Reiki for Pain, Anxiety & Depression


Healing touch therapies, the best known being Reiki (pronounced RAY-key), are ancient practices in increasingly wide use today. Reiki is increasingly offered in hospital, hospice, and private practice settings, applied to a variety of illnesses and conditions. Those who receive such treatments report relief of symptoms from numerous health challenges, including mental health issues. Research shows that reiki primarily helps in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as relief of chronic pain.


Demonstrated Effects on Stress, Depression, Anxiety and Pain

Stress is the most common word written by clients as a description or part description of their condition during their first Reiki session. In a recent study 20.27% of the total client group treated used this word on their initial visit for Reiki treatment….” In animal studies, Reiki treatment produced clear signs of reduced stress as indicated by changes in autonomic, biological measurements such as heart rate (Baldwin, Wagers and Schwartz, 2008) and certain cellular signs of stress-related damage (Baldwin and Schwartz, 2006).


In a study of nurses with “burn out syndrome,” biological indicators of a significant relaxation response were found as a result of Reiki treatment (Diaz-Rodriguez et al., 2011). When nurses administered Reiki to a group of patients with acute coronary syndrome, physiologic indicators of a significant relaxation effect were recorded. (Friedman et al., 2011)


Shore (2004) followed patients being treated for mild depression and stress. After six weeks of treatment and for up to a year afterward, those who had received Reiki showed both immediate and long-term improvements in depression, stress and hopelessness. In a small study, complete elimination of typical postoperative depression was seen in heart surgery patients given Reiki during surgery (Motz, 1998).


Pain often causes depression and anxiety. Reducing difficult-to-treat chronic pain can have a substantial effect on psychological well-being. Some studies have found Reiki to be effective for pain, anxiety and depression relief. However, their design or conclusions are unclear as to whether Reiki’s emotional benefits were a result of pain reduction or a separate phenomenon. Nonetheless, research demonstrated Reiki’s positive results for both pain and anxiety or depression.

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