Reiki is a type of energy work used by some massage therapists during massage sessions.

New research shows reiki has positive effects on well-being and health.

Non-contact reiki or no-reiki with random assignment was given to 35 healthy psychology undergraduates at the University of London, whose attention was absorbed in one of three tasks involving self-hypnosis or relaxation, according to an abstract published on

Participants experienced 10 20-minute intervention sessions over a period of two-and-a-half to 12 weeks. Reiki was directed by an experimenter who sat behind the participants as they were absorbed in the tasks.

“Self-report measures of illness symptoms, mood and sleep were assessed pre-post intervention, as was salivary cortisol. While the reiki group had a tendency toward a reduction in illness symptoms, a substantive increase was seen in the no-reiki group,” pubmed reported. The reiki group also had a near-significant comparative reduction in stress, although that group’s members also had higher baseline illness symptoms and stress scores.

“The results are suggestive that the reiki buffered the substantive decline in health in the course of the academic year seen in the no-Reiki [sic] group,” the researchers noted.

The results were published in the Oct. 8 issue of Brain Research Bulletin.

Previous research reported by MASSAGE Magazine showed reiki: reduces anxiety and blood pressure, and increases relaxation; and reduced fatigue and improved quality of life for cancer patients.