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Efficacy of Reiki in pain control at end of life

Lois O. Gonzalez, PhD, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 22, Tampa, FL 33617, 813-974-9136, lgonza7@tampabay.rr.com

This 3-group comparative experimental study explored the efficacy of Reiki, an energy therapy, as an adjuvant to pain medications in persons with cancer at end of life. Hypotheses were: When compared to placebo and control groups there will be (1) significant decreases in pain-rating appraisals and significant increases in sleep quality appraisals in the Reiki group, and (2) significant decreases in blood pressure, pulse and respirations and increases in temperature in the Reiki group. Subjects were randomly assigned to a treatment, placebo, or control group. Prior to the intervention each subject completed a baseline data collection of cognitive functional ability using the Short, Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ), a Sleep Quality Visual Analog Scale, a Pain Numeric Rating Scale, and assessment of vital signs (temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respirations). Immediately following the Reiki or placebo session, pain and vital signs were measured again. One week later, all groups were assessed again on measures of sleep, pain, and vital signs. Sixty (60) of the original randomized sample (N=90) completed the study. The main effect was a significant improvement in sleep across all groups (p<.05). There were no significant interaction effects due to lack of power, but there were encouraging trends in a positive direction in measures of sleep, pulse and systolic blood pressure. These data suggest more of a relaxation response in the Reiki group. Thus, these measures were found to be temporally more sensitive as objective physiological measures of relaxation and decreased anxiety. Replication with a larger sample is indicated.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: End-of-Life Care, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Managing Chronic Pain with Alternative and Complementary Health Practices

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA