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The goal of alternative therapy is to release the body’s own healing mechanism rather than relying on man-made healing. Reiki works to activate the body’s healing power by passing spiritual energy from the Reiki practitioner to the patient.

Is Reiki Safe for Cancer Patients?

This alternative therapy involves no use of pressure; the practitioner lightly places their hands on approximately 15 areas of the patient’s body (see the section on Healing & Therapeutic Touch Therapy for more information). The practitioner’s hand is held in each place for about five minutes. The therapy session lasts for about an hour.

The recommended method for maximizing the benefits of this type of therapy is to take three sessions in a short period of time, and then allowing some time to elapse before resuming the sessions.

How Many Levels of Reiki Practice are There?

There are three levels of practice. The practitioner at each level acquires additional skills:

  • Reiki I practitioner – performs hands-on therapy
  • Reiki II practitioner – performs hands-on therapy and distance therapy, which allows the practitioner to send healing over a distance to the patient.
  • Reiki III practitioner – performs hands- on therapy, distance therapy, and trains new Reiki practitioners.

There are no governmental licensing requirements or professional associations to establish standards for the practice of Reiki.

Is There Any Existing Research on the Way in Which Reiki Benefits Cancer Patients?

Studies examining a number of alternative therapies, including Reiki, are currently being conducted

In an article that appeared in the May 2000 edition of Oncology Nursing Forum, researchers randomly divided 189 chemotherapy patients into three groups:

  • Receiving Reiki
  • Receiving sham Reiki placebo (a touch regimen that appeared similar to what the Reiki group was receiving, but had nothing to do with Reiki)
  • Receiving standard care

The objective of the study was to determine whether providing a patient with Reiki therapy during outpatient chemotherapy increased their comfort and well-being.

The researchers observed that even though Reiki significantly raised the comfort and well-being of the patients according to tests performed after the therapy, the sham Reiki placebo accomplished the same thing. Patients in the standard care group did not experience changes in comfort and well-being.

What these researchers concluded was that “the presence of an RN providing one-on-one support during chemotherapy was influential in raising comfort and well-being levels, with or without an attempted healing energy field.”

Are There any Considerations Before Beginning Reiki Therapy?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recommends you:

  • Do not use Reiki as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.
  • Find out about the Reiki practitioner’s background, including training and experience treating clients.
  • Be aware that Reiki has not been well studied scientifically, but research on whether and how Reiki may work is under way.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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