Behind the Science

Reiki Therapy Improves Symptoms in Cancer Patients

By Rachael Bieschke

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Reiki, a gentle non-invasive form of mind-body medicine, has shown significant promise in helping to relieve sometimes-debilitating symptoms in cancer patients. The treatment involves a Reiki practitioner placing his hands on or just above your body in specific positions. This is said to exert healing effects by clearing negative energies that are blocking the flow of your life force energy (or Chi).

Anecdotal reports from those who have received Reiki treatment support its use for stress relief and relaxation, but new research suggests it can offer much more, like pain relief, improved sleep and better mood. A sampling of the latest research shows Reiki may be particularly beneficial for cancer patients.

Specifically, adults receiving Reiki at a university hospital cancer infusion center reported much to great improvement for:

  • Relaxation (89%)
  • Anxiety and worry (75%)
  • Improved attitude (75%)
  • Improved mood (81%)
  • Improved sleep (43%)
  • Reduced pain (45%)
  • Reduced isolation and loneliness (38%)
  • Improved mood (30%)

Researchers concluded:

Reiki results in a broad range of symptomatic benefits, including improvements in common cancer-related symptoms.”

A separate study similarly found that cancer patients who received their first Reiki session reported a more than 50% decrease in:

  • Distress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Fatigue

Likewise, a 2012 study that evaluated the effects of Reiki on patients attending a day oncology unit found the sessions were helpful in improving well-being, relaxation, pain relief, sleep quality and reducing anxiety.

Considering that virtually no side effects are reported following Reiki, there’s good reason to try this natural healing technique if you’re currently undergoing cancer treatment. In fact, there’s a good chance it may be offered at your medical center, as Reiki is currently offered in more than 800 U.S. hospitals.

Generally, a Reiki session lasts for 30 to 90 minutes and typically multiple sessions are received. As the practitioner’s hands are placed on your body, each position is held for two to five minutes, or until the practitioner feels heat and tingling sensations dissipate, which signals that the flow of energy has stopped.

At the most basic level, the energy that is channeled from the hands of a Reiki practitioner is said to “break up and wash away” negative thoughts and feelings that are stopping the flow of your life force energy, leading to improved mental and physical health.

 

Sources
The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care
Integrative Cancer Therapies
The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care

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