D. ENERGY THERAPIESFibromyalgiaPainReiki/Touch

Does reiki complement pain control in fibromyalgia?

More than 50 major hospitals and clinics throughout the United States offer energy healing to patients

This study by researchers from the University of Washington concluded, “Neither reiki nor touch improved the symptoms of fibromyalgia.”

First, the details.

  • 100 adults with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Reiki by a reiki master
    • Sham reiki by an actor
    • Direct touch
    • No touch (distant therapy)
  • Treatment was twice-weekly for 8 weeks.
  • The researchers looked for changes in subjective pain as measured by visual analog scale during, at the end of the study, and 3 months later.
  • The researchers were not aware of the treatment given — single-blinded.

And, the results.

  • Neither reiki nor touch had any effect on pain.
  • There were also no changes in physical and mental functioning, medication use, and health provider visits.
  • The responses among the 4 treatment groups during the study were nearly identical.

The bottom line?
A website called Fibromyalgia Symptoms advances reiki as a “holistic treatment that plays an effective role in fibromyalgia treatment and in helping to alleviate many fibromyalgia symptoms.” And the researchers tell us that 55% of patients with fibromyalgia have used energy medicine such as reiki, therapeutic touch, qigong, and magnet therapy.

I searched back to 2005 and this is the only placebo-controlled study of reiki in fibromyalgia.

Considering the few options available and its safety, people with fibromyalgia who experience relief from touch therapy should be encouraged as long as they don’t forgo accompanying treatments.

11/12/08 20:59 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.