Dear Believer - Reiki
I understand you believe that Reiki is a wonderful, useful and in some ways perhaps, scientific modality for diagnosing and treating illness. We need to talk about this because it seems that there are some problems and logical fallacies in your thinking.
Reiki is defined as:
...a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy. (from reiki.org)Can anyone explain that to me in layperson terms? I'm only asking because it reads like Dharma talking to Greg when she's high; pretty, but pointless and brain dead. Most people that I've talked to relate Reiki to a couple of things that I'd like to quickly address, then I'm going to move on and go through a couple of articles from reiki.org and see what they've got to say on the subject.
Firstly, we have to talk about the "meridians" idea. The concept of invisible, unmeasurable energy pathways makes no sense whatsoever. Right off the bat, I need to ask, what kind of energy are we talking about? There's a bunch of different types and I never hear specifics from "alternative health providers" about what, exactly, they are tapping into (I think because they're deluded about what it is they are doing/feeling). Also, if people can feel this energy with their bare hands, why can't it be measured? Why won't electrical machines pick it up? You know your "healing techniques" are in trouble when a nine year old girl kicks your ass in a study (yeah yeah, that was Therapeutic Touch, but it's the same thing with respect to the "energy" used).
Moving along to the articles, the first is What Is Reiki? If ever I have tested my capacity for withstanding woo woo in high doses, it was when I visited reiki.org. Wow. In case you think Reiki is just for colds and stomach-aches, there is this bit of hyperbole:
It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.Am I correct when I read that Reiki helps every known illness and is never harmful? I have to say, there's this saying in medicine - anything that can help can also hurt; it's the old "the dose makes the poison" line. If Reiki doesn't hurt, ever, then it's not doing anything in the first place.
Next is the a great line:
Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class.Right. Sort of like a cold. This is like the high-school student who didn't study and decides, in a moment of desperation, to put the textbook under her pillow so she can learn through osmosis. Information or "energy" can't just flow from person to person. I was fully expecting to run into the word "quantum" at some point, but gladly I did not.
Here's an interesting set of quotes that highlight how odd this belief actually is:
Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not...Reiki comes from God...(BUT!)...In order for the Reiki healing energies to have lasting results, the client must accept responsibility for her or his healing and take an active part in it.So which is it? Does it work if I don't believe, or do I have to "accept responsibility" and believe? These two sentences are mutually exclusive. Oh, and what if you don't think any "Gods" are real?
Moving along to the next link, How Does Reiki Work?, we see this bold assertion:
Life force flows within the physical body though pathways called chakras, meridians and nadis. It also flows around us in a field of energy called the aura.Ah yes, auras. How do you folks still believe in these things? Supposedly the aura is "2-3 feet thick" (see fifth from last paragraph here), so why can't someone do a test where a practitioner gets people whose auras she can clearly see, then get 10 or so opaque screens and stand the people behind them so the practitioner can make sure that the auras extend above the screens, then randomly place people behind to see if she can "see" them?
Oh, right, because James Randi already did that on TV in 1989.
James Randi conducted another test for a television special, offering $100,000 for successful results. The psychic challenger selected ten people she maintained had clearly visible auras, and agreed that the auras would extend above the screens behind which-unseen by her-the people were to stand. Unfortunately, in choosing which screens supposedly had people behind them, the psychic got only four out of ten correct guesses-less than the five that chance allowed (Steiner 1989, from hereBelievers, your case is not looking strong for Reiki here.
Supposedly negative thoughts "attach themselves" to your aura. I assume by some sort of supernatural Velcro. Reiki, the article says, "raises the vibratory level of the energy field...where the negative thoughts and feelings are attached". What, exactly does this mean? What's vibrating? The energy? I thought that "flowed"? There's a loop here of which I'm out.
Another great line from the How Does Reiki Work article is this gem:
Reiki is a special kind of life force that can only be channeled by someone that has been attuned to it.Editor's note: please change "been attuned to it" to "paid for training in full". Oddly enough, the article says that people who "heal" but don't use Reiki are using "another kind of life force". What would that be? Phreiki? Sort of a stolen, fake Reiki? Do the clients of those "healers" have to go get their "phreiki" on?
The article then gets into levels of woo that I can't spend time on here because it would turn this blog post into a book-length tome. Just know it drops into past lives, spirit guides and more about vibrations. Near the end of this piece though is a very telling line which says, "One never need worry about whether to give Reiki or not. It is always helpful." Sure it is...to your account balance. How nice it is to have something that can treat anything. Finally for this bit, the author advises, "it is also much easier for the ego to stay out of the way and allow the presence of God to clearly shine through." I find it odd that "God's" presence is never, ever, ever enough to heal even one amputee. It's not like starfish and salamanders can't do it.
This last article, and the one previous, actually, were written by a Reiki Master named William Lee Rand. He traveled to the North Pole ('97), the South Pole ('99) as well as to Jerusalem ('04) to place a "World Peace Crystal Grid" at each location. We can all see just how well those are working out. My thrust at Dear Believers here takes this form:
All negative or dis-harmonious thoughts or feelings will cause a disruption in the flow of Ki. Even Western medicine recognizes the role played by the mind in creating illness and some Western doctors state that as much as 98% of illness is caused directly or indirectly by the mind.I would love to be in the room when Mr. Rand tells cancer, MS , Parkinson's, and ALS patients that 98% of illness is "in your head". That'd be a hoot, I'm sure. I particularly like the "Even Western medicine recognizes..." line. It has been "Western medicine" that has made all the advances in the last hundred years, so Mr. Rand has no real weight to thrown around here.
It's about this time that one of you Believers will toss out the, "Well, Reiki has been around for thousands of years so something has to be right about it", argument. That's a logical fallacy called Appeal to Antiquity, which is a variant of the Appeal to Authority. You might as well say that the Earth is the centre of the Universe because that's an old argument held high by such luminaries as Ptolomy and the Catholic Popes from ages ago. Old doesn't equal correct.
My penultimate issue is this:
The great value of Reiki is that because it is guided by the Higher Intelligence, it knows exactly where to go and how to respond to restrictions in the flow of Ki.Well la-di-friggin'-da. Why does anyone need a Reiki practitioner when the "Higher Intelligence" knows right where to go and what to do? Why not cut out the middle-woo and save some cash by dealing directly with said Higher Power?
Reiki flows through a sick or unhealthy area, it breaks up and washes away any negative thoughts or feelings lodged in the unconscious mind/body thus allowing a normal healthy flow of Ki to resume. As this happens, the unhealthy physical organs and tissues become properly nourished with Ki and begin functioning in a balanced healthy way thus replacing illness with health.Basically this is just the Law of Attraction but with payment to someone who can scrape your aura of negativity. I really like the "become properly nourished with Ki" part, as if it's some sort of tangible thing. Can't I just take a Multi-Ki tablet once a day and be done with it?
So, Mr/Ms Believer, it would be fabtastic if you could address the points I've brought up, or just sit back and think about the complete lack of efficacy and reality that is Reiki. Thanks for your time.