1. Toms, Robin PhD, RN, NEA-BC

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I understand the reader's skepticism and support her assertion that nursing practice should be based on strong evidence. It is true that more well-designed, randomized, controlled studies are needed to support the efficacy of Reiki therapy. It is interesting to note that the Rosa study referenced by the reader was based on a small purposive sample. The reader may be interested in the MANTRA Phase 1 project-a prospective, randomized study investigating the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of 4 noetic (complementary) treatment interventions for patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention.1 The results showed that the noetic interventions had a statistically significant effect on self-reported worry, a benefit that may not have deep scientific implications but may be important to patients.


In a study completed at the University of Minnesota using a descriptive exploratory correlational design, a random sample of 2000 nurses was drawn from the AACN database. A majority of participants (N = 726) were familiar with and were using complementary therapies in their critical care practice.2


Therapeutic touch and Reiki therapy are similar; however, the path to the outcome is different. Potter identifies Reiki as "A spiritual healing practice originating from a spiritual healer, appropriated by nurses...." She defines therapeutic touch as "A healing practice deduced from observing a spiritual healer, inductively developed by nurses...."3 Because there are differences between the two, albeit subtle, I will leave it to the therapeutic touch practitioners to respond to comments concerning that therapy.


Though instruments have been developed to measure the human energy field, science is yet unable to provide strong evidence of their existence. Oschman, a cellular biologist and physiologist has done extensive research on energy fields. He likens the concepts of energy fields to findings in electronics, chemistry, biology, and physics noting "Some discoveries are made before their time, and simply cannot be integrated into contemporary thought."4


-Robin Toms, PhD, RN, NEA-BC




1. Krucoff MW, Crater SW, Green CL, et al. Integrative noetic therapies as adjuncts to percutaneous interventions during unstable coronary syndromes: The Monitoring and Actualization of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) feasibility pilot. Am Heart J. 2001;142(5):760-769. [Context Link]


2. Tracy MF, Lindquist R, Savik K, et al. Use of complementary and alternative therapies: a national survey of critical care nurses. Am J Crit Care. 2005;14(5):404-414. [Context Link]


3. Potter P. What are the distinctions between Reiki and Therapeutic Touch? Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2003;7(1):1-3. [Context Link]


4. Oschman JL. Energy Medicine. The Scientific Basis. Edinburg, Scotland: Churchill Livingstone; 2002. [Context Link]