5 things I want to tell the naysayers

Reiki during chemotheraphy
Joan Pouch performs Reiki on cancer patient Margaret Briscoe, to help relax her during a chemotherapy infusion.

Last week, an advertisement was posted in the UK for a Reiki Spiritual Healer to join the staff, in a paid position, at St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping, Essex. This created a bit of a storm in the webosphere with some people criticizing the hospital for condoning “quackery.”

Here are the top 5 things I’d like to say to all the naysayers:

  1. We’re not just physical machines. To be human is to be composed of body, mind, and spirit. These aspects are continuously linked during our lifetime. A healthy mind helps to create a healthy body and spirit. A healthy spirit contributes to a healthy mind and body, etc.
  2. Doctors and nurses don’t do the same thing as Reiki practitioners. The Reiki practitioners are helping the doctors and nurses. They help by creating an environment where a patient can relax and receive his or her treatment with less stress and anxiety.
  3. There are studies that show this is helpful. See, for instance:

Rachel S.C. Friedman, Matthew M. Burg, Pamela Miles, Forrester Lee, and Rachel Lampert “The Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome.” J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2010; 56;995-996.

Baldwin, A. and Schwartz, G.E., “Personal Interaction with a Reiki Practitioner Decreases Noise-Induced Damage in An Animal Model”, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, January 1, 2006.

Bengston, W., Kinslet, D. (2000) “The Effect of the ‘Laying On of Hands’ on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Fall, vol. 14(3), pp.353-364.

And more here.

  1. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there are Reiki practitioners in many large hospitals. You can often find them offering Reiki during chemotherapy treatments. Why don’t you stop by and ask the patients what they think of the Reiki?
  2. Wake Up! Our bodies/minds/spirits are asking for holistic and complementary care. Please step aside while we provide it.



Reiki is not pseudoscience

Recently, I was navigating to my website using my iPhone’s Safari browser and as I typed the URL a Google search result came up showing the Wikipedia entry for Reiki. It stated that Reiki is “a form of pseudoscientific alternative medicine.” I was so surprised by this statement and have resolved to assist in the editing of it. When I do so, I will be sure to remove the term, “pseudoscience.”

The reason for this is that Reiki is not pseudoscience. In order for it to be pseudoscience, it would have to be based on the scientific method and clearly it is not. As Pamela Miles says so well:  Reiki is a spiritual healing practice. I love science and I love Reiki, but they are separate things. I can believe in both and that does not degrade one or the other. Reiki works in the same way that other lifestyle changes work that bring about relaxation, that decrease pain, and improve one’s mood.

As Reiki practitioners, it’s important that we remember, and that we’re clear in our communications, that Reiki is not science. It is not based on the scientific method and yet we know through our experiences and those of our clients that it works and it facilitates the natural healing abilities of the mind, body, and spirit.

How do you talk about Reiki to your friends, family, colleagues, and clients? Are there explanations that you find more effective than others? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Here are some helpful articles that continue this discussion:

Phyllis Lei Furumato discusses Reiki Research

I didn’t expect this, but so far this year I have been really deeply immersing myself in my Reiki practice.  My devotion and practice have always been there but something is happening this year which is more deep and profound than what I have experienced before — outside of my initial attunement experiences.

I’ve noticed that I’m bridging on obsession with Reiki.  I think about it almost constantly and I’m asking more of it . . . and it is providing for my needs in very powerful ways.  Part of this Reiki immersion is additional research, reading and talking about Reiki.  The doing of Reiki has always been primary for me, but now I feel as if I want to connect my intellect more closely with my intuition and experience.

As I journey in this way, I have found some amazing resources, including Phyllis Lei Furumato’s Reiki Talk Show.  (Phyllis is Hawayo Takata’s granddaughter.)  This is an amazing collection of interviews with Reiki Masters from around the world who recount their Reiki stories and then dive into their area of specialization.  Recently, there has been a series of interviews with Masters who are involved in Reiki Research.

Phyllis has described an evolution of Reiki Research in two stages.  The first stage has focused on proving that Reiki exists.  While the second stage of research has focused on the effect of Reiki on the physical, emotional and spiritual realms.

I highly recommend listening to the interview with Martin Ouwerkerk.  Martin is a chemist and Reiki Master, who has used a bio-photon measuring device to detect the Reiki energy from his hands.  As he describes in the interview, when he added the Reiki symbols to his offering, the machine detected a change in the photons being emitted.  He uses the word “perfection” to describe this, but we might also call it “harmony” because the lack of the flow of photons is an experience of oneness:  “you’re everything”.  There is no barrier between your physical/material existence and the universe.  You are connected with everything through Reiki.

There is also a lively discussion about the sensations in our hands that Reiki practitioners experience or don’t.  Martin describes is as a method of tuning between the practitioner and the recipient.  We are always taught to accept the sensations as they are and not to draw a conclusion.  However, we are each unique and so is our experience as Reiki practitioners.

Phyllis concludes the interview by talking about miracles and what might qualify as a Reiki miracle.  She encourages us to have a childlike attitude about miracles and see them in our everyday experiences.  I completely agree with Phyllis’ conclusion that scientific research creates a pathway to see miracles in everyday life.  Science is one of the universe’s gifts and not an enemy of Reiki.

I hope you’ll find the time to listen to Phyllis and Martin.  Please share your thoughts about the interview and how the journey of life is showing up for you in unexpected ways.

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