Objective: This mixed methods study sought to evaluate the outcomes of an integrative Reiki volunteer program in an academic medical oncology center setting.
Method: We used de-identified program evaluation data to perform both quantitative and qualitative analyses of participants' experiences of Reiki sessions. The quantitative data were collected pre- and postsession using a modified version of the distress thermometer. The pre- and postsession data from the distress assessment were analyzed using a paired Student's : test. The qualitative data were derived from written responses to open-ended questions asked after each Reiki session and were analyzed for key words and recurring themes.
Results: Of the 213 pre-post surveys of first-time sessions in the evaluation period, we observed a more than 50% decrease in self-reported distress (from 3.80 to 1.55), anxiety (from 4.05 to 1.44), depression (from 2.54 to 1.10), pain (from 2.58 to 1.21), and fatigue (from 4.80 to 2.30) with P < .001 for all. Using conservative estimates that treat missing data as not endorsing Reiki, we found 176 (82.6%) of participants liked the Reiki session, 176 (82.6%) found the Reiki session helpful, 157 (73.7%) plan to continue using Reiki, and 175 (82.2%) would recommend Reiki to others. Qualitative analyses found that individuals reported that Reiki induced relaxation and enhanced spiritual well-being.
Conclusions: An integrative Reiki volunteer program shows promise as a component of supportive care for cancer patients. More research is needed to evaluate and understand the impact that Reiki may have for patients, caregivers, and staff whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Keywords: Reiki; cancer; distress; pain; relaxation; symptom.