Alzheimer's and Dementia

Treating Dementia & Alzheimer’s With Reiki

The challenges that frequently come together in the territory of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias include memory problems. stress. confusion. bizarre behavior. depression. anxiety. and caregiver burnout. The good news is that clinical studies and research published in peer-reviewed journals have shown that Reiki healing could give some real help to patients and caregivers alike.

Dementia is a general term used to describe a person’s decline in mental ability, which after time and advanced age, can become severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is the main symptom, and Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s and dementia causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive disease that worsens over a number of years, usually beginning around the age of 65, but there are cases where the onset of this disease can affect a person in their 40s or 50s. Alzheimer’s and dementia has no cure at the moment, but there are treatments available for symptoms.

Research have shown that Reiki healing can be effective in addressing a number of the challenges Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and their caregivers face every day. Such results come from various different scientific research and both validates as well as mainstream the efficacy of this form of energy healing.

Mild Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Impairment

A published, peer-reviewed research in 2006 [1] indicated that Reiki can help people with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s and dementia. In one experiment, one group of patients received four weeks of Reiki treatments while a control group received none.

The Reiki recipients showed statistically significant increases in mental functioning, memory and behavior after Reiki treatment. Caregivers can arrange to provide for Reiki treatments or even learn to administer Reiki themselves, potentially reducing the need for medication and hospitalisation.

Reducing Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

Stress is a faithful companion of Alzheimer’s and dementia and the symptoms of depression and anxiety often happen in tandem with it. Several studies [2] [3] [4] have found Reiki provides biological indications of significant stress reduction, as well as a relaxation response. Interestingly, both hands-on and distance Reiki healing (treatment that is done remotely, without touch), has been shown to reduce depression significantly with effects lasting up to a year after the treatment course. [5]

Another common cause of stress and anxiety in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is in the inability to successfully manage pain. Acute and chronic pain-inducing illnesses happens to the best of us. As dementia progresses, it can become impossible for the patient to verbalise their pain. Instead, they may become agitated, withdrawn, aggressive, depressed, anxious, or show some sort of so-called difficult behavior.

This then becomes a guessing game for caregivers who must figure out that the behavioural change results from untreated physical pain, and then try to locate the source of the pain to address it. Since Reiki has been shown to reduce pain, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients with pain who undergo treatment might have both disorders addressed simultaneously. [6] [7] [8]

Reiki treatments often also results in a state of calm relaxation, [8] and this aids in mitigating the anxiety that Alzheimer’s and dementia patients often face while making it easier for caregivers to deal with them.

Care for Caregivers

It is equally important that caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients receive care and healing too.

According to a 2015 report by the Alzheimer’s Association, [9] “about 40% of family caregivers of people with dementia suffer from depression compared to 5-17% of non-caregivers of similar ages. Rates of depression increase with the severity of cognitive impairment of the person with dementia.”

Caregiver burnout is a significant impediment both for the well being of the caregiver as well as the patient and it can be challenging to return to warm, caring feelings following caregiver burnout. Fortunately, studies involving nurses’ self-care have demonstrated that Reiki can help prevent and heal caregiver stress and overwhelm. [10]


As stated earlier in this post, Alzheimer’s and dementia has no cure at this moment. People live for many years with the disease, which takes a huge toll both on them and their caregivers.

As many effective tools as possible are needed to help manage Alzheimer’s and dementia and improve quality of life for everyone involved. Empowering family and professional dementia caregivers with Reiki skills can help meet many needs.

For both patients and caregivers alike, calmness, improved moods, increased memory capability, reduced pain, and healing from caregiver burnout can be the help so many have been waiting for.


  1. Crawford, Stephen & Leaver, V & Mahoney, Sandra. (2006). Using Reiki to Decrease Memory and Behavior Problems in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Mild Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 12. 911-3. 10.1089/acm.2006.12.911.
  2. Baldwin, Ann & Schwartz, Gary. (2006). Personal Interaction with a Reiki Practitioner Decreases Noise-Induced Microvascular Damage in an Animal Model. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 12. 15-22. 10.1089/acm.2006.12.15.
  3. Baldwin, Ann & Wagers, Christina & Schwartz, Gary. (2008). Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 14. 417-22. 10.1089/acm.2007.0753.
  4. Friedman, Rachel & Burg, Matthew & Miles, Pamela & Lee, Forrester & Lampert, Rachel. (2010). Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 56. 995-6. 10.1016/j.jacc.2010.03.082.
  5. Shore, Adina. (2004). Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress. Alternative therapies in health and medicine. 10. 42-8.
  6. Dressen, L.J. & Singg, Sangeeta. (1998). Effects of Reiki on pain and selected affective and personality variables of chronically ill patients. Subtle Energies Energy Med. 9. 51-82.
  7. Birocco, Nadia & Guillame, Camilla & Storto, Silvana & Ritorto, Giuliana & Catino, Cristiana & Gir, Nisha & Balestra, Lucia & Tealdi, Giancarla & Orecchia, Cristina & Vito, Giovanna & Giaretto, Lorena & Donadio, Michela & Bertetto, Oscar & Schena, Marina & Ciuffreda, Libero. (2011). The Effects of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Patients Attending a Day Oncology and Infusion Services Unit. The American journal of hospice & palliative care. 29. 290-4. 10.1177/1049909111420859.
  8. Richeson, Nancy & Spross, Judith & Lutz, Katherine & Peng, Cheng. (2010). Effects of Reiki on Anxiety, Depression, Pain, and Physiological Factors in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Research in gerontological nursing. 3. 187-99. 10.3928/19404921-20100601-01.
  9. Alzheimer’s Association. (2015). Alzheimer’s Association Report 2015 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Alzheimers & Dementia.. 11. 332-384.
  10. Diaz Rodriguez, Lourdes & Arroyo-morales, Manuel & Fernández-de-Las-Peñas, César & García-Lafuente, Francisca & García-Royo, Carmen & Tomás-Rojas, Inmaculada. (2011). Immediate Effects of Reiki on Heart Rate Variability, Cortisol Levels, and Body Temperature in Health Care Professionals With Burnout. Biological research for nursing. 13. 376-82. 10.1177/1099800410389166.