Reiki and Chronic Pain – Some scientific evidence
Reiki is generally perceived by sceptics as ‘airy-fairy mystical mumbo jumbo’, but there have been a number of studies performed which have shown that there are measurable effects occurring during a Reiki treatment.
Brain wave patterns of the practitioner and receiver synchronise at the Alpha State and pulse in synchrony with Schuman Resonance. The biomagnetic field of the practitioner’s hands in this state, is at least one thousand times amplified above normal levels, and this is not the result of internal body current (Drs. Becker, Zimmerman and Max Cade, 1980’s). Zimmerman (1990) and Seto (1992) discovered that the pulses are in the same frequencies as brain waves, osculating between 0.3 to 30 Hz, focussing mostly in the 7-8 Hz alpha band. Independent medical research has shown that this range of frequencies will stimulate healing in the body, with specific frequencies being especially effective for different tissues. Physiotherapy equipment based on these principles has been designed to aid soft tissue regeneration.
Dr. Robert Becker (1985) explains that brain waves permeate through the body via the perineural system. During a treatment, they begin as relatively weak pulses in the practitioner’s thalamus, accumulating strength as they travel to the peripheral nerves, including those in the hands. This effect is duplicated in the treatment recipient.
Zimmerman’s studies (1985,1990) have shown that the brain wave patterns of practitioner and receiver, as well as synchronising in the alpha or theta state, become left-right balanced- both indicative of a deeply relaxed, meditative state.
Regular recipients of Reiki treatments report that it is easier for them to achieve a meditative state on their own. It is likely that repeated exposure to alpha and theta states leads to ‘body learning’, and recognition when they have been achieved in solo meditation.
In a study by Hartwell & Brewitt (1997) a group of chronically ill patients were given eleven, weekly, one-hour Reiki sessions. No other new allopathic or complementary treatments were given during this period. The electrical skin resistance was measured at many conductance points on the hands and feet using a ‘LISTEN’ device. All patients were measured before the 1st session and after sessions 3 and 11. Three test points showed highly significant before/after differences. These meridian points correlate with the spleen, adrenal glands and cervical, thoracic regions of the spine. These might be termed representative of the neuroendocrine-immune system. The spinal readings showed the greatest difference, starting on average, 25% below normal, and gradually increasing to within optimal range. Following Reiki, all patients experienced a reduction in pain and an increase in relaxation and mobility.
In 1997, Dr. Olson, Coordinator of Nursing Research and Dr. Hanson, research scientist at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, USA conducted research into the efficacy of Reiki as an adjunct to opiate therapy, with a view to reducing the dosage while maintaining a similar level of pain management. Patient perception of pain was measured using two standard tests immediately before and after Reiki treatments. Both tests showed a highly significant reduction in pain following Reiki.
Chinese research over the last ten years, led by quantum physicist Dr. Yan Xin is enlightening. Studies into chi or ki energy at leading universities and scientific institutions show that ki state initiated physiological changes mirror those of regular meditation. Particularly significant is the use of ki energy for pain control via its potential to produce enkephalin in the brain and intestinal walls, and excite the body’s morphine receptors to bind to the enkephalin readily.
In summary, there is a considerable and growing body of evidence for the very real and beneficial effects of Reiki. It is likely that the most salient and groundbreaking research will stem from studies into the true nature of ki energy.