Reiki, Opioids and Pain Relief

Last week I read two things about pain.

The first was a summary of the results of a research study on the effects of Reiki on pain for chronically ill people. The second was an article in the Eugene Weekly on the decline in opioid prescriptions in Oregon. The decline came after new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2016 that recognize no evidence of “long-term benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain.”

What opioid therapy has delivered is a national epidemic of addiction to pain killers with minimal pain relief. According to the article, both the FDA and the CDC are forming special committees to evaluate and address the crisis.

In light of this, the results of the Reiki study are particularly interesting. One hundred twenty men and women ages 21 to 62 years who had been experiencing pain and stress for one or more years were given 10 biweekly sessions of Reiki, false Reiki, progressive muscle relaxation or a placebo (no treatment). Outcome measures were taken pre-test, post-test and at a 3-month follow up.

Reiki significantly reduced pain, depression and anxiety in those who received it. The follow-up showed that Reiki had a lasting effect (up to three months).

And side effects? Well, yes. Participants showed personality changes after Reiki. Specifically “a reduction in trait anxiety, enhancement of self-esteem and a shift toward a greater sense of internal locus of control.” Participants also reported a stronger faith in God.

Pain relief that’s effective and non-addictive. It does almost seem like a miracle. Those of us who practice Reiki on a regular basis can tell you that it’s common.

When I lived in DC, I did Reiki on a retired gentleman who was using a wheelchair. He was involved in a car accident when a van he was riding in made a sudden stop. His wheelchair was wrenched to the side and he was partially thrown from the chair, causing a painful back injury. I saw him in the days after the accident at the long-term care facility where he lived. He sat in his chair with his eyes closed while I placed my hands on his shoulders and back in the area surrounding the injury. After receiving 10 or 15 minutes of Reiki, he sighed with relief and began to move his upper body instead of holding it against the pain. His pain had diminished drastically and he asked to receive Reiki three or four times more during his healing process.

Reiki is already used in over 100 hospitals in the U.S. and other healthcare settings, such as the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute here in Eugene. As Reiki gains more and more acceptance in the mainstream healthcare world, I expect–and hope–that it will be part of pain management plans for many more people.

For more information on Reiki research, visit the Center for Reiki Research. It’s free to sign up and read the summaries, more than 80 to date.




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