I’m talking tomorrow briefly in the online Reiki healing summit about how Reiki was so beneficial for me in terms of pain relief when I was unwell with back pain caused by what we call a “slipped” or herniated disc (actually I had three slipped discs, one which required surgery).
In fact it was so helpful to me that it was the turning point which made me take Reiki so much more seriously and make it part of my daily life. Imagine how pleased I was to read the results of some very recent and positive research which looked at Reiki for the pain caused by this condition.
Published earlier this year, researchers in Iran compared Reiki to physiotherapy and drug therapy to assess how well each treated the pain and improved patients’ ability to function in daily life.
They conducted a clinical trial where they randomised 60 patients into one of three groups:
The study participants had no prior experience of receiving an energy therapy. All groups were judged to be similar in terms of their levels of pain at the start to the trial and in other characteristics.
The Reiki group received 3 x 15-minute distant Reiki sessions on three consecutive days.
The Physiotherapy group received 7 – 10 sessions of personalised physiotherapy of between 60 and 90 minutes each.
The results showed that the Reiki plus medication reduced the severity of back pain and improved the level of activities amongst participants to a greater degree than either physiotherapy with medication or medication alone. The researchers concluded that Reiki is a more cost-effective and faster treatment method than physiotherapy whilst being safe with no known side effects.
Wow, this all sounds very positive and encouraging, but it is important to remember that this is only a small trial.
Academics appraising this trial would also point out that the trial was not “blinded”. This means that everyone in the group knew what treatment they were receiving - so it is possible that some of the effects felt in the Reiki group were due to positive expectation. No details are given as to how patients were randomised, so we don’t know how effective this was either.
But… it is still a good result. What it means for us is that there is yet another small study which again indicates that Reiki may have value for pain relief, however it is not strong enough evidence for us to make claims about pain relief on our websites or other marketing material. We can say however that there is evidence from some small studies which points to the effectiveness of Reiki in the area of pain relief.
And of course, we shouldn't fall into the trap of discounting physiotherapy! This is a long standing and proven treatment. It has important benefits, not only in terms of pain relief but also in strengthening muscles, improving condition and reducing the chances of recurring back issues.
So Reiki is complementary – it is such a great tool for us to have in our self-care toolbox. It’s something I love using and sharing with others too. How lovely to have another small study to support its value!
You can read the full study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871054/
Jahantiqu, F et. al. (2018) “Effects of reiki Versus Physiotherapy on Relieving Lower Back Pain and Improving Activities of Daily Living of Patients With Intervertebral Disc Hernia”, Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, Vol. 23: 1-5
Angela established the Reiki Incentive for Reiki practitioners who want to see Reiki more widely accepted and to see it reach new people. She enjoys sharing her passion for authentic practice as well as research into the benefits of this wonderful therapy.