Most people who can speak credibly to Reiki agree that it’s a healing method that uses energy, but further specifics are murky. “I believe that it helps to relax a person, turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, and quiet the flight-or-fight response,” says Josie Znidarsic, D. O. , a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic. “This, in turn, allows the body to heal or calm down.
But anecdotal evidence is just anecdotal—actual science behind Reiki is shakier. “There is no hard evidence it works, but there are lots of small studies that point to its efficacy,” Payrovi says. “Reiki has no negative side effects, so I think that even without a lot of hard science behind it, it’s worthwhile for people to try,” Znidarsic adds. “We all live in a very stressful, overstimulated environment, so anything that can help to decrease that stress response can be helpful.
And I don’t know of any Western medicine therapies that could replicate that,” says Susan Payrovi, M. D. , a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University’s Center for Integrative Medicine, adding that patients typically need to be open to the practice to feel like it has benefits. “I encourage patients to seek what they are drawn to—and if Reiki works for them, then by all means they should utilize it.
I’m the first to admit that Reiki seems like a practice more likely to be discussed in the offices of Goop than in medical school, but mainstream hospitals are starting to incorporate it into their patient-care strategies—Johns Hopkins, Yale New Haven Health, Cleveland Clinic, and UCLA Health all offer Reiki.
When it comes to Reiki, it might not matter as much whether it capital-W Works as whether you feel you personally benefit. “Anecdotally, I have a patient who undergoes an infusion monthly that leaves her with severe fatigue for three to four days.
"Reiki might be a woo-woo wellness treatment, but I still believe it helped me—and doctors agree." https://t.co/YwcbS2zkIC— Glamour (@glamourmag) November 20, 2019