Author: Rachel Rice

Scientific Evidence for Reiki?

When I was in my twenties, my roommate came home one day and exclaimed, “I just learned this technique where I can place my hands over your body and provide healing and relaxation. Want to try it?”

“Hunh?” I thought, “This is just ridiculous. How could that possibly work?”

Now, over 25 years after my roommate’s announcement, all the major hospitals in the Greater Boston Area and many others around the globe offer reiki as part of their care programs.   The good news, for the analytically minded amongst us, is that science is now able to supply evidence that supports the efficacy of reiki and other healing modalities.

Reiki is a form of energy medicine which can be defined as “the diagnostic and therapeutic use of energies (e.g. lights, sound, heat, gravity, pressure, electricity, vibration, magnetism, electromagnetism, or chemical energy) whether produced by or detected by a medical device or the human body.  Energy medicine involves the use of certain energetic intensities or frequencies (whether from a machine or hand) that stimulate the repair of tissues or built-in healing mechanisms.” (source: James Oschman).

There are many scientific, controlled studies that have been done about reiki. The two listed here are just a sampling, but they  are indicative of what has been studied:

  • In 2000, William F. Bengston conducted and published research into the effectiveness of hands-on healing.  His healing research produced the first successful full cures of transplanted mammary cancer in mice by a hands-on technique as published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp353-364, 2000.  In the experiment, they obtained five experimental mice with mammary cancer which had a predicted 100% fatality between 14 and 27 days subsequent to injection. Bengston treated these mice for 1 hour per day for 1 month and the mice lived their normal life spans while control mice sent to another city died within the predicted time frame. Three replications using skeptical volunteers and other laboratories produced an overall cure rate of 87.9% in 33 experimental mice.
  • In addition, in 2006, Ann Baldwin and Gary Schwartz showed that personal interaction with a reiki practitioner significantly decreased noise-induced microvascular damage in an animal model.  Conclusions of their study are that reiki can be administered to animals and results in a reduction in stress-related physiological response (significantly more than when offered by someone who is pretending to give reiki).  Their research was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (12(1): 15-22).

My own personal experience with Reiki has been that it supports healing by lowering stress and increasing feelings of calm. In my early 30s, I was scheduled to have bone removed from my foot and thought it might be helpful to have a reiki practitioner join me in pre-op.  I had heard that it might help me to calm my nerves before surgery. When the reiki practitioner arrived, she placed her hand on the center of my back and immediately I was filled with warmth, light and a calm, centered feeling. She sat near me during the pre-op period and her presence (and the reiki energy she was sending) helped me stay calm. The nurse was surprised at how even and mellow my pulse was.

The good news is that in addition to our subjective experiences, we now have mounting evidence that supports profound quantifiable outcomes for reiki. Stay tuned for research that supports other energy medicine modalities.

Posted on Leave a comment on Scientific Evidence for Reiki?

The Science Behind Energy Psychology

Only recently have we been able to measure subtle energies, measure shifts in subtle energies in the body, and measure the impact of energy medicine on well-being. Even though people experience positive results from these modalities, they may doubt the efficacy of the modality, perhaps attributing their success to the placebo effect or something they just can’t put their finger on.  The good news is that there is more and more scientific evidence that supports the notion that energy medicine and energy psychology are effective.

Specifically, according to the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, there have been over 100 research studies, review articles and meta-analyses that have been published in professional, peer-reviewed journals.  This includes:

  • 43 randomized controlled trials
  • 39 outcome studies
    • 98% of the above 82 studies show positive results
  • 4 meta-analyses
  • 4 systemic reviews
  • Hundreds of case studies
  • 1 more meta-analysis in press and will be published in 2016, which analyzes a series of studies documenting the efficacy of EFT.

A few years ago I would have fallen into the skeptical bunch, but I have seen too many people benefit from the work now to doubt it at all.  I recently worked with a client who wanted help feeling less stuck.  He was skeptical about energy medicine and energy psychology but decided to give it a try.

He had already achieved a tremendous amount in his life and had been the driving force behind his previous employer’s growth by inventing numerous, patented solutions for his employer.  He had also started two companies but something was holding him back from moving forward. He was internally creating but not externally engaging.  He wasn’t making the phone calls he needed to make and overall he didn’t feel like he had value to add. He felt tightness in his chest every time he thought about it.

During the first two sessions we focused on identifying the limiting beliefs that were getting in his way of moving forward. We also talked about various events that had happened in his life that could be related in some way to how he was feeling. Once we mapped it out, he could more easily pinpoint the areas where he felt most limited. We used a technique called ‘tapping’ to clear the emotions and beliefs from his system so that he had a clear slate on which to create new neural pathways.  Then we talked about who he is at his core, what makes his heart sing and cause him to be joyful at the start of a day. We identified his life’s purpose and used tapping to enable him to access the feelings of inspiration, joy and creativity that he felt when he thought about his life’s purpose.   After two sessions he felt energized and excited about the possibilities ahead. He was now waking up feeling vibrant each day.

But it wasn’t only his feeling about things that changed. His businesses started to take a turn for the better.  When we touched based between the second and third sessions, he reported that one of his products was now close to being production ready. (It is now produced.)  In addition, a new client for his other product had requested a volume order and a third customer had commissioned a new design.  Not only that, he had made phone calls and reached out to people who had been on his ‘to do’ list for a while. He was unstuck.  Over the past few months, things have continued to evolve and another of his products is under contract to be mass produced!

Over the next few months I plan to share summaries of the studies that have been published which provide scientific evidence in support of these modalities.  I hope that you will reach out to talk with me about them.  In the meantime, if you’re curious, you can learn more here.


Posted on Leave a comment on The Science Behind Energy Psychology

An Express Train to Higher Performance

As a senior level executive I was always looking to up my game. I read books, I worked out, I meditated and I sought help from professional executive coaches. I found incremental value in each of these approaches. Most of what I learned were cognitive behavioral techniques aimed at helping me identify where, when and how to do things differently. Each required me to pivot my own thoughts and actions mid-stream just like one might in a tennis game. Difficult to do on the spot and it takes tons of practice. If someone consistently applies a new desired behavior, “success” can be achieved in about 21 days. Personally, I wanted a faster and more reliable way to get to peak performance.

express train
Take the express train to peak performance


What if it didn’t have to be that difficult or take that long? Tapping (aka Emotional Freedom Technique) is an approach to behavioral change that has been around for about 30 years. Although some call this approach “woo woo”, results from this technique have been remarkable and dramatic for many individuals. War veterans who have been suffering from PTSD for decades have found relief within days with tapping. It has helped many who lived through the Newtown shooting and Bosnian genocide move forward with their lives. Others have gotten relief from phobias, addictions, weight issues and more. So why wouldn’t we consider applying similar techniques to sports and work performance?

What if we could optimize our own work performance so that we stopped procrastinating, worrying and hedging? What if we could clear our own limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of outrageous success… beliefs that may have started in childhood like “I’m not enough,” “If it isn’t perfect, I’ve failed” or “I’m afraid of presenting in front of a group,”

How does tapping work exactly? It involves tapping on acupoints on the body (points along the meridian system, an energy transport system in the body). As we tap on the body, tension is released and the body starts to relax. If we tap while thinking, feeling or talking about a symptom, behavior, emotion, event or belief, the brain feels the body relaxing and starts to integrate the previously stressful experiences in the context of newly relaxed state, enabling the brain to get a fresh perspective. Once the integration happens, we can think about the stressful event without being triggered. Then, new positive thoughts or desired behaviors can be introduced.

What would your career look like if you were able to quickly release the thoughts, feelings and events that are holding you back? What actions would you take? What would your earnings potential be? How well would your company do if everyone on your team were able to clear old, non-productive thought patterns and limiting beliefs?

Stand in Your Power
Be at Your Peak Performance


Posted on Tags , , , , , Leave a comment on An Express Train to Higher Performance

Grounding is Not Just for Houses

Recently one of my clients asked me to help her to communicate more effectively in front of a group.  She told me that she wanted to be able to handle questions from tough clients in a group setting without getting ruffled or feeling defensive.  In the past, she had experienced freezing up when she was confronted by a client with an aggressive tone or posture.  She wanted to be able to move through future experiences with more grace, ease and comfort.  A key aspect of being able to withstand the storm of confrontation, questioning, judgement and public evaluation is grounding.

Grounding absent

We have all seen leaders who are grounded. They are able to make thoughtful decisions and stick with them. They seem unruffled by unexpected events and disgruntled clients or employees. They are able to be present with people in each interaction, seamlessly shifting their attention from one conversation to the next without skipping a beat.  They walk with ease.

Leaders who are un-grounded, on the other hand, are more emotionally volatile (sometimes bursting with anger at employees or at missed deadlines) and are more easily impacted by chaos that surrounds them.  They have a harder time bringing clarity to situations, have more difficulty keeping things in perspective, have scattered thoughts and have more trouble focusing and prioritizing. They may also have difficulty moving forward.

Energetically, grounding is a function of

  1. our own electro-magnetic connection with that of the earth (like magnets that are attracted to each other)
  2. the flow of energy between us and the earth through meridians (e.g. energetic pathways). Energy flows down from our body into the ground and up from the ground into our body.
  3. the flow of energy between us and the earth through an energetic vortex that sweeps energy up into our body and spills over and back down to the earth.

Losing our grounding happens with acute or on-going stressors, when we’re exposed to electro-magnetic devices, when we’re on a plane and or in a car for long periods of time, when we wear rubber soled shoes or work in a high-rise building.

The good news is that we can reclaim our grounding with some relatively simple Eden Energy Medicine techniques.  These techniques get the energy moving more effectively between our bodies and the earth, thus creating a stronger connection and flow, and enabling us to stand more firmly in our bodies.  This leads to more effective and confident communication. Try it and see:

  • Massage your feet, especially the spaces in between your metatarsals (toe bones). Gently squeeze each toe and toe nail and pull the energy off of your toes. Try this on one foot and stand up. See if you can feel the difference in how this foot feels on the ground relative to the other foot. Now try it on the other foot.
  • Massage your hands, especially the spaces in between your metacarpals (finger bones). Gently squeeze each finger and finger nail and pull the energy off of your fingers. Try this with one hand and then see if your hands feel any different. Now try it on the other hand.
  • Spoon your feet.  I know that this sounds silly but it is tremendously effective (it re-aligns the polarity of your body to be more connected with that of the earth and leads to grounding).  Get a spoon that attracts a magnet. Move the spoon along the sole of your foot and sides of your foot.
  • Massage the front of your shin along the outer edge of your tibia down to your 2nd toe (the one right next to your big toe). If you find a tender spot spend some more time there until the tenderness dissipates (the tenderness is often a sign that energy is stuck). This technique helps energy move out of your body and down into the earth which assists with grounding (like a grounding wire in a house).
  • Stand on wet grass in bare feet

grounding through feet

Being grounded can make an enormous difference in how connected, emotionally stable and effective we are.  How different would your interaction and presentation style be if you were grounded?


Posted on Tags , , , , , , , Leave a comment on Grounding is Not Just for Houses
Five Rhythms Consulting