Personal interaction with a Reiki practitioner decreases noise-induced microvascular damage in an animal model

J Altern Complement Med. Jan-Feb 2006;12(1):15-22. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.15.


Objective: To determine whether Reiki, a process of transmission of healing energy, can significantly reduce microvascular leakage caused by exposure to excessive noise using an animal model.

Rationale: Reiki is beginning to be used in hospitals to accelerate recovery. Despite many anecdotes describing Reiki's success, few scientific studies are reported and none of those use animals. Animal models have the advantage over human subjects in that they provide well-controlled, easily interpretable experiments. The use of noise is relevant to hospital patients because of the excessive ambient noise in hospitals in the United Kingdom and United States. Loud noise can lead to several nonauditory disorders in humans and animals that impair recovery. In the rat, stress from noise damages the mesenteric microvasculature, leading to leakage of plasma into the surrounding tissue.

Design: One group of four rats simultaneously received daily noise and Reiki, while two other groups received "sham" Reiki or noise alone. A fourth group did not receive noise or additional treatment. The experiment was performed three times to test for reproducibility.

Outcome measures: Average number and area of microvascular leaks to fluorescent albumin per unit length of venule.

Results: In all three experiments, Reiki significantly reduced the outcome measures compared to the other noise groups (sham Reiki and noise alone) (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Application of Reiki significantly reduces noise-induced microvascular leakage in an animal model. Whether or not these effects are caused by Reiki itself, or the relaxing effect of the Reiki practitioner, this procedure could be useful for minimizing effects of environmental stress on research animals and hospital patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / metabolism*
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Noise / prevention & control
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Research Design
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods*
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology
  • Vascular Diseases / prevention & control*