The main purpose of this project is to measure the effects of Reiki on noise-induced intestinal damage. Reiki is a subtle energy healing system in which a Reiki practitioner transmits the Universal Life Force Energy to the recipient. In a previous study, using rats, we showed that noise stress causes disruption of the intestinal barrier, and increases permeability of mesenteric microvessels. Any condition that disrupts these barriers would allow the inappropriate introduction of antigens, microorganisms, and toxins into the lamina propria, and ultimately the systemic circulation. Specialized epithelial cells in the intestine, M cells, sample antigens and present them to immune cells in the intestinal mucosa. We hypothesize that noise-induced stress reduces the selectivity of the M cells to foreign particles, and thus up regulates the immune system. If Reiki can limit the destructive responses of an inappropriately activated immune system, it will have profound effects in the treatment of immune disorders. The proposed experiments will be performed on the rat intestinal model. No Reiki studies have used animal models, even though animal experiments ensure tight control of variables and guarantee the absence of a believing/skeptical attitude. Groups of rats will be exposed to a daily period of white noise. Some groups will also receive (i) Reiki, (ii) Reiki from a distance, or (iii) Sham Reiki, in which a technician just imitates the hand positions of the Reiki Master. Production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestinal mucosa will be monitored using a fluorescent probe. Changes in microvascular permeability will be evaluated using intravital epifluorescence microscopy and computerized image analysis. Cellular changes will be assessed using electron microscopy and histology. Selective exclusion of foreign particles by the M cells will be tested by orally administering polystyrene particles and measuring particle concentration in Peyer's patches and lymph nodes.
Specific Aim 1. Reiki, but not Sham Reiki, reduces the effects of noise stress on the intestine, specifically, generation of excess ROS, epithelial damage, increased particulate uptake by M-cells and increased microvascular permeability. If hypothesis 1 is correct, or if both Reiki and Sham Reiki reduce damage, then the experiments will be repeated using Reiki at a distance to determine whether the effects require the presence of a person in the animal room (Specific Aim 2a). If neither Reiki nor Sham Reiki affect results, then we shall investigate whether gentle handling of the animals reduces the intestinal responses to noise (Specific Aim 2b). ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-DB (07))
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Klein, Marguerite
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University of Arizona
Schools of Medicine
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Baldwin, Ann Linda; Wagers, Christina; Schwartz, Gary E (2008) Reiki improves heart rate homeostasis in laboratory rats. J Altern Complement Med 14:417-22
Baldwin, Ann L (2006) Mast cell activation by stress. Methods Mol Biol 315:349-60
Baldwin, Ann L; Schwartz, Gary E (2006) Personal interaction with a Reiki practitioner decreases noise-induced microvascular damage in an animal model. J Altern Complement Med 12:15-22