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Reiki has been proven more effective than placebo for:

  • Physical relaxation                                                                                                             

  • Reducing pain, depression & anxiety                                                                             

  • Hypertension & abnormal blood pressure                                                                  

  • Enhancement of self-esteem & feeling in control                                                          

  • Depression in elderly people living in nursing homes                                                  

  • Decreasing memory & behaviour problems with cognitive impairment & Alzheimer's

  • Improving physical, social & general quality of life for cancer patients                     

“This study reviews […] peer-reviewed clinical studies with more than 20 participants in the Reiki treatment arm, controlling for a placebo effect.

[…] These studies provide reasonably strong support for Reiki being more effective than placebo. […] It has potential for broader use in management of chronic health conditions, and possibly in postoperative recovery.

[…] “Attunement” imparts an extra healing capacity to the recipient. Although there is currently no scientific explanation for this, the clinical trial evidence is compelling. Further research is warranted to better understand this phenomenon."

David E. McManus, PhD

Reiki in the NHS:

“We have seen patients with uncontrolled pain find more relief from [Reiki] healing than from intramuscular opiates. Many staff have felt the need for healing themselves and have found significant benefit from doing so. [Reiki practitioner] Angela Buxton […] is now an integral member of the medical and nursing team.”



Stephen Rowley, Clinical Nurse / Manager

University College Hospitals London



  • Ampere’s law shows that where there is electricity flowing, there is a magnetic field around it

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  • Pulsing magnetic fields, which sweep up and down through a range of frequencies, have been measured from the palms of people using energy medicine & chi techniques (Zimmerman 1990; Seto et al 1992)

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  • Further research confirmed that these same pulsing magnetic field frequencies can stimulate & produce healing effects for various tissues (Sisken & Walker 1995)

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  • In Sep 2003 NASA completed a 4-year research programme into PEMF therapy (“Pulsed Electromagnetic field”)

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  • Some of these frequencies are naturally occurring in the world around us, like the “Schumann Resonances” - electromagnetic standing waves produced by global lightning, which travel around the world on average 7.8 times per second resulting in a faintly pulsing magnetic field of 7.8Hz.

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  • Together these suggest a model for energy medicine healing:

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  • The concept of sending healing energy at a distance with no contact is therefore compatible with modern science

  • Other modern ideas like Einstein’s famous E = mc2 and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle remind us that we need to suspend our biases as we learn about the world, focus scientifically on what we observe, and be prepared for and open to some surprises along the way!


For anyone feeling interested in but sceptical of Reiki, I hope this section has reassured you that energy healing is very much consistent with modern science, proven to be beneficial, and that it’s worth giving Reiki a go.

I’m not claiming to have a fully scientific explanation for how Reiki works - I haven’t seen Reiki practitioners specifically mentioned in any of the experiments listed above, and even if the physical aspects of Reiki healing do incorporate these mechanisms, Reiki also goes beyond the physical things mentioned here.

The easiest way to know Reiki is real, and what it can do, is to try it – science is great, and Reiki is the best experiment I have ever tried!

When I heard about Reiki I was very intrigued – anyone can learn palm healing, in a weekend? It sounded possibly a bit too good to be true, but I was curious and decided to try it, so at least I’d know one way or the other.

The Reiki 1 course was with a very nice group of people, though some of them talked casually about things like angels and spirit guides, and as a fairly logical physics graduate I did wonder if I was in the right place & whether it might all be wishful thinking… especially when some were talking about seeing colours, visions etc during the attunements and Reiki sharing (I felt relaxed, but nothing I couldn’t explain rationally.)

I felt a bit frustrated, wondering if my logical and sceptical mind may block me experiencing Reiki (if there actually was something to experience), and near the end of the day asked the teacher quietly if it was normal to feel nothing like this.

He said “Don’t worry, Reiki 1 is more an introduction, Reiki 2 is where most people feel it, it gives you a deeper connection and I’m sure you will feel it if you practice and do Reiki 2 as well!”. I had read in the book that Reiki 2 was the level required to be recognised as an official Reiki therapist, Torsten felt a very genuine and honest person, and I wanted to know I had given it a fair chance, so I did come back a few weeks later for Reiki 2, having still not felt anything unusual.

We had another attunement to use “symbols” for accessing different types of energy – again I couldn’t imagine how drawing a symbol, word or anything else in the air might do anything, but I resolved to give Reiki a fair chance, and then I would have no regrets if I found there was really nothing to it.

After this attunement we were paired up to give each other Reiki treatments, starting with body scanning, where we were to put one hand a few centimetres above their body, and scan it over their body, feeling anywhere Reiki might be needed. I still hadn’t actually felt Reiki before, and if I’d had more time to think I may have worried about standing there like an idiot, or whether I should just play along to avoid hurting the very nice teacher’s feelings and perhaps make my excuses after lunchtime…  but the training was always very practical and we were straight into it.

…and I couldn’t believe it when I put my hand near his body, and felt like my hand was one magnet and his body was another, the feeling when you push magnets together and they push apart, it was as strong and tangible as that. I almost swore in amazement, and suddenly became aware that there was a Christmas day feeling in the room – clearly other people were having similar experiences! I let my hand ride the shape of his field, finding certain parts where it seemed to really dip down, and it felt a good idea to try giving Reiki to these bits, so I kept my hand there for a bit before moving on.

After the time was up I enthused to my partner about what I’d felt and so clearly, and he said “You know why that is don’t you?” I really didn’t, as this was the first time I’d really spoken to him, and he told me “I have Melanoma”- he explained to me this was skin cancer, and confirmed that the places where he had dips in the field were areas with things happening inside his body.

I was stunned – both to have felt something so physical and tangible, there clearly WAS something there – and also thinking about this poor man … and realising that perhaps other people had different reasons for being here and wanting to learn Reiki… luckily there really was something to learn! That was when I knew Reiki really was real - it was the start of what’s turning out to be quite a journey, and if I can help others experience it in the same way that my genuinely great teacher Torsten Lange helped me, then I will be very happy.

I’m not sharing this to persuade anyone that Reiki is real - I think we all have to trust our own experiences, and I know the only way I was ever going to believe Reiki was real is if I could actually feel it for myself! I just want to say that I think it’s very normal to be sceptical, put off by things, and not to feel Reiki even until Reiki 2, but also that it really is worth a fair chance if you are interested! 😊

Robin Smidowicz

How I knew Reiki was real
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