“CAM” Research Briefs

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
January 16, 2011

Reiki found useless. Reiki is one of several nonsensical methods commonly referred to as “energy healing.” These methods are based on the notion that the body is surrounded or permeated by an energy field that is not measurable by ordinary scientific instrumentation. The alleged force, said to support life, is known as ki in Japan, as chi or qi in China, and as prana in India. Reiki practitioners claim to facilitate healing by strengthening or “balancing” it. In 2008, researchers reported on a study of 100 fibromyalgia patients with no previous reiki use were recruited from a chronic fatigue referral clinic to participate in an 8-week trial. Patients were randomized into one of two reiki groups (direct-contact and distant reiki) or one of two control groups (sham and placebo). The patients received either reiki or placebo 16 times during the course of the study. The researchers reported that neither reiki nor touch improved the symptoms of fibromyalgia. [Assifi N and others. Reiki for the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14:1115-1122, 2008]

This page was posted on January 16, 2011.