From Fiona Heath:
“Following my contribution to the Reiki Festival in April I have tried to summarise this:
Science has always said that Reiki lacks “a known biological mechanism of action”. I have been inspired by David Hamilton’s work to look at the latest research into bioelectromagnetism which is offering credible scientific support for the potential role of the forces of subtle bioelectromagnetic fields in physiological processes.
From Hippocrates, whose quote from the 5th Century BC ‘It is believed by experienced doctors that the heat which oozes out of the hands on being applied to the sick is highly salutary …’ to the 21st Century SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) being used by Dr John Zimmerman to measure the biomagnetic fields of the body and those from the healers hands – the gap between allopathic and energy medicine is closing!
James Oschman, PhD (Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis) has helped us understand the electric currents which flow through the body via the nervous system and also via the perineurium which is very sensitive and responsive to exterior magnetic fields. The principle by which these fields interact with each other is known as induction – perhaps giving meaning to the phrase “magnetic personality”, but it is also the scientific basis for one person having a therapeutic effect on another.
The frequencies surrounding the hands of healers tend to focus in the 7/8Hz range – (the alpha state) the same frequency range as those now being tested in medical research labs for speeding the healing process. When a healer places their hands near a sick organ the biomagnetic field emitted becomes stronger than that of the sick organ and the field of the healer begins pulsing at the healthy frequency needed by that organ.
Whilst Reiki will never fit the double blind randomised clinical trial model (lack of funding, small sample size, poor design protocols, cointerventions, consistency of treatment, no follow -ups) the latest research is helping us to explain this “Biofield Medicine” modality.
64 hospitals in the US are now running evaluation programmes – do read up on the work of Dr Mehmet Oz, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Columbia Medical Center in NY. Patients can choose to access Reiki pre and during transplant surgery giving quite remarkable results.
People travel hundreds of miles to Hartford Hospital in Connecticut where Reiki therapists have been employed for 15 years. Their trials with cancer patients have again given some quite amazing results reducing pain, nausea, anxiety and improving sleep. They state they save $000s annually on medical/pharmaceutical interventions. The challenge of future research is to capture the holistic effect of Reiki perhaps concentrating more on patient centred outcomes.
Science vs. Vitalism is also something in the news – a concept that bodily functions are due to a vital principle or lifeforce distinct from the physical forces explainable by the law of chemicals and detectable scientific instrumentation. We all now understand how the changing energies of the universe/planet are affecting all living things and Dr Ronald Keys has published some interesting data in his research into a link between magnetic storms and depression, as measured by hospital admissions.
I would like to encourage everyone to speak confidently about the latest research into Biofield Medicine, and how this is helping to explain the mechanism of healing. Perhaps modify your language – when people ask me what I do I now say “I’m into Biofield Medicine” – see what a difference this makes! I will continue to work on myself, practice my Reiki and wait for science to catch up! It was fascinating at this year’s Conference to note the recurring themes of spirituality and language. We know that the language around Reiki changed when it was brought to the West – perhaps by embracing the concept of Biofield medicine and moving away from the word “healing” we can make greater strides towards integrated healthcare.
I also encourage everyone to ask their clients about any private healthcare insurance they may have, as PayCare and Healthshield now include Reiki.”
If anyone would like a full copy of my presentation please email me on
I would also be very grateful to hear from anyone who has other interesting research to report.
Fiona Heath 1991