Today’s discourse is on reiki.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, reiki is an energy healing method based on the principle of universal life energy. The idea is that we’re all connected to this energy and it flows around and through us all the time. And this energy can be channeled and amplified to help heal people and animals—on a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual level.
My first experience with reiki happened several years ago when I went to a reiki practitioner for my very first session, at the suggestion of a friend. I had no idea what to expect but I was open to whatever might happen.
My brain was whirling that day, tons of things spinning around in what felt like a category 5 hurricane in my head. But as the practitioner worked on me, I felt the hurricane slow down. Category 5, category 4 , 3 , 2, 1 . . . until all I was aware of was what was happening in the room. I heard cars outside, felt the slight breeze from the ceiling fan, and that was pretty much it. It was bizarre—my brain was completely still and I felt totally calm.
And for the rest of the day I was all zen and chill—which is not my normal state of being, as you might have guessed. There were a few things that happened later that afternoon—things that would ordinarily put me in a homicidal rage—and I just shrugged them off. Eh, whatever, no big deal. That’s when I knew something big had happened. If it hadn’t happened to me personally, I never would have believed it. Sure, by the next day I was my normal cranky self but that’s not the point.
I was so intrigued by this whole reiki thing that I decided to learn how to do it myself. And last year, after much study, I became a Reiki Master. I’ve done healing sessions for people as well as animals. Everyone gets something different from it, there isn’t just one result. Some people feel calmer and more relaxed, some people feel better physically, some people feel more mental clarity, etc. And pet owners say that their pets are calmer and less stressed after a reiki healing.
There are many skeptics who claim that reiki doesn’t work and that any benefits are only because of the placebo effect. They point to the fact that clinical trials designed to measure the effects of reiki have yielded mixed results. And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gave reiki another slap in the face when they issued this ruling in 2009: “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…Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science…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.” (If you have any interest in reading the full text of the bishops’ decision, click here.)
Skeptics can go ahead and call it new-age crap, hocus pocus, whatever they want. And don’t get me started on the Catholic bishops because it will just turn ugly.
All I know is, reiki does work. I have no idea how it works, exactly, except that it does. Even Mr. Weebles has grudgingly admitted that there’s something to it.
It’s true that clinical trials of reiki have been inconclusive—but so what? There are mixed results in clinical trials all the time, and that hasn’t stopped medical and pharmaceutical investigators from continuing to work with a specific treatment if it has shown efficacy.
One could certainly try to chalk up the benefits of reiki to the placebo effect, but you can’t use that explanation in the case of animals. So something happens. And if medical powerhouses like Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic offer reiki as part of their integrated healing services, then surely there must be value to it.
That’s not to say that reiki is a substitute for medical treatment—it isn’t, and nobody should ever have a reiki healing instead of seeing a doctor. But as an adjunct to medical care, and/or as a tool for emotional/mental/spiritual healing, I’ve seen what reiki can do and it never ceases to amaze me.
So to sum up, reiki is not flaky. It’s juicy and delicious! Try some!