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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 329731, 9 pages
Research Article

Comparison of Physical Therapy with Energy Healing for Improving Range of Motion in Subjects with Restricted Shoulder Mobility

1Laboratory for the Advances in Consciousness and Health, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0068, USA
2Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5051, USA

Received 20 June 2013; Accepted 2 October 2013

Academic Editor: Kevin Chen

Copyright © 2013 Ann Linda Baldwin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two forms of energy healing, Reconnective Healing (RH) and Reiki, which involve light or no touch, were tested for efficacy against physical therapy (PT) for increasing limited range of motion (ROM) of arm elevation in the scapular plane. Participants were assigned to one of 5 groups: PT, Reiki, RH, Sham Healing, or no treatment. Except for no treatment, participants were blinded as to grouping. Range of Motion, self-reported pain, and heart rate variability (HRV) were assessed before and after a 10-minute session. On average, for PT, Reiki, RH, Sham Healing, and no treatment, respectively, ROM increased by 12°, 20°, 26°, 0.6°, and 3° and pain score decreased by 11.5%, 10.1%, 23.9%, 15.4%, and 0%. Physical therapy, Reiki, and RH were more effective than Sham Healing for increasing ROM (PT: , ; Reiki: , ; RH: , ). It is possible that this improvement was not mediated by myofascial release because the subjects’ HRV did not change, suggesting no significant increase in vagal activity. Sham treatment significantly reduced pain compared to no treatment ( , ) and was just as effective as PT, Reiki, and RH. It is the authors’ opinion that the accompanying pain relief is a placebo effect.