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The Efficacy of Reiki in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Identifier:
First received: January 9, 2003
Last updated: August 16, 2006
Last verified: August 2006
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.

Condition Intervention Phase
Fibromyalgia Procedure: Reiki (distant and direct-contact) Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Efficacy of Reiki in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):

Estimated Enrollment: 100
Study Start Date: January 2003
Estimated Study Completion Date: February 2005
Detailed Description:

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.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria

  • Fibromyalgia without concurrent medical conditions associated with chronic pain, such as diabetic neuropathy, systemic lupus erythematosus, or severe degenerative joint disease
  • 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

Exclusion Criteria

  • Received Reiki or any other energy medicine (Therapeutic Touch, Qi Gong, SHEN Therapy, etc.)
  • Pregnant
  • Pending litigation or disability claim related to FM
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00051428

United States, Washington
Univ of WA - CFS/FM Research Center
Seattle, Washington, United States, 98104
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Dedra S. Buchwald University of Washington
  More Information Identifier: NCT00051428     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT001075-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: January 9, 2003
Last Updated: August 16, 2006

Keywords provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):
Fibromyalgia, Reiki, Energy Medicine

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Myofascial Pain Syndromes
Muscular Diseases
Musculoskeletal Diseases
Rheumatic Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases
Nervous System Diseases processed this record on August 22, 2017