Reiki, Medicine, and Miracles

A Reiki Federation Ireland member handed me an envelope as I left our community gathering in Dublin. She explained that a new Reiki practitioner wanted to tell me her story, but a chemotherapy appointment kept her from joining us.

In spite of her diagnosis, the woman’s wellness, enthusiasm, and gratitude radiated from her card, inspiring me to share her story of hope with all of you, in her words, but anonymously, as I am unable to contact her for permission. —

A narrative of wellness during cancer treatment

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and as I was filled with fear, a friend suggested I go for Reiki treatment before starting chemotherapy. After my first Reiki session, I felt unbelievably calm and in control, and that has stayed with me.

“Before starting chemo, I was told by my oncologist that my tumour was aggressive, and that after my fourth chemo treatment, they would scan to see if the tumour was shrinking. I received Reiki treatment the following week, and a few days later I noticed the lump had gone down considerably. I had an appointment with my consultant and she was very pleased that the lump had reduced in size after only one chemo.”

Our heroine was then trained in First degree and began practicing Reiki self-treatment. She continued:

“A week after my second chemo, I could not feel the lump. The following day, I saw my oncologist. She confirmed that she also could not feel the lump.

“After speaking with my consultant, they decided there was no need for me to have a scan until I finish chemo in October.

“To say I floated out of that hospital is an understatement. The first person I rang was my very own ‘Guardian Angel,’ my Reiki practitioner. I do realize that my chemo is necessary, but I do believe that Reiki has helped me so much in body and mind, and healing.”

Such an inspiring, compelling story. Something we want to share widely (and please do), both with people addressing serious illness, and with Reiki practitioners.

But not with doctors (except the ones who are reading).

But not for (most) doctors

Why not share this story with doctors? Wouldn’t it help open their minds (assuming they have closed minds, which in my experience is not a reasonable assumption).

I wouldn’t share this story with a doctor because it reads too much like a miracle cure, and miracle cures get ignored in medicine. Doctors need reliable, repeatable responses, and they cannot promise anyone a miracle. Also, doctors see so many patients that they’ve already seen a few who fared much better than expected. Doctors know this happens, but it doesn’t help them treat their next patient.

Reiki practitioners often don’t realize that although Reiki healing is extraordinary, and can help people in unexpected ways, it’s also true that some people are extraordinary patients who would have improved no matter what treatment they chose. (Since we only see people receiving Reiki healing, we tend to assume that all benefit comes from our practice, but that’s not reasonable.)

Seasoned Reiki practitioners have come to understand that people who receive Reiki treatment generally have better outcomes than would be otherwise expected, whether or not they are extraordinary patients, but each Reiki practitioner (or doctor, or nurse, etc.) has to arrive at that recognition in her own time. We cannot spoon-feed it to anyone without risking credibility–ours and that of our practice.

What we can reasonably say about Reiki healing

What we can tell doctors, without risking credibility, is that Reiki treatment helps the body heal itself. It does this by influencing the system toward relaxation, which optimizes the body’s own self-healing mechanisms. And Reiki healing does this whether the treatment is received from oneself or another practitioner.

That’s what we can reasonably tell a doctor or anyone else. And there is beginning research to support it.

Have you or one of your clients felt that Reiki healing helped with a better than usual medical outcome? Come on, don’t be shy. Please scroll down and share it in the comment section.


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Reiki, Medicina y Milagros, the Spanish translation of this post, and other Spanish translations are  available at ReikiCentral en Espanol.

16 thoughts on “Reiki, Medicine, and Miracles”

  1. In 2014 a hobo spider bit me and left a small wound on my right hand. The bite became infected with MRSA, which I didn’t realize until, one night, I was a taking a bath and noticed large red blotches beginning to form from my torso to my feet. I was rushed to the hospital and by the time I arrived, my blood sugar had fallen to 27 and I lost consciousness.

    As I lay unconscious, my left lung collapsed and I was given a tracheotomy and put on a respirator. Two days later, my kidneys failed and I was put on 24/7dialysis. Not long afterward, pneumonia set-in and as blood clots continued to strangle other internal organs, my family and friends were called to say goodbye.

    According to ICU research statistics, over 80% of patients who suffer kidney failure while in ICU and require dialysis, don’t survive. Throw in a collapsed lung, respirator, ventilator, pneumonia, blood clots and anemia, and the odds of survival fall to somewhere in the neighborhood of a mouse trying to steal soft cheese from a row of well set traps.

    In 2001 I met a woman named Peaceful Spirit, a former parks ranger for the Olympic National Park. Peaceful teaches Reiki, a practice I’d heard very little about before we met but, over the years, have come to rely on for everything from toothaches to dying in strange hospitals. Every weekend Peaceful drove hundreds of miles, across icy roads, to stay on a small cot at both Kootenai Medical in Coeur d’ Alene and North Idaho Advanced Care in Post Falls, Idaho. She also administered Reiki every weekend while I was in rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Hospital in Spokane.

    Two months after entering the hospital, on the day I was released from St. Luke’s, a speech pathologist came to my room to conduct a \test to determine the extent of memory loss caused by weeks of being weaned from a ventilator, over 30 various medications and almost a month in world called delirium. I was told some memory loss was to be expected but that there was a good chance it would return.

    During this test, the speech pathologist read off a list of fifty words and then we chatted for a half hour. Then, another list of fifty words was read and, once again, we continued to chat. Finally, I was told to name as many words as I could remember from the first list as the speech pathologist read from a list of 150 words. I could not only remember each word from the first list, I could also remember each word from the second list.

    My doctors keep telling me how I lucky I am to be alive and seemingly unaffected. But, I don’t think luck has much to do with it. I like to think there’s a reasonable explanation for everything. Quantum science has proven the simple process of observation can have a measurable effect upon the object being observed. Scientific experiments have also proven a single proton can communicate back and forth from a distance and at the same time. It’s also been proven the heart emits measurable energy from a distance of up to 14”.

    As someone who considers himself a Christian, I see many parallels in what Jesus taught and the practice of Reiki. Those who know the Bible will remember Jesus sent His disciples into the world to heal and when they returned and told Him they couldn’t. Jesus told them if they had the faith of a mustard seed they could move a mountain. Perhaps Jesus knew more about the sub atomic world 2000 years ago then we do today.

    What I do know is that a woman who’s had a bumper sticker on her car since 2010 that reads simply ‘Expect Miracles’, administered Reiki each weekend while I was in the hospital and that somehow I survived and without any long term disabilities.

    While recovering I began to do more research into Reiki and was surprised to find, although Reiki is now practiced in many hospitals, with the exception of Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, which conducted tests on post and pre-operative surgical patients involving the relief of pain and with excellent results, very few studies involving Reiki have been documented through clinical studies.
    I was also disillusioned by the fact many who claim to practice Reiki also advertise the use of Tarot cards, palmistry, clairvoyance, etc. Although I’m not qualified to judge these practices, I believe confusing Reiki with what I would consider fortune telling has had a negative impact upon Reiki being considered a legitimate and spiritually enlightened practice in the mainstream.

    Peaceful teaches what I would consider a pure form of Reiki. She believes this healing energy comes from God and, having known Peaceful for 15 years, I’m inclined to agree.

    In 2012 Peaceful moved to Paradise Valley, Idaho to a home nestled above the Kootenai Valley. Since we first met, her goal has always been to open a place to teach Reiki and conduct no-cost treatments for those interested. While recovering I decided to work on a project called Miracle Flyer ( in the hope of helping her achieve these goals.

    It’s my way of paying forward my gratitude.

  2. Hello Pamela…I’d stumbled upon ur website while browsing and found it really interesting. I’m a general practitioner in India and personally very interested in Reiki. I wanted to know if Aortic valve regurgitation is curable using Reiki.It’s for my uncle.He’s 51yrs of age & was diagnosed with severe AR 5 months back.Cardiologists are pushing him for an open heart surgery, but he is not willing. He is currently on modern medicine as well as ayurvedic treatment & his physical condition has improved well (he had dyspnea initially) though echocardiogram still shows a Severe AR with healed vegetations..Kindly give your opinion..

    1. I am sorry to hear about your uncle, Sapna, but I don’t think it is reasonable to speak of Reiki in terms of curing conditions or diseases.

      Reiki practice helps the body restore itself to balance, optimizing the body’s often astounding ability to self-heal. What this means in any given situation cannot be predicted. Yes, I have seen and heard of Reiki being part of a comprehensive approach that resulted in unexpected cures. I have also seen people be able to manage disease better and have unexpectedly happier, healthier lives.

      If your uncle is willing, why not give Reiki practice a try? Click here for an article that will help you find a credible, qualified teacher.

  3. How wonderful, Susan, both the healing you’re experiencing and that you made the effort, took the risk to let your physician know. Keeping the system balanced can significantly slow disease progression.

    1. Yes it is wonderful, Pamela. I just want to add that as a professional Reiki practitioner, I would never advise clients to abandon their medical treatment. I believe that Reiki enhances the positive effects & diminishes the harmful side effects of treatments. There is value in both mainstream medicine & complementary therapies. It isn’t either/or. Let’s embrace both.

      1. That is my perspective as well, Susan. The rise of integrative medicine is making it easier for patients to avail themselves of the benefits of both conventional medicine and traditional healing. However, even when only conventional medicine is offered by their healthcare institution, people can still take it upon themselves to receive Reiki treatment or learn to practice Reiki self-treatment.

        Regardless the medical diagnosis or lack thereof, there are no known medical contraindications to Reiki treatment, no time when doctors deem it to be unsafe.

  4. I have a degenerative condition in my ears – the eardrums are slowly collapsing inwards. It will eventually require surgery or I will become deaf. I already have hearing loss & wear a hearing aid in my right ear. When I was diagnosed, the doctor advised me that I would need the operation within 2 years. I went home & decided that if people with cancer could use visualisation, meditation & Reiki to alter the outcome of their disease, then so could I. I began to Reiki my ears & visualised the eardrums moving out when I meditated. When I went for my next checkup 6 months later, the doctor looked in my ears, said nothing, went back to his desk & reread my notes, then came back & had another look. He said “What have you been doing?” There was a silence that seemed to last forever as I wrestled with whether to speak up or say nothing. I decided to tell him & he asked me “How do you spell Reiki?” & wrote it in my notes. That was about 5 years ago & my ears are holding their own. I am so grateful for the gift of being able to give myself Reiki treatments.

  5. As a doctor and a researcher, I think what matters most is how such stories are shared and why. As you point out, we don’t know how this lady would have done with chemotherapy without Reiki so I don’t think the story should be represented as convincing evidence that Reiki is an effective anticancer therapy or that Reiki makes chemotherapy more effective. What is clear is that this woman feels that Reiki significantly benefited her and I think there is reasonably strong evidence that it did. One of the benefits of sharing stories like this with physicians is that such stories show how approaches like Reiki can help empower patients and improve their quality of life despite the rigors of conventional therapy. Some physicians are afraid that Reiki or other complementary and alternative medicine approaches may lead patients away from beneficial, standard cancer treatments. But much of the importance of this story is in the patient’s statement “I do realize that my chemo is necessary, but I do believe that Reiki has helped me so much in body and mind, and healing.” I think it is important for physicians to know that patients feel this way.

  6. Two months before I retired from 47 years of pastoral ministry and three months before undergoing open-chest surgery to replace my aortic valve, I took Reiki I. I practiced self-healing pre- and post-surgery. The surgery went swiftly and smoothly with very little bleeding, and I spent minimal time in recovery and indeed in the hospital itself. The vent came out and I was walking several hundred feet three to four times per day before being discharged. Through the steady improvement and increased activity of re-habilitation I continued to do self-healing, took Reiki II and III (Practicioner) instruction and attunement, and began participating in a local Reiki Shares program once per month. I practiced both hands on and distance Reiki on numerous friends and family with much positive feedback. I joined and am half way through a year long Energy Worker Apprentice program with my Reiki Master. Although I generally have recovered normal function and returned to a vigorus exercise program, I had concerned conversation with my doctor’s about the cumulative effect their prescribed medications might be having on my liver. These concerns were brushed aside until a periodic blood test revealed some “liver dysfunction”. An ultra-sound of the upper right abdominal quadrant was scheduled for nearly five weeks out along with another blood test. I immediately spent special self-healing attention to the liver and requested that kind of concentrated attention during Reiki Shares that month. The ultra-sound and second blood test ultimately showed a healthy liver with mid-normal readings. Yesterday I completed my Reiki/Master Teacher instruction and attunement. Armed with a wealth of instruction and personal experience I am looking forward to sharing the gift of Reiki for stress and pain reduction and healing especially with surgical and athletic injury patients.

  7. Judith S. Jacobson, DrPH, MBA

    The advice regarding doctors is exactly right. Unexpected excellent outcomes do not help them treat the next patient. On the other hand, patients who are doing well are good for doctors’ morale. And smart doctors do ask patients, especially those who are doing very well, if they are doing something special for their health. If they hear from enough patients who are not doing very badly that they are practicing or receiving Reiki, they may even suggest it to the next patient.

    1. You’re so right, Judith, and actually, that’s why I was first asked to be part of a hospital program, because so many doctors treating people with AIDS had noticed that many patients who were doing better than expected were practicing self-Reiki or receiving Reiki treatments.

  8. I had a mammography that showed two nodules, 4 mm and 9 mm. They were biopsied and the diagnosis was benign fibro adenomas (non-cancerous solid lumps). I remember walking out of the office thinking I would try Reikiing them myself, since I’m a Reiki Master, and said a prayer asking for help so that they would go away without surgery, since medically, this was the only way they would go away. For the next four months, I Reikied myself with the intention that the nodules would go away without surgery. I also had a positive attitude about the entire situation and honestly believed I would be healed if it was for my highest good.
    I went back for surgery and when the doctor looked for them on the sonogram – THEY WERE GONE!!! She spent a long time scanning the sono and it was really quite amusing because she couldn’t explain what had happened. As far as I’m concerned, two hard nodules don’t just disappear on their own unless a Higher Power is at work. I’m a Medical Technologist and have a very difficult time believing in anything unless it’s in black and white and has a logical explanation. Well, this doesn’t have a medical or logical explanation, so I guess I would now have to say – I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!!! I’m also very grateful for this learning experience because my mind has definitely been opened to believing in all possibilities, despite what medicine may or may not have to say. I would hope that anyone going through a medical situation, whether serious or non-serious, would have an open mind to energy healing in addition to their medical treatment. The medical profession needs to recognize that Reiki, Vortex Healing or any other type of energy healing should be considered as an important part of a patient’s healing process and also to acknowledge that medicine doesn’t always have all the answers.

    1. Beth, I am so happy to read that you have had such a good result. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

      However, I disagree with your statement that your good result doesn’t have a logical explanation. Reiki practice is balancing, optimizing the body’s self-healing mechanisms. Nodules grow in an unbalanced environment. You gave yourself consistent Reiki self-treatment which supported your system to rebalance itself, and your body was able to resolve the two nodules.

      Your very good result may be unexpected, but the process is very logical. And I hope you are continuing daily Reiki self-treatment to help you maintain your health and well-being.

      1. Pamela – that’s a very good point. I never thought of it that way. Can you tell me what you think about Reiki helping anxiety, panic attacks and depression? It would seem to me that’s another case of rebalancing the body’s system. It’s just getting the people who need it to be agreeable to allowing the energy to help them…instead of relying on drugs. Have you had any success stories regarding these issues? Thanks!

      2. Reiki treatment doesn’t target disease; it encourages the entire system toward balance. Any benefits that people experience are by-products of their systems experiencing greater balance.

        This is why people report feeling better even when they don’t get the kind of physical results that you experienced. For example, hospital patients have told me or one of my Reiki interns that after their Reiki treatment, their pain level is the same, but it doesn’t bother them.

        In my experience, pain and anxiety are usually the first places where people feel improvement, as did the woman whose story is shared in this blogpost. Although we have to be careful not to overstate Reiki research, there is some research data which supports the usefulness of Reiki practice to manage pain and anxiety.

        And of course this balancing, self-healing process snowballs: people who feel better tend to make better choices to support their wellness and, when conventional care is needed, they are better partners to their medical caregivers, and better able to withstand arduous treatments.

  9. I had non hodgkins lymphoma. I had it for three years before they couldl find what i had. The tumor was in the side of my face. I had a biopsy in my jaw which left knots, i went to a manuel lymp drainage massage which he also did reiki the knots went away i told the doctor what happened to them. I almost died on the fourth of July that year i prayed and told God i could not take chemo anymore i felt a hand on my and a caress which told me everything would be alright. The weekene i went to the dumpster and had to sit on the porch next door to rest the lady moving in saw me and ask if sheo could come see me when i got in i said yes . The angel God sent me gave me reiki twice a week for almost a year until i moved. I met a very outstand professor who travels all over the world and receives awards for his work he also teaches at one of the large colleges. He taught me first degree reiki and when my daughter got ms he taught me 2nd degree so i was able to send he healings so God sent me two angels both with reiki. I have also had kidney cancer and use my reiki.

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