The Lived Experience of Registered Nurse Reiki Practitioners: A Phenomenologic Study Using Computer Mediated Communication

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 3:45 PM

Wendy J. Waldspurger Robb, PhD, RN, CNE
Nursing Department, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA

Learning Objective 1: describe the lived experience of RNs who use Reiki in their nursing practice.

Learning Objective 2: discuss barriers to the implementation of complementary and alternative therapies.

Background & Significance: The use of complementary and alternative modalities (CAM) has increased. Healthcare consumers spend billions of dollars on a variety of CAM therapies annually. Reiki is an energy-based CAM therapy derived from practices of Tibetan monks. Proponents of Reiki believe that unblocking or redistributing the body’s natural energy facilitates self-healing.

Purpose: The purpose was to describe the lived experience of RNs who administer Reiki treatments to themselves and/or others.

Methods: This study used a qualitative phenomenologic design and computer-mediated communication to collect the research data. Interviews were conducted via email. The purposive sample was comprised of 19 participants from 15 states. Ricoeur’s Interpretation Theory was utilized in data analysis including identification of preunderstandings, the naïve read, open coding of transcripts, construction of structural meaning units, development of themes and sub themes, and ultimately the emergence of a preliminary model.

Results: A four-part model depicting the lived experience of RN Reiki practitioners was constructed. The model includes: Initiation to Reiki, the Art of Reiki, Platform for Healing, and Healing Effect.         

Conclusion: There is a need to develop standards of practice and legislation for Reiki practice and energetic healing. Descriptive data on the lived experience of RNs who incorporate Reiki into their nursing practice contributes to the unique body of knowledge that defines the discipline of nursing. Educational efforts related to Reiki and CAM therapies in general are seriously inadequate. Reports of social and professional disapproval, perceptions of voodoo, and a stigma of unorthodox nursing care were shared by nurse Reiki practitioners. Educational directives should be concentrated in public education, health care provider education, and CAM provider competency. Health care providers who lack knowledge and/or are not competent in issues related to CAM modalities contribute to the barriers toward the successful implementation of holistic nursing philosophies and integrative medical approaches.