A Rebuttal to the Silliest of Criticisms of Reiki Healing

Here follows a summation and a portion of the approved report by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Administrative Committee entitled: “Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as Alternative Therapy”.

in it's entirety the Bishops' article can be found at http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/upload/evaluation-guidelines-finaltext-2009-03.pdf - by the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine, March 26, 2009 (please note that this piece was not concocted in the dark ages!).

Here follow the most important excepts:

  • "Reiki therapy, an alternative medicine originating in Japan, is unscientific and inappropriate for use by Catholic hospitals, clinics and retreat centers and people representing the Church,
  • "For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems," the committee's guidelines said. "In terms of caring for one's physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent."

The Bishops opined that the technique — which involves a Reiki practitioner laying hands on a client - also is encouraged as a "spiritual" kind of healing, but that for Christians "access to divine healing" comes through prayer to God. A Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki "would be operating in the realm of superstition".
These new guidelines were quoted as saying: "according to Reiki teaching, illness is caused by some kind of disruption or imbalance in one's 'life energy.' A Reiki practitioner effects healing by placing his or her hands in certain positions on the patient's body in order to facilitate the flow of Reiki, the 'universal life energy,' from the Reiki practitioner to the patient, and is a "technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing."
But, the bishops' guidelines said, "Reiki lacks scientific credibility" and "has not been accepted by the scientific and medical communities as an effective therapy.... Reputable scientific studies attesting to the efficacy of Reiki are lacking, as is a plausible scientific explanation as to how it could possibly be efficacious." (...hmmm and the smart-ass in me then immediately wants to rebut with the mere fact that there is no scientific and medical proof either that threre is a God or that Jesus was born to a Virgin or that Jesus performed miracles or raised Lazurus from dealth..just saying...)

The bishops' guidelines noted that "Reiki is frequently described as a 'spiritual' kind of healing as opposed to the common medical procedures of healing using physical means."
However, there is a radical difference between Reiki therapy and the healing by divine power in which Christians believe, the guidelines said.

  • "For Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as lord and savior, while the essence of Reiki is not a prayer but a technique that is passed down from the 'Reiki master' to the pupil. In sum, Reiki therapy "finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief," and they warned that "there are important dangers" in using Reiki for one's spiritual health." ...

    "To use Reiki one would have to accept at least in an implicit way, central elements of the worldview that undergirds Reiki theory, elements that belong neither to Christian faith nor to natural science," ...

    "Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, however, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no man's land that is neither faith nor science," they continued.
    (hmmm... the sceptic in me wonders how different that would be to praying for healing and hoping the holy spirit will find me amongst a sea of other devout members of the congregation...)

  • "Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy," the guidelines said
    (hmmm... beg to differ... as the energy that created us, including these Bishops, is so infinitly divine, wise, all-powerful, beyond our mere human understanding (including the Bishops') and as the energy that surrounds us and all of nature is permeated in every molecule of our existence... we can at least pay homage to it, appreciate it, draw it ot ourselves, use it within and benefit...prayer?...)

So, my thoughts on this... My goodness! 
Such politically motivated gibberish from people who are dedicated to care about us and who feel are in a position to spiritually guide us! So Reiki information was gathered from the Internet and Reiki books. Not so smart for making a valuable, guiding, insightful, internationally read, statement to guide one's flock! If I were to try and understand witchcraft, I'd do more than read about it - I'd possibly try and meet at least one or two witches for an in-depth chat or a session (with ambulance standing by???)
It was concluded that this form of hands-on-healing, has a Buddhist, religious basis whereby the practitioner directs healing energy by way of human thought and will (this even casts dispersions on intention!); that Reiki is not scientifically validated (wrong part of the internet was consulted!); that that the medical community has not accepted Reiki (so what, they don't accept a lot of things such as 43 vaccinations in early childhood being too much, either); and that there is no scientific explanation for how it works (there most definately is - energy can be measured and calibrated and has been shown and documented on numerous occasionas by credible groups and institutions - The Secret Life of Plants, The Secret Life of Cells, lie-detector testing, EEG test, tests at HeartMath, just to name a few orthodox books, people and equipment).

It isn't however, scientific to considering internet sources as a basis for an international proclamation... even the most naive amongst us know that! Do we dismiss all of our GP's because we read on-line and hear on CNN that some still dispense pharmaceuticals that are harmful and no longer FDA approved. Do we tar them all with the same brush and assume that all doctors are all ill-informed? Do we dismiss Catholic priests, in their entirety, because so many have been flagrantly, physically and morally at odds with the church's teachings? So how is it that educated clergy can retrieve Reiki information rife with inaccurates and then make proclamations from these highly inadequate sources?

The best information on Reiki comes from those who have researched the history and practiced the work, professionally.
Most of us could not travel to Japan to see if we could garner a smidgeon of authentification of what we read about Reiki and were taught (the original Reiki information was not shared with Westerners due to the closed-ness of the Japanese ways and culture).
The more rational amongst us, decided it was best judged by critical contemplation (much like what the church is attempting, now) and careful consideration of the factors that we know were added on over time (by Western practitioners and "new age thought" types of teachers - such as channeling psychic information, past lives retrieval, clairvoyance tactics and crystals). With an eagle-eye always kept on results, practice and for learning purposes, we could figure it out quite nicely.
(most Japanese Reiki teachers, in the past, have made research difficult for all but a few brave and persistent Western practitioners, who were determined to learn more and dig deeper about the origins of Reiki, the present Reiki practices in Japan, the evolving changes there over time, and theoretical aspects that have remained hidden from the West).
In the late 90’s, two British practitioners were able to make tiny breakthroughs and then proceeded to carefully pass on details to the interested in the Western world of hands-on-healing.

We now have the writings of, amongst others, Hiroshi Doi, Dave King and Frank Arjava Petter, who also managed to be introduced to the original Reiki information. The most credible Japanese sources indicate that Mikao Usui, the founder - a deeply dedicated teacher and a devout religious person - wasn’t seeking to discover a method of healing, but that the ability to heal came to him spontaneously during a spiritual experience during a three week solitary retreat at a sacred site: “My Usui Reiki Ryoho (healing art) is original, never before explored, and incomparable in the world.” from Master Usui's Reiki Ryoho Hikkei (Reiki Healing Art Handbook),

If the Catholic Church is uncomfortable with energy that could include energy work that could be "willed", then that implies that working with visualizations and intention are also tabu! (hmm... then why would i be looking at an image of Mary or jesus and asking for exactly what I want...)
If the Bishops are uncomfortable with Reiki, then also Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch are implicated... what about meditation - a practice that the Jesuits have perfected!
It follows, then that Touch for Health, muscle testing, when done properly, would become the work of the devil!
Further more, our healing in the future doesn't look too good if we need each of the practices mentioned above and many more to be understood, tested and sanctioned by orthodox medicine and science, before we can include them as our healing tools, so that the Catholic Church can also give their approval. (hmm..... who owns who and who dictates advancement in methods and techniques?
Those that know, or those who sit on committees and judge from afar and intellectually? As a friend of mine mentioned (a shocked devout Catholic Reiki practitioner): "it seems almost that they think we're competing with God, rather than that we are extending a mere, small, human, helping "hand" or must I now just sit and wait for divine intervention?

What happened to: "This you can do and more"?

I have never violated copyright laws or copyright codes of honour, but I'm so annoyed and frustrated and plain tired of employing the principle of "Just for today, do not be angry" in regards to all this nonsense above religious nonense, that I'm going to end this article with a huge wonderful piece from James Oschman, Ph.D.'s book: Science and the Human Energy Field.
Dr. Oschman is a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. Through research, he discovered a number of important scientific studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology. These findings are discussed in an interview, “Science and the Human Energy Field <http://www.reiki.org/Download/OschmanReprint2.pdf> ,” published in the Winter 2002 issue of William Rand's Reiki News Magazine. (I guess the Bishops research group missed that one! - even though it's a classic!)
Scientific Explanation for Reiki
The electrical currents that run through every part of the human body provide the basis for Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues of the body and can be detected anywhere on the body.
Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.
The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated. Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of this hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the interview mentioned above.

Acceptance by the Medical Community
Although Reiki is not universally accepted within the medical community, many medical professionals, hospitals, and healthcare facilities recognize its benefits and accept it as an adjunct therapy. In Holistic Nursing, A Handbook for Practice, Chapter 2 “Scope and Standards of Practice,” the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA) lists Reiki as an accepted form of treatment. (1) 

In addition, according to the American Hospital Association, in 2007 Reiki was offered as a standard part of patient care in 15% or over 800 hospitals across the US. (2) Doctors have recommended Reiki to their patients for amelioration of various health-related conditions. Surgeons make use of Reiki practitioners prior to, during, and following surgery. As an example, Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most respected cardiovascular surgeons in the US, uses Reiki during open-heart surgeries and heart transplants. According to Dr. Oz, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”(3)
Ethical Implications
To refuse Reiki treatment to patients that request it creates an ethical issue. According to the AHNA statement https://www.ahna.org/Portals/4/docs/News/Response_to_Bishops_Guidelines_for_Reiki.pdf in response to the bishops’ statement, the practice of holistic nursing is not subject to regulation by the Catholic Church and it would be an ethical violation for a member of the AHNA to withhold Reiki treatment from a patient who requests it; this includes those working in Catholic hospitals.

Scientific Studies

There are a number of reputable scientific studies that provide evidence that Reiki is therapeutic. These studies can be found by using one of the professional medical databases such as PubMed or Cochrane Collection. (4) Studies meeting medical and scientific standards are usually published in peer-reviewed journals. There are over 20 such studies on the therapeutic value of Reiki. While the Reiki studies conducted to date are preliminary in nature, they do provide support for additional studies.
One well-designed Reiki study is “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study. (5) Forty-five subjects were assigned randomly to three groups. One group received no treatment, another received Reiki treatment by experienced Reiki practitioners, and the third group received sham treatment by a person with no Reiki training who used the same hand positions as those receiving real Reiki.
Measurements were made of heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing. Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly for those receiving Reiki, but not for those receiving sham Reiki, or no treatment. This study indicates that the body does respond to Reiki energy and that this response isn’t purely psychological. It also indicates a potential therapeutic effect for Reiki.
“Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats” (6) is another valuable study. The value of using animals in this type of study is that they are not affected by belief or skepticism regarding Reiki. In addition, highly accurate telemetric implants were used to transmit the biometric data. White noise was used to increase the heart rate of three implanted laboratory rats. The rats were treated by a Reiki practitioner and by a sham Reiki practitioner prior to being exposed to white noise and after exposure. The procedure involved the practitioner directing their hands toward the caged rat at a distance of four feet. The rats that received Reiki experienced a significant reduction in heart rate, both before having their heart rates elevated by white noise and after, whereas those treated with sham Reiki did not. This is one of the most rigorous Reiki studies to date and demonstrates that Reiki reduces the heart rate in both stressed and unstressed animals and promotes homeostasis, both of which promote healthy heart function.
Reiki is practiced by followers of many religious traditions - different names but the same work. Although some practitioners integrate Reiki into their existing religious beliefs, Reiki is not a religion, doctrine, or dogma. Reiki is grounded in the principle of compassionate action, which is common to all religious traditions (almost all...). While each religion has the right to create its own rules, it’s within the nature of human dignity and free will for each person to decide which path to follow and what activities are appropriate for them to learn and follow.

The above was quoted from James Oschman, Ph.D.'s book: Science and the Human Energy Field.


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