Science behind Reiki

Growing Scientific Evidence Supports Hands-on Healing


There is growing evidence in the scientific journals that demonstrates that hands-on healing techniques really do work. Some skeptical arguments have centered on previously reported positive effects as being ‘just placebo’, so now researchers have developed different strategies.

In a recent study, reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Therapeutic Touch (TT) was applied to human cells cultured in a dish. Therefore, there was absolutely no possibility of a placebo effect. And to further prove the effectiveness, sham (dummy) treatment was given to a separate group of cells and third group were untreated, to compare against.

In the study, Therapeutic Touch and sham treatment was given to 3 types of cells: tendon cells, bone cells, and fibroblasts (cells involved in wound healing and that form part of our connective tissue). Treatment was given twice a week for 10 minutes each for 1 and 2 weeks.

Results: After 2 weeks, there was significant increase in numbers of each type of cell that received Therapeutic Touch. There was no difference in numbers in the cells that received sham treatment or no treatment.

Therapeutic Touch had caused growth of tendon cells, bone cells and fibroblasts..!!

Another outcome of the experiment was that different amounts of Therapeutic Touch produced different growth rates. It wasn’t a case of more is better. Actually, the optimum in this particular experiment seemed to be 2 treatments per week for 2 weeks. This gave better outcomes than 5 treatments, for instance. More research will no doubt be done to determine optimum levels.

And the individual cell types responded differently to varying amounts of treatments. For instance, in a 1-week study, 4 or 5 Therapeutic Touch treatments increased numbers of tendon cells and fibroblasts, but not bone cells, but in a 2-week study, bone cells responded better to just 2 treatments per week. Less was better than more for bone cells. This is something that I never considered when I first began investigating healing – that different illnesses might require different frequencies of treatments. More is not always better!

This study is one of the surprising positive outcomes of that fact that many skeptics poke fun at people who use Therapeutic Touch and Reiki (I was an R&D scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, and when I left and began studying and researching healing and mind-body science some people who knew me from the scientific community thought I’d lost my marbles). It’s caused researchers to design vigorous scientific studies that eliminate any other possibility….and the results are beginning to show that hands on healing techniques like Therapeutic Touch and Reiki really do work.

This article is Copyright © 2008 by David R. Hamilton Ph.D.