Reiki, a form of energy work practiced by many massage therapists, was shown to benefit men being treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRx) for prostate cancer, specifically in the area of anxiety reduction. This research also examined the clinical effects of relaxation response therapy.

Study participants were randomly assigned to weekly relaxation response therapy, Reiki therapy twice weekly, or wait-list control. The participants’ anxiety, depression and quality of life were measured at randomization and at three subsequent times, according to an abstract published on

In participants who were classified as “anxious” at baseline, statistically significant improvement occurred in the relaxation response therapy group, and a positive trend was found in the Reiki group as well, the researchers noted, adding, “A larger study to verify and better define the benefits of these therapies in men with prostate cancer is warranted.”

Results of “Effects of complementary therapies on clinical outcomes in patients being treated with radiation therapy for prostate cancer” are published in the journal Cancer, a publication of the American Cancer Society.

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