Reiki is a Japanese healing art that seeks to restore the patient's energetic flow through the placement of hands. A Reiki practitioner has trained in accessing powerful, healing energy, called Reiki energy, and seeks to trigger a healing response in the patient's own body. Within the realm of western medicine, Reiki forms part of many complementary and alternative medicine centers 125. Patients may use it in tandem with traditional western health care or solely. Before getting Reiki treatments, consult with your primary health care provider and weigh the modality's advantages against its disadvantages.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
No Formal Regulation
Because Reiki largely works outside the paradigm of western medicine and science, its practice is not regulated in the United States. Practitioners of Reiki receive no officially recognized certification or licensing. However, according to the principles of the art, one must learn from a master and receive a direct transmission, or "attunement," from this master. One disadvantage of seeking Reiki treatment, then, is the varied skill levels among practitioners. If you do seek treatment, be discerning in whom you consult. Inquire how long they have been practicing and what level of training they have completed. Practitioners typically undergo three levels of training, culminating in a master-level attunement.
- Because Reiki largely works outside the paradigm of western medicine and science, its practice is not regulated in the United States.
- One disadvantage of seeking Reiki treatment, then, is the varied skill levels among practitioners.
Limited Scientific Support
Reiki Side Effects
If you prefer to seek treatments based in western medicine and scientific experimentation, Reiki will offer you little assurance of its effectiveness. Many major hospitals and medical centers, including Columbia University Medical Center, have Reiki practitioners within their complementary care units 3. However, fairly little scientific proof can explain the healing art. A trial published in the 2008 "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" failed to demonstrate a connection between Reiki treatments and relief from fibromyalgia 125. As the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine explains, relatively little funding is available for research into complementary and alternative treatments, as pharmeceutical companies often indirectly fund the research done on medical treatment 12.
Limited Insurance Coverage
As a practical consideration, check whether your insurance company provides coverage for alternative and complementary medicine before seeking Reiki treatment 12. If you are interested in the modality but cannot meet the costs, shop around for another insurance company which offers more extensive coverage of complementary and alternative therapies 2. In some cases, insurers cover treatment if you seek Reiki treatment to relieve pain or symptoms of a serious illness.
Acupressure Vs. Acupuncture
Even if you have a reliable, first-hand testimony to the effectiveness of Reiki in curing an ailment similar to your own, the effects of Reiki treatment may vary widely from one individual to another. While this isn't a reason to forego Reiki therapy, you cannot expect specific results with any statistical accuracy.
Reiki Side Effects
Acupressure Vs. Acupuncture
What Is the Difference Between Reiki & Quantum Touch Therapy?
How Chinese Massage Might Help With Muscle and Joint Pain
Health Effect of Magnets
Hospitalization Vs. Hospice Care
What Is a Tantra Massage?
How Much Does It Cost to Visit a Naturopathic Doctor?
What Are the Major Symptoms of Intellectually Disabled Adults?
What Is Existential Anxiety?
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Reiki: An Introduction
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Reiki for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
- Columbia University Medical Center: Clinical Services
- Long Island Reiki Connection: FAQs About Reiki
- Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: Experience of a Reiki Session
- Joyce J, Herbison GP. Reiki for depression and anxiety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(4):CD006833. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006833.pub2
- McManus DE. Reiki is better than placebo and has broad potential as a complementary health therapy. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(4):1051-1057. doi:10.1177/2156587217728644
- Jonas WB, Guerrera MP. Complementary & Alternative Medicine. In: South-Paul JE, Matheny SC, Lewis EL. eds. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment: Family Medicine, 4e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2015.
- Krucoff MW, Costello RB, Mark D, Vogel JK. Chapter 115. Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapy in Cardiovascular Care. In: Fuster V, Walsh RA, Harrington RA. eds. Hurst's The Heart, 13e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.
- Lee MS, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Effects of reiki in clinical practice: A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Int J Clin Pract. 2008;62(6):947-954. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01729.x
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.