Barbara Brewitt, MDiv, PhD
Tim Vittretoe, Reiki Practitioner Level II, BS
Betty Hartwell, Reiki Master; LVN, LMT

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the therapeutic effects of Reiki treatment on chronic illness.


Does hands-on Reiki improve health status of patients with chronic illness as evaluated by electrodermal screening?


Five patients with multiple sclerosis (n=2), lupus, fibromyalgia, or thyroid goiter were given eleven one-hour Reiki sessions using four different Reiki Level Two practitioners and one Reiki master over 9 weeks. These Reiki practitioners systematically placed their hands over holding points of neurovascular regions on the cranium, neurolymphatic points on the trunk and minor chakra points on the limbs. During this time period, patients received no other new conventional or alternative medical treatments. All patients initially received three consecutive Reiki sessions which were followed by one Reiki session/week for 8 weeks. All Reiki practitioners were trained by the same Reiki Master who provided at least one session per patient. Positive outcomes were quantitatively evaluated by changes in electrical skin resistance measurements at acupuncture/conductance points using the Life Information System TEN (LISTEN) device, Busywork, Inc., Orem, UT. The LISTEN device measured two outputs: 1) maximum resistance (mix) produced in response to five volt stimulus; 2) rising slope (rise) which is the maximum resistance divided by the seconds of time to reach maximum resistance (Brewitt, J. Nat. Med. 1996 6:66-75). Conditions for LISTEN measurements were held as constant as possible. Results were reported as conductance, the inverse of resistance. All patients were measured 3 times: prior to their first session: after their third session, and their last session. Over forty skin points on the hands and feet were measured per LISTEN evaluation and statistically analyzed using a paired t-test. The eight points showing significance were further analyzed via Bonferonni statistical adjustments.


Out of the forty skin points measured per Session, only three showed significant differences before and after Reiki treatment. These three skin points correlate with acupuncture/conductance meridians of Spleen One, SPI, adrenal glands, THI and the cervical, thoracic region of the spine, NE2, i.e. points of the neuroendocrine-immune system. Prior to Reiki treatment, the mean conductance measurements at these three points were below the normal range of 45.0-55.0 relative units, indicating a chronic illness and depletion of Chi. The left side NE2 point statistically changed from 24% below normal to normal after the third Reiki (P<O.004). The right side NE2 point also improved into the normal range by the last Reiki (P <0.003) and both NE2 points were within the normal range by completion of the study at 45.0+or-2.0 units. SPI, originally 16% below normal at 42.0+or -6.O units, reached the normal range of 48.0+or-6.0 units after the third Reiki (P<0.005) and maintained normal electrical conductance of 46.0+or-6.0 units throughout the study. The rise in conductance, an indication of greater electrical permeability statistically increased at NE2, SPI, and THI with Reiki, P< 0.01, P< 0.056, and P< 0.025, respectively. Bonferonni statistical adjustments for small sample size and repeated measures with a paired t-test indicated that SPI and NE2 max conductance’s and NE2 rise measurement maintained statistical significance. All patients documented increased relaxation, a sense of "centeredness", a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility after Reiki sessions.


Reiki is a practice of hands-on healing for Stress reduction and relaxation that additionally transmits spiritual and physical healing to oneself. Similar to massage, Reiki has beneficial effects on lymphatics and lymph flow in the immune system (Arch. Phys. Med. 1953, 34:31). This study quantified positive changes in electrical conductance, a Western method for measuring "Chi" or "vital life force" through skin points. Two acupuncture/conductance meridians related to the neuroimmune system. SPI and NE2 significantly improved after eleven Reiki sessions compared to thirty-eight other skin conductance points associated with other organs of the body. The organ meridian of the adrenals, THI also demonstrated statistical improvement by the paired t-test, but lost this significance when Bonferonni statistical adjustments were made to account for small sample size or the possibility of a random chance finding. This study demonstrates a method for quantifying "subtle energy" improvements after treatment with techniques of hands-on healing not easily measured by conventional testing. All of these patients had chronic illnesses that would greatly benefit from greater immune and neuroendocrine functioning. Further study in this area with a larger sample size is warranted.

[ Home  | Offerings  | Courses Defined  | Reiki Sessions  | Counseling  | N.M.P.L. (Baltimore Loan Agencies) ]