Biofield Therapies & Pain Management

Chronic pain can limit your ability to work and enjoy leisure time and is also linked to anxiety, depression, stress and other health problems. Biofield therapies can be used alongside traditional treatments to help to decrease the pain and improve it's 'side-effects' on our mental wellbeing. They involve the direction of healing energy to facilitate well-being by modifying the energy field of the body.

Many studies have shown that these can decrease pain in patients with a wide-range of conditions, from headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, cancer, arthritis and more. It is now widely accepted that reiki and other biofield therapies may help to ease chronic pain when used as a complementary therapy, and the practice of Reiki — a form of energy healing — is now being used in major healthcare systems across the US and in the UK. 

One of the best known biofield therapy techniques for managing pain is Reiki. Reiki sessions will guide energy throughout the body to encourage self-healing, and begin at the head or feet with light touch or even no touch at all with distant reiki.

Stomach Pain
Image by Antonika Chanel

Chronic pain is a complex issue as there is the physical aspect as well as the emotional one. You see, there are five pain centers located in the brain, and two of them are located in the limbic system of the brain. This is the system is where emotions are processed, meaning that there is a strong connection between pain and emotions.


Reiki can help to address that aspect of chronic pain. It can't be used to change what is basically an anatomical problem though, for example, if somebody has chronic back pain due to an eroded disc — that is simply an anatomical problem; you can’t improve or change that with Reiki. Reiki works more on the emotional level by calming people down and working on the brains' pain responses. In the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine Dec 2017, a study concluded that Mind-Body-Spirit medicine using Biofield therapies were thought to help patients with Fibromyalgia and reduce their symptoms that included physical and psychological stress, chronic pain, insomnia and depression.

How Does It Work?

Scientific Evidence

In the publication “Clinical Studies of Biofield Therapies: Summary, Methodological Challenges, and Recommendations” by Jain et al (2015) over 30 published clinical trials were identified demonstrating positive effects of biofield therapies for pain in ambulatory and hospitalised patient populations with chronic pain, arthritis, and movement restriction. Ain and Mills (2010) performed a systematic review of 66 clinical studies utilizing a variety of biofield therapies in different patient populations. The results showed that biofield therapies had strong evidence for decreasing pain intensity in pain populations and moderate evidence for improving pain intensity in hospitalized and cancer populations, decreasing negative behavioural symptoms in dementia, and reducing anxiety for hospitalised populations.

Within the realm of Physical Therapy, a Physical Therapist is trained to intervene at the level of the physical body to create a beneficial physical change. In many cases this is sufficient in order for one to achieve their physical goals. However, in some cases, soley physical based interventions are not enough of a stimulus to create a new pattern and healing within an individual. This tends to be particularly so when there are concurrent patterns of self-limiting beliefs and emotions such as fear, anxiety, and depression. There is a plethora of scientific research that supports the connection between mental and emotional variables with physical pain and disability. (Alfvén, Grillner, & Andersson, 2017; Bunzli, Smith, Schütze, Lin, & O’Sullivan, 2017; Eckhoff, Straume, & Kvernmo, 2017; Hodges & Tucker, 2011; Lotze & Moseley, 2015; Marin et al., 2017; Racine et al., 2016;).