Complementary and alternative therapies continue to grow in popularity among healthcare consumers. Among those modalities is energy healing (EH) (Eisenberg et al., 1998). EH is an adjunctive treatment that is noninvasive and poses little downside risk to patients. Well more than 50 major hospitals and clinics throughout the United States offer EH to patients (DiNucci, research table on healthcare facilities that offer Reiki, unpublished data, 2002). The National Institutes of Health is funding numerous EH studies that are examining its effects on a variety of conditions, including temporomandibular joint disorders, wrist fractures, cardiovascular health, cancer, wound healing, neonatal stress, pain, fibromyalgia, and AIDS (National Institutes of Health, 2004a). Several well-designed studies to date show significant outcomes for such conditions as wound healing (Grad, 1965) and advanced AIDS (Sicher, Targ, Moore, & Smith, 1998), and positive results for pain and anxiety (Aetna Intellihealth, 2003a; Wardell, Weymouth, 2004), among others (Gallob, 2003). It is also suggested that EH may have positive effects on various orthopaedic conditions, including fracture healing, arthritis, and muscle and connective tissue (Prestwood, 2003). Because negative outcomes risk is at or near zero throughout the literature, EH is a candidate for use on many medical conditions.
Ellen M. DiNucci, MA, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.