Reiki goes mainstream: Spiritual touch practice now commonplace in hospitals

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Marydale Pecora gives Sandra Delgado an energy attunement at her Reiki share session. Photo courtesy of Brianna Sacks

Marydale Pecora gives Sandra Delgado an energy attunement at her Reiki share session. Photo courtesy of Brianna Sacks

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CHATSWORTH, Calif. (RNS) A spiritual touch practice based on the notion that human hands can redirect one’s “life force energy” to heal, Reiki is the hottest new Eastern healing practice making its way into the Western health industry.

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  • The Great God Pan

    “But for a relatively safe and side-effect-free treatment, Reiki has garnered quite a conflicted reputation among health researchers and medical professionals ”

    That’s because magical touching is not in actuality a medical treatment. Wearing a Napoleon hat is also safe and side-effect-free but it’s not going to kill off cancer cells. Neither will magical touching from some charlatan. Reiki might have some value as a placebo (*) but it shouldn’t really be encouraged over actual medicine.

    {*) A study has shown, predictably, that “real reiki” and “sham reiki” are equally effective: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/oct/11/placebos-reiki-cancer-patients-harm

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  • Larry

    As someone who works in insurance claims, I would like to say, ugh!!!!

    As soon as they recognize it as a covered treatment, the insurance companies will have Independent Medical Examinations and peer reviews for this treatment to find excuses not to cover excessive charges for this sort of thing. There will be actual lawsuits concerning the “medical necessity” of this crap.

    There is nothing more ridiculous than to have to read a “medical” report for a pseudoscience or to hear such things recited to a judge. I occasionally have to read reports from acupuncturists and see them give statements under oath. To hear and read adults talking about the “medical standards of gauging one’s Chi or to hear of the patient’s “meridian flows” makes me want to ROTFLMAO. It makes me want to scream out to them, “YOU ARE CHARGING $100 AN HOUR FOR WARMED OVER VOODOO?????”

  • Reiki is one of the few things the R.C. hierarchy and I agree on. They’re 100% correct that it’s nothing more than superstition.

    But reiki is hardly the only “touch-healing” woo that’s penetrated medical institutions. There’s also “therapeutic touch,” which is just as invalid. In 1998, a 9-year-old conducted an experiment which blew it away … and this experiment was the basis of a paper which was published in JAMA that subsequently stood up to peer review. (See http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/10-11-17/#feature for more on that.)

    It’s great to say there are no side-effects to these things, but potentially there’s an indirect effect, that of possibly discouraging people from getting valid medical treatment, not to mention the waste of time and money that’d have been better spent on effective alternatives.

  • Paul

    The Roman Catholic church calling reiki a superstition is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. The Roman Catholic church is built on superstition (as are all religions).

  • Larry

    The weekend I became a Reiki healer
    http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/the_weekend_i_became_a_reiki_healer

    Its just that easy. Start hiring the part-time claims coding processor and get going sending those bills to the insurance companies.

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  • joe

    reiki therapy has been debunked many years ago, it was proven to be inefective for any known illness

  • joe

    hi, you obviously have not heard of the dead sea scrolls.