Scientific Research & Evidence
There are limited robust scientific studies for Reiki, this doesn’t mean that there haven’t been many studies that have shown multiple health benefits but it does mean that many of these had either small sample sizes or did not have a control group etc.
This has been identified in the field and we are in an exciting time where many controlled scientific studies are now starting to happen.
EFT has many more robust studies available and in the age of exciting biological advances we can now link new areas of biology such as epigenetics (where the expression of a gene is affected by our environment) and see the impact of techniques such as EFT on gene expression in the body beginning to understand the biological mechanisms affected.
I have compiled a brief list below of studies and literature that covers some of the current research available.
- This research looks at the role of techniques such as breathwork, yoga and meditation in the toning up of the Vagus nerve. The more toned the Vagus nerve the greater the capacity to regulate the body’s stress response therefore playing a crucial role in mood and anxiety symptoms.
2. This website links to a study that shows how breathing induces tranquillity, it identifies the neurons responsible for connecting breathing to states of mind for example relaxation, attention, excitement, and anxiety. This new discovery now provides a cellular and molecular understanding of how breathing influences our state of mind.
3. I can’t recommend this book enough- it is a fantastic read, very well researched it draws on thousands of years of ancient wisdom and cutting edge science – truly lifechanging!
Breath. The new science of a lost art. James Nestor 2020.
EFT Emotional Freedom Technique
- This TED talk by Dr Peta Stapleton is a great introduction to the benefits of EFT;
2. The efficacy of EFT for anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD is well-established, this research paper looks at the data and gives figures showing the improvements shown in each area. Shown to be greatly beneficial in the following areas: anxiety (−40%); depression (−35%); posttraumatic stress disorder (−32%); pain (−57%); cravings (−74%); and happiness (+31%). The physiological responses showed a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol (−37%) with significant improvements in resting heart rate (−8%) and systolic (−6%) and diastolic (−8%) blood pressure.
3. This is a very long read exploring EFT in the context of the new area of Biology called epigenetics in which environmental factors influence which of our genes are expressed (switched on / off). Epigenetics is now being studied along side a variety of psychotherapies including EFT to investigate how expression of genes can be influenced by these techniques and the implications for the body. The ability of specific non-invasive somatic interventions to bring about a favourable orchestration of gene expression holds massive potential for our understanding of the benefits of EFT.
Many published studies have looked at the effect of Reiki on stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, and immune responsivity, as well as anxiety, pain and depression. As I said earlier the problems arise with small sample sizes and the existing research failing to meet the scientific standard e.g. carried out without control groups etc so it is not possible to draw a statistically viable conclusion from these.
There are stronger studies that support the ability of Reiki to reduce anxiety and pain, and suggest its usefulness to induce relaxation, improve fatigue and depressive symptoms, and strengthen overall wellbeing. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews contains a review on the use of touch therapies (including Reiki) for pain and a protocol for use of Reiki for psychological symptoms.
- This book published in September 2021 compiles up to date scientific studies into the effectiveness of reiki and its growing use in healthcare centres and hospices in the USA and here in the UK, citing 26 references to difference studies.
Why woowoo works. The surprising Science Behind Meditation, Reiki, Crystals and Other Alternative Practices. David R Hamilton Ph.D. 2021
- Click the link below to view the Image showing the signal recorded from the hands of a therapeutic touch practitioner using a SQUID device. This shows a bio magnetic field coming from the practitioners hands pulsating between frequencies of 0.3 to 30 Hz – this is the same frequency as brain waves and are within the range of frequencies that scientific studies have identified as frequencies facilitating healing. (There are also some other useful diagrams on this link showing human biofields). Copyright Elsevier Limited (2000), with permission from Elsevier