Cost: $60 and up for half-hour massage; $100 and up for a 30- to 60-minute Reiki session
Covered by insurance: No
Bottom Line: They relax youFederal research hasn't determined whether massage is helpful in treating disease, but it seems to reduce stress. And reducing stress lowers the risk of diseases.
Doctors warn not to have a massage if you have a fever or certain conditions such as osteoporosis (fragile bones) or any kind of bleeding disorder.
Massage isn't recommended for anyone taking blood-thinning drugs such as the commonly used warfarin, also sold under the brand name Coumadin. There's a risk of internal bleeding.
Less well known but increasingly popular is Reiki, a kind of energy medicine that began in Japan. It's often used to treat chronic pain from arthritis or injury, to alleviate discomfort from chemotherapy and to treat insomnia and anxiety.
The International Center for Reiki Training in Southfield, Mich. says that more than 2 million adults in the U.S. have been treated with Reiki in recent years.
Practitioners claim there are biofields that surround and penetrate the body that can't be detected with standard scientific instruments. Disruptions of life forces or energies can cause disease, they believe.
In Reiki a practitioner uses his or her hands to intensify a patient's life force, clear blocked energy pathways or reduce negative energies.
Sounds a bit out there? Perhaps, but hospitals and clinics are adding Reiki to their menu of alternative therapies. Yale-New Haven Hospital has offered Reiki for 10 years. NCCAM is conducting more research.