The utilization of complimentary therapies in nursing practice reduces stress in patients in post-surgical and oncological areas. Patients rely on nursing support to advocate for the provision of these therapies. While research has established benefits of these therapies, many states do not license or regulate the practice. Because there is no regulation of Reiki practice in most states, the ability for the nurse to advocate for the patient can become compromised. This review of the literature is a first step in identifying legal responsibilities of nurses involved in this dilemma.
The literature review, using CINAHL, shows that reiki has been helpful to patients post caesarean delivery, post total knee arthroplasty, and post chemotherapy in breast cancer. At present, there is no national or state wide system for credentialing of personnel wishing to attend to hospitalized patients. The time is ripe to determine whether this complimentary therapy should be monitored by the state because: there are many documented and undocumented Reiki masters advertising to the public and charging money for therapy, most of these individuals are not educated in healthcare and HIPPAA restricts information that can be exchanged between these practitioners and healthcare providers.
Reiki should be available for patients who can benefit from the stress reduction and ability to contribute to the healing of patients where patients choose this therapy. A registry of providers can assist in assuring patient safety, determining the need for licensure, and that all practitioners are up to date with current communication and HIPPAA compliance.