Effects of Energy Healing on Pain and Anxiety in the Elderly Diagnosed with Dementia

In an article in the August 2009 edition of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine entitled 'Effects of Reiki on pain and anxiety in the elderly diagnosed with dementia: a series of case reports' the author found that 20 minute energy healing sessions (reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing) "reduced stress, anxiety, and pain in elderly patients with dementia".

Here are the specific case reports from the article ("the MMSE is a screening tool used to measure cognitive impairment. Normal is > 27; mild, 26-21; moderate, 20-11; severe, < 10"):

"Maggie, 91 years of age (MMSE score of 7), was 95% blind. She was anxious about her surroundings, though she had a cooperative disposition. Maggie’s heart rate decreased an average of 9.31% or 7.75 beats per minute (bpm) per session. Following Reiki, she stated she felt calmer, and staff members reported she was more positive, less restless, and more willing to participate in activities.

Alan, 68 years of age (MMSE score of 7), had anxiety that his dementia would affect his relationship with his wife. In addition, he had stomach discomfort. Alan’s heart rate decreased an average of 3.45% or 2.25 bpm per session. His pain level decreased; he had a more positive attitude with less anxiety. Staff members observed that he appeared less confused, less anxious, and increasingly willing to participate in activities. Alan’s family reported he was feeling less sad but also that he experienced a slight increase in irritability.

Alice, 86 years of age (MMSE score of 16), was generally depressed over her physical and emotional situation, wore dark glasses to block out vision, and preferred not to participate in group activities. Alice’s heart rate decreased 5.19% or 3.38 bpm per session. She was more relaxed and talkative and generally in good spirits. Staff members reported that she was willing to participate in more activities. Her family reported Alice had less sadness and anxiety and cried less.

Diane, 74 years of age (MMSE score of 10), had extreme emotional distress and cried frequently. She used a walker and complained of pain in her legs and shoulder. Diane’s heart rate decreased 2.72% or 1.86 bpm per session. After Reiki, she stated she had less pain, felt “lighter,” and was less depressed, which was confirmed by staff members.

Leon, 79 years of age (MMSE score of 19), spent his day in a wheelchair, would strike out with his cane on occasion to those around him, and rarely spoke. He shunned group activities with the exception of an ongoing game of dominoes. Leon had a history of heart disease and was on cardiac medication. Leon’s heart rate increased by 1.90% or 1.43 bpm. His depression lessened, and staff members reported he was more interactive with others.

Maureen, 82 years of age (MMSE score of 26), suffered from painful arthritis in her knees that required her to use a walker. Maureen’s heart rate decreased by 4.49% or 3.50 bpm per session. She appeared confused going into the Reiki sessions but came out very relaxed. Staff members reported that her knees were still painful, but she was more social with others. Her family observed better concentration, less anxiety, and less irritability."

The article concluded with the following statement:

"The participants in adult daycare were the primary beneficiaries; however, staff members and caregivers were the secondary beneficiaries. When these patients were more relaxed and more social and experienced less pain, staff members found them more willing to participate in group activities, and caregivers and families found their loved ones less anxious, less depressed, and less irritable."

The text of the article is available here.