While the mechanisms of energy healing and meditation are still being studied by hospitals and neuroscientists, much more is now being researched about the benefits of holistic healing methods and the impact of meditation practice on the mind. To read more about recent studies, you can follow the links below to a host of resources for further reading.
Reiki Research Studies & Further Reading
Reiki is a gentle hands-on healing technique that has its roots in Japan about 100 years ago with founder Mikao Usui, and involves a trained practitioner placing their hands over various areas of a client’s body to help support the body’s healing systems and promote relaxation in those areas. Reiki is not a religion or associated with a particular form of religious practice but is considered a form of energy healing or spiritual healing because its mechanisms are still not thoroughly understood. Practitioners are initiated into various levels of training, every level of which allows them to provide more support and perform Reiki sessions more quickly and effectively. Common reported effects of a Reiki session include increased relaxation, decreased anxiety or chronic pain, boosted immune function, and more, but also can lead to an overwhelm called the Reiki detox, in which a client’s system might struggle to process the effects of a Reiki session all at once and present cold-like symptoms, fatigue, or dizziness. Studies have not shown any serious side effects or contraindications for Reiki, so it is commonly used in hospital settings and veterinarian clinics as a complementary therapy to support traditional medicine. Reiki training begins with traditional Usui levels 1, 2, and 3, which is considered the Master or Shinpiden level, and other traditions of Reiki have branched off from there including Kundalini or Tibetan, Karuna or Karuna Ki, Holy Fire, animal Reiki, and others that combine Reiki with other traditional healing methods from Buddhist, Hawaiian, and other cultural energy healing traditions.
The Center for Reiki Research has standardized and supported a number of research studies on the effectiveness of Reiki in hospital settings.
The International Association of Reiki Professionals publishes current research and news articles on Reiki research studies from Women’s Health and more.
[Excerpted from UCLA Health] Hospitals in the United States now offering Reiki as a complementary therapy to their patients include:
- Duke Integrative Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
- New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center Campus, New York, New York
- Yale–New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut
- Sharp Memorial Hospital Inpatient Cancer Support Services, San Diego, California
- Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
- Citrus Valley Medical Center Cancer Resource Center, Covina, California
In addition, the American Medical Association (AMA) has added Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments to their directory of billable procedures.
Here are links to other medical journal articles on the positive effects of Reiki:
- Herbert Irving Child and Adolescent Oncology Center – New York Presbyterian Hospital
- Healers in the Operating Room – Article from healthpoints E-newsletter, Columbia Surgery
- Reiki Medical Research studies, AETW.org
Guided Meditation & Shamanic Journeying
How does one get started with guided meditation? What does it involve? Here is a primer from Very Well Mind.
Healthline has a summary of some of the benefits of a meditation practice, which is growing in popularity because of the potential impacts of reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing self-awareness and concentration.
Forbes also has a roundup of newer studies showing many health benefits of meditation practice.
Medical News Today reports on potential side effects of meditation, which can upset individuals just getting into practice, particularly if they practice without previous instruction. Some side effects of meditation can be avoided not only with proper instruction but with choosing the type of meditation that is appropriate to the end goal in mind. Shamanic journeying and guided meditation are a favorite at Great Lakes Healing Arts because unlike the more common and accessible mindfulness meditation that has shown marked benefits lauded in recent reports from Harvard to Psychology Today, guided forms of meditation allow people who are seeking answers or are not comfortable being present while in a state of anxiety or chronic pain to benefit from the relaxing and comforting effects of a meditation practice without having to be fully aware of their discomfort in the present moment as will happen with mindfulness or to feel the discomfort of sitting still when that is not their practiced habit.
Shamanic journeying is a form of self-guided meditation in which the individual learns a safe method for subconscious self-inquiry to seek intuitive guidance on their life path. A form of internal vision quest, it processes intuitive wisdom as story in the mind similar to a waking dream. There are a number of best practices that help this form of meditation assist people in entering a light trance or alpha brain wave state that is most conducive to open, intuitive flow state consciousness for inspired creativity, improved healing, and personal guidance, while maintaining safe grounding and a structured way of returning to ordinary states of consciousness. The process used in shamanic journeying or similar forms of guided or self-guided meditation is common across many global traditions. Below are some resources to learn more about this practice.
Organizations studying consciousness and meditation, including shamanic journeying, include the University of Michigan Center for Consciousness Science, which is a partnership between medical professionals and scientists seeking to understand where consciousness goes while the individual is under anesthesia.
Popular teachers of “core” or non-denominational shamanic journeying meditation that take the common ground of global shamanic traditions include Sandra Ingerman, whose meditation instructional materials are published through Sounds True, Michael Harner, Alberto Villoldo, and many more. The aim of core shamanism or reconstructed traditions such as Celtic or Druidic shamanism is not to appropriate cultural traditions but to highlight the common wisdom and functional process of many historical traditions of meditation, some of which have been maintained unbroken to the current day such as Peruvian shamanism, and others which have changed over time but retain a common process with similar traditions.