In vitro effect of Reiki treatment on bacterial cultures: Role of experimental context and practitioner well-being

J Altern Complement Med. Jan-Feb 2006;12(1):7-13. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.7.

Abstract

Objective: To measure effects of Reiki treatments on growth of heat-shocked bacteria, and to determine the influence of healing context and practitioner well-being.

Methods: Overnight cultures of Escherichia coli K12 in fresh medium were used. Culture samples were paired with controls to minimize any ordering effects. Samples were heat-shocked prior to Reiki treatment, which was performed by Reiki practitioners for up to 15 minutes, with untreated controls. Plate-count assay using an automated colony counter determined the number of viable bacteria. Fourteen Reiki practitioners each completed 3 runs (n = 42 runs) without healing context, and another 2 runs (n = 28 runs) in which they first treated a pain patient for 30 minutes (healing context). Well-being questionnaires were administered to practitioners pre-post all sessions.

Results: No overall difference was found between the Reiki and control plates in the nonhealing context. In the healing context, the Reiki treated cultures overall exhibited significantly more bacteria than controls (p < 0.05). Practitioner social (p < 0.013) and emotional well-being (p < 0.021) correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on bacterial cultures in the nonhealing context. Practitioner social (p < 0.031), physical (p < 0.030), and emotional (p < 0.026) well-being correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on the bacterial cultures in the healing context. For practitioners starting with diminished well-being, control counts were likely to be higher than Reiki-treated bacterial counts. For practitioners starting with a higher level of well-being, Reiki counts were likely to be higher than control counts.

Conclusions: Reiki improved growth of heat-shocked bacterial cultures in a healing context. The initial level of well-being of the Reiki practitioners correlates with the outcome of Reiki on bacterial culture growth and is key to the results obtained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control
  • Escherichia coli K12 / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli K12 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Random Allocation
  • Research Design
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods*