Reiki Continues To Split Opinions
Despite numerous favorable testimonials Reiki continues to split opinion as to whether or not this wonderful healing energy has any legitimate worth as a benefit to healing.
Maybe it is because Reiki healing energy is so difficult to define, I believe due to no two Reiki experiences being the same or it could just be that we have generally become more accustomed with dealing with our medical issues through taking a physical action like taking pills or having an injection.
Whatever the reason for this doubt Reiki healing energy continues to help the sick and is gaining popularity amongst our medical institutions as a viable complimentary/alternative therapy to offer their patients even if the scientific studies state otherwise.
In this article by Anna Medaris Miller you will read a unbiased review of Reiki, noting it’s successes and failings in providing proof of it’s worth.
It’s not meditation, massage or prayer. But practitioners and clients say reiki heals in ways that are hard to explain.
Terri Reynolds, 56, knows the exchange well. She says, “Reiki.” They say, “Huh?” She says, “Energy healing.” They say, “Hocus-pocus.”
But for Reynolds, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011, reiki is anything but. The practice – which usually involves a practitioner placing his or her hands on or above a client to facilitate that person’s healing energy – taught her how to quiet her mind after surgery and six months of chemotherapy.
“When you have a very stressful job and four children, and you get a diagnosis like that, it kind of really slaps you around,” says Reynolds, a certified medical assistant and managed care educator in Springfield, Illinois. “And when you’re grabbing everywhere for anything that makes the littlest bit of hope glisten, you’re apt to try anything.”
Reynolds is now cancer-free but continues to see a reiki practitioner weekly. “I’ll never stop,” she says.
WHAT IS REIKI?
According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, reiki is a healing method based on an Eastern belief in an energy that supports the body’s natural ability to heal. There’s no evidence, the center says, that such an energy exists. Plenty of people disagree.
The word “reiki” is a Japanese term meaning “guided life force energy,” which reiki practitioner and teacher Alice Langholt likens to water: Both are in and among us, she says, and take on different forms – some heavier and some lighter. Reiki can shift this energy into balance “so that our immune systems aren’t fighting the sludge, but can keep us healthy and help us heal faster,” says Langholt, author of “Practical Reiki: for balance, well-being and vibrant health.”
It also may reduce anxiety, improve sleep and simply help people feel better so they make healthier decisions. That was the case for Reynolds. “I’ve lost weight because of being able to calm my mind and my spirit and promote this harmony in my body,” she says.
And you don’t even have to go to a practitioner to try reiki. Anyone can learn to practice it on themselves, experts say.
“This is something that potentially could benefit anyone – it’s really a matter of whether or not they’re interested,” says Miles, who wrote the book “Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide.” “In my experience, when people experience the benefit, they become interested. If you try to explain to them what it is [and] how it works, then you lose them.”
Science or Hype?
Reiki is one of several therapies based on the biofield, or a type of energy field that “regulates everything from our cellular function to our nervous system,” says Shamini Jain, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California–San Diego.
“It’s difficult for our Western science to wrap its mind around” because it’s not about popping pills, injecting needles or otherwise altering the body’s chemical composition, says Jain, a clinical psychologist who studies integrative medicine.
Indeed, reiki has its fair share of critics, who point to research that discounts the effects of reiki and other similar alternative therapies as a placebo effect. One study this year in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, for example, evaluated the effect of energy healing on colorectal cancer patients and found the therapy did not improve depressive symptoms, mood or sleep quality. Only study participants who already had a positive attitude toward complementary and alternative medicine practices showed a boost in mood.
Others worry that the practice is unethical, fraudulent and deceptive.
Anna Medaris Miller is a Health + Wellness reporter at U.S. News. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.