How does it work? Proponents say that by laying hands on a patient's body or redirecting positive energy from a distance, a practitioner can realign and strengthen the body's flow of energy, thereby easing pain, relaxing muscles and improving sleep.
Is there evidence it works? There is no scientific evidence to show Reiki works as a treatment for breast cancer or any other disease, says the ACS. However, patient testimonials about improved relaxation and well-being are numerous.
Can practitioners get licensed? Certifications for trained practitioners are available from Reiki organizations. But they are not regulated by any federal agency. Reiki classes are taught all over the country and in many parts of the world, according to the International Center for Reiki Training. Class schedules, listed by state, are available at reiki.org.
Is there a down side? Reiki involves light touch or no touch so it is considered safe, the ACS says. Using it in place of traditional medical treatment, though, can have serious consequences.