Reiki & Cancer

What is cancer? Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. Cancer begins in your cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, your body forms new cells as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells grow even when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Cells from malignant tumors can invade nearby tissues. They can also break away and spread to other parts of the body. Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for where they start. More than one million people in the United States get cancer each year.


People who practice Reiki understand that pain and illness in the body are exemplified by blocked energy pathways. The goal of Reiki treatments is to strengthen the flow of energy through these blocked or disturbed pathways, thus decreasing pain and enhancing the body’s natural ability to fight illnesses and heal itself. For cancer patients, Reiki may be able to help reduce pain associated with the progression of the disease. It can also reduce some of the uncomfortable symptoms patients commonly experience during cancer treatment, such as anxiety, weakness and nausea. Furthermore, Reiki can also improve the patient’s emotional health and outlook, which may increase the patient’s ability and willingness to comply with physician’s instructions and adhere to treatment protocols.

According to the American Cancer Society, a small research study recently showed that patients undergoing Reiki treatments during cancer reported less pain overall. These patients still took the same amount of pain medication, but they reported feeling better when Reiki was part of their treatment regimen. Penn Medicine reports that another study conducted by the Abramson Cancer Center’s Integrative Oncology Initiative showed that Reiki can provide many benefits to patients when performed in conjunction with traditional treatments, including a reduction in patients’ perceptions of pain, decreased stress levels, reduced anxiety and increased relaxation. The American Cancer Society states that there are a number of patient reports supporting the effectiveness of Reiki with regard to refreshing the spirit and improving an individual’s sense of well-being. Many cancer patients who utilized Reiki have also reported less nausea and vomiting after Reiki sessions taken during cancer treatment.

Reiki is a non-invasive technique that causes no side effects or complications; it can be performed on cancer patients at virtually any time following their diagnosis. Whether the patient is newly diagnosed and waiting to begin treatment, is actively undergoing treatment, or is in the late stages of cancer and facing a poor prognosis, Reiki sessions may be beneficial. Reiki may also be effective at reducing anxiety and inducing relaxation and balance among patients who are in remission after completing cancer treatments.
Reiki is not a substitute for traditional cancer treatments, although studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that Reiki can increase patient comfort levels and enhance healing, it has not been scientifically shown to effectively treat cancer on its own. Thus, patients should view Reiki as one part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan.

Mind-body therapy is any practice that helps restore the balance between the mind, body and soul, and it creates in-depth healing on all levels; spiritual, mental and physical. Ongoing research has shown that mind-body therapy can improve quality of life for those with a life-limited illness, such as mesothelioma, in a number of ways including: Reduction of pain, reduction in chemotherapy side effects and a reduction of stress and anxiety. Research carried out at the Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, revealed that Reiki improved the sleep pattern of patients by 86 percent, and reduced levels of pain and nausea by 78 and 80 percent, respectively.