Reiki: A Complementary, Biofield Therapy for Management of Postoperative Pain
(41st Biennial Convention) There is increasing interest in complementary and alternative therapies that do not rely on expensive, invasive technology, and are holistic in focus. Such therapies could improve pain management in the poorest of countries globally. Research has shown the benefits of combining conventional, Western, pain management with CAM (Olson, 2003; Gillespie, 2007; Olson, 2003; Vitale, 2006 ;). Reiki, a complementary therapy, is a form of energy therapy in which the focus of the practitioner, with or without light touch, is believed to access universal energy sources that can assist in balancing the biofield and strengthening the body's ability to heal itself and relieve pain and inflammation. Reiki uses only the hands of the practitioner and may also be self administered. Review of the current Reiki literature reveals few randomized controlled studies with limited numbers of human subjects (DiNucci, 2005; Miles, 2003). Vandervaart and Gijsen (2009) conducted a systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki to evaluate whether Reiki produced a significant treatment effect. Recommendations included further study employing high-quality randomized controlled trials. A randomized, controlled pilot study was designed to examine the effects of Reiki Therapy on management of postoperative pain following foot and ankle surgery. Jean Watson's Caring Theory provided the conceptual framework for the study. Participants, N=30, were randomized to an experimental group that received Reiki immediately before and after surgery and again five days later or a control group receiving simulated Reiki at the same intervals. The McGIll-Melzack Pain Questionnaire was used to measure concepts and variables related to pain. Results revealed no significant difference between the control and experimental group, however results led to implications for future research. An NIH grant application is pending to fund an experimental design study with 160 participants demonstrating a larger effect size based on the literature.