靈氣的科學研究 The Science of Reiki

靈氣對於自律神經能造成明顯影響 | 2021.08.10


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靈氣的科學研究 The Science of Reiki
妮可麥凱 Nicole Mackay

當代的輔助治療師面臨的最大挑戰之一是需要彌合科學與“新時代”信念之間的差距。 儘管近年來大眾對更全面的健康方法融入日常生活的好處的看法發生了顯著得變化,但我們仍有許多工作要做,以確保最可能獲得幫助的人可以意識,並獲得可以真正改變生活的療法和服務。 對於我們這些已經通過個人、客戶和學生的經驗已經相信替代療法和治療的潛在益處的人來說,缺乏科學研究支持,特別是有關解釋補充和替代醫學的功效,這通常會令人感到沮喪。

靈氣尤其如此。 像許多能量治療系統一樣,它是一種安全、溫和且有效的補充療法,幾乎可以在任何情況令人獲得幫助,不管從情緒壓力到慢性疼痛。 靈氣是一種無創治療(noninvasive treatment ),可以補充現有的對抗療法,沒有副作用和禁忌症,可以減輕壓力,幫助增強免疫系統,並刺激身體內的癒合過程。 治療的好處通常是立竿見影的,一個週末的培訓課程就可以為參與者提供治療自己、家人和朋友的所有必要技術和信息。 多年來一直與靈氣和其他能量系統合作,並見證了許多人在各種層面上的癒合程度,我相信這種療法應該對每個人都可適用。

去證明靈氣是有效的、有益的和安全的是很重要的,有些人認為,如果要讓所有人都可以使用靈氣,最好是透過主流醫療和治療的管道,這是必要的。 為了實現這一目標,我們需要採用公認的嚴格科學方法,為了擺脫患者和/或治療師這些不可衡量數據的軼事進行研究。 這也許是一個艱鉅的任務,但我和我的同事們剛剛朝著這種可能性又邁出了一步。

我第一次聽說靈氣和能量療愈是在我接受英國北格拉斯哥國家衛生服務信託基金(North Glasgow National Health Service trust in the UK)培訓成為臨床物理學家時。 當我第一次聽說它時,當時我相當懷疑,但在我親身體驗並感受到它之後,我確信它作為一種治療和精神工具的價值。 我開始相信,它可以讓您感到放鬆、改善您的健康(我當時患有 肌痛性腦脊髓炎-M.E,靈氣對我的幫助極大)能以如此積極和切實的方式獲得幸福的事物,一定會對身體產生某種生理影響。 我確信這不僅僅是由於心理的信念所致。

我得出的結論是,如果能量治療有實際的生理作用,這將在神經系統內觸發作用,更具體地說,在自律神經系統 (ANS) 內。 ANS 與我們無法直接控制的身體功能有關,例如呼吸、血壓、出汗和血管舒張。 它通過感覺和運動迴路滲透到身體的每個部分和每個器官,並在人體基本功能的調節中發揮作用。

我開始調查之前關於能量治療的相關研究,看看是否有其他人提出了這個鏈接的學說。 我發現已經有幾次嘗試研究靈氣等接觸療法的作用機制; 然而,大多數方法都是軼事,很少有研究使用嚴格的科學方法來衡量生物學的結論。

對先前研究的文獻回顧表示靈氣治療和 ANS 之間存在明顯的聯繫。靈氣最常報告的效果之一是放鬆或減輕壓力。 ANS 是人體情緒的運動系統;如果靈氣能減輕壓力,它也會對 ANS 產生一些影響。 Ramnarine-Singh (1999) 撰寫的一篇論文指出,對能量療法到敏感的生理系統是 ANS,因為它會影響身體對壓力的生理反應,並建議身體上的治療研究如靈氣和治療之觸 (TT)這是一種類似靈氣的療法。均可以通過記錄血壓、脈搏、呼吸頻率、腦電圖、眼電圖、皮膚電反應和手溫來測量。 Wardell 和 Engebretson (2001) 對健康志願者進行研究,測量了靈氣對 ANS 的生物學影響,發現焦慮和收縮壓顯著降低,唾液免疫球蛋白 A (IgA) 水平顯著增加。通過使用肌電圖測量肌肉張力以及監測唾液 IgA 水平來評估焦慮狀態。 Vaughan (1995) 還研究了 ANS,觀察了收縮壓和舒張壓、心率和皮膚反應,並發現了降低舒張壓的明確趨勢。

Turner等人。 (1998) 調查了使用 TT 來降低燒傷患者的焦慮水平,發現與安慰劑組相比,TT 組有顯著降低。 Evanoff 和 Newton (1999) 在一項針對膝關節炎患者的隨機對照試驗中發現,基於能量的療法顯著減輕了疼痛。 TT/靈氣也在皮膚傷口癒合領域進行了研究。 Ramnarine-Singh (1999) 強調了能量療法和 ANS 之間的明顯聯繫,指出之前的“心理學”研究由於涉及主觀性而難以解釋。 它需要新的研究來測量 ANS 內的生理反應。 Quinn (1984) 和 Vaughan (1995) 的研究也支持這一假設。

此時,我剛剛結束了在格拉斯哥南部總醫院神經科學研究所(Institute of Neurological Sciences at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow)工作的輪調期,該研究所是此類世界一流的研究中心。我聯繫了我在研究所的主管,討論了我對能量治療和 ANS 的想法,並提出了一項研究計劃。他和我一樣好奇,所以我們開始提出一個研究計畫。我們花了相當多的時間、精力和能量最後才獲得批准繼續進行這項名為“靈氣對自律神經系統影響的調查(An Investigation into the Effect of Reiki on the Autonomic Nervous System)”。我們研究的目的是調查一些自主神經功能指標是否會顯示靈氣治療、安慰劑治療和對照組之間的任何顯著差異。該研究是一項盲測,受試者隨機分為三組。我們從同事中招募了 45 名健康志願者,每組分配 15 名受試者。該研究使用了可靠的定量測量參數,例如心率、心臟迷走神經張力、血壓、心臟對壓力反射的敏感性、呼吸活動和手部皮膚溫度。這些參數由腦幹中的心血管和呼吸中樞控制,但由神經系統的高級功能調節。我們研究的新方面是通過監測髓核進行的心血管調節來即時測量腦幹自主神經功能。

研究期間靈氣組接受休息和靈氣治療,安慰劑組接受休息和安慰劑治療,對照組僅休息。 到達時,受試者被坐在沙發上,電極和換能器被連接起來。 在十五分鐘的休息期間記錄基線數據。 然後是 30 分鐘的治療期(靈氣或安慰劑或休息),然後是另外 10 分鐘的休息期。

靈氣療法包括將治療者的手放在受試者的身體上,選擇與傳統能量治療系統中的關鍵點相對應的一系列六個手部位置,隔著衣服之上持續 30 分鐘。 雙手放在志願者的眼睛、太陽穴、枕骨、胸部、膝蓋和腳底上。 練習者唯一接觸志願者的身體位置是將他們的手放在頭部下方的枕骨。

安慰劑治療是由一個對靈氣一無所知的人進行的,他只是模仿靈氣練習者的手部姿勢。

實驗一共記錄了八項生理參數:心率、收縮壓、舒張壓、平均血壓、心臟迷走神經張力、心臟對壓力反射的敏感性、皮膚溫度和呼吸頻率。從數據的統計分析中我們發現,對照組沒有顯著差異;這正如預期的那樣。然而,我們確實發現靈氣組和安慰劑組之間存在統計學上的顯著差異,即心率和血壓的變化。對於接受靈氣治療的人,心率和舒張壓顯著降低,而安慰劑組或對照組均未出現這種情況。我們將觀察到的心率降低與心臟迷走神經張力的增加聯繫起來,表明副交感神經自主神經活動增加。還觀察到皮膚溫度升高,這可能是由於血管收縮減少導致流向皮膚的血流量增加所致,表明 ANS 的交感神經活動減少,儘管觀察到的變化很小。靈氣組的血壓顯著降低。血壓降低或許可以通過我們目睹的心臟對壓力反射的敏感性增加來解釋。然而,更高的神經中樞能夠設置自主控制系統以保護應有的血壓水平。在安慰劑組中,心臟對壓力反射的敏感性也有所增加,雖然程度較輕,但沒有相應的血壓降低。這表明血壓的差異可能是由於靈氣組影響了神經系統中較高的中樞裡不同的控制層級,但在安慰劑中沒有。

那麼這一切究竟意味著什麼呢?從科學上講,我們可以說靈氣組與安慰劑組和對照組之間似乎存在顯著差異。神經系統對靈氣的反應似乎與對安慰劑靈氣的反應不同,這強烈表明靈氣對自主神經系統有一些影響。我們不能肯定地說“靈氣有效”,因為這是一項相對較小型的研究,但它確實證明了進一步研究的合理性,例如更大規模的研究,要么更詳細地研究 ANS 及其對靈氣的反應,要么調查症狀概況靈氣治療期間和之後的疾病。完成這項研究後,我們可以說的是,身體,特別是 ANS,對靈氣或能量療愈有反應,而且這種反應並不純粹是從業者和/或患者的心理影響或一廂情願的想法。這個科學合理的結論代表了將能量治療作為一個整體進入主流的重要一步,如果夠幸運和更努力的話,也許它最終能夠進入一般臨床醫療。

本文引用的研究全文發表在以下科學同行評審期刊上:“靈氣治療期間的自主神經系統變化:初步研究”。 《替代與補充醫學雜誌》第 10 卷,第 6 期。

 

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Evanoff, A.; Newton, W.P. “Therapeutic touch and osteoarthritis of the knee”. J Fam Pract 48 (1999): 11–12.

Halliwill, J.R.; Taylor, J.A.; Eckberg, D.L. “Impaired sympathetic vascular regulation in humans after acute dynamic exercise.” J Physiol 495 (1996): 279–288.

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Julu, P.O.O.; Hansen, S.; Barnes, A.; Jamal, G.A. “Continuous measurement of the cardiac component of arterial baroreflex (ccbr) in real-time during isometric exercise in human volunteers.” J Physiol (Lond) 497P (1996): 7P–8P.

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Lin, M.C.; Nahin, R.; Gershwin, M.E.; Longhurst, J.C.; Wu, K.K. “State of complementary and alternative medicine in cardiovascular, lung, and blood research: executive summary of a workshop.” Circulation 103 (2001): 2038–2041.

Little, C.J.; Julu, P.O.O.; Hansen, S.; Reid, S.W. “Real-time Measurement of Cardiac Vagal Tone in Conscious Dogs.” Am J Physiol 276 (1999): H758–H765.

Mackay, N.; Hansen, S.; McFarlane, O. “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study.” J Altern Complement Med Volume 10, Number 6.

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Martini, F.H. The Autonomic Nervous System: Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology. 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2001: 503–526.

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Spyer, K.M. “The central nervous organisation of reflex circulatory control.” In: Loewy, A.D.; Spyer, K.M., editors. Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990:168–188.

Turner, J.G.; Clark, A.J.; Gauthier, D.K.; Williams, M. “The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Pain and Anxiety in Burn Patients.” J Adv Nurs 28 (1998): 10–20.

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延伸閱讀:
《醫院裡的靈氣應用》
《靈氣和創傷後壓力症候群 PTSD 》
《能量治療在臨床醫學的應用》
《靈氣在醫療上的科學實驗證據》
《環繞人體周圍的七層氣場》
《靈氣在醫學上的臨床實踐研究》


 

The Science of Reiki
by Nicole Mackay

One of the biggest challenges faced by complementary therapists today is the need to bridge the gap between science and “New Age” beliefs. While public perceptions of the benefits of a more holistic approach to health, and to life in general, have shifted significantly in recent years, there is still much to be done to ensure that those who might benefit most have both awareness of, and access to, therapies and services that can be literally life-changing. For those of us already convinced of the potential benefits of alternative remedies and treatments, through personal experiences and those of clients and students, the lack of scientific research to back up, and in particular to explain the efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine, can often be frustrating.

This is perhaps particularly true of Reiki. Like many energy-healing systems, it is a safe, gentle, and effective complementary therapy, which can benefit almost any condition, from emotional stress to chronic pain. Reiki is a noninvasive treatment that can complement existing allopathic treatment, carries no side effects and no contraindications, and appears to reduce stress, help boost the immune system, and stimulate the healing process within the body. The benefits of treatment are often felt immediately, and a weekend training course can provide all the necessary techniques and information for participants to treat themselves, family, and friends. Having worked with Reiki and other energy systems for years, and witnessed the extent of the healing brought about on many levels for so many people, it is my belief that this therapy should be available to everybody.

Proving Reiki to be effective, beneficial, and safe is important and, some feel, necessary if it is to become available to everybody, ideally through mainstream medical and therapeutic channels. In order to accomplish this, we need to employ accepted rigorous scientific methods and move away from the more anecdotal research that relies upon the impression of the patient and/or healer on their progress rather than measurable parameters. A tall order, perhaps, but I and my colleagues have just taken another step towards that possibility.

I first heard about Reiki and energy healing in general when I was training to be a clinical physicist with the North Glasgow National Health Service trust in the UK. I was fairly skeptical when I first heard about it, but after I experienced it and felt it for myself I became convinced of its value as a healing and spiritual tool. I became convinced that something that causes you to feel relaxed, to improve your health (I was suffering from M.E at the time and Reiki helped dramatically) and well-being in such a positive and tangible way must have some physiological effect within the body. I was certain that this couldn’t just be due to a psychological belief.

I came to the conclusion that if there was an actual physiological effect of the energy healing that this would be triggered within the nervous system, and more specifically, the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is concerned with the functions of the body that we cannot control directly, such as respiration, blood pressure, sweating, and vasodilation. It permeates every part and every organ of the body with both sensory and motor pathways, and plays a part in the regulation of our essential functions.

I started to investigate previous research into energy healing to see if anyone else has come up with this link. I discovered that there have been several attempts to study the mechanism of effect in touch therapies such as Reiki; however, most have been anecdotal in approach and few studies have used rigorous scientific methods for the measurement of biological outcomes.

A literature review of previous studies shows an apparent link between Reiki treatment and the ANS. One of the most commonly reported effects of Reiki is that of relaxation or a reduction in stress. The ANS is the motor system for emotion; if Reiki were to ameliorate stress it would therefore also have some effect on the ANS. A paper authored by Ramnarine-Singh (1999) states that the physiologic system sensitive to energy-based therapies is the ANS, as it affects the body’s physiological response to stress, and suggests that physiologically Reiki and Therapeutic Touch (TT)—a therapy similar to Reiki—can be measured by recording blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, electroencephalography, electrooculography, galvanic skin response, and hand temperature. Wardell and Engebretson (2001) measured the biological effects of Reiki on the ANS and found significant reduction of anxiety and systolic blood pressure, and a significant increase in salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels, using healthy volunteers for their study. Anxiety was assessed through muscle tension measurement using electromyography as well as monitoring of salivary IgA levels. Vaughan (1995) also investigated the ANS, looking at systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and skin response, and found a definite trend towards the lowering of diastolic blood pressure.

Turner et al. (1998) investigated the use of TT for reducing anxiety levels in burn patients, finding a significant reduction in the TT group in comparison with a placebo group. Evanoff and Newton (1999) found that energy-based therapies significantly reduced pain in a randomized control trial of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. TT/Reiki has also been investigated within the field of cutaneous wound healing. Ramnarine-Singh (1999) highlights the apparent link between energy-based therapies and the ANS, stating that the previous “psychological” research is difficult to interpret because of the subjectivity involved. It calls for new studies measuring physiological responses within the ANS. Studies by Quinn (1984) and Vaughan (1995) support this hypothesis.

At this point I had just finished a rotation period working in the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, a world-class center for research of this type. I contacted my supervisor at the institute to discuss my ideas about energy healing and the ANS and to propose a plan for a research study. He was as curious as I was, and so we began to put together a proposal. It took considerable time, effort, and energy on our part before we were finally given approval to go ahead with the study, which we entitled “An Investigation into the Effect of Reiki on the Autonomic Nervous System.” The aim of our study was to investigate if some indices of autonomic function would show any significant differences between Reiki treatment, a placebo treatment, and a control group. The study was a blind trial with subjects assigned at random into the three groups. Forty-five healthy volunteers were recruited from colleagues and associates, and fifteen subjects were assigned into each group. The study used parameters for which there are reliable, quantitative measures, such as heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, breathing activity, and hand skin temperature. These parameters are controlled by the cardiovascular and respiratory centers in the brainstem but are modulated by higher functions of the nervous system. The novel aspect of our study was the real-time measurement of brainstem autonomic function by monitoring cardiovascular regulation carried out by the medullary nuclei.

During the study the Reiki group received rest and Reiki treatment, the placebo group received rest and placebo treatment, and the control group only rest. On arrival the subject was positioned on a couch and the electrodes and transducers were attached. Baseline data were recorded during a rest period for fifteen minutes. There then followed a thirty-minute treatment period (Reiki or placebo or rest) followed by another ten-minute rest period.

The Reiki treatment consisted of the placement of the practitioner’s hands over the subject’s body in a series of six hand positions chosen to correspond with key points in traditional energy-healing systems, over clothing, for a thirty-minute period. The hands were placed over the volunteers’ eyes, temples, occiput, chest, knees, and the soles of the feet. The only point at which the practitioner touched the volunteer was to place their hands underneath the head to reach the occiput.

The placebo treatment was carried out by a person with no knowledge of Reiki, who simply mimicked the hand positions of the Reiki practitioner.

Eight physiological parameters were recorded: heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean blood pressure, cardiac vagal tone, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, skin temperature, and respiration rate. From the statistical analysis of the data we found that there were no significant differences present in the control group; this was as expected. However we did find statistically significant differences between the Reiki and placebo groups, namely changes in heart rate and blood pressure. For those who received Reiki treatment, there was a significant reduction in heart rate and diastolic blood pressure that did not appear in either the placebo or the control group. We have linked the observed reduction in heart rate with the increase in cardiac vagal tone, indicating increased parasympathetic autonomic activity. There was also an observed increase in skin temperature, which could be caused by increased blood flow to the skin, enabled by the reduced vasoconstriction, indicating a reduction in sympathetic activity of the ANS, though the observed change was small. Blood pressure showed a significant reduction in the Reiki group. The blood-pressure reduction can perhaps be explained by the increase in cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex that we witnessed. However, higher centers are able to set the level at which the blood pressure should be defended by the autonomic control system. In the placebo group, the cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex also increased, although to a lesser degree, but with no corresponding blood-pressure reduction. This suggests that perhaps the difference in blood pressure has been caused by higher centers within the nervous system setting a different control level in Reiki but not in placebo.

So what does all this actually mean? Scientifically, we can say that there appear to be significant differences between the Reiki group and placebo and control groups. The nervous system appears to be responding differently to Reiki than to placebo Reiki, which strongly indicates that Reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system. We cannot conclusively say that “Reiki works,” as this was a relatively small study, but it certainly does justify further research, such as a larger study either looking in more detail at the ANS and its response to Reiki, or investigating the symptom profile of a disease during and after Reiki treatment. What we can say after completing this study is that the body, and the ANS specifically, responds to Reiki or energy healing and that this response is not purely a psychological effect or wishful thinking on the part of practitioner and/or patient. This scientifically sound conclusion represents a significant step towards bringing energy healing as a whole into the mainstream and, with luck and more hard work, ultimately into general medical practice.

The research cited in this article is published in full in the following scientific peer-reviewed journal: “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Volume 10, Number 6.

 


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    宇謙老師 【作者:宇謙老師】
    中國執業中醫師(北京/天津).天津中醫藥大學針灸博士.多年來致力於推廣外身心靈課程、能量治療及健康講座,學生包括了專業的諮商師、醫護人員及神職人員。
    《轉載摘錄請標示出處/本站成立於2003年12月 》