A New Reiki Research Study, and I’m Part of It

This week I was selected to be part of a study by the Center For Reiki Research, as a Reiki Master delivering Reiki to clients. The study is headed by Dr. Natalie Leigh Trent, a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology.

The Center for Reiki Research has conducted and/or compiled information from research in a variety of clinical settings, and has promulgated both those that indicate Reiki to be helpful and those that show Reiki to be less than helpful. The Center has shown itself to be very fair-minded in how it performs studies, and how the data from such studies is given to the public.

Why do Reiki research?

For the same sort of reason why research is done to judge the efficacy of a new drug, a particular surgical procedure, a diet, or anything else that affects human health: to see if it is worthwhile. There’s no reason to spend time or money with something that doesn’t work, or even worse, may be harmful to you. That is why I am happy to be part of this research study.

From the Center for Reiki Research website: “The Center for Reiki Research is dedicated to gaining acceptance for the practice of Reiki by the medical community by persistently using rigorous professional and scientific methods. This goal is meaningful to us because those in hospitals or clinics are often people who have the greatest need for the therapeutic value Reiki can offer. In order to maintain our high standards and to achieve our purpose in a healthy and mutually supportive way we focus on the use of Reiki energy and principles in all our activities, both within our group and with all those with whom we work and interact.”

The purpose of this particular research study, is to compile a database of the results of Reiki sessions using a standardized session form that is used to collect data on the condition of the client both before and after a Reiki session. The data will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the sessions based on the improvement or lack thereof, for various conditions.

Why is such research important?

Although Energy Healing in general has been used for thousands of years, and the specific modality called “Reiki” has been in use for over 100 years, many people remain skeptical. Almost all of these skeptics are people who have never received Reiki for healing.  This sort of skepticism exists in a vacuum–it’s like telling people that broccoli tastes terrible, when you yourself have never tasted broccoli.

Some people are skeptical because Reiki is outside their frame of reference. In other words, they’ve never heard of it, or perhaps only heard the word in passing.

Others are skeptical because, to them, it is non-quantifiable: they can’t see the Reiki energy, they can’t measure its strength in definite units the way you can a dosage of a drug or the strength of a radiation exposure.

Some people are worried that Reiki is “spiritually dangerous”–in other words, that their soul may be imperiled if they allow something that is “heathen” to be used to help them. (Of course, Reiki is not heathen or devilish, but there are people out there who think anything not specifically endorsed in their scriptures, is wrong. By that yardstick, penicillin is from Satan, and automobiles are sinful.)

A few others are skeptical, or maybe fearful is a better word, because they have the idea that, if Reiki works, their own medical practice or pharmaceutical business is endangered. In other words, “Why would people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on treatment or pharmaceuticals, when they can obtain relief and healing much more cheaply and easily, without any sort of invasive action or possibility of side effects?” The thing is, Reiki practitioners do NOT try to get people to give up their usual medical care. We try to work in consonance with physicians, surgeons, and so forth.

So… although research can’t do much to change the minds of those who are fearful of imagined spiritual danger, and probably even less to change the minds of those who are focused on their own wallets more than the health and well-being of their patients, it CAN be helpful to those who either don’t know what Reiki is or those who are concerned that Reiki has not been validated by clinical studies.

Scientifically designed clinical research can, and does, help show what Reiki does, whether it works or not, and what it works best to help.

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