Safety of Reiki Therapy for Newborns at Risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Holist Nurs Pract. Mar/Apr 2018;32(2):63-70. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000251.


The incidence of opioid abuse and subsequent drug withdrawal is exponentially on the rise in the United States for many populations including newborns who are born to drug-addicted mothers. These newborns often exhibit symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) within 24 to 72 hours of birth. Treatment of NAS includes monitoring of withdrawal symptoms, managing physiological parameters, and the use of supportive and pharmacologic treatments. Although a few randomized controlled trials exist, studies on supportive intervention are generally limited by small sample sizes, case study reports, expert opinions, and descriptive design. Few studies address the safety of Reiki for newborns at risk for NAS using neonatal parameters. This pilot study addresses feasibility and demonstrates that Reiki is safe when administered to this high-risk population. Considerations for future studies are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / complications
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods
  • Therapeutic Touch / standards*
  • United States