The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of Reiki in the treatment of
fibromyalgia (FM), a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain and stiffness, often
accompanied by sleep disturbance, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and psychological
distress. Reiki is a form of energy medicine in which practitioners reportedly access
universal life energy to heal patients, either by direct contact at specific hand positions
or from a distance.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common rheumatologic diagnoses. Treatment is generally
unsatisfactory and most randomized, controlled treatment trials have been unable to
demonstrate a sustained effective intervention. A vast body of anecdotal literature as well
as two randomized controlled trials suggest that Reiki may be an effective treatment for FM,
appearing to relieve pain and improve psychological well being. Reiki appears to have no
adverse effects and can eventually be self-administered, making it a low-risk, low-cost,
potentially patient-empowering intervention. This study will investigate the efficacy of
Reiki in the treatment of FM.
One hundred Reiki-naive FM patients will be recruited from a chronic fatigue referral clinic
and will participate in an 8-week trial. Patients will be randomized into one of two Reiki
groups (direct-contact and distant Reiki) or one of two control groups (sham and placebo).
Patients will receive either Reiki or placebo 16 times during the course of the study.
Patients will be assessed at study entry, at Weeks 4 and 8, and 12 weeks post-treatment.
- Fibromyalgia without concurrent medical conditions associated with chronic pain, such
as diabetic neuropathy, systemic lupus erythematosus, or severe degenerative joint
- Willing to undergo randomization and attend treatments regularly
- Willing to stay on a stable medical regimen during the entire 8-week trial and use
only acetaminophen for breakthrough pain
- Live within a one-hour drive of the study site
- Received Reiki or any other energy medicine (Therapeutic Touch, Qi Gong, SHEN
- Pending litigation or disability claim related to FM