Evidence for Energy Medicine

Energy Medicine has been shown to reduce many physical, mental, and emotional health issues. Some of these include:  cognitive impairment in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease, tumors, AIDS, stress, immune problems, fatigue, anxiety, and chronic pain. For a more detailed look at these findings see the summaries below.

Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Purpose of Study and Design:
This study explored the use of Reiki to improve memory and behavior deficiencies in 12 patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease. Pre- and post-test scores of the Annotated Mini-Mental State Examination (AMMSE) and Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were compared after four weekly treatments of Reiki (30min per session).

Results:
Results indicated statistically significant increases in mental functioning (as demonstrated by improved scores of the AMMSE) and decreases in memory and behavior problems (as measured by the RMBPC) after Reiki treatment. The results indicate that Reiki treatments show promise for improving certain behavior and memory problems in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease.

Original Article:
Crawford, S.E., Leaver, V.W, Mahoney, S.D. (2006). Using Reiki to Decrease Memory and Behavior Problems in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer’s Disease. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 12, pg. 911–913.


Tumors in Mice

Purpose of Study and Design:
This study assessed the effects of energy healing (hands-on and distance) on mammary tumors in mice. Mice were inoculated with mammary adenocarcinoma tumor. Mice were treated with a hands-on healing treatment 24 hours after tumor inoculation, followed by 3–8 distant healing sessions of 30 minutes each. Distant healing sessions were initiated 1–4 weeks following inoculation. Tumor remission could be divided into two categories depending on the size of the tumor: “large” (>120 mm2) or “small” (<120 mm2) at the time of the first distant healing session.

Results:
Complete tumor remission occurred in 7 of 10 animals with small tumors, and in 0 of 8 animals with large tumors. The timing of the distant healing treatment seemed to be associated with longer survival time as compared to treatment begun weeks later, although this result was only marginally statistically significant (p < 0.08).

Note: This is a short report, in which the details of a control group are not mentioned.

Original Article:
Moga, M.M., Zhou, D. (2008). Distant Healing of Small-Sized Tumors. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 14, pg. 453–460

AIDS

Purpose of Study and Design:
Double blind randomized trial of distance healing (from many traditions) on 40 patients with advanced AIDS. Healers were located throughout the US and never met the patients. Patients were assessed at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study, 6 months later.

Results:
Participants in the distance healing group had reduced AIDS-defining symptoms (p = 0.04), lower illness severity (p = 0.03), required fewer doctor visits (p = 0.01), fewer hospitalizations (p = 0.04), and fewer days of hospitalization (p = 0.04). Patients also reported improved mood (p = 0.02).

Original Article:
Sicher, F., Targ, E., Moore 2nd, D., & Smith, H. S. (1998). A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a population with advanced AIDS. Report of a small scale study. Western Journal of Medicine169(6), 356.

Stress and Immune Function

Purpose of Study and Design:
This purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 30min of Reiki on a number of physiological and biochemical measures of relaxation and stress reduction in 23 healthy humans. Biological markers related to stress-reduction response included state anxiety, salivary IgA and cortisol levels, blood pressure, galvanic skin response, muscle tension and skin temperature. Data were collected before, during and immediately after the session.

Results:
Reiki significantly reduced anxiety (p = 0.02), decreased systolic blood pressure (p < 0.01), increased salivary IgA levels (p = 0.03) after treatment. There were no significant changes in salivary cortisol levels. Skin temperature increased and electromyograph (muscle electrical activity/tension) decreased during the treatment, though there were no changes in measures before and after treatment. These findings suggest biochemical and physiological changes in the direction of a relaxation response and immune function.

Original Article:
Wardell, D.W., Engebretson, J. (2001). Biological correlates of Reiki Touch healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 33, pg. 439-445.

Cancer-Related Fatigue

Purpose of Study and Design:
This study examined the effects of Reiki on fatigue, pain, anxiety, and overall quality of life. This study was a counterbalanced crossover trial of 2 conditions: the Reiki condition, in which participants received Reiki once a day for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 1-week washout period of no treatments, then 2 additional Reiki sessions, and finally 2 weeks of no treatments, and the rest condition, in which participants rested for approximately 1 hour each day for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 1-week washout period of no scheduled resting and an additional week of no treatments.

Cancer-related fatigue was measured using Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Fatigue subscale [FACT-F]) questionnaire and overall quality of life was measured using Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy, General Version [FACT-G] questionnaire before and after all Reiki or resting sessions. Participants also completed a visual analog scale (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS]) assessing daily tiredness, pain, and anxiety before and after each session of Reiki or rest. Sixteen patients (13 women) participated in the trial: 8 were randomized to each order of conditions (Reiki then rest; rest then Reiki). They were screened for fatigue on the ESAS tiredness item, and those scoring greater than 3 on the 0 to 10 scale were eligible for the study. They were diagnosed with a variety of cancers, most commonly colorectal (62.5%) cancer, and had a median age of 59 years.

Results:
Fatigue
on the FACT-F decreased within the Reiki condition (p = 0.05) over the course of all 7 treatments. In addition, participants in the Reiki condition experienced significant improvements in quality of life (FACT-G) compared to those in the resting condition (p < 0.05). On daily assessments (ESAS) in the Reiki condition, presession 1 versus postsession 5 scores indicated significant decreases in tiredness (P < .001), pain (P < .005), and anxiety (P < .01), which were not seen in the resting condition. Future research should further investigate the impact of Reiki using more highly controlled designs that include a sham Reiki condition and larger sample sizes.

Original Article:
Tsang, K.L., Carlson, L.E., Olson, K. (2007). Pilot Crossover Trial of Reiki Versus Rest for Treating Cancer-Related Fatigue. Integrative Cancer Therapies, vol. 6, pg. 25-35.

Chronic Pain 

Purpose of Study and Design:
The purpose of this double-bind controlled study was to assess the effects of distance healing on chronic pain not caused by any discernible disease. Sixteen participants (7 treatment group, 6 control group) met with the Japanese healer and had a 20min group meditation. The healer went back to Japan and started distance healing only for the treatment group for a 2 month period. All participants meditated for 20min every day for the 2 month period.

Results:
There was a slightly significant effect of distance healing on the visual analog pain scale (p = 0.056). The participants that received Reiki had reduced pain compared to controls (p < 0.002) on the Present Pain Intensity Scale. To summarize, distance Reiki treatments significantly reduced pain, and many subjects were completely relieved of their pain at the end of the 2 month study.

Original Article:
Tsubono, K., Thomlinson, P., Shealy, C.N. (2009). The Effects of Distant Healing Performed by a Spiritual Healer on Chronic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, vol. 15, pg. 30-34.