Reiki Therapy

The Benefits of Reiki Therapy During Cancer Treatment

Woman undergoing alternative therapy treatment, therapist's hands over woman's head
Reiki Healing Therapy.. ZenShui/Milena Boniek / Getty Images

Reiki is a Japanese energy-based therapy that promotes healing and overall wellness. A trained reiki practitioner uses his or her hands to transmit energy to the recipient.

How Is Reiki Given?

Reiki is administered by a specially trained practitioner, using his or her hands. Hands are placed above the body and "life force energy" is transmitted.

Many people report feeling a sense of warmth during reiki sessions.

Sessions generally last for about an hour each. Practitioners also claim that the energy therapy can be performed by long distance.

Does Reiki Help Cancer Patients?

Some cancer patients claim that reiki has helped with pain management, relaxation, and side effects of treatment like nausea and stomach upset.

In this excerpt, provided by UpToDate-- an electronic resource used by many patients and their doctors looking for in-depth medical information-- you can how energy healing, specifically reiki, has fared in clinical trials:

"Energy therapies involve using the body's energy fields to heal and maintain wellness. Believers in energy medicine describe disruptions in the energy field as a cause for illness and teach that balancing energy can aid in healing. It is difficult to study the effectiveness of energy medicine due to the intangible nature of the body's "energy."

"Reiki is a form of energy medicine and has been evaluated in several clinical trials for treatment of anxiety and improvement of well being in cancer patients. Some, but not all, trials showed positive results, although the studies showing benefit were not well designed, and it is difficult to distinguish the true benefit from placebo effect."

Although there is no scientific data that fully supports these claims, patient testimonials that support reiki are numerous. Reiki treatment are offered along with massage therapy and other complementary therapies in some major cancer centers.

It is important to note that reiki is not an alternative cancer treatment.

It is not used to cure cancer or in place of treatment. Reiki is a complementary therapy, used to ease the emotional and physical side effects of treatment.

How Do I Find a Reiki Practitioner?

  • In many states, a reiki practitioner must also be licensed massage therapists. Reiki is offered in wellness clinics and sometimes by spiritual ministers. Check the International Reiki Practitioner list for a practitioner in your area. Reiki sessions range from no cost to $100 on average per session. Insurance companies do not normally cover reiki treatments.

    Is Reiki Safe?

    Reiki is considered to be safe. There is nothing invasive about reiki therapy. Be sure to always talk to your doctor prior to having any alternative or complementary treatment.

    Want to learn more? See UpToDate's topic, "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments (CAM) for Cancer," for additional in-depth medical information.


    Ernst, Edzard. Patient information: Complementary and alternative medicine treatments (CAM) for cancer. UpToDate. September 2007. Accessed October 2009.

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