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The Touchstone Process: An Ongoing Critical Evaluation of Reiki in the Scientific Literature

Baldwin, Ann L. PhD; Vitale, Anne PhD, APN, AHN-BC; Brownell, Elise PhD; Scicinski, Jan PhD; Kearns, Mary PhD; Rand, William

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181f1adef

Background: Reiki is used by a growing number of people but little is known about the scientific basis for its use.

Purpose: The Touchstone Process was developed as an ongoing process to systematically analyze published, peer-reviewed studies of Reiki, the results being made accessible to the public online.

Method: Thirteen scientifically qualified experts in the field of Reiki were assembled into 3 teams to retrieve, evaluate, and summarize articles using standardized, piloted evaluation forms.

Results: Summaries of 26 Reiki articles, including strengths and weaknesses, were posted on a newly developed Web site (, together with an overall summary of the status of Reiki research and guidelines for future research: The Touchstone Process determined that only 12 articles were based on a robust experimental design and utilized well-established outcome parameters. Of these articles, 2 provided no support, 5 provided some support, and 5 demonstrated strong evidence for the use of Reiki as a healing modality.

Conclusion: There is a need for further high-quality studies in this area.

Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Dr Baldwin); Christine E Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida (Dr Vitale); ZephyrBiotech, LLC, Lafayette, California (Dr Brownell); RadioRx, Inc, Mountain View, California (Dr Scicinski); College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (Kearns); and International Center for Reiki Training, Southfield, Michigan (Mr Rand).

Correspondence: Ann Baldwin, PhD, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724 (

Dr Ann Baldwin, Dr Anne Vitale, and Mr William Rand work with Reiki professionally.

The authors thank Nancy Merrifield, RN, for her dedication to the organization of the team members and assignment of tasks that is so vital to the Touchstone Process. They are also grateful to Adrian Winters, PhD, and Eileen Pummer, RN, MSN, CPHQ, for their participation on both the article review team and summarization teams, Shabnam Hashemi, BSN, Eileen Bilynsky, BA, Marjorie Piazzi, PhD, and Cynthia Yap, RN, MN, CCRN, for their work on the summarization team, and Debbie Morris, who both organized and implemented the article search and retrieval process for The Touchstone Process.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.