Reiki Experiments: Testing the Validity of Energy Healing

3:10 pm Energy Healing

I came across an interesting post on the topic of Reiki, so I figured I would comment on it. I do believe that it is important to establish experiments to test the validity of healing practices. And while I do believe there is something to being open to the healing sessions, there is still needs to be some tangible concrete evidence to give validity to the practice. Scientific analysis is not beyond the scope of spirituality, in fact the science of spirit is a necessity for its existence.

First of all I agree with the assertion made.

“It seems reasonable that if this “spiritually-guided life force energy” exists, there should be some way to detect it.”

However I believe your test scenarios for Reiki are not completely in line.

The detection of a living creature within a closed box, would be cool, but this is more along the lines of sensing the aura of the animal in the box and less so in the lines of channeling spiritual life force energy into the boxes/animals.

The second proposed experiment is also not appropriate. While Reiki practicioners can sense the spiritual energy as it is flowing through them during a session, it does not serve as a spiritual life energy temperture reader.

The most tangible, measurable component of a reiki healing session is the heat generated via the transference of energy.

Proposed Experiment

This would need some further definition but this is a good start.

Administrators- 2 Reiki Practicioner 2 Non Reiki Practicioner

Sampling of 30 or 60 people selected for “psychological experiment”

Equipment- Body Heat Measurement Tools – perhaps brain wave scanner as well for extra data- I would suspect that specific brain wave patterns would be encouraged during a reiki session.


  • Pre-experiment- provide psychological background information along with a glass of color liquid to have the people thing the study is tracking the results of something else
  • Hook up heat monitoring equipment on several location on their bodies, either side of the shoulders, stomach, thighs and shin
  • Have them lay down on a test bed with a blanket covering them
  • Place them into the brain imaging equipment
  • Half the group gets two reiki practicioners to place their hands in a series of predetermined locations down the sides of the subjects body, in conjunction with the heat readers
  • The final location would be around either side of the head
  • The other half have non-reiki practicioners do the same thing


The group that recieves the Reiki treatment will on average have their body heat raised significantly higher in the locations that they practicioners hands are placed.

I also suspect a common brain wave patter would express itself with those who were treated by the reiki practicioners.

I think I would need some help to pull off the brain imaging component of this experiment. Perhaps Richard Davidson, cited here for his brain wave research into the benefits of meditation, can help support this experiment?? I’ll split the prize with his Waisman Laboratory for Brain Wave Imaging and Behavior.

Let me know if ya think this approach holds weight?


15 Responses

  1. Lord Runolfr Says:

    This doesn’t actually sound bad in principle, but I do see some potential weaknesses.

    1) There has to be enough energy transferred and enough inefficiency to generate a measurable temperature change in the patient.

    2) Other potential sources of temperature change need to be eliminated, although your experimental protocol does address the issue with “placebo” practitioners.

    On the face of it, your proposed test isn’t inherently bad, if somewhat more difficult and expensive to arrange than my own. Consistently detecting increases in body temperature in patients undergoing Reiki treatment compared to measurements of patients undergoing placebo treatment would suggest that some sort of energy transfer is taking place.

  2. hershel Says:

    Thanks for the feedback, it is appreciated.

    As to assure that enough energy is transfered I would suggest having Reiki Master’s or Level III practicioners perform the treatment. They are attuned to a more potent vibration of energy and can thus, kick up the heat so to speak.

    And you are correct there would need to be a controlled environment so other changes in room temperture would be factored out. Perhaps randomly assign the timing of the Reiki practicioners & placebo’s.

    And I agree it is expensive and difficult to set up, but the results would be very interesting.

  3. Lord Runolfr Says:

    Oh… it occurs to me that you need independent observers to “administrate” your test. Your Reiki practitioners and the “placebo” practitioners can’t serve in that role.

    For proper blinding, the patients obviously have to be kept from know whether the person practicing on them is a legitimate Reiki practitioner or a placebo practitioner, but the test administrators/observers also need to be unaware of who is who while monitoring the test, lest they compromise the results with some subjective reading of the instruments.

  4. hershel Says:

    Absolutely, you are correct. Perhaps some administrators know who is a Reiki practicioner and others simply set up certain aspects of the experiment and view results.

  5. Lord Runolfr Says:

    I have to ask this question, Hershel.

    If the test showed no detectable difference in body temperature or brainwave activity between Reiki patients and placebo patients, what would that tell you about Reiki?

  6. hershel Says:

    Now that’s a really good question. Staying true to the scientific approach here it would simply disprove my hypothesis.

    Having direct experimentation with Reiki would lead me to search out another means for testing.

  7. Lord Runolfr Says:

    In other words, it sounds like you would continue to believe that Reiki works in spite of the failure of your own test to show that the energy supposedly manipulated by Reiki even exists.

    Is there any amount of evidence (or any number of failures to produce evidence) that would convince you the Reiki energy doesn’t really exist?

  8. hershel Says:

    That’s a good perspective, you are correct this is just a test let’s put it this way, if at first you don’t succeed try try again.

    Its difficult for me to say otherwise since I know it is in fact real. “I think therefore I am” I believe in Reiki and have experienced it, and given its treatments. I have had confirmation from people that it works. The scientific convincing for myself is already complete, this experiment is more for others.

  9. Rakesh Kumar Gupta Says:

    Energy Healings ….!? Wow, I think it’s in your mind. When you go to a healer with the faith, your mind is already conditioned…and you’ll feel some kind of energy being transferred into your body…but that does do any healing? Send some subjects to a non-healer ordinary person( highly proclaimed as the specialist healer)….I’m sure they’ll feel the energy too! What do you say? I think …healing..kundalini arising..all these things work beacuse your mind is being conditioned for that with the faith that these things exist and they work. When you start beleiving in start seeing imaginary things which seem real to you!

  10. hershel Says:

    Rakesh Kumar Gupta,

    You bring up some interesting points. The process of attenuation of energy from the higher planes of manifestation, into the physical, will necessitate a journey through the realm of the abstract mind.

    It has been said that energy follows thought. Again your comments hold true. So your experiment of just telling someone that a “ordinary person” can heal them could prove to be true. In fact it would make a great experiement. However, once the person was healed, I wonder if the “ordinary person” would now consider themselves a healer.

    I suspect that just about everything that has been known to me has been imagined by my mind. And yes things that are known to me seem real.

    So I ask you, what kind of testing would be required for you to believe?

  11. Lord Runolfr Says:

    So I ask you, what kind of testing would be required for you to believe?

    In my case, a series of well-designed clinical trials showing that Reiki had a significant benefit over placebo for treating specific ailments would probably be the minimum to get me to believe.

  12. hershel Says:

    Fair enough, I suspect they will be coming in time

  13. betsy Says:

    I’ve thought about experiments as well to show reiki is real. I learned to give myself reiki and have been using it for 1,000′s of hours on myself. the first conclusion i come to is reiki energy isn’t outside of oneself. Rather, it’s entraining your own body vibratoin to match a certain pattern. To prove this pattern, i thought of an experiment to put water into a copper tibetan bowl, the one needs a particle that is floating and of a certain shape that won’t stick together. i found one in research but cant’ rememnber it. then put the particles in the water, and the reiki person intones the symbol, then the particles will form the shape of the pattern. i think one needs to hook up electricity to the bowl to amplify the pattern. this is like fibinachi? plates to get pattern from violin on a metal sheet with sand. perhaps it can be done that way as well. The other thing is when reiki is activated inthe body, the main thing it does is stimulate the neuromuscular juntions, not to build heat necessarily, although that can happen. so the physical took would be EMG to read muscle charge. I would love to participate in any such experiment as well as give other ideas on how this can be proven. I am very interested in this topic. thanks for bringing it up.

  14. betsy Says:

    Also the original way Usui invoked reiki energy was with voice, so experiments can be done with reiki symmbols sounds and changes in emg’s. There are also ‘signs of working/healing’ that can be observed in the person receiving treatment which can be measured such as: apnea, Rapid Eye movements, body twitches, shivers, etc. I agree with other posters here that who does the reiki in an experiment is important in that they must be clear = having done some steps in awakening which are authentic. There are many people not able to set aside their ‘talking voice’ and thus their energy is not very high when giving a treatment.

  15. Luvon Says:


    I am massage therapy student presenting this weekend to my class a research paper I did on Reiki. I am wondering if you could possible think of a creative way to present this topic. The only knowledge I have about Reiki is what I have learned researching it online. I would have loved to do a demonstration, but don’t feel that is possible…If you have any ideas on how to share this topic with a class of massage therapy students in a creative way I would be very greatful.

    Thank you,


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