REIKI - An Ancient, Natural Method of Hands-on Healing
This article explores the scientific basis and supporting research for Reiki, it's demonstrated clinical benefits, the methods of treatment, and ideal referral patterns.

July 13th 2017 - Reiki (Ray-Key) is a natural method of healing and balancing the life energy (also known as Chi, Prana, or Ki) present in all living things. Though it is said to have originated in ancient Tibet, it was rediscovered and popularized in the late 1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese physician, who named it Reiki (Japanese for Universal Life Force or Life Energy). In this natural method of healing, the practitioner becomes a channel through which healing energy flows. Light hand placements are used on or near the body in order to guide the energy to all aspects of the body-mind continuum.

The ability to channel Reiki is activated within the student by the Reiki Master through a process called ‘attunement.’ A Reiki attunement facilitates adjustments in the energy anatomy of the student (the chakras, meridian system and human energy field) necessary to channel the Reiki energy. Once attuned, the student becomes a channel through which the Reiki energy flows, able to offer hands-on healing to self or other.

How Reiki Works - Scientific Basis and Supporting Research

Research into different types of energy medicine such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch and Polarity Therapy is beginning to provide evidence regarding how these therapies produce the results that consumers have been reporting for years. In his book, Energy Medicine; The Scientific Basis, James Oschman outlines one such study that links tissue healing with measurable vibrational frequencies emitted from the hands of energy work practitioners.

Oschman indicates that the frequencies produced by energy work practitioners were found to spontaneously fluctuate through a range of 0.3 to 30 Hz (1). He includes a table of medical research results linking these low frequency ranges to physical effects including nerve regeneration, bone growth, ligament healing, decreased skin necrosis, stimulation of capillary formation and fibroblast proliferation.(2)

From this data, it appears that Reiki and other types of energy work act to electromagnetically ‘jump-start’ the body’s own healing process. This effect of prompting and supporting the body’s innate healing power may account for the increasing numbers of both individual consumers and health care organizations choosing to include Reiki as a part of their healthcare regime.

Statistics from a recent survey on complementary and alternative medicine use in the United States which were compiled by Barnes et al (3) showed that 1.2 million adults and over 160,000 children had received energy work sessions such as Reiki. Hospitals are also including Reiki as part of integrative medical care for patients. In Connecticut, Hartford Hospital offers a program through which specially trained volunteers provide Reiki to patients throughout the main hospital, the cancer center, dialysis unit, and outpatient clinic. (4) Yale-New Haven Hospital, also offers a Reiki volunteer program wherein certified Reiki practitioners provide this gentle, hands-on energy healing technique to patients.(5)

This increase in consumer preference for energy therapies has prompted the interest of medical and scientific communities and a need for supporting research. As a result, studies are being conducted to determine how certain types of medical diagnoses benefit from Reiki. The Center for Reiki Research (CRR) is a dynamic on-line source that provides a list of evidence-based research on the effects of Reiki along with summaries of each of these studies. The CRR has catalogued several studies in which Reiki was used to address the symptoms of various pathologies including post-hysterectomy pain and anxiety, decreased memory and behavior problems related to Alzheimer’s Disease, and depression.(6)

As research begins to identify and define the physiological effects associated with Reiki, some of the well-known benefits commonly reported by consumers are being validated. These include relief of pain, fatigue, and anxiety, as well as an increased sense of relaxation and well-being.

Clinical Benefits

In my own practice, I have seen Reiki produce positive and lasting results. For those coping with any situation in which energy depletion and pain are factors, Reiki offers a way to relieve discomfort and reenergize. It is an excellent first aid tool to hasten the healing process in postoperative recovery, emergency situations, and any circumstances in which the body has undergone an invasion.

Reiki also creates optimism in stressful situations such as long term care, chronic illness and extended recovery. It can assist in palliative care and hospice settings; aiding in the relief of physical discomfort and facilitating the dying process. Reiki can also benefit friends and family by offering a method to restore energy and clarity during the difficult time when a loved one is injured or sick. And finally, Reiki benefits care givers as a method of self-care. It offers a simple, portable way of accessing restorative energy during periods of stress when many demands compete for available time.

Methods of Treatment

Reiki can be administered seated or with the recipient lying comfortably on a massage table. Sessions can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon whether the recipient is upright or fully reclining. Within the session itself, the practitioner places hands over specific areas of the body, directing the flow of healing energy to the chakras, associated organ and endocrine systems of the body.

Reiki – Ideal Referral Patterns

There are no set, or ideal, referral patterns – Reiki will benefit whenever administered. However, when the goal is to break a pattern – pain, fatigue, insomnia etc., – results can be facilitated by receiving Reiki over a period of one month as follows: Begin with several Reiki treatments in fairly quick succession: 3 sessions in the first week, reducing to 2 sessions during the second week, and finishing with 1 session per week for the last two weeks.

Evaluation midway, after the completion of the second week’s treatments, is suggested to determine benefits and plan continued treatment. If the recipient is interested in actively participating in their own care and recovery, then they can take Reiki Level One training, empowering them to self-treat. The cost of 3-4 full-body Reiki sessions is usually equivalent to what most teachers charge for a level one training.


Reiki acts synergistically with all other types of healing. It does not conflict or interfere with other methods, but acts as a support, enhancing results and facilitating benefits. It assists the body in its own highest level of wellness; speeding the healing process, and providing a source of restorative energy while one is ill, under medical treatment, or in recovery. Whether used as a method of self or patient care, Reiki is a powerful and natural system which unlocks the inner flow of vital energy within the sender and the receiver. It is a tool for use at any time, anywhere, for on-the-spot energy as well as stress and pain relief.

Professional Profile

Hallie Sawyers is the founder of Soul Song, a well known and respected educator with extensive training in energy work and body-centered therapies. Her mission highlights creating transformation on personal and professional levels through quality education in alternative approaches to prevention and wellness. She is a nationally and internationally trained Traditional Usui Reiki Master Teacher, certified in reflexology and polarity therapy, a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Holistic Aromatherapy and an approved CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and New York State. She offers individual appointments, lectures and training in Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy in New York, Connecticut and other areas by request. To schedule an appointment, lecture or class, you can reach Hallie at 585.967.0009 or visit

Contact Member:
Hallie Sawyers, LMT APP BCTMB
Soul Song
United States
Other than specifically noted credits, the information in this article is derived from the curriculum of Hallie's Reiki Level One Training.

To schedule a Reiki class, lecture, or individual appointment, contact Hallie at or visit her website:

(1) Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, by James Oschman, p. 86

(2) Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, by James Oschman, p. 86

(3) Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children. United States, 2007. December 2008.

(4) Hartford Hospital, © 2010. Retrieved from

(5) Yale New Haven Hospital, © 1999-2010. Advancing Care, September 2006. Retrieved from

(6) Center for Reiki Research (2009). Retrieved from