The objective of this study was to calculate the effect of Reiki therapy for pain and anxiety in randomized clinical trials. A systematic search of PubMed, ProQuest, Cochrane, PsychInfo, CINAHL, Web of Science, Global Health, and Medline databases was conducted using the search terms pain, anxiety, and Reiki. The Center for Reiki Research also was examined for articles. Studies that used randomization and a control or usual care group, used Reiki therapy in one arm of the study, were published in 2000 or later in peer-reviewed journals in English, and measured pain or anxiety were included. After removing duplicates, 49 articles were examined and 12 articles received full review. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria: four articles studied cancer patients, one examined post-surgical patients, and two analyzed community dwelling older adults. Effect sizes were calculated for all studies using Cohen's d statistic. Effect sizes for within group differences ranged from d = 0.24 for decrease in anxiety in women undergoing breast biopsy to d = 2.08 for decreased pain in community dwelling adults. The between group differences ranged from d = 0.32 for decrease of pain in a Reiki versus rest intervention for cancer patients to d = 4.5 for decrease in pain in community dwelling adults. Although the number of studies is limited, based on the size Cohen's d statistics calculated in this review, there is evidence to suggest that Reiki therapy may be effective for pain and anxiety. Continued research using Reiki therapy with larger sample sizes, consistently randomized groups, and standardized treatment protocols is recommended.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Pain Management Nursing. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.