Effect of Reiki Therapy on Patient Reported Measures of Well-being

Mitchell S. Drost, 1Jennifer L. St. Sauver, PhD, 2,3Natalie Dyer PhD, 1,4Kavita Prasad, MD FACP

1Division of Epidemiology, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA, 2Connor Whole Health, University Hospitals, Cleveland, OH, USA; 3The Center for Reiki Research, Southfield, MI, USA; 4Zumbro Valley Health Center, Rochester, MN, USA


•More than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (57.8 million people in 2021).

•There is a need for novel therapies to complement standard clinical therapies to improve patient well-being.

•Reiki is a complementary and integrative noninvasive technique in which a trained practitioner places their hands just above or lightly on a patient to facilitate healing.

•Reiki has been shown to improve mental, physical, and emotional health in some patients, but has not been well-studied in patients with mental health disorders.


To understand the impact of Reiki therapy on positive and negative emotions in individuals with mental health disorders.


•Patients of Zumbro Valley Health Center between 2021 and 2023 were invited to participate

•Participants completed a forty minute session conducted by master level Reiki practitioners

•Pre and post-treatment surveys assessed level of positive and negative emotions using a 10-point Likert scale

•Paired Wilcoxon rank sum tests were used to assess differences in emotions pre-and post- treatment

•Analyses were conducted overall and separately by sex; p values <0.05 were considered statistically significant


•91 patients participated, and most were female (81%; Table 1)

•Major depressive disorder (71%), post-traumatic stress disorder (47%), and generalized anxiety disorder were the most common mental health conditions (43%; Table 1)

•After Reiki therapy, all negative emotions decreased and all  positive emotions increased (Figure panels A and B)

•Negative emotions decreased significantly for both males and females, but females had a greater increase of positive emotions than their male counterparts (Figure panels C and D)

Table 1. Characteristics of the study population

Total population
N (%)
Age group

18 (19.8)
16 (17.6)
20 (22.0)
23 (25.3)
14 (15.4)

17 (18.7)
74 (81.3)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Bipolar disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder
Major depressive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Substance use disorder

11 (12.1)
13 (14.3)
20 (22.0)
39 (42.9)
65 (71.4)
43 (47.3)
15 (16.5)
16 (17.6)

Figure: Changes in negative and positive emotions before and after Reiki therapy


•Observational study – randomized trial would be needed to exclude placebo effect

•Long-term benefits of Reiki were not studied

•Subject to limitations of survey-based study


•Reiki therapy was associated with significant improvements in emotional wellbeing

•Females may experience greater improvements in symptoms