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Investigation of Standard Care Versus Sham Reiki Placebo Versus Actual Reiki Therapy to Enhance Comfort and Well-Being in a Chemotherapy Infusion Center

Anita Catlin
Rebecca L. Taylor-Ford
ONF 2011, 38(3), E212-E220 DOI: 10.1188/11.ONF.E212-E220

Purpose/Objectives: To determine whether provision of Reiki therapy during outpatient chemotherapy is associated with increased comfort and well-being.

Design: Double-blind, randomized clinical controlled trial.

Setting: Outpatient chemotherapy center.

Sample: 189 participants were randomized to actual Reiki, sham Reiki placebo, or standard care.

Methods: Patients receiving chemotherapy were randomly placed into one of three groups. Patients received either standard care, a placebo, or an actual Reiki therapy treatment. A demographic tool and pre- and post-tests were given before and after chemotherapy infusion.

Main Research Variables: Reiki therapy, sham Reiki placebo therapy, standard care, and self-reported levels of comfort and well-being pre- and postintervention.

Findings: Although Reiki therapy was statistically significant in raising the comfort and well-being of patients post-therapy, the sham Reiki placebo also was statistically significant. Patients in the standard care group did not experience changes in comfort and well-being during their infusion session.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that the presence of an RN providing one-on-one support during chemotherapy was influential in raising comfort and well-being levels, with or without an attempted healing energy field.

Implications for Nursing: An attempt by clinic nurses to provide more designated one-to-one presence and support for patients while receiving their chemotherapy infusions could increase patient comfort and well-being.


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