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Reiki Treatment Lowers Heart Rate, Blood Pressure

10 Sep

Researchers from the Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University in Scotland, UK, investigated whether Reiki has any impact on indices of autonomic nervous system function – heart rate, blood pressure, baroreflex response, cardiac vagal tone and breath rate.

Forty-five subjects were assigned at random into three treatment conditions: no treatment (rest only); Reiki treatment by an experienced Reiki practitioner; and placebo treatment by a person with no knowledge of Reiki but who mimicked the Reiki treatment.

Quantitative measures such as heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing activity were recorded continuously for each heartbeat.  Values during and after the treatment period were compared with baseline data.

The investigators found that subjects’ heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group, as compared to the placebo condition and/or the control condition.

The study indicates that Reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system. However, this was a pilot study with relatively few subjects and the changes were relatively small. The results justify further, larger studies to look at the biological effects of Reiki treatment.

Mackay N, Hansen S, McFarlane O. Autonomic nervous system changes during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine. 2004 Dec;10 (6): pages 1077-81.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award