Reiki for Pain During Hemodialysis: A Feasibility and Instrument Evaluation Study

J Holist Nurs. 2019 Jun;37(2):148-162. doi: 10.1177/0898010118797195. Epub 2018 Aug 31.


Purpose: Pain is a problem for individuals undergoing hemodialysis. Renal disease, comorbidities, concurrent symptoms, and dialysis procedures pose barriers to adequate pain management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate feasibility, examine construct validity of The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) computerized adaptive testing (CAT) instruments, and explore pain benefits of Reiki sessions conducted during hemodialysis.

Design: A one group, repeated-measures design was used.

Method: Fifteen participants received Reiki for 20 minutes, twice a week for 4 weeks. Pain, fatigue, and depression were evaluated using established symptom scales and PROMIS CAT instruments.

Findings: Participants reported general relaxation feelings with Reiki and acceptability of using a touch-screen device to respond to web-based measures. Although staff were initially reluctant to engage patients for Reiki, they reported Reiki did not interfere with workflow and thought Reiki could be integrated into the practice setting. Significant, strong correlations with established symptom scales support construct validity of PROMIS CAT instruments. There was a significant decrease in mean symptom scores after four weeks of Reiki. Effect size values suggest a range of practical significance.

Conclusions: Findings suggest Reiki provides symptom relief for individuals receiving hemodialysis, and randomized clinical trials to establish Reiki's pain benefits in this population are warranted.

Keywords: complementary therapy; hemodialysis; holistic nursing; pain; reiki.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Fatigue / psychology
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pain Management / standards*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods*
  • Therapeutic Touch / standards