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Reiki Therapy: A Nursing Intervention for Critical Care

Toms, Robin PhD, RN, NEA-BC

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e31821c684d
Original Articles

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is not generally associated with the complexity and intensity of critical care. Most CAM therapies involve slow, calming techniques that seem to be in direct contrast with the fast-paced, highly technical nature of critical care. However, patients in critical care often find themselves coping with the pain and stress of their illness exacerbated by the stress of the critical care environment. Complementary and alternative medicine–related research reveals that complementary therapies, such as Reiki, relieve pain and anxiety and reduce symptoms of stress such as elevated blood pressure and pulse rates. Patients and health care professionals alike have become increasingly interested in complementary and alternative therapies that do not rely on expensive, invasive technology, and are holistic in focus. Reiki is cost-effective, noninvasive, and can easily be incorporated into patient care. The purpose of this article is to examine the science of Reiki therapy and to explore Reiki as a valuable nursing intervention.

Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston.

Correspondence: Robin Toms, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, 6700 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.