Doing Differently....allows miracles

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STEVE JOBS QUOTE

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. — Steve Jobs, US computer engineer & industrialist

Reiki Information

Reiki Assists on the Healing Journey

 

Alternative Medicine Treatments


An introduction to some complementary and alternative approaches that can help heal the body, mind and soul.


For generations, people have been exploring a variety of approaches  to treat the physical, emotional, nutritional and biological effects of  illness. In Western societies the practice of medicine mostly relies on  therapies that typically undergo rigorous testing for safety and  effectiveness before they are accepted into mainstream use. But there  are many practices and products that are used around the world that  while unproven by Western standards, have provided reassurances and  relief of discomfort and distress for centuries.

In many cultures these are considered traditional medicine. In the  West, we call these approaches complementary and alternative (CAM)  treatments. They can be used in combination with conventional Western  medical therapies such as medications, surgery and other standard  procedures (complementary medicine) or alone (alternative medicine).   

Recently, the practice of integrative medicine is gaining  popularity and many mainstream medical practitioners now fully embrace  and trust some of the better-studied alternative approaches, such as  acupuncture, as a highly effective treatment.   


Why CAM? 

People who use CAM treatments do so for a variety of reasons.  Mostly they are used to accompany conventional care to improve general  health and wellbeing. They are also used when conventional therapies for  illnesses fall short or have failed. Still, others forgo conventional  therapies altogether because they do not want to experience their  potential side effects. And some prefer alternative therapies because  conventional treatments do not align with their personal or spiritual  philosophies.   

Whatever the reasons, CAM therapies can bring comfort, control  and calm to the people who use them. Nearly 40% of adults have used CAM  therapies at some point in their life, mostly for back and neck  problems, headaches, insomnia, colds, joint pain, anxiety, depression  and cancer relief.   

Types of CAM therapies 

  • Practitioner-based body manipulation - acupuncture, Reiki, massage, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation
  • Natural products (nonvitamin, nonmineral) - herbs, fish oil/omega 3,  glucosamine, St. John's wort, echinacea, ginseng, ginkgo biloba,  garlic, flaxseed, chondroitin, coenzyme Q-10, ginger
  • Breath work - deep breathing exercises, meditation
  • Relaxation Techniques - guided imagery, progressive relation
  • Body movement - yoga, Qi gong and Tai chi
  • Diet-based therapies - macrobiotic, vegetarian

Here are some of Dr. Oz's favorite CAM therapies that energize, sooth and support the body, mind and spirit.   


Reiki 

Reiki is another popular energy healing therapy, which is  typically performed by a trained Reiki master. Here the practitioner's  light touch on, or slightly above, specific areas of the body is used to  balance the flow of energy throughout the body. The laying on of hands  on the head, face, neck, chest, abdomen and back delivers varying  degrees of natural vibrational "heated" energy as needed, to strengthen  the body to heal itself. Reiki can also be self-administered.   

Special note: Because a CAM therapy is natural it doesn't mean it  is necessarily safe, or safer than conventional treatments. Beware of  unrealistic advertising claims that sometime accompany CAM products and  always select an experienced practitioner to perform body manipulations.  Let all the practitioners - CAM and Western - involved with your care  to know about each of the therapies you are taking or undergoing as some  may interfere with the effectiveness of other treatments.                                      



https://www.doctoroz.com/article/alternative-medicine-treatments         

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Dr. OZ Endorses Reiki

We all know Dr. Oz. He is an amazing conventional doctor who helps America on the path to better health.  In this wonderful video he shares that his wife is a REIKI Master.  He also explains how REIKI assists individuals on their path as a complementary form of alternative healing. Enjoy!!

Learn More about Reiki and what it offers......

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OVERVIEW:

What Is Reiki?

Reiki  is a Japanese healing modality which was developed in 1920 and brought  to the United States in 1937 by Hawayo Takato.  Reiki is the channeling of the primal life force energy through the Reiki Master to the client. A Reiki treatment allows stress to be released and thus and promotes healing in the mind, body & spirit. Although it is not a replacement for medical or psychological treatments, it complements traditional methods. Please discuss with your doctor the addition of Reiki to your health  treatments.

Who receives Reiki?

According to the Center for Reiki Research, "a study done in 2007 by the National  Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000  children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital  Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki  as part of hospital services."www.centerforreikiresearch.org

What may I experience?

Reiki may be done in person or from a distance. Either way, the client is fully clothed and the energy is passed without touching the client. A calm and relaxing feeling is often experienced by the client. Each session is as unique as the person who is receiving it.

How will it benefit me?

Reiki is a powerful yet subtle energy modality that can support improvements in the mind/body & spirit.  
Dr. OZ and Reiki:https://www.doctoroz.com/article/alternative-medicine-treatments


Want to read more about Reiki?https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308772.php
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Testimonials:

There are a lot of life coaches out there today offering the same or similar services. Dawn has so many qualities that set her apart from the rest, beginning with that incredibly warm smile of hers. From the moment you meet her you can tell she is able to quickly connect and understand what you are feeling. She is a special healer.


-Tami, Tampa Florida

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Reiki Information.....

Additional Information

Everything you need to know about Reiki


By   Reviewed by      

  1. What is Reiki?
  2. What happens in a Reiki session
  3. Health benefits
  4. Becoming a Reiki practitioner
  5. Reiki's healing power: What is the evidence?
  6. Where can I get Reiki?

Reiki is a form of alternative therapy commonly referred to as  energy healing. It emerged in Japan in the late 1800's and is said to  involve the transfer of universal energy from the practitioner's palms  to their patient.

Energy healing has been used for centuries in various forms. Advocates say it works with the energy fields around the body.

Some controversy surrounds Reiki, because it is hard to prove its  effectiveness through scientific means. However, many people who receive  Reiki say it works, and its popularity is increasing. A Google search  for the term currently returns no less than 68,900,000 results.

A 2007 survey shows that, in the United States (U.S.), 1.2 million adults tried Reiki or a similar therapy at least once in the previous year. Over 60 hospitals are believed to offer Reiki services to patients.

Fast facts on Reiki 

Here are some key points about Reiki. More detail is in the main article.

  • Reiki is a form of energy therapy.
  • Despite skepticism in some circles, it is growing in popularity.
  • It involves the transfer of energy by laying on hands.
  • Reiki's advocates say it can treat many conditions and emotional states.
  • Small studies show that Reiki can slightly reduce pain, but no studies have shown that it is effective in treating any diseases.
  • Some hospitals in America and Europe offer Reiki, but insurance rarely covers it.

What is Reiki?

 In Reiki, the practitioner transfers energy by placing their hands over or on the patient.  

The word "Reiki" means "mysterious atmosphere,  miraculous sign." It comes from the Japanese words "rei" (universal) and  "ki" (life energy). Reiki is a type of energy healing.

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Energy healing targets the energy fields around the body.

According to practitioners, energy can stagnate in the body where  there has been physical injury or possibly emotional pain. In time,  these energy blocks can cause illness.

Energy medicine aims to help the flow of energy and remove blocks in a similar way to acupuncture  or acupressure. Improving the flow of energy around the body, say  practitioners, can enable relaxation, reduce pain, speed healing, and  reduce other symptoms of illness.

Reiki has been around for thousands of years. Its current form was first developed  in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist called Mikao Usui, who reportedly taught  2,000 people the Reiki method during his lifetime. The practice spread  to the U.S. through Hawaii in the 1940s, and then to Europe in the  1980s.

It is commonly referred to as palm healing or hands-on healing.

   

What happens in a Reiki session?

Reiki is best held in a peaceful setting, but it  can be carried out anywhere. The patient will sit in a comfortable chair  or lie on a table, fully clothed. There may or may not be music,  depending on the patient's preference.

The practitioner places their hands lightly on or over specific areas  of the head, limbs, and torso using different hand shapes, for between 2  and 5 minutes. The hands can be placed over 20 different areas of the  body.

If there is a particular injury, such as a burn, the hands may be held just above the wound.

While the practitioner holds their hands lightly on or over the body,  the transfer of energy takes place. During this time, the  practitioner's hands may be warm and tingling. Each hand position is  held until the practitioner senses that the energy has stopped flowing.

When the practitioner feels that the heat, or energy, in their hands  has abated, they will remove their hands and may place them over a  different area of the body.

Some Reiki techniques

The techniques involved have names such as:

  • centering
  • clearing
  • beaming
  • extracting harmful energies
  • infusing
  • smoothing and raking the aura

Some Reiki practitioners will use crystals and chakra healing wands,  because they find these can enable healing or protect a home from  negative energy.  


However, Annie Harrington, Chair of the Reiki Federation of the United Kingdom (U.K.), told Medical News Today:

"Reiki relies on no other instruments  beyond the practitioner. We do not use crystals, powders or wands as a  general rule. However, one of the benefits of Reiki healing is distance  healing (where Reiki is sent over several miles) then, many  practitioners will use crystals to assist with the energy vibrations."
 

Sessions can last between 15 and 90 minutes.  The number of sessions will vary, depending on what a client wishes to  accomplish. Some clients prefer to have one session while others have a  series of sessions to work on a particular issue.

Health benefits

According to practitioners, the healing effects are mediated by  channeling the universal energy known as qi, pronounced "chi." In India,  this is known as "prana." This is the same energy involved in tai chi  exercise. It is the life force energy that some believe surrounds all of  us.

This energy is said to permeate the body. Reiki experts point out  that, while this energy is not measurable by modern scientific  techniques, it can be felt by many who tune in to it.

Reiki is alleged to aid relaxation, assist in the body's natural  healing processes, and develop emotional, mental, and spiritual  well-being.

It is also said to induce deep relaxation, help people cope with difficulties, relieve emotional stress, and improve overall wellbeing.

People who receive Reiki describe it as "intensely relaxing."

Conditions that Reiki has been used to help treat include:

According to the University of Minnesota, patients who have undergone a Reiki session may say:  

  • "I feel very refreshed and seem to be thinking more clearly."
  • "I think I fell asleep."
  • "I can't believe how hot your hands got!"
  • "I feel more relaxed than even after a massage."
  • "My headache is gone."

Cancer patients who have Reiki say they feel better after. This may be because  it helps them relax. Another reason, according to Cancer Research U.K.  could be that the therapist spends time with them and touches them. This  has a soothing effect on patients who may be overwhelmed by invasive  therapy, fear, and stress.

Individuals report different experiences. Some say that the  practitioner's hands become hot, others report cooling hands and some  people feel pulsating waves. The most common reports are of a release of  stress and deep relaxation.


https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308772.php



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Reiki Is Effective!

Reiki Can’t Possibly Work. So Why Does It?

Jordan Kisner     

“When I started it, they all just called it that crap. Like, ‘Oh, they’re over there doing that crap.’ ”  This nurse, whom I’ll call Jamie, was on the line from a Veterans  Affairs medical center in the Northeast. She’d been struggling for a few  minutes between the impulse to tout the program she’d piloted, which  offers Reiki to vets as part of their medical care, and the impulse to  “tread lightly,” because some of the doctors, nurses, and administrators  she works with still think that Reiki is quackery or—you know.

Reiki, a healing practice codified in the early 20th century in Japan, was until recently an unexpected offering for a VA medical center. In Japanese, rei roughly translates to “spiritual”; ki is commonly translated as “vital energy.” A session often looks more  like mysticism than medicine: Healers silently place their hands on or  over a person’s body to evoke a “universal life force.” A Reiki  treatment can even, practitioners believe, be conducted from miles away.

Reiki’s  growing popularity in the U.S.—and its acceptance at some of the most  respected American hospitals—has placed it at the nexus of large, uneasy  shifts in American attitudes toward our own health care. Various  non-Western practices have become popular complements to conventional  medicine in the past few decades, chief among them yoga, meditation, and  acupuncture, all of which have been the subject of rigorous scientific  studies that have established and explained their effectiveness. Reiki  is the latest entrant into the suite of common additional treatments.  Its presence is particularly vexing to naysayers because Reiki delivers  demonstrable salutary effects without a proven cause.

Over the past two decades, a number of studies have shown that Reiki treatments help diminish the negative side effects of  chemotherapy, improve surgical outcomes, regulate the autonomic nervous  system, and dramatically alter people’s experience of physical and  emotional pain associated with illness. But no conclusive, peer-reviewed  study has explained its mechanisms, much less confirmed the existence  of a healing energy that passes between bodies on command. Nevertheless,  Reiki treatment, training, and education are now available at many esteemed hospitals in the United States,  including Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cleveland Clinic, New York  Presbyterian, the Yale Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic, and Brigham and  Women’s Hospital.

When  Jamie introduced Reiki at the VA center 10 years ago, she overrode the  objections of some colleagues who thought it was pseudoscience and out  of step with the general culture of the VA, where people are inclined to  be suspicious of anything that might be described as “woo woo.” But she  insisted that the VA—which also offers yoga, acupuncture, massage,  clinical hypnosis, and tai chi—should explore any supplementary  treatment for chronic pain and PTSD that doesn’t involve  pharmaceuticals, especially narcotics. The veterans started coming,  slowly, and the ones who came started coming back. Jamie didn’t promise  anything other than that it might help them feel calm or help them with  pain. The Reiki practitioner she hired was a local woman, somewhat  hard-nosed, not inclined to offer anyone crystals. Soon after the  program began, Jamie was getting calls from doctors and nurses: “Hey, is  the lady here? Someone wants that crap.”

The effects were  startling, Jamie told me. Veterans who complained that their body had  “forgotten how to sleep” came in for Reiki and were asleep on the table  within minutes. Others reported that their pain declined from a 4 to a  2, or that they felt more peaceful. One patient, a man with a  personality disorder who suffers from cancer and severe pain, tended to  stop his normal routine of screaming and yelling at the staff when he  came in for his Reiki sessions.

Popular  though her program has become, Jamie still hears from colleagues who  dismiss the results of Reiki as either incomprehensible or attributable  to the placebo effect. As we talked, a little noise of frustration came  through the phone line. We take people seriously when they say they’re  in terrible pain, even though we can’t measure that, she said. “Why do  we have a problem accepting when somebody says, ‘I feel better; that  helped’?”

Carlotta Manaigo

I first learned of Reiki six or seven years ago from a slim memoir by the writer Amy Fusselman. In 8: All True, Unbelievable, she describes receiving Reiki after years of psychotherapy and visits to doctors failed to ease what ailed her. “Doctors, in my  experience, touch you with the desire to examine you, and then they use  their brains to figure out what to do,” Fusselman writes.

This  is fine, but right then it wasn’t what I wanted. What I wanted was to  lie there and not use my brain, and believe someone was trying to help  me, also not with his or her brain. I understand how this sounds. But  you have to remember that I had been trying to use my brain on my  problems for twenty years … I was over my brain. I was over everybody’s  brain.

Reading this, I felt a prick of interest. I, too,  was over my brain, which has always been as much the cause of my  problems as the solution. What would it be like to admit the possibility  of being made better by something that wasn’t pharmacological or  physiotherapeutic or any of the many polysyllabic options readily  available at my doctors’ offices? I believe, I suppose, in the spirit;  and if I believe that people have a spirit as well as a body, then I  might be willing to believe that feeling better or being well isn’t only  a matter of adjusting the body.

This  notion felt mildly outré in 2013, though the idea had long anchored  Western medicine, until it parted ways in the 19th century with the  holistic approach of Chinese medicine and the Hindu system of Ayurveda. Roberta Bivins points out in her history of alternative medicine that for most of  Western history, medical wisdom held that physical health relied on the balance of the four humors (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm).  Those in turn were affected by emotions, weather, the position of the  stars, and faith just as much as by diet, age, activity, and  environment. Reiki’s healing touch also has precedent. In the fourth or  fifth century b.c., a Greek physician, possibly Hippocrates, included the following observation in some notes on his profession:

It  is believed by experienced doctors that the heat which oozes out of the  hand, on being applied to the sick, is highly salutary … It has often  appeared, while I have been soothing my patients, as if there was a  singular property in my hands to pull and draw away from the affected  parts aches and diverse impurities … Thus it is known to some of the  learned that health may be implanted in the sick by certain gestures,  and by contact, as some diseases may be communicated from one to  another.

This passage is now part of what’s called the  Hippocratic Corpus, a series of texts written by or closely linked to  Hippocrates, commonly known as the father of Western medicine. The  precepts laid down there form the foundations of the medical  philosophies that shape our health care today.

The  Hippocratic Corpus also contains one of the earliest articulations of  causal determinism, or the idea that all phenomena have a preexisting  material cause. In the section titled “On the Sacred Disease,”  the author insists that the illness we now recognize as epilepsy wasn’t  a divine affliction at all, as it was believed to be at the time, but a  physical ailment like any other, only with as-yet-mysterious causes.  “Under a close examination spontaneity disappears,” the author writes,  “for everything that occurs will be found to do so through something.”

The  text doesn’t explicitly juxtapose these two notions—healing energy and  causal determinism—or attempt to resolve any friction that may exist  between them. Instead, it suggests that both are true at once:  Everything that happens has a natural cause, and some people have a  radiating heat in their hands that has curative power.

Even in the  early and mid-19th century, physicians were still using humoral theory  and competing with homeopaths and botanists for patients; surgeons were a  crude last resort. This changed with the ascendancy of germ theory  later in the century, when physicians—now focused on professionalizing  their field—advanced a new, scientific medicine that they said was  beyond dogma. It stood superior to its competitors because it was  experimental and rational, requiring no faith—medicine as  anti-mysticism.

Since then, the Yale historian of medicine Naomi Rogers told me, what is often called orthodox medicine has staked out  “quackery” as its enemy. People continued to go to homeopaths and other  extramedical practitioners with their health problems, of course. But  after the 19th century, those who put stock in health care that wasn’t  based in hard science were deemed ignorant. Physicians are still  frustrated by such resistance today, Rogers said, but now when patients  insist on a course of action other than what the doctor recommends,  they’re called noncompliant.

The ranks of such patients have  steadily grown, Bivins notes. Disillusionment with established medicine  has been mounting for decades, fueled by the rising costs and more  depersonalized care that have gone hand in hand with stunning  technological advances and treatment breakthroughs. Eastern medicine and  holistic healing models provided attractive alternatives to what  critics in the late 1960s called the “medical industrial complex,” and  by the new millennium extramedical “wellness” had become big business.

By the time I signed up last May to learn Reiki at a wellness center in Brooklyn, where I live, a $4.2 trillion global wellness industry had already harnessed the collective American obsession with optimizing  the experience of having a body. We were putting adaptogens in our  coffee, collagen in our smoothies, jade eggs in our vaginas. We were  microdosing, supplementing, biohacking, juicing, cleansing, and  generally trying to make ourselves immaculate from the inside out. I  also noticed that the yoga studios and “healing spaces” in Brooklyn had  begun to incorporate new kinds of offerings: breath work, energy  healing, and especially Reiki.

The popularity of  Reiki made sense as part of a backlash to the wellness explosion, which  had lately come in for its share of debunking: It was a new form of  consumption, critics argued, one that was more bound up with class,  gender, anxiety, and late-stage capitalism than with actual health.  Reiki takes only an hour or less; it entails no gear, no subscription,  no purchases (other than the healer’s fee, which is often on a sliding  scale according to income), no list of dietary strictures or dubious  supplements. The practice could hardly be better pitched for the  political and cultural mood: an anticonsumerist, egalitarian rite,  available to everyone through mere breath and hands.

From July/August 2011: The triumph of New-Age medicine

Reiki  looked like the culmination of a broader trend that Rogers told me had  been on the rise over the past 40 years, a development she calls a  “black box” attitude toward healing. We submit to a treatment, it works  on us mysteriously (as if in a black box), and we feel better. Rogers  noted that we are most comfortable relinquishing ourselves to methods we  don’t understand when the authority figure recommending them seems to  care about us. What’s more, we have been acclimated to this form of  trust by orthodox medicine.

Precision genetic medicine is  inscrutable to laypeople, Rogers pointed out. Much of psychiatry  resembles the black-box model too. So little is known, even by  prescribing psychiatrists, about how and why psychotropic medications  work in the brain. Yet the number of Americans who take SSRIs has been  steadily rising over the past 30 years, despite a scientific consensus  that the “serotonin imbalance” theory of depression is flawed—and  despite a well-publicized controversy about whether the drugs are any  more effective than placebos for most patients. Reiki is the perfect  enactment of the black box, the healing gesture stripped to its  essentials: a virtuous person sitting with you, intending your well-being in real time.

Carlotta Manaigo

I signed up for instruction in two of Reiki’s three training levels. The first enables you to do hands-on practice on yourself as well as friends and family (and  pets); the second introduces the mental technique for practicing at a  distance. (Master training equips you to teach and “initiate” others.) The studio was a warehouse space, with  whitewashed brick walls and plywood floors, exposed piping, and  brightly colored garlands hanging along the windows. The windowsills  were strewn with crystals, shells, and small bottles of oil diffusing  into the air.

Once  everyone had settled on seat cushions arranged in a large circle on the  floor, the two women leading the training introduced the core belief:  Reiki energy exists throughout the universe, and when the body is  attuned to Reiki, it can act as a sort of lightning rod through which  others can receive that energy. They told us to picture Reiki energy  entering through the top of our head and exiting through our hands,  suffusing us and whomever we touch with the intention to heal. The  healer’s job is not to control the Reiki or to make decisions about  healing. “We’re just the channel,” one of the masters said. “The healing  is a contract between the person who needs to be healed and the higher  power.” Reiki, they stressed, can never harm anyone. It should also be  used only as a complement to conventional medicine, never as a  replacement. “We are not doctors,” they said several times. “We cannot  diagnose anyone with anything.”

You can do Reiki on animals, they  told us. “Cats are extra attuned to Reiki—cats almost do Reiki on their  own. They can heal you.” No one questioned this. The same goes for  plants, the masters suggested. Get two roses and give Reiki to one; that  rose will live longer. A student raised her hand. “But you told us  never to give Reiki without consent. How can you get consent from a  flower or a tree?”

“You can talk to a tree!” one of the masters  said. “You should always ask the tree’s permission. Maybe it will tell  you to Reiki the next tree.” I glanced around the room for raised  eyebrows, but there were only more eager questions: Can you Reiki  someone who has transitioned to the afterlife? Yes. Can you Reiki your  food to make it healing? Yes, and you should.

We  were told that once the masters attuned us, our bodies and spirits  would vibrate at a higher frequency than before, and we would stay on  that higher frequency for the rest of our life. This would constitute a  permanent transition in our physical and spiritual states. I was  silently indignant: I do not believe in permanently alterable personal  vibrations, whatever that means, and anyway I wanted mine left alone.

The  masters warned us that once they had opened us to Reiki energy, we  should expect to feel a little emotionally drained and perhaps  light-headed. They also suggested that many people experience drastic  life changes after their first attunement. Major emotional issues come  to the surface and require resolution; people suddenly lose their  tolerance for alcohol or other drugs; friends, able to sense vibrations  “on a different frequency,” distance themselves.

And then, the  moment for attunement having arrived, we were led in small groups to a  narrow, darkened room. Before we passed through the doorway, one of the  masters traced Reiki symbols in the air over each of us. “You guys,”  said the other, making what I hoped was a joke, “we’re going to visit  some other planets.” I can’t describe what happened next, because our  eyes were closed while the masters performed silent rituals that aren’t  explained to nonmasters.

A few weeks later, I met with Pamela Miles, an international Reiki master and  the leading expert on incorporating Reiki into medical care. Miles has  been practicing Reiki since 1986. She has introduced programs into  prestigious hospitals and taught Reiki at academic medical centers such  as Harvard, Yale, and the National Institutes of Health. Miles has the  soft voice, long hair, loose clothing, slow gestures, and easy smile  characteristic of someone involved in healing arts. She also has the  sharpness one sometimes observes in people who have devoted their life  to a discipline—an exactitude and authority. When I told Miles about my  training, she looked incredulous. “When they said you were going to have  energy shooting through your head from the universe, were you scared?”  This afternoon, she was patiently attempting to reeducate me.

Miles  falls on the conservative end of Reiki evangelists in that she’s  careful not to make claims about its mechanisms or efficacy that can’t  be supported in a scientific context. She does not, for example,  subscribe to the belief that Reiki energy is a substance that can be  given, received, or measured. No evidence of this has been confirmed,  she pointed out. “Reiki is a spiritual practice,” she said. “That’s what  it was to the founder, Mikao Usui. And all spiritual practices have  healing by-products because spiritual practice restores balance,  bringing us back to our center, and enhancing our awareness of our core  selves.” When I asked her to explain what that meant practically, she  chose her words carefully. “Through an unknown mechanism, when a Reiki  practitioner places their hands—mindfully and with detachment—it evokes  the healing response from deep within the system,” she said. “We really  don’t know why this happens.”

This  agnosticism is not shared by all of Reiki’s powerful advocates in the  United States. The array of psychologists, physicists, and physiologists  on the boards of various national Reiki organizations I spoke with—many  of whom are eager to develop a standardized method of training and  accreditation—champion different forms of energy measurement. In  conversations, I heard quantum physics invoked, as well as biophotons, sodium channels, and “magnetic stuckness,” and tools like EEGs and gamma-ray detectors. Ann Baldwin, a physiology professor at the University of Arizona and the editor in chief at the Center for Reiki Research,  suggested that people who claim to have measured Reiki using  energy-sensing machinery are instead measuring something else, such as  heat—but she holds out hope that someday we may be able to measure  Reiki.

Research this for too long, and you start to sound vaguely  stoned. Is Reiki real? Does it matter whether Reiki is real? And whose  definition of real are we working with: Is it real according to  the presiding scientific and medical framework, which tells us that  phenomena need to be measurable to be taken seriously, or is it real in  the looser, unquantifiable way of spiritual practice?

Read: The evolution of alternative medicine

There  are those who will tell you that Reiki is absolutely real because  people experience it to be real. It is real because we feel it, and  feelings are produced in the body. Skeptics are quick to point to the  placebo effect: The body’s capacity to heal itself after receiving only  the simulated experience of medication or therapy is well documented.  But precisely because that capacity is so well documented, reflexive  dismissal of the placebo effect as “fake medicine” demands scrutiny—and  is now receiving it. In late 2018, The New York Times Magazine reported on a group of scientists whose research suggests that responsiveness to placebos, rather than a  mere trick of the mind, can be traced to a complex series of measurable  physiological reactions in the body; certain genetic makeups in patients  even correlate with greater placebo response. Ted Kaptchuk, a Harvard Medical School professor and one of the lead researchers, theorizes that the placebo effect is, in the words of the Times article, “a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the  encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and  focused it is, the more healing it evokes.”

Carlotta Manaigo

To  note that touch-based healing therapies, including Reiki, simulate the  most archetypal care gestures is hardly a revelation. Several scientists  I interviewed about their work on Reiki mentioned the way their mother  would lay a hand on their head when they had a fever or kiss a scraped  knee and make the pain go away. It is not hard to imagine that a  hospital patient awaiting surgery or chemotherapy might feel relieved,  in that hectic and stressful setting, to have someone place a hand  gently and unhurriedly where the hurt or fear is with the intention of  alleviating any suffering. That this increased calm might translate into  lowered blood pressure or abated pain, anxiety, or bleeding—as has been  observed in hospital patients who undergo Reiki—seems logical, too.

The  ailments that Reiki seems to treat most effectively are those that  orthodox medicine struggles to manage: pain, anxiety, chronic disease,  and the fear or discomfort of facing not only the suffering of illness  but also the suffering of treatment. “What conventional medicine is  excellent at is acute care. We can fix broken bones, we can unclog  arteries, we can help somebody survive a significant trauma, and there  are medicines for all sorts of symptoms,” Yufang Lin, an integrative-medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic,  told me. But medicine, she said, is less successful at recognizing the  way that emotion, trauma, and subjective experience can drive physical  health—and the way that they can affect recovery from acute medical  care.

Lifesaving surgery is miraculous but requires drugging the  body, cutting it open, altering it, stitching it back together, and then  asking it to heal. Chemotherapy causes the body to fall to pieces; it  can damage the brain, wreck internal organs, and destroy nerve endings,  sometimes permanently. Medicine is necessary, but it can also be brutal.  Lin, like several of the physicians I spoke with, emphasized that  healing is something that happens within the body, enabled rather than  imposed by medicine. When we are traumatized, survival is the priority  and our healing mechanisms are on lockdown, Miles observed. “We have to  pull out of that stress state and get into a parasympathetic-dominant  state before the body is able to self-heal and actively partner with  conventional medicine.”

Many physicians and scientists still  believe that allowing Reiki to share space with medicine is at best  silly and at worst dangerous. In 2014, David Gorski, a surgical  oncologist, and Steven Novella, a neurologist, co-wrote an article calling for an end to clinical trials of Reiki and other forms of energy medicine. To assess approaches rooted in  “prescientific thinking” with tools designed to evaluate “well-supported  science- and evidence-based” treatments, they argued, degrades “the  scientific basis of medicine.” It saps resources from research into  valid therapies, and misleads patients.

Other doctors and  researchers have accepted the line of argument that Miles and many other  Reiki advocates have put forward: The practice has no known negative  side effects, and has been shown by various studies that pass  evidentiary muster to help patients in a variety of ways when used as a  complementary practice. Unlike the many FDA-approved medications that  barely beat a placebo in studies and carry negative side effects, Reiki  is cheap and safe to implement. Does its exact mechanism need to be  understood for it to be accepted as a useful therapeutic option? For  decades, experts weren’t precisely sure how acetaminophen (Tylenol)  eases pain, but Americans still took billions of doses every year. Many  medical treatments are adopted for their efficacy long before their  mechanisms are known or understood. Why should this be different?

In the Reiki training I attended, the moment came when we began to practice on one another  for the first time. Taking turns, students would hop up on the table,  and four or five others would cluster around. The masters told us to  breathe deeply, gather our intention, and begin. After one or two  minutes of uncertain silence, a woman a few tables away from me spoke  up. “What are we supposed to be thinking?”

I was relieved someone had asked. My entire reason for being in the class was to learn what a person is doing when  practicing Reiki. But our teachers hadn’t said what, precisely, was  supposed to transform the act of hovering our hands over one another  into Reiki.

“You don’t have to be thinking anything,” one master said. “You are just there to love them.”

I thought to myself, more or less simultaneously, Oh brother and Of course.  That we were simply there to be loving one another sounded like the  worst stereotype of pseudo-spiritual babble. At the same time, this  recalled the most cutting-edge, Harvard-stamped science I’d read in my  research: Ted Kaptchuk’s finding that the placebo effect is a real,  measurable, biological healing response to “an act of caring.” The  question of what Reiki is introduces—or highlights—an elision between the spiritual and the scientific that has, as yet, no resolution.

In 2002, two professors at the University of Texas Health Science Center, in Houston, gathered a group of people in order to document and study the qualitative experience of receiving a Reiki treatment.  The study participants didn’t have any shared belief in Reiki or its  possible results, or any particular need for healing; they simply  received a session and then described what they felt.

After  treatment, the subjects spoke more slowly. They described their  experience in the language of paradoxes. “In the normal state of  awareness, especially in Western traditions, people tend to see  disparate phenomena as distinct, discrete, and contradictory,” the  authors of the study later wrote. “Most people resolve that disparity by  denying or suppressing the existence of one of the poles.” But through  Reiki, the subjects entered a liminal state, in which their thoughts  seemed both like their own and not; time moved both very fast and very  slowly; their bodies seemed no longer separate from the practitioner’s  body, though they also remembered that their bodies were their own.

At  the end of my training, I did not feel invested with any new power, but  I did feel raw and buzzy. Though plenty of things in my training had  seemed flatly impossible to believe, I had spent lots of time on a table  as a practice body for my classmates. I’d felt more relaxed and calm  afterward, but did I feel healed? Healed of what? Healed by what?  I’d spent even more time breathing deeply and placing hands on a  stranger’s solar plexus, or the crown of her head, or the arch of her  foot. In that time, I had sometimes felt nothing other than the comfort  of human touch. Other times I had felt odd things: the sensation of  magnetic attraction or repulsion between my hand and a rib cage, a  burning heat that came and went suddenly. When I gently cupped my hands  around a woman’s jaw, the tips of my right fingers buzzed as if from an  electrical current, tickling me.

I had spent two days in and out  of the liminal state the UT study described, and I felt more sensitive  to the world. I had also spent some meaningful time being touched kindly  by strangers and touching them kindly, and thinking about what it might  be like to feel well, to stop reporting to the doctor every year the  same minor ailments: a tweaked shoulder, a tight jaw, general  nervousness, scattered attention, my idiosyncratic imbalances and  deficiencies. I didn’t personally “believe” in Reiki as a universal  energy channeled through the hands, available to cats and plants and the  dead. But I believed Yufang Lin and other physicians who attest that  the body—helped by medicine and nutrition and all sorts of things—does  the work of healing, and I believed Miles when she said that Reiki  practice, through some unknown mechanism, may help the body to do it.

Every  once in a while, friends will hear that I’m Reiki-trained and ask  whether I’ll “do it” on them. They usually ask whether it’s real, and I  say I don’t know, but that at a minimum, I’ll have spent some time  quietly and gently focusing on the idea of them being well. They usually  answer that this sounds good.

 

Jordan Kisner is a writer in New York City.