Autonomic nervous system changes during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study

How many people took part in the Reiki study?

reiki northcoteIn this study, 45 people were treated with Reiki to determine if Reiki had a positive effect on the functioning of their autonomic nervous system. The study was conducted in an outpatient clinic.

Forty-five subjects were assigned at random into three groups. One group received no treatment, one group received treatment by an experienced Reiki practitioner and one group received a placebo Reiki treatment. That is, they didn’t have any prior Reiki training.

What happened during the study?

One group rested for 15 minutes, then received Reiki for 30 minutes, then rested for another 10 minutes.

One group rested for 15 minutes, then received “fake” Reiki, then rested for another 10 minutes.

One group rested the entire time.

During the study autonomic nervous system functions such as heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure and breathing activity were recorded continuously for each heartbeat. This was done by using a NeuroScope system – a machine that sees the nervous system at work, and a stretch sensitive breathing plethysmograph – a machine that measures breathing rates.\

What were the results of the study?

The study results indicated that the heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group compared to both placebo and control groups.

The study indicates that Reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system. However, this was a pilot study and more research is necessary.

The study was noted in:

Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. 2004 Dec;10(6):1077-81,
Mackay N1, Hansen S, McFarlane O.

Pub Med Extract