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Lynde Paule


Little was known about the use of Reiki as an alternative medical treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) symptoms and/or side effects. The current study addressed how sufferers of RA made their decision to use Reiki, their experiences using Reiki to treat their symptoms, and changes in their symptoms or side effects from RA. Two sets of in-depth interviews were conducted with 13 participants. The first interview addressed how decisions to use Reiki were made and the second interview addressed participants’ experiences with Reiki to treat their symptoms and side effects. Psychological attribution theory and the covariation attribution model were used to explore how participants made their decisions to use Reiki and their experiences using Reiki. Narrative data from both interviews were analyzed using an adaptation of the categorical content analysis method used in narrative research. Participants relied on word-of-mouth from Reiki users and material they read about Reiki to make their decisions to try Reiki for their RA symptoms. Participants reported that their RA symptoms were greatly reduced, if not fully eliminated, after several sessions. Constant pain, joint inflammation, and anxiety were reduced, quality of sleep was enhanced, level of energy and mobility to complete tasks increased, and overall mood and a sense of well-being were enhanced. Symptom and side effect changes generally were temporary and depended on continued use of Reiki. The current study may bring about positive social change by providing a better understanding of how Reiki can remedy the symptoms and/or side effects of RA. It can shed light on the importance of integrating Reiki into mainstream healthcare.

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