Reiki found to be more effective than drugs at treating lower back pain

According to a study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, an alternative treatment from Japan called Reiki may be the key to addressing lower back pain in patients with an intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH).

Patients with an IVDH often suffer from symptoms like lower back pain, and chronic lumbar pain that can last for about 12 weeks. This constant pain may negatively affect the overall health of patients with IVDH and cause financial problems. Intense lower back pain may also prevent people from going about their daily tasks because of the fear of pain recurrence, and this can worsen their disabilities.

Pain management for IVDH

To date, patients rely on several methods like drug therapy, physiotherapy, surgery, and complementary and alternative procedures to soothe back pain. Pain management may include pharmaceutical treatments; however, there are certain drugs that can cause both dependence and tolerance. These drugs may even have negative side effects that can worsen the condition of patients.

Physiotherapy is one of the most efficient methods that can be used to improve the quality of life of patients. Additionally, it can help minimize lower back pain via “heat therapy and low-frequency vibrations at the lumbar region, ultrasound, abdominal and lower back exercises based on patients’ status.”

Medical experts are also turning to complementary therapies as nonsurgical procedures that can treat chronic pain. One such therapy is Reiki. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has approved the use of Reiki for pain relief. Categorized as a biofield treatment, Reiki can help balance and align the energy chakras and auras. Reiki practitioners believe this helps promote health in individuals.

Martha Rogers, a nursing theorist, explained the theory of energy fields. She shared that humans and the environment they live in have energy fields. When the energy flow in humans is disrupted, energy therapy like Reiki can rebuild these disrupted energy fields. Using direct touch or distance healing, energy therapists can help realign the energy fields of individuals to promote emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual healing.

Practitioners have used Reiki energy therapy to treat various physical, emotional, and psychological disorders like:

  • Anxiety
  • Blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Colds
  • Flu
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Leukemia
  • Mood disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Wound healing

For this study, researchers wanted to determine if Reiki can help patients with IVDH who suffer from severe pain, which affects their activities of daily living (ADL).

Since there isn’t enough data on the effect of distance Reiki on pain management, the study authors also wanted to discover the effectiveness of distance Reiki on lower back pain and the ADL of patients with IVDH compared to physiotherapy. (Related: Study confirms energy transfer in different types of energy healing, including Reiki and acupuncture.)

The effectiveness of drug therapy, physiotherapy, Reiki

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 60 patients with IVDH to one of three groups: drug therapy, physiotherapy, or Reiki.

All three groups were prescribed Indomethacin capsules (75 mg) and methocarbamol tablets (500 mg) every 8 hours daily for one week. Patients in the physiotherapy group received seven to 10 sessions of physiotherapy for 60 to 90 minutes (e.g., heat therapy, pelvic traction, physical exercises supervised by a physiotherapist, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). The Reiki group were given three 15-minute distance energy-healing sessions on consecutive days by a Reiki practitioner.

To determine the effectiveness of the three treatment methods, the scientists measured pain severity and ADL among the participants using a visual analog scale (VAS) pain and an ADL questionnaire prior to and following the intervention.

Other studies present data that imply variations in the effectiveness of distance Reiki. However, the findings from this study revealed that alternative treatment had a positive effect on pain and ADL in patients with IVDH, confirming the results from earlier research.

The study authors concluded that Reiki can be used as a complementary method to help patients suffering from lower back pain due to IVDH. It can also help improve ADL. The alternative treatment is a safe and cost-effective method that doesn’t have any known side effects. Additionally, Reiki can be used with other therapeutics to provide relief to patients with IVDH.

You can browse more articles about traditional cures like Reiki at

Sources include:

comments powered by Disqus