Research papers Reiki, Massage and Reflexology
Can Reiki Help Your Chronic Pain?
This ancient Japanese touch therapy has shown real
results for managing chronic pain.
The practice of
Reiki sounds almost too good to be true. By "laying on hands" on
specific parts of your body or even just positioning hands slightly above your
body, a qualified Reiki practitioner can help bring relief to your chronic pain
and make you feel better than you
have in years. It is an ancient Japanese technique and a form of alternative
medicine also sometimes referred to as a "biofield" therapy.
In alternative medicine
, Reiki is a
treatment in which healing energy is channeled from the practitioner to the
patient to enhance energy and reduce stress, pain, and fatigue. Practitioners
say that it works by opening up a channel between healer and patient to
transfer energy — a Reiki healer restores the body both physically and
During a Reiki
session, muscles are relaxed, and energy flow is unblocked. This helps reduce
physical tension and pain. Anxiety and stress also are reduced, helping to
unblock and release emotional pain. Although you may not be completely
pain-free, you feel relaxed, refreshed, and better able to cope
with your condition.
Reiki and Chronic Pain: What the Research Shows
may sound very "new-agey,"
the effectiveness of this ancient treatment has been shown in some studies.
"A [recent] issue of the International
Journal of Behavioral Medicine
reviewed 66 clinical trials on
biofield therapies," says Julie Kusiak, MA, a Reiki practitioner in the
integrative medicine department at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. The
authors of the review concluded that there was strong evidence that biofield
therapies help reduce the intensity of pain in general and moderate evidence
that these therapies help reduce the intensity of pain for people who are hospitalized
or who have cancer, Kusiak says.
In addition, Kusiak
says, a separate review article of 24 studies also showed that touch therapies
were successful in reducing pain. This review article noted that the studies
involving Reiki therapy seemed to have the most success.
When Reiki is
examined for its impact on more specific types of pain, the results seem to
hold up equally well. "Recent studies on Reiki therapy reflect a broad
spectrum of its benefit for pain relief," says Kusiak. "During
colonoscopy, Reiki treatment resulted in decreased anxiety and pain. With
abdominal hysterectomies, the women who had Reiki therapy both before and after
their procedures experienced lower anxiety and pain. Cancer patients being
treated with Reiki reported lower fatigue, less pain, less anxiety, and better
quality of life. And in a community of older adults, those who received Reiki
therapy were documented to have reduced pain, anxiety, and depression."
Another plus about
Reiki, adds Kusiak, is that it seems to be effective with very few side
effects. "No serious side effects or risks have been identified in the
medical literature on Reiki, and it is considered to be a very low-risk
intervention," she says. "Since Reiki is facilitated either with a
very light touch or with no touch — slightly off the body — it provides a
therapeutic option for those who are in pain or unable to be touched."
Seize the Daylight Savings Opportunity; Massage Therapy Can
Help Reduce Winter Blues
EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 29,
People looking to fend off the winter blues may find relief by
integrating massage therapy into their health maintenance routine. Shorter days
and colder temperatures leave many Americans feeling depressed and lethargic,
yet studies show that regular massages improve mood and reset circadian
rhythms, leading to better sleep and more energy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is recognised as a major depressive
disorder with seasonal patterns. A less severe form of seasonal mood disorder,
known as the winter blues, impacts an even larger portion of the population.
Combined, the two disorders affect as many as one in five Americans and may be
aggravated by the change to Daylight Savings Time. Symptoms include
reduced energy, difficulty rising in the morning and a tendency to eat more,
especially sweets and starches. "As we approach the colder, darker months, massage therapy may be
an effective method of deflecting common seasonal challenges," said Jeff
Smoot, President of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
"Massage benefits the way our bodies react to negative influences, whether
that's weather, anxieties or disorders."
A growing body of research is documenting the impact of massage therapy
for relief of anxiety and depression for people in a wide range of health
situations. For example, in a controlled study composed of HIV-positive
adolescents, participants who received massage therapy reported feeling less
anxious and less depressed by the end of the 12-week study.
A randomized study found women with stage 1 and 2 breast cancer
benefited from regular massage therapy sessions. The immediate massage
benefits included reduced anxiety, depressed mood and anger while the long-term
impact reduced depression and increased serotonin values. Serotonin,
a neurotransmitter with functions in various parts of the body, works to
regulate mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Massage therapy was
also found to improve sleep, specifically by assisting with circadian rhythms,
or the body clock. A study investigating the effects of massage therapy on the
adjustment of rest to activity, as well as melatonin secretion rhythms in
full-term infants, found massage therapy enhanced coordination of the
Research on Reflexology
From the moment the reflexologist’s hands start their work, the relaxation begins. Measuring real-time as reflexology is applied, an EEG shows that the brain immediately goes into a more relaxed state as reflexology work commences.
A single reflexology session reduces the onset of pain as well as Those who received a single reflexology session were more able to forestall the perception of pain when hands were immersed in ice water and were able to withstand the pain for a longer period of time.
Pain reduction following reflexology work is documented in 27 studies including research showing impact on individuals of all ages and health states: birthing mothers; menstruating women; sinusitis, phantom limb and lower back pain sufferers; diabetes, cancer and kidney stone patients; senior citizens and individuals with pain following surgery.
Amelioration of Symptoms from Health Concerns A survey of 169 studies from 21 countries found reflexology to be 80% effective in its testing over 78 disorders. Good results were produced as symptoms were ameliorated for health concerns stemming from tension (e. g. elevated blood pressure, anxiety, constipation, headaches, labor times for the pregnant) and pain relief. Further responses (e. g. for those with asthma, diabetes, cholesterol, incontinence) were found to require an appropriate number and frequency of sessions. Research shows reflexology provided by a partner or self-help application bolsters the reflexologist’s efforts and/or is beneficial research using advanced technology shows specific reflexology work impacts specific parts of the brain and body.
Reflexology helps many where nothing else can: phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients, and hemodialysis patients to name a few. Helping Your Body Work Better Research using advanced technology shows specific reflexology work impacts specific parts of the brain and body.
There are reasons why reflexology gets results and improvement in blood flow is seen as one of them. Studies measuring blood flow in the brain using fMRI technology found that reflexology applied to a reflex area in the foot increased blood flow in the part of the brain related to that part of the body (e. g. intestine reflex area and intestines). Doppler sonogram measurements showed improved blood flow to the intestines when technique was applied to the intestine reflex area as well as with technique applied to the kidney reflex area and the kidneys. Such research provides explanation for studies showing the positive impact of reflexology applied over time on constipation and kidney function.
Research shows that reflexology influences measurements of the body’s functions. Research provides an objective yardstick to measure reflexology’s effects and explain its benefits with measurements of blood pressure and cholesterol as well as those indicated by ECG, EEG, fMRI and Doppler sonogram (heart activity, brain activity, blood flow to the brain and blood flow within the body.)
Adjunct to Mental Health Care In addition, women in need of emotional support, hospice residents, and individuals with severe and enduring mental health problems were helped by reflexology work. Following reflexology work, chemotherapy patients showed improvements in: pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anxiety. Beneficial for Post-operative Pain Reduction and Recovery Fifteen studies demonstrate post-operative recovery improvements: reduced pain, lessened use of post operative pain killers