In 2009 two researchers, Dr. Shamini Jain, from the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, and Dr. Paul Mills, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, and the Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego, US, looked at 66 studies of biofield energy therapies, with Reiki being one type of biofield energy therapy. While they found most of the published works to be average or inconclusive in terms of efficacy results, they did find some strong evidence that these biofield therapies have positive effects on the human body.
They also concluded that there is a strong need for further high-quality studies of these biofield therapies. They add: "In order to better inform patients of the potential benefits or non-benefits of these biofield-based interventions, clinicians and scientists within behavioral medicine should familiarize themselves with current theory, practice and research of such techniques."
Here is the breakdown:
- strong evidence that biofield therapies reduce pain intensity in free living populations
- moderate evidence that biofield therapies are effective at lowering pain in hospitalized patients
- moderate evidence that biofield therapies are effective at lowering pain in patients with cancer
- moderate evidence that biofield therapies ease agitated behaviors in dementia
- moderate evidence that biofield therapies reduce anxiety in hospitalized patients
- inconclusive evidence for the efficacy of biofield therapies on symptoms of fatigue and quality of life in cancer patients
- inconclusive evidence for overall pain reduction and anxiety management in cardiovascular patients
Reference: 1. Jain S & Mills PJ (2009). Biofield therapies: helpful or full of hype? A best-evidence synthesis. International Journal of Behavorial Medicine; DOI 10.1007/s12529-009-9062-4 .