Healing Power of Reiki

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Healing Power of Reiki

Reiki (pronounced raykey) is a form of “energy healing,” essentially the Asian version of faith healing or laying on of hands. Practitioners believe they are transferring life energy to the patient, increasing their well-being.

Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

Reiki is therefore a form of vitalism – the pre-scientific belief that some spiritual energy animates the living, and is what separates living things from non-living things. The notion of vitalism was always an intellectual place-holder, responsible for whatever aspects of biology were not currently understood. But as science progressed, eventually we figured out all of the basic functions of life and there was simply nothing left for the vital force to do. It therefore faded from scientific thinking. We can add to that the fact that no one has been able to provide positive evidence for the existence of a vital force – it remains entirely unknown to science.

But the discarded science and superstition of the past is the “alternative medicine” of today. There are many so-called “CAM” modalities that are based on vitalism, including Reiki. Reiki, in fact, is very similar to therapeutic touch.

The research on Reiki, and energy healing in general, is similar to that of many similar modalities – those with very low scientific plausibility that are not taken very seriously by medical scientists. The research is of generally low quality, poorly controlled small studies that seem designed to justify Reiki rather than see if it actually works. The most recently published study, for example, looks at anxiety levels and self-reported well being in cancer patient and finds, unsurprisingly, that patients feel better when they receive the kind attention of a nurse. The study is completely uncontrolled, and therefore of dubious value. One might consider such a study a complete waste of time and effort, as the results were never in doubt.

A 2011 review of reiki studies concluded:

The existing research does not allow conclusions regarding the efficacy or effectiveness of energy healing. Future studies should adhere to existing standards of research on the efficacy and effectiveness of a treatment, and given the complex character of potential outcomes, cross-disciplinary methodologies may be relevant. To extend the scope of clinical trials, psychosocial processes should be taken into account and explored.

Hands are, deceptively, the most essential weapon at a doctor’s disposal. Whether they’re handling a scalpel, administering a vaccination or setting a broken bone, a doctor’s hands are a vital part of any Western medical practice. But some believe a skilled set of hands are all you need to heal a major malady—no instruments required. Reiki, a Japanese form of spiritual medicine developed by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century, employs the hands to transfer energy with perceived healing qualities into the bodies of the ailing.

For those who willingly receive the energy, results are hard to deny, anecdotal though they may be. The International Center for Reiki Healing website boasts an extensive section of testimonials, with individuals from all across the globe sharing stories of having benefited from Reiki for conditions varying in severity from uncomfortable to seemingly insurmountable. One supporter recounts having an abscessed tooth cured by the method, saving her the pain of a root canal. Others claim to have had cancer cured by distant Reiki. Perhaps the most unlikely testimonial on the site comes from a medical doctor who describes using various versions of Reiki to heal the ovarian cyst of a patient who fearfully resisted surgery.

It’s a good thing the results speak for themselves, as many practitioners of Reiki seem disinterested in singing its praises. As Reiki master William Lee Rand humbly explains, “You don’t study to learn how to use Reiki—it’s a gift.”

Despite its near 100-year existence, Reiki remains largely unaccepted as a legitimate healing practice due to a lack of scientific support. And aside from liability packages for practitioners, you’d be hard-pressed to find insurance companies willing to cover the cost of Reiki treatments. Still,

“The purpose of Reiki is to provide stress reduction and relaxation, but especially healing,” specifying that the healing can be either emotional or physical. These results are what he believes allow those receiving Reiki to lead more meaningful lives. And the benefits go both ways. “The practitioner is leading a more meaningful life, too, because they’re helping others,”.

.“I was fascinated by the idea that people have hidden or dormant abilities—some of them quite unusual—and  if we do different exercises, we can develop  those abilities and live an extraordinary life,”.

“I realized it was very special, and it used quite an unusual energy,”.  “Unlike other practices where you study for months or years before you have any skill at all, you receive the ability immediately”. Much like learning to use the technique, I considers the ability to teach to be a gift. “In the teacher training, you receive an attunement, which bestows upon you the ability to do the attunement”. It’s a self-perpetuating gift that passes from person to person, inspiring them to pass the knowledge on to others while also granting them access to the words, tools and motivation necessary to share it.  “As long as the person wants to receive the attunement and wants the ability, it comes right in,”. “The energy respects free will—if the person doesn’t want it, it’s not going to force itself on them.”

Reiki isn’t limited in its benefits to human beings. Our four-legged friends can also see improvements to their overall quality of life when treated by Reiki masters.

Whether Reiki is right for you is a personal choice. Given that the cynical are less likely to experience the full benefits of the healing energy at the center of the practice, perhaps it’s best for those who doubt to stick with their prescriptions, or to ask their physician if there’s any treatment that can help to remedy a closed mind.

 


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