Reiki is a form of complementary therapy that was developed in Japan in the 1920s. The word itself is Japanese and means 'universal life force energy'. People with multiple sclerosis may decide to use this energy healing therapy alongside more conventional treatments. Several MS Therapy Centres offer reiki sessions.
The principle of treatment with reiki is that a trained practitioner can alter the energy flows through the body by placing his/her hands in a series of positions, on or over the body. Each position may be held for several minutes and the process can last up to an hour and a half. The whole body is treated rather than a specific symptom. This concept of energy flowing through the body is also the basis for other therapies such as acupuncture and Tai Chi.
Although there is no research evidence supporting the use of reiki in multiple sclerosis, it is used by people with MS to help improve various MS related symptoms. In cancer, patient surveys suggest that for some people it can improve anxiety, mood, sleep, fatigue and pain.