In Vitro Effect of Reiki Treatment on Bacterial Cultures: Role of Experimental Context and Practitioner Well-Being

Author: Rubik B 1, 2//Brooks AJ 3,4//Schwartz GE 4,5
Affiliation: 1nstitute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA [1/]/Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH [2]//Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [3] ///Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [4]//Departments of Psychology, Surgery, Medicine, Neurology, and Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ [5]
Other: Word Count: 263

Objective: To measure effects of Reiki treatments on growth of heat-shocked bacteria, and to determine the influence of healing context and practitioner well-being. Methods: Overnight cultures of Escherichia coli K12 in fresh medium were used. Culture samples were paired with controls to minimize any ordering effects. Samples were heat-shocked prior to Reiki treatment, which was performed by Reiki practitioners for up to 15 minutes, with untreated controls. Plate-count assay using an automated colony counter determined the number of viable bacteria. Fourteen Reiki practitioners each completed 3 runs (n42 runs) without healing context, and another 2 runs (n28 runs) in which they first treated a pain patient for 30 minutes (healing context). Well-being questionnaires were administered to practitioners’ prepost all sessions.

Results: No overall difference was found between the Reiki and control plates in the nonhealing context. In the healing context, the Reiki treated cultures overall exhibited significantly more bacteria than controls (p 0.05). Practitioner social (p0.013) and emotional well-being (p0.021) correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on bacterial cultures in the nonhealing context. Practitioner social (p0.031), physical (p0.030), and emotional (p0.026) well-being correlated with Reiki treatment outcome on the bacterial cultures in the healing context. For practitioners starting with diminished well-being, control counts were likely to be higher than Reiki-treated bacterial counts. For practitioners starting with a higher level of well-being, Reiki counts were likely to be higher than control counts.

Conclusions: Reiki improved growth of heat-shocked bacterial cultures in a healing context. The initial level of well-being of the Reiki practitioners correlates with the outcome of Reiki on bacterial culture growth and is key to the results obtained.