What Are the Disadvantages of Reiki?

What Are the Disadvantages of Reiki

The Potential Disadvantages of Reiki

Reiki is a type of therapy that is centered around energy healing. While there are advantages of Reiki, there are also various potential disadvantages.

Reiki’s disadvantages include a lack of scientific evidence backing its effectiveness, Reiki practitioners are not regulated, sessions usually aren’t covered by insurance, and it’s not useful for everyone.

This article will go over Reiki’s various disadvantages that you should be aware of before you head to your first healing session.

Lack of Scientific Evidence

If you want to participate in a treatment backed by science, then Reiki may not be ideal for you. Although many patients vouch for Reiki’s effectiveness, scientific studies tend to have mixed results.

The studies in favor of Reiki tend to have small sample sizes that only included people of specific ages and ethnicities or people with specific physical ailments. So, the effect of Reiki on people from different demographic groups is generally unknown. More studies need to be conducted to determine if Reiki is beneficial for most people.

Let’s look at various studies concerning Reiki’s effect on anxiety, fatigue, and pain.


Reiki’s effects on anxiety have been studied in patients receiving medical treatment as well as healthy participants.

In one study conducted on 20 senior citizens with pain, anxiety, or depression, researchers found that Reiki could increase relaxation, enhance mood, and improve physical wellbeing. Similarly, another study on 21 patients undergoing colonoscopy found that Reiki helped reduce their heart rate, blood pressure, and overall anxiety levels before and during their procedure.

However, not all researchers agree that Reiki has a positive effect on anxiety. In a study of 25 people with anxiety, researchers found that Reiki had little to no impact on the patients. Similarly, in another study of patients undergoing heart surgery, researchers found that Reiki did not reduce the patients’ anxiety regarding their surgery.

As you can see, the findings regarding Reiki’s effect on anxiety are mixed. More studies need to be conducted to determine if Reiki has a therapeutic benefit for people with anxiety.


Some research indicates that Reiki can relax patients and make them feel less tired. In a study of 100 college studies, researchers found that Reiki improved their relaxation (without making them feel overly tired) more than music, meditation, or being in the placebo group.

Similarly, an additional study of 16 patients with cancer found that Reiki improved their quality of life, making them feel less tired and anxious than patients in the control group. Yet another study of 21 healthcare workers who were experiencing work-related exhaustion found that Reiki could shift their bodies to a more relaxed state.

While these results are promising, all of these studies were conducted with small numbers of people. Additional studies need to be run to see if they can replicate these results for larger groups of people with different fatigue-related issues.

Reiki Disadvantages


Some studies have shown that Reiki can reduce pain in patients with various ailments. In one study of 78 patients with shoulder problems, researchers found that Reiki was just as effective as physical therapy to improve the patients’ range of motion and decrease their pain.

Similarly, an additional study of mothers undergoing cesarean deliveries discovered that the women who did Reiki and took a sedative before surgery needed fewer pain medications than the control group. Another study of men getting colonoscopies found that the Reiki group needed less pain medication during the procedure than the control group.

While these studies indicate that Reiki could reduce pain levels, other studies suggest that these positive results aren’t due to Reiki itself, but the placebo effect. A placebo is something inactive, such as a “fake” treatment or a sugar pill. When people experience the placebo effect, they have a positive or negative response to the placebo even though it doesn’t have a real impact on them.

In a study of 207 patients with pain from type 2 diabetes, researchers provided the participants with either “fake” or real Reiki therapy. Reiki was beneficial for people in both groups, indicating that Reiki’s benefits for pain may come from people’s belief in the power of unconventional medicine, not from Reiki itself.

Additional studies indicate that Reiki doesn’t have any effect on pain. In one study, researchers looked at Reiki’s effect on children receiving opioid therapy for pain. Their findings indicated that Reiki didn’t have any impact on the children’s pain intensity. Similarly, another study on fibromyalgia found that Reiki did not significantly affect the patient’s pain or overall wellbeing.

It’s Unregulated

Unlike other medical professionals and therapists, there are no licenses, credentials, educational requirements, or training required to become a Reiki practitioner. In fact, people with no medical background can become Reiki healers.

According to Reiki’s rules, healers are supposed to learn from a master who eventually permits them to start using their powers on others. Since this is the only criteria for becoming a Reiki practitioner, healers often vary in skill level, with some being more skilled than others. So, you can’t expect every Reiki healer to provide you with the same quality of services.

Therefore, you’ll need to talk to your healers before your first session to determine if they’ve undergone training with a master or obtained master status themselves. While master healers should be better than novices, there is no sure way to know for certain if a Reiki practitioner will be useful or not.

Typically Isn’t Covered by Insurance

Reiki generally isn’t covered by health insurance. If you go to a Reiki practitioner, you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Typically, Reiki sessions cost anywhere from $25 to $100 or more, depending on the healer’s skill level and popularity. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you require multiple sessions or you have various infirmities that need to be healed.

The only time your health insurance may cover Reiki is if it is part of another service that is already covered. For example, if you get a health checkup and your doctor incorporates Reiki into your session, it will likely be covered by your insurance. Many traditional doctors and healthcare professionals don’t include Reiki in their sessions, so it may be challenging to find a provider.

Not Effective for Everyone

Reiki isn’t beneficial for everyone who tries it. It is a subjective experience that varies from person to person. Some people feel much better after Reiki sessions, while others may feel no change or feel worse than before. It is difficult to determine how it will make you feel and its effect on your wellbeing.

Some say that Reiki will be more useful for you if you are open to the experience and believe that Reiki will benefit you. If you go into your session feeling skeptical about Reiki, it likely won’t be as effective for you.

Sometimes people decide to try Reiki because their friends or family who have similar health issues claim that it healed them or helped them somehow. However, even if Reiki helped someone else with a specific ailment, that doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on you.

Final Thoughts

Although many people enjoy Reiki and gain benefits from it, it does have its disadvantages. These include:

    • Additional scientific evidence is needed to prove its effectiveness
    • It’s unregulated, so the quality of Reiki practitioners varies greatly
  • It typically isn’t covered by insurance
  • It isn’t useful for everyone, even people suffering from the same ailments

We hope this article has informed you of Reiki’s potential disadvantages so you can determine if it’s right for you and your health!