You don't have to be Buddhist to get the benefits just as you don't have to be dead to move toward the light.

Throughout Tibet, Buddhists turn much loved prayer wheels to invoke the powerful blessings of Om Mani Padme Hum- often translated as -"Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus." The lotus as most people know represents the transcending of the delusional mud of samsara. The jewel is the heart/calyx that represents the fertile tantric energy of Compassionate Creativity.
For centuries prayer wheels have been used for healing, purifying karma and protection from negativities. Some of the most advanced Buddhist Saints such as Padmasambhava, Marpa and Mahasiddhas such as Tilopa, Naropa and Nagarjuna used and distributed prayer wheels to benefit sentient beings and to protect the environment especially of sincere Dharma practitioners. Tibetans wear them, carry them or have them in their houses while larger prayer wheels guard and grace the front of Buddhist temples and monasteries.

It makes sense that Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit), Chenrezig (Tibetan) Quan Yin (Chinese) Kuan Yin (Korean) etc.. had the enlightened insight to give us a practice that combines methods of meditation, visualisation and hand movements. Avalokiteshvara is often depicted as having thousands of hands symbolic of the unlimited support of helping hands for all beings arising out of boundless compassion. Avalokiteshvara the Bodhisattva Deity of Taoists as well as Buddhists is known for wanting to assist all sentient beings out of the suffering of samsara and into the Wisdom-Bliss of enlightenment.

"In Buddhism we talk about samsara and nirvana. Samsara is where there's all this delusion. When we talk about ignorance or delusion such as clinging to a self, we're not talking about a defilement that actually does exist truly within us and that we later have to purify. In fact, all these delusions, all this ignorance, in reality they don't exist. But because of our own insecurity we think they exist. We are very attached to the existence of this self. Now wisdom is that which understands the non-existent aspect of such a delusion. But as I've said many times, one can roughly understand wisdom through study and receiving teachings, but in order to actually understand wisdom one has to have lots of merit."

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche