Reiki and Science

There is a lot of interest in Reiki, and how it works from a scientific study. Reiki is an ideal thing to study, because it doesn't rely on belief, and anyone who wants to do Reiki can through the process of receiving a simple attunement.

Science Measures the Human Energy Field

Energy is a theme that permeates many areas of complementary health care, including Reiki. For historic and emotional reasons, two key words have not been mentionable in polite academic research society: "energy" and "touch." Hence it is not surprising that Reiki therapy has been neglected by mainstream biomedical science.

This picture is changing rapidly because of exciting research from around the world. The tale of how concepts of "healing energy" have swung from suspicion and ridicule, to respectability is one of the most fascinating and clinically significant stories that can be told.

As in many other areas of investigation, what we were absolutely certain about 20 years ago has changed dramatically. For example, in a few decades, scientists have gone from a conviction that there is no such thing as an energy field around the human body, to an absolute certainty that it exists. Moreover, we have begun to understand the roles of energy fields in health and disease. Most people are simply not aware of this research and persist in the attitude that there is no logical basis for energy healing.

The main reason for the change in outlook is that sensitive instruments have been developed that can detect the minute energy fields around the human body. Of particular importance is the SQUID magnetometer (1) which is capable of detecting tiny bio magnetic fields associated with physiological activities in the body. (Figure 1) This is the same field that sensitive individuals have been describing for thousands of years, but that scientists have ignored because there was no objective way to measure it.

Science of Reiki

Reiki is an energy which has been known in the west for only a few decades. It is practiced by over one million people which, when compared to the world population, is certainly little more than a smattering.

To explain Reiki from a scientific point of view we need to discuss some concepts of science first. Scientific validation arises in many ways. It is popular to give a rational understanding of the mechanics of some phenomena based on the logic of "sound" scientific principles.

Your typical example of this is the "rational" explanation of Reiki using the terms - "subatomic matter" ; "unpolarized"; "vortex theory"; "mirror imaging"; etc. These sound good and are probably the best way of appeasing the need for a rational explanation which so many Reiki Practitioners have. There is, however, a flaw. The mere use of physics terminology is not a scientific validation of Reiki! That is only a rational explanation based on common (but often contradictory) terms used in physics. (As will be discussed later, we can apply those labels to Reiki based upon our observations.)

The whole field of high energy physics is new and pioneering. When you are explaining it to a layperson, it is totally appropriate to generalize and use the scientific (unpolarized, subatomic etc.) terms we use because we are using them to establish a conceptual framework for the understanding of the clinical manifestations of Reiki - not to validate Reiki.

Reiki is "nonpolarized" subatomic energy that is released as a harmonic into energy blueprints (e.g. - the body) that are in a state of disharmony. Once it leaves the subatomic world, it must polarize because it is entering the physical, manifest world where it is acted upon by time. Because it is, by nature, a harmonic, it will polarize and form a "mirror image" of any disharmonious frequency in that energy blueprint, thereby restoring normal harmony and well being. This, in turn, accelerates the natural healing processes of the body.

The Science Behind Reiki

Independent research by Dr. Robert Becker and Dr. John Zimmerman during the 1980's investigated what happens whilst people practice therapies like Reiki. They found that not only do the brain wave patterns of practitioner and receiver become synchronized in the alpha state, characteristic of deep relaxation and meditation, but they pulse in unison with the earth's magnetic field, known as the Schuman Resonance. During these moments, the biomagnetic field of the practitioners' hands is at least 1000 times greater than normal, and not as a result of internal body current. Toni Bunnell (1997) suggests that the linking of energy fields between practitioner and earth allows the practitioner to on the 'infinite energy source' or 'universal energy field' via the Schuman Resonance. Prof. Paul Davies and Dr. John Gribben in The Matter Myth (1991), discuss the quantum physics view of a 'living universe' in which everything is connected in a 'living web of interdependence'. All of this supports the subjective experience of 'oneness' and 'expanded consciousness' related by those who regularly receive or self-treat with Reiki.

Zimmerman (1990) in the USA and Seto (1992) in Japan further investigated the large pulsating biomagnetic field that is emitted from the hands of energy practitioners whilst they work. They discovered that the pulses are in the same frequencies as brain waves, and sweep up and down from 0.3 - 30 Hz, focusing mostly in 7 - 8 Hz, alpha state. Independent medical research has shown that this range of frequencies will stimulate healing in the body, with specific frequencies being suitable for different tissues. For example, 2 Hz encourages nerve regeneration, 7Hz bone growth, 10Hz ligament mending, and 15 Hz capillary formation. Physiotherapy equipment based on these principles has been designed to aid soft tissue regeneration, and ultra sound technology is commonly used to clear clogged arteries and disintegrate kidney stones. Also, it has been known for many years that placing an electrical coil around a fracture that refuses to mend will stimulate bone growth and repair.
Becker explains that 'brain waves' are not confined to the brain but travel throughout the body via the perineural system, the sheaths of connective tissue surrounding all nerves. During treatment, these waves begin as relatively weak pulses in the thalamus of the practitioner's brain, and gather cumulative strength as they flow to the peripheral nerves of the body including the hands. The same effect is mirrored in the person receiving treatment, and Becker suggests that it is this system more than any other, that regulates injury repair and system rebalance. This highlights one of the special features of Reiki (and similar therapies) - that both practitioner and client receive the benefits of a treatment, which makes it very efficient.