Practicing Reiki does not appear to routinely produce high-intensity electromagnetic fields from the heart or hands of Reiki practitioners

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):518-26. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0136. Epub 2012 Dec 4.


Objectives: The study objective was to determine whether Reiki practice increases the electromagnetic field strength from the heart and hands of Reiki practitioners.

Rationale: This study repeated experiments performed 20 years ago that detected exceptionally high-strength electromagnetic fields (100 nT) from the hands of several energy healers. The equipment used was far more sensitive than in the original studies.

Design: Using a Magnes 2500 WH SQUID, the electromagnetic field from the hands and heart of each of 3 Reiki masters was measured when they were (1) not practicing Reiki, (2) sending Reiki to a distant person, and (3) sending Reiki to a person in the room. Similar measurements were made on 4 Reiki-naïve volunteers before and after they received a Reiki training/attunement enabling them to self-administer Reiki.

Setting/location: The study setting was the Scripps Institute, San Diego, CA.

Outcome measures: Magnetic field intensity of hands and heart recorded over 5-minute sessions with corresponding frequency spectra.

Results: For all subjects, under all conditions, sensors closest to the heart and the hands produced spikes of 2 pT corresponding to the heartbeat. Recordings from 2 Masters and 1 volunteer showed a low-intensity sine wave oscillation of 0.25-0.3 Hz (intensity 0.1-0.5 pT) whether or not they were practicing Reiki. This oscillation probably reflected respiratory sinus arrhythmia, judged by comparison with recent previous studies. These signals were not detected in the original studies. In the current study, no electromagnetic field intensities greater than 3 pT were observed in any of the recordings.

Conclusions: Practicing Reiki does not appear to routinely produce high-intensity electromagnetic fields from the heart or hands. Alternatively, it is possible that energy healing is stimulated by tuning into an external environmental radiation, such as the Schumann resonance, which was blocked in the present study by the strong magnetic shielding surrounding the SQUID.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Therapeutic Touch*