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Reiki and Mental Health

Article by Angie Webster

In my recent research on the effects of Reiki on various illnesses, I came across studies that found Reiki to be very beneficial for the treatment of depression and anxiety. I found this very encouraging and wanted to look into Reiki and mental health more deeply. What I found was that scientific studies in this area are limited at this time. However, based on what has been studied and what is known about Reiki, it does seem that Reiki can be an effective therapy in the treatment of mental illness.

In one study of Reiki and depression, patients were given Reiki for six weeks for an hour to an hour and a half each time. In this study, there was a control group that did not receive Reiki treatments at all. The patients that received Reiki had a significant improvement in depression and stress symptoms as compared to the control group, which had almost no change at all. A year later, the study participants reported continued relief. Other studies measured the effects of Reiki on anxiety and found very similar results to those in the depression study. Another study included patients with a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and found that the participants found great relief of symptoms from this as well.

There are studies that examine the effect of various complementary and alternative therapies on schizophrenia. These studies looked at the general effect of meditation, yoga, massage and other therapies like Reiki, according to which a participant chose to use. The effects of these types of therapies (including Reiki) were that the patients saw a large improvement in their level of coping and sense of well being.

In an interesting real world example, a group of mental health patients met with a Reiki master and several practitioners to receive Reiki once a week. They had all been recently released from hospital treatment and participated in a daily routine of outpatient groups. The patients had diagnoses of severe depression, schizophrenia, drug and alcohol addiction and other mental disabilities. The Reiki master that led the group of treatments said that many times the third eye and throat chakras were incredibly open while the heart chakra was generally closed. She saw a lot of improvement in the patients she treated and many asked to be attuned to Reiki so they could continue to help themselves. You cand find more information here.

Many studies have been done that demonstrate that Reiki regulates the pulse rate, blood pressure and immune system. This shows that Reiki produces a tremendous level of peace, calm and relaxation, which can only help those with mental health problems, regardless of what the diagnosis may be. iIt is well known that the creating increased relaxation increases a person’s state of overall wellness and encourages healing on all levels.

With regard to mental illness, we have to take in more than the physical aspect to include the mental, emotional and spiritual aspect of the patient. When a person’s chakras are unbalanced, then imbalance ensues on all levels. One way this can manifest is through mental and emotional disturbance, inability to process incoming information, hallucinations and delusions. While there are no scientific studies to validate it, we know that Reiki balances the chakras. Balancing the chakras and promoting the relaxation response may provide a great deal of help to provide relief from the symptoms of mental illness and provide comfort to a patient as they heal.

I am certain that there will be further studies into Reiki and mental health as the effectiveness of Reiki on other health conditions is proven. In the meantime, we know Reiki can do no harm and often does a great deal of good. Given that knowledge and the studies we already have, it seems that offering Reiki to the mentally ill can only have positive results.

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Tomas Richard August 1, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Reiki do help in healing depression and mental illness…But root cause for Mental illness is Karmic issues then we need to heal the soul and past life..I found healing patient’s past and soul has given quick result..else it is a slow process…

    • Ramonaji August 1, 2013, 3:32 pm

      @Tomas: how do you do that? Thank you.

  • Tomas Richard August 2, 2013, 1:24 pm

    in west,You can do soul healing & past life karma deletion by using Karuna Reiki, In India we have special technique similar to reiki…where healer will see the exact cause for the suffering in the present life and healer can cancel on behalf of the sick person..

    • Keebra August 22, 2014, 11:22 pm


      What is the name of the technique used in India? Do you know of any practitioners here in the US?

  • Rachel Penny August 3, 2013, 6:13 am

    Reiki helped me with my depression. After I was attuned and I started giving myself treatments I gradually got a lot more at ease. It helped my mind a lot

  • Marion August 3, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I’ve been feeling very stressed lately. I forgot about using Reiki. I’m going to do self-heal each day.

  • Helen June 4, 2014, 9:10 pm

    Reiki is amazing, I too have noticed a transformation when dealing with mental health issues. I also find in severe cases that it is beneficial to commence scan and balancing from the base chakra, usually the crown is far too active, but by starting at the base it balances itself quite quickly and seems less distressing to the client and myself 🙂

    • Angie Webster September 15, 2014, 1:40 am

      Great tip! That makes so much sense! Thank you for sharing!

  • Erin September 23, 2014, 2:53 am

    I was wondering if you could cite the studies you mentioned in your article. I would love to read up on them for my dissertation. Thank you!

  • Paula November 27, 2014, 12:47 pm

    Dr. Richard Curtin ‘ s book Psychotherapeutic Reiki is excellent!

  • Beth November 27, 2014, 1:56 pm

    You mention 6 weeks of treatments ~ how many sessions per week is beneficial?

  • Mark Flamand November 21, 2015, 3:31 am

    I have been teaching and practicing Reiki for 18 years and have been working in the mental health field since 2001. I have seen Reiki permanently eliminate PTSD symptoms after 3 treatments; one person said (after a treatment) that his obsessive thoughts were gone; anger disappear; depression dissipate; and people usually say that they have an overall sense of peace – after a treatment. Because Reiki works from a foundation of energy, it helps to balance any disruptions in brain wave patterns or activity and relieves the negative aspects of stress both emotional and physical.

  • Sabrina November 24, 2015, 5:34 pm

    This was a great article to read! I originally took Reiki I and II to help my boyfriend with his PTSD. I don’t get the chance to work on him as much as I would like but I can say that the first time I did Reiki on him in person (distance Reiki works best with him some times) I saw the color green while doing it. I find it so interesting that you mentioned that people with mental illness often have a blocked heart chakra because I believe that is exactly where he is held up most. It is also very eye opening to think that I may have seen the color green because I sensed that blockage in him. Thanks again for the great read!

  • Joyce Elms May 10, 2016, 1:04 pm

    Very interesting article. Thank you. Are there any studies on Reiki and drug addiction ?

  • Leonard January 9, 2017, 11:02 pm

    To differ between East and West with the system of Reiki only describes the lack of Knowledge about the System.
    Yes there are 3 levels with the common system but there is also a common group and an advanced group.
    If you are working on a person and over the Crown you found Heat/ Warmth or cannot enter the Crown what do you think is happening or on the other hand you can enter the Crown again why.
    I find it hard to the real research exists about the results of the use of Reiki but I have no problem that practitioners and others can see.

  • Kim Masterson January 13, 2017, 5:53 pm

    Is it unethical or counter intuitive to send Reiki to a person that really really could benefit from it, but has no interest in trying. This person is depressed and anxious an self destructive.

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