand, a claim they represent “real science” ins’t supportable.

  11. gunsmithy says:

    Hi, i think finding how reiki really work is essential, we use Reiki to heal ourselves and others, therefore we need to find confidence that our treatment is work. For me,finding healing result caused by Reiki treatments need to be recorded, evaluated and should be reproduced in similar result.

    What we found during treatments is not necessarily need in accordance with modern medical knowledge, as long as it gives us good healing result. Result is the living proof.

    If our curiosity make us thirst for more knowledge, i suggest you to learn about “Traditional Chinese Medicine ” theory, i’ve been witnessing that TCM theory well fit with what we experience during treatments if you have sensing ability.

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree that we should be confident by our results, and do our own experiments to prove to ourselves its consistency. That, however, isn’t enough to qualify as “scientific method.” The good news is that there are studies underway to try to help science do what it needs to do for better research.

      Reiki, combined with other holistic practices, can absolutely bring about positive change in health and well being for anyone.

  12. Reblogged this on Bluebird Bliss and commented:
    Looking for proof that Reiki exists? It’s right in our fingertips… Contact me for treatments.

    • Thanks for the reblog. I wish it were as simple as “it’s right in our fingertips.” Sure, we feel it there, our clients improve, but it’s not something that works (from a science standpoint anyhow) as “proof.” Anecdotal evidence, certainly. We have an ongoing challenge to keep doing what we do with quiet confidence and support science’s efforts in catching up to what we know is real. Blessings, Reiki sister!

      • I know. It is very frustrating to explain to people – it can’t be explained! It goes beyond our understanding. It’s like asking for proof that god exists. It can only be discovered within. I have even had doubts myself at times but I know that’s just my ego 😉

  13. Jose says:

    JGC made an eminently reasonable request that citations to the studies in this much-touted book be provided so that the originally published studies can be referred to by interested parties without having to shell out the price for a book which may or may not turn out to be what it is claimed to be. No such citations have been provided and it’s been over a year now since the request was made. Are we to assume that there is no intention to provide the relevant information? Is this because the only reason for mentioning the book was to make money for the publisher, and not to provide honest information in good faith as was implied?
    The answer is yes.

    • First of all, you’ve assumed a lot. I didn’t respond because my copy of the book was borrowed by the Research Department of The Cleveland Clinic. Then I moved. Now another person has borrowed it. I am not able to go into the book and do what JGC could do if he even got the book from the library, or looked on Dr. Benor’s website, or looked in Amazon, etc.
      I make no money, have no affiliation with the publisher or author, and therefore why would I be motivated to not answer the question “in good faith”? That’s pretty out there.
      I was merely trying to offer a good resource.
      There are many.
      You could also check which has several vetted and peer reviewed studies on Reiki available.

      • JGC says:

        I found no compelling evidence that Reiki is an effective medical intervention in the publications listed at the link you provided. All but one in low impact journals dedicated to promoting alt med (such as Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, which has a 5-year impact factor of 1.421) .

        The one article published in a journal not dedicated to alt med promotion takes the form of a letter to the editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, describing a study which lacked an obvious and necessary control, a sham reiki treatment. The authors acknowldege the impact of this omission explicitly, in noting as a result “It is unknown whether the beneficial effects of Reiki treatment over music stem from the presence of another person…”

        I suggest that rather than pointing us to lists of articles that are questionable support at best, the discussion would be served better if you would identify what you personally consider to be the one or two most credible and compelling studies published in a high impact first or second-tier peer-reviewed journals which offer evidence Reiki represents an effective treatment for non-self-limiting illnesses or injuries.

      • I’m not here to defend Reiki’s effectiveness through scientific means. I am happy to share the resources I believe are credible, and allow you to do your own research. My own experience, through years of giving Reiki in many settings, including The Cleveland Clinic, (and Practical Reiki is part of a new study beginning soon there on people with Gulf War Syndrome), has given me the validation that I need to speak favorably about it.

        That being said, I will point you to a couple more sources, where you can hopefully find whatever it is you need. (Membership is free, and gives you access to many studies)

        and the very large, comprehensive text Measuring the Immeasurable: The Scientific Case for Spirituality Daniel Goleman, Gary Small, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Lynne McTaggart

        I hope you’ll also give yourself the chance to try Reiki, to get to understand your own intuition (which you and everyone are born with), and to make some judgments based on your own experience, rather than someone else’s studies or “proof”.

        All the best.

      • JGC says:

        Surely if Reiki were effective at treating non-self limiting illness and injury, after several decades of use there would exist a substantial body of actual evidence demonstrating this and its advocates would be able to point to something other than intuitive belief and personal testimonials that they’ve seen it work in their practices as support for it’s safety and efficacy at treating illnes and injury.

        That’s a standard for evidence I’m sure you would never consider sufficient to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a new small molecule drug or medical device marketed by any large corporate pharmaceutical company. Why then should others accept that standard as sufficient support for the safety and efficacy of Reiki?

      • I’m not so enamored with pharmaceutical companies, nor the politics that surround their operation. When I was taking the Transdisciplinary Holistic Care Program at The Cleveland Clinic, the head of the department told us that he had been part of one of the strongest double-blind scientific-standards study which showed the effectiveness of prayer on healing. It was submitted to a well respected medical journal. They refused to publish it. They acknowledged that it was one of the most thorough scientific studies they’d ever seen. The reason they gave (verbally) that they wouldn’t publish? “We just don’t believe in that stuff.”

        I strongly believe that we have much more power to heal ourselves naturally than many people have been taught to believe. So, my first choice is to see if there is a natural solution to an imbalance, and to learn to understand the mind-body-spirit connection if I can. That means, at many times, looking beyond the limits of science or western medicine.

        If you read through the many comments on this article, including those I’ve posted, you’ll find plenty of sources for the type of study you are seeking.

        At this point, I believe that I’ve done all I can to offer answers to your question. You can follow up with the sources I’ve mentioned.

        I hope you’ll consider some “out of the box” ideas. Reiki couldn’t cause you harm, unlike many medicines. And it could, and has create incredible benefits for those who try it.

      • JGC says:

        “I strongly believe that we have much more power to heal ourselves naturally than many people have been taught to believe.”

        I understand you do strongly believe this. I just for the life of me can’t comprehend why, given the lack of any real evidence this is the case. As for looking beyond ‘western’ medicine, the ‘western versus eastern medicine’ distiction represents a false dichotomy: there’s simple medicine and things that aren’t medicine.

        Re: that strongest double blind study regarding prayer which was not accepted for publication, did the department head communicate in which journal it wasultimately published? Surely given that it was such strong and compelling evidence for teh efficacy of prayer the authors submitted it to other journals until they found one which would accept it.

        I’m not aware that it’s been established that Reiki can not cause harm. If it is functions as claimed by praticioners–if energy can be channeled to result in actual physiologic changes–there’s no reason to believe it could not cause changes that are harmful to the same extent as it can cause changes that are beneficical. If instead (as the evidence suggests) it’s perceived benefits are the result of placebo effects, providing the perception an illness is improving without addressing its underlying biology can certainly cause harm, by delaying reception of effective medical intervention and allowing the disease to progress.

        I’m open to considering out of the box ideas. As I can see no reason to apply a different standard for evidence to them than applies to in-the-box ideas I’m left to wonder why, if Reiki can create “incredible benefits for those who try it”, there’s no real evidence that is the case.

      • You keep telling me that there’s “no real evidence”, but have you researched the sources I’ve given you? There are plenty of them in the comments stream of this post, given by me and by others.

        Why not take some time to go to those sources, and contact the people who ran the studies if you have further questions about them?

  14. JGC says:

    Should read “Simply medicine and things that aren’t medicine”, not “simple medicine and things that aren’t medicine”.

  15. JGC says:

    I haven’t sought out Healing Research, Holistic Energy Medicine and Spirituality, certainly: as a popular press book not subject to peer review it doesn’t represent the scientific evidence you claim exists in support of Reiki’s effective. I have looked at the papers cited at and as found them to be published in low impact journals dedicated to promoting alt med, poorly designed and lacking necessary controls. The papers I’ve taken the time to peruse at were similarly unpersuasive, for the same reasons. And of course I’ve looked at other sources claiming evidence for Reiki’s effectiveness than the ones we’ve addressed in these comments.

    The bottom line is that I wouldn’t accept studies of such poor quality, with such obvious methodologic flaws, as demonstrating the safety or efficacy of any prospective science-based medical intervention (a new surgical procedure, a new medical device, a new anti-inflamatory or anti-depresant drug, etc.), and so I cannot reasonably accept them as demonstrating the efficacy of non-science based interventions such as Reiki.

    Reiki was developed in 1922. Its practicioners have had almost a century to produce a robust body of evidence for its efficacy yet even someone such as yourself, who believes sincerely in its value, must resort to admonishions I be “open to out of the box ideas” and rely on intuition rather than evidence when considering the possiblity it works. Both my reason and my intuition tells me there’s when no real evidence to support some extraordinary “out of the box” premise it probably didn’t belong in that box in the first place.

    • Well, there are people who only rely on the limitations of scientific studies. Then there are those who seek out their own truth via experience and teachers who haven’t gone the route of science for whatever reason. There are millions of people practicing energy healing around the world, and it goes back thousands of years in every culture. So, if it was a sham, or didn’t work, that could give one pause. Reiki is just one method of doing energy healing. There are many more.

      Reiki is practiced in hundreds of hospitals in the US. My Practical Reiki for Nurses curriculum has the approval of the Ohio Board of Nurses.

      But, it’s really not my interest to debate with you. If you’re not willing to try something for yourself, you are limiting your learning to the objective, and not even giving yourself the chance to allow your experience to show you something that science might not be able to. I’m okay with that. It’s your journey.

      I’ll still be here, helping people receive healing, pain relief, and making a difference in the world.

      • JGC says:

        I’m not sure what you perceive to be limitations of scientific studies unless it’s simply their inability to find evidence of efficacy for Reiki and other forms of energy healing.

        With respect to finding your own truth via experience, it’s precisely the inherent problems with such an approach that necessitated the creation of the scientific method. In the absence of objective evidence, after all, it’s impossible to distinguish between those things you believe through experience to be true which actually are true, and those believe through experience to be true which are not.

        The fact that people have been practicing energy healing around the world for a long time argue against its efficacy, not for it: if energy healing were effective one would expect after all that time there would be a substantial body of evidence attesting to that fact yet it’s lacking–hence the reliance on trusting subjective personal experience and frequent appeals to ‘different ways of knowing’ ( i.e., not ‘limiting one’s learning to the objective’).

        As for there being many forms of healing energy, none involve the manipulating or channeling ‘energy’ that’s detectable, measurable, or quantifiable in any way, and none possess a body of scientific evidence demonstrating actual efficacy as treatmeants for non-self-limiting disease. That Reiki is practiced in hundreds of hospitals in the US or that your Practical Reiki for Nurses curriculum has the approval of the Ohio Board of Nurses does not constitute evidence such evidence.

        Perhaps I am ‘limiting my learning to the objective’ but I’m aware of no rational argument suggesting that limiting one’s learning to that which can be shown to be true is something less than desirable.

        In any event my involvement in this discussion was prompted by the claim that scientific evidence for Reiki’s effectiveness does exist, and I think that claim has been pretty thoroughly laid to rest. (although I’m sure your milage may vary, as it were.)

      • I believe that I’ve given you multiple sources of research, all of which you have, for some reason, disregarded or dismissed, even though you didn’t look into all of them, I’m sure.

        So, you can feel that you didn’t find what you need based on your lack of follow-through, if you want. Basically, it seems you had made up your mind before you came here.

  16. JGC says:

    Jose, I should in all fairness have noted earlier that I for one am convinced Alice is acting in good faith, not simply trying to promote a book for the publisher’s benefit, and further I accept that she genuinely believes that Reiki to be of benefit to her clients and has done her best to provide honest information to the extent she can. I just don’t agree with her claim that scientific evidence demonstrating the efficacy of energy healing of any sort exists.

    • Thanks JGC.

      Here’s another resource, Energy Healing Experiments, by Dr. Gary Schwartz, PhD:

      In case it helps.

      • JGC says:

        Would this Dr. Schwartz be the “Schwartz GE” whose publications are indexed on pubmed? If so I’m unaware he’s published any substantial scientific evidence demonstrating energy healing’s efficacy in first or second 9or even arguably third) tier journals with signicifacnt impact factors–but in journals promoting alt med such as J Altern Complement Med and Adv Mind Body Med–he’s even lowered his standards sufficiently to have published in J Med Hypotheses (PMID:10859655)

        In fact he has authored at least one article concluding that Reiki isn’t effcetive: “Sham treatment significantly reduced pain compared to no treatment (F = 8.4, P = 0.007) and was just as effective as PT, Reiki, and RH. It is the authors’ opinion that the accompanying pain relief is a placebo effect.” (PMID:24327820)

      • To be honest, I have no idea. I had the book out from the library, and read a bit of it. It was recommended by a colleague. I thought it was another resource that might be useful.

        Along with your own search for studies in validity, I would still encourage you to try a Reiki session sometime. There are some things that are worth trying, besides just reading what others think about them, or studies. For example, you could read all about the best roller coaster ever, the stats for the highest, fastest, and most popular. You could read about the feelings of inertia, the gravitational pull and the physics of the angles, velocity, and movement of the roller coaster. But all of that knowledge doesn’t take the place of actually riding on one. (Hope you enjoyed that analogy.)

        All the best,

  17. Hi
    I have no experience with reiki, but I have felt the energy in my hands when praying ritualistically. It was quite a surprise ,because no one said this would happen. Hands tingle and become very warm. My husband remarked on the heat in my hands. But when I gave up praying in this way, it stopped.

    Why does this happen?

    I have enrolled for a Reiky course to compare and understand this. It is nothing miraculous, just an unexplored and less understood phenomenon. If you follow certain practices, you experience certain things. I am not sure whether it heals or not. That is not important. But what is important to me is why I had this experience when I strictly followed the ritualistic prayers of the Orthodox Church with symbols, crossing my self etc. I do not know if it is the life force. It could be from our own body, couldn’t it?

    Often church tells us experiences are lures of the devil to distract us from pursuing God. It is just a figurative way of saying that Reiky or energy is only a byproduct, perhaps useful, but not the true spiritual quest.

    Anyway, I may be able to come to some conclusion after this.

    • There are many routes to healing oneself. Reiki is one of them. It is not any any way evil, magic, or otherwise. It is a tool for healing and spiritual connectedness. If it’s for you, please give it a try. If not, do what resonates with your beliefs and experiences.

  18. Reality_check says:

    Its just another placebo effect, if you believe you will heal or cure from it, it will. Its all between your ears. Reiki is fake, like a magician does his show to cover up the ballony and distract you from the trick. Whatever energy of flow is there? there is nothing and no one is so special that he can shoot energy with his hands. Otherwise i will start breast enlargements with hand reliefs, and no one can tell it wouldnt work…. And what about that spiritual aspect, thats even more BS, there isnt something spiritual, i get sick and tired of all those who think they are special because they are spiritual….. omg, get a real hobby !!!

    • I sat with your comment for a while. I could trash it easily and not deal with the negative tone, and obvious combativeness you are offering here. But, instead, I wanted to say a few things.
      First, you really took time to shout about something that you don’t agree with. Most people that don’t agree with something simply leave it alone and go enjoy the things they agree with. So, it seems you have some motivation that brought you to write this comment and leave it here. What might be the motivation? Is it to convince me that Reiki isn’t real? That I should quit the job that I’ve been doing for ten years because you have shown me your “reality check”? Or is it to try to convince readers of my blog that they are wasting their time, even though I’ve posted a couple hundred articles here about various aspects of energy healing? That seems sort of futile. So, what might have motivated you to post this angry-toned comment? My guess is that you’ve never tried Reiki. The idea of it is so far from your own experience that it upsets you to even consider it could be real. So, you’ve shut off any possibility that your “reality” might be shaken up, in order to loudly proclaim that Reiki is fake instead. That’s what fear can do to a person.

      You say twice about how people think they’re special, but they’re not. Sounds like you really want to be special, to feel special, too. We’re all special. Reiki does offer a lovely spiritual feeling, because Reiki practitioners can experience first-hand that living beings are all connected by energy. So, that is special. But every person has the ability to experience this connection if desired, so in that way, you are special too…if you want to be.

      Secondly, I see from your comment that you believe in the placebo effect. That is actually wonderful. Believing in the placebo effect means that you understand that thoughts are powerful enough to make a physical change. You’re actually half way there to understanding the power behind Reiki practice. Reiki relies on intention, which begins with the mind. But it is, indeed, more. I’ll explain.

      In my decade practicing Reiki, I’ve seen changes happen that convince me without a doubt that Reiki energy is more than “believing it is real, and so it is real.” Like the time that my relative with high blood pressure took his blood pressure, which was high, and then I gave him Reiki for ten minutes, and he took it again, to find that it was 20 points lower than it had been just ten minutes beforehand. He was not a believer at all -in fact, he had spent most of the last ten years laughing at me about Reiki, and proclaiming it to be fake. Until this happened.

      Or the time that I charged my rechargeable camera battery from dead to 20% just by holding it between my hands and flowing Reiki for 20 minutes.

      I volunteer with a hospice organization and I give Reiki to people who are dying. I see first hand how, even if they are not conscious, they more deeply relax into a peaceful state during our sessions. If they are conscious, they are comforted and grateful for the energy as well as my presence. I’m grateful to be able to offer this gift.

      You say that “no one is so special…” and I agree with you. Everyone is capable of learning Reiki if they want to. I have taught over 1,500 people with complete success. I’ve even taught skeptics, who went on to become Reiki teachers.

      Reiki is so much more than a hobby to me. It gave me a spiritual connection, and a fulfilling way of living, where I didn’t really have that before. It helps me live love into my life and the world. It helps me be the best person I can, and help others every day. So… if this is a hobby, it’s a pretty great one. But, to me, it’s so much more.

      Thank you for your comment, because it gave me the opportunity to share these thoughts. Whether you dismiss my response, or you think about it, I am glad to have taken this time.


      • Marilyn says:

        Wow, I continue to gain inspiration and respect through so many years of watching you confidently give and create and educate and heal others. To your Reiki skeptic… I am also skeptical of much of the dogma that comes with new age philosophy. But some I cherish. I have been a Reiki practioner since 1980, I am also a licensed counselor who works effectively with many who suffer from childhood trauma using evidence based treatments. I also volunteered to do Reiki on cancer Patients for 8 years and could actually see light around my hands as I was allowing it to flow. Especially when I had an open heart connection with the patient. And yes there is science behind it or they wouldn’t do it at the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital. But I applaud your questioning spirit and have one of my own. The world needs us to question confront and call out what is hurting and exploting others and our environment. I hope you keep on questioning ,but I also hope you guve Reiki a chance, because just like peace. deserves it..and so do you. Peace out.

      • JGC says:

        “Believing in the placebo effect means that you understand that thoughts are powerful enough to make a physical change”

        The above, however, is inaccurate: by definition a placebo is something that has been shows to result in no change whatsoever in the underlying physiology resulting in disease states: instead they only result in the false perception that one’s disease state has improved.

        A classic study demonstrating this would be Kaptchuck e al’s “Active albuterol or placebo, sham acupuncture, or no intervention in asthma”, PMID: 21751905, The authors randomly assigned 46 patients with asthma to three active treatment groups: one treated wit an albuterol inhaler, one treated with a placebo inhaler, and one treated with sham acupuncture. They measured efficacy using two readouts: a self report by the subjects of the effectiveness of treatment, and an objective read out of efficacy by measurement of maximum forced exhalation volume following treatment.

        Patients receiving the albuterol inhaler, the placebo inhaler and acupuncture all reported that the treatment caused improvements in their condition–i.e., they all subjectively perceived that the the treatment was effective–but only in the group receiving active drug (albuterol) was actual physiologic improvement demonstrable.

      • Not sure you are entirely correct regarding the physiology of the placebo effect.

        This NY Times article explains, “The “placebo effect” includes any improvements in a patient not specifically due to a particular ingredient in a treatment, like a drug or surgical procedure. These “nonspecific,” or placebo, effects, may be due to causes ranging from a patient reporting relief from symptoms in an unconscious effort to please a well-liked physician, to actual biological improvement.”

    • I assume that’s based on your experience, although you don’t say that. If it’s not, then you have no credibility, just a chip on your shoulder for integrative therapies. However, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt, that you actually tried it with a certified practitioner. 25% of patients will not have any effect from integrative techniques for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are anxiety disorders such as OCD, manifested by an inability to relax. It remains to be seen what percentage of nonresponders could convert to responders with relaxation training.

      That said, I will relay my personal experience with Reiki, which does not allow the possibility of a placebo effect – my newfoundland dog. She was broadsided by her younger stronger 200 lb brother and was walking 3 legged, absolutely non weight bearing on that leg and in severe pain. Since it was of course Saturday night, and since orthopedic injuries can usually wait until Monday other than pain, I sought a Reiki practitioner with pet experience to give her some pain relief. She had 30 min of Reiki and fell into a deep sleep for 2 hours. When she awoke, she gingerly stepped on that leg and limped 4 legged, The next day she was fine. She had a torn ACL, we never did surgery because she didnt need it. It’s now 10 yrs later, and we use Reiki on her with every illness (along with standard veterinary care). Her life expectancy because of a birth defect was 18 months. She’s almost 12. I cannot explain why it worked and continues to work, but it is the best pain relief we can get her – no side effects.

      Final question for you would be why are you trolling a Reiki blog – it appears it is to rage for no particular constructive reason.

      • Seeker of a truth says:

        Pretty sure the heat from your hands charged the battery between your hands for 20 minutes did the job!

      • Well, actually, my hands are typically cold to the touch. I don’t have any reason to assume that they were warm during this time. As well, if your assumption is true, then putting rechargeable batteries inside a warm towel or the like, at body temperature, would charge them. Wouldn’t that put the companies selling battery chargers out of business?

      • JGC says:

        I’m sorry, but are you suffering from a mistaken impression that the placebo effect has not been demonstrated to occur in animal subjects?

        I’m also curious how you determined that in the absence of reiki treatment your dog would not also have been walking around fine a day following the injury–i.e., that the improvement you observed was actually caused by the reiki treatment the dog received. It is I would hope, based on something more than a post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy.

    • JGC says:

      The Times article you linked to offers no evidence that placebo effects can cause changes in the underlying physiology of disease states: as your quote demonstrates it instead raises the possibility that placebo effects may> be due to any number of undetermined causes which might possibly include actual biological improvement, while also presenting evidence that the effect is subjective and psychological rather than physiological (e.g., ” “Different factors combine to produce the magnitude of a placebo. For example, in my own research with 1,000 patients, those who like their physician most and who were most anxious showed the greatest improvement from placebo”.)

      • JGC says:

        Sorry about the HTML error: post should have read

        The Times article you linked to offers no evidence that placebo effects can cause changes in the underlying physiology of disease states: as your quote demonstrates it instead raises the possibility that placebo effects may be due to any number of undetermined causes which might possibly include actual biological improvement, while also presenting evidence that the effect is subjective and psychological rather than physiological (e.g., ” “Different factors combine to produce the magnitude of a placebo. For example, in my own research with 1,000 patients, those who like their physician most and who were most anxious showed the greatest improvement from placebo”.)

  19. Constance Dohan says:

    A lot of “facts” being bantered about here. And “yes” Reiki does have its bad apples and fakes like anything else. I am a Reiki Master, as well as a registered nurse. In the past 15 years, my Reiki has enhanced my nursing, and my nursing has enhanced my Reiki. Reiki is non-invasive – no needles or medicine, done fully clothed, hands off, and should take 20 – 30 minutes per session. I would suggest that you grab the bull by the horns, jump with both feet forward, and have a Reiki treatment from an established practitioner, and then you’ll get the full picture and can comment through your own eyes instead of commenting through someone eles’s glasses..

  20. Joan J Weise says:

    I completely agree with you about Reiki. Where I disagree is that anyone can feel or use Reiki. I have been a involved in Reiki for over a year, and still feel nothing. When inquiring for help in worldwide forums I received none except ‘be patient.’ Also, I have been told by one “you feel unworthy,” “Another told me I didn’t trust enough.” I was told by one that the reason is due to my having Aphantasia (mind blindness, the inability to see images in ones mind), one told me that it didn’t matter about the Aphantasia and she would be glad to pm with me {she never got back to me.}
    I love Reiki, I have seen and been effected by ‘energy healing’, so it is not a matter of belief.
    I have been involved in classes and workshops, and of all that I have only self a slight warmth in my hands twice. Those who I treat or send Reiki to feel nothing and have no positive benefits.
    In the way I was taught Gassho, visualizing a protective bubble, almost everything needs visualization, I can’t do this and have tried staring at pictures to help, it doesn’t.
    A Reiki organization ‘grand master’ told me “we don’t use visualizations, Reiki just flows, for me it doesn’t.
    I am hoping for some answer or direction.
    Sorry this is so long, I felt you might understand and give me some real answers if I should forget Reiki and move on. The frustration level has been high, yet now I am trying to be calm.
    Sorry this is so long.
    I appreciate your time, Thank you.

    • Hi Joan,

      Thank you for your comment. I am so sorry that you have had so many negative responses from rather unhelpful practitioners in response to you expressing your troubles praticing and sensing Reiki energy. I have worked with plenty of students in your situation. I’ll try to offer some helpful thoughts.

      First of all, visualization is not necessary. I am terrible at visualizing. But Reiki does not need visualization to work. If people love to visualize, and want to, they certainly can. But not all of us are visual people. It’s fine that you aren’t either.

      You’re not in need of more patience, trust, and for goodness sake, you aren’t mentally blind. This isn’t a deficiency in you at all.

      You may find it useful to get in touch with the ways in which your intuition communicates with you. We have intuitive senses just like physical senses. It’s not about warm hands, and it’s not about mental images. In my Reiki classes, we spend the first part learning about the different clairs (intuitive senses), and I give everyone Reiki long enough for them to identify and observe “what’s different” – meaning, how the Reiki is experienced by them. That is what they should then gently observe as they are working with energy. Whatever we give our attention to grows stronger. This has been very helpful for my students in preparing them to work with energy. If I was working with you, we would spend some time on this.

      Regarding those who you have given Reiki to who didn’t feel it, that may be the same issue with them – they don’t know “how to feel the Reiki,” or, basically, how to recognize the energy is flowing. Maybe this is the case – I don’t know.

      Finally I want to suggest to you this – not to discourage you, but to encourage you – Reiki is not the only energy healing method out there that is effective. Perhaps another modality would be easier for you to work with. There are some beautiful healing methods that you might enjoy trying. They don’t all need visualization either. Perhaps you would enjoy looking into Matrix Energetics, or Therapeutic Touch, for example. You might also get a lot from reading The Medium, The Mystic, and The Physicist by Dr. Lawrence LeShan. I learned the LeShan method of Psychic Healing and add it to my sessions sometimes.

      Keep learning, growing, and remember that you are just as much capable as anyone else.

      • Joan J Weise says:

        On other modalities: I have already spent a lot of money on Reiki classes and attunements. Reiki 1-3 times, Reiki 2- 3 times, Reiki 3 once. Maybe later.
        On Aphantasia- you are wrong. It is a real condition that affects 2% of the world population. For you to say it doesn’t exist is ludicrous, and as uninformed as the people who don’t believe in energy.
        So with that I will say good-bye.

  21. @Joan – I certainly didn’t mean to offend you. I was only trying to help. You’ve certainly tried Reiki, but have you tried something that isn’t Reiki? Maybe something else would be a better fit. It’s up to you.
    I apologize about Aphantasia – if you have it, then I guess you can’t sense energy. But, seeing as you aren’t having results from Reiki, you can either assume that you have it, or try something else to see if it would work better. I have never encountered someone with this condition. I am not denying it exists, but instead, skeptical about if it’s something you have.
    Wishing you all the best,

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