The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Stupid Reiki Bullshit, Among Other Things

As you may or may not have noticed, I've been on a bit of a blog break. I'm working and taking classes plus wife plus kid plus some semblance of a social life equals dropping something, and blogging was/is it. That being said, I'm still pissed about some things and I'm going to use this space to vent like a motherfucker from time to time - just not as often as previously. Apologies to all of the four fans I did have.

In a past recent post, I mentioned that I worked a trade show with a massage therapist and reiki "master". He self-identified as this and it was one of the titles on his business cards. It made me laugh, but at the time I was too tired to give a shit and argue with him because of a late-night drunken science-y geek fest with my chemistry professor cousin. Now, however, is the time to kick his ass.

Reiki is, as some of you may remember from my previous post on this subject, complete horseshit. It's practiced by self-deluded yet well-meaning ignorant soft-heads, as well as scamming twenty-four-carat douchebags. This particular guy was the former but a generally good guy. He was a standard issue Woo! (please always say that like Rick Flair - it just makes dealing with Woo! so much more fun) with a divorce in the past and a career change due to stress and not being happy. Then the dive into full insanity.

He was talking to a client and they started to blather on, completely seriously, about past-life therapy and reiki and energy and all sorts of stupid shit. It was hard not to give in to that watery-mouth, pre-vomit feeling. I decided to look up reiki again to give it another once-over here, but upon reading my last piece, I was satisfied that I had done it justice then. That left my only option now to be a curt little insulting asshole. Hooray! My favorite thing to be!

So check this out - it's from the FAQ at the Canadian Reiki Association's website:
Mikao Usui...become a Buddhist Monk. In 1922, he went on a 21-day retreat of meditation, prayers, chanting and fasting at Mount Kurama in Kyoto, Japan. While standing under a waterfall, he did a meditation designed to open and purify the Crown Chakra. This caused him to have a spiritual awakening on the final day of his retreat. A powerful light entered the top of his head. His awareness was expanded and he realized a great power had entered him. He intuitively knew he could now heal others without depleting his own energy, as he had when he practiced Kiko.
There you go. That's one style of reiki, right there. Some fucking wingnut stood under a waterfall getting hypothermia while trying to open his goddamn head and he emerged from his retarded stupor thinking he could heal people using his "energy". Is there any "alternative medicine" bullshit that didn't start by some whackjob just making some shit up? Seriously, I'm curious.

The FAQ then moves on to what you can expect to learn at each of the four levels of reiki instruction. This is way too good to pass up:
At Level Two, the focus is on learning the Japanese healing symbols and on sending Reiki from a distance (we must always get permission to send a distant healing).
Yeah, because you wouldn't want to heal someone without their knowing you are sending them the usually unwanted gift of perfect health. Fuckin' ungrateful bastards, not wanting to rid themselves of cancer....
Level Three ‘A’ Master Practitioner...This level can include meditation techniques, a Healing Attunement, the Hui Yin, the Violet Breath, Psychic Surgery, and Reiki Crystal Grids.
If you were keeping track as you read there, you may have picked up that they mentioned "psychic surgery". This is the mind-numbingly fucktastic fraud demonstrated here by none other than James "The Amazing" Randi:
See, totally fake and, as an added bonus, there's no way you could do this and NOT know you're a douchebag faker, liar, thief, and con artist. Now, I hope that the massage therapist (MT) I worked with didn't do this, but I can't be sure. He may have, in which case, he's a complete fucker. I didn't get that sense, but that doesn't mean it isn't so. He didn't talk at all about the "violet breath" or "reiki crystal grids", which is sad because those sound like Top Shelf Woo! to me.

I think, though, my favorite part is the last paragraph in the FAQ:
It is strongly recommended that you do not discontinue any medications or session plan your medical practitioner or other holistic healer has deemed necessary, unless you first speak with them personally. Reiki energy works in concert with all other forms of therapy. It is a wonderful complement to other treatments. We can all work together to get you feeling healthier, happier and more whole. This is the holistic approach.
This is the standard issue CYA statement that essentially admits reiki is worthless and that you should keep on keeping on with your conspiracy-laden, drug company pocketed, closed-minded Western (spit!) medicine because, you know, we're full of shit.

In my opinion, people who do reiki, psychic surgery, and the "violet breath" (whatever in the flying Virgin Mary's Vag that is) need to:

27 Barbaric Yawps:

At 3/9/08 12:59 am, Blogger Flit said...

Here's a vid on violet breath.

Apparently you have to be able to breathe using your back channel, which sounds a bit uncomfortable to me.

 
At 3/9/08 7:26 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Wow. That's totally made of ass. I love how they're talking about breath going around your torso and some fucking purple cloud that you blow on your student's "crown chakra" all the way to about the occipital bone. Nothing like mixing Woo! with actual medical terminology.

I wonder what these people's lungs look like? I mean, if they're breathing around these sillyass "channels". It's funny though, I always had another name for "breathing" out the "back channel".

 
At 3/9/08 12:06 pm, Anonymous Adam said...

Hi there,

Need a bit of advice. I have a friend, and she's recently got into Reiki. She spent a while in the pub telling me all about it, and how she'd trained to be a level 1 Reiki healer. I could immediately tell she was totally caught up in the whole thing.

I was rather interested in hearing how long this process of learning took, and she told me "a weekend." Well, this was before I knew much about it all, and had a hard time not spitting my drink out at that. She said "yeah, it was amazing. None of us felt any different, but our teacher told us she had tuned us to the vibrations, and were now at level 1. And we could do it! So we all gave each other Reiki for a while, and it was so cool."

Seriously.

Couple of things she said which were interesting:

1) You shouldn't look up the advanced symbols before you're trained, because they can be dangerous if used improperly
2) Of course, you have to believe it in order for it to work, or you block the Reiki
3) Everyone experiences it in a different way. Could be a tingling of the tummy, or numbness in the ankle etc

And none of this seems strange to her.

So I'm there thinking "Ok, this is certainly A-1 top level Woo" but she seemed so into it that I didn't want to burst her bubble. Not that I'm saying I could have, considering her obvious devotion, but she's a friend, so...

Anyway, my question is this:

I really WANT to burst her bubble, now, 'cos it's so mind-numbingly stupid, and I don't want her to throw her money away on achieving the next levels! Oh, and then scam people by teaching *them* how to reach those levels. How can I do this in a way that might not ruin our friendship?

Love your blog, by the way; shame you're exchanging blogging for a life in the real world ;o)

 
At 3/9/08 12:19 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Hey Adam,
I recently heard an episode of Skeptoid (Brian Dunning's excellent 10 minute weekly podcast - I highly recommend it) that dealt with just this topic. How to be a skeptic and still have friends.

Basically what he said, and I completely agree, is to talk to your friend and find some thing that she, too, is skeptical about. Get her talking about UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Homeopathy, etc. until you hit on something she doesn't believe in.

Once you get to that thing, ask her for the reasons she doesn't believe in that thing. When she comes up with stuff like "no evidence", "it just sounds unbelievable", or whatever she uses, turn those reasons around and apply them to reiki.

I particularly like to go after the "you have to believe in it for it to work." Once you explain that if, say, I don't like you, I could sneak into the office where you're receiving your "treatment" and block your healing. That idea boils down to two wizards using the Force to heal/block each other's "energy". It's nonsensical.

Plus, if it's your belief that allows you to get better or not, then the "treatment" is irrelevant. If I tell you that eating a plum dipped in three-day old bacon fat and then rubbing your nipples in a counter-clockwise direction under the full-moon will make your stomach stop hurting - and you actually buy that stupidass rationale - then your tummy may just stop hurting. Don't think for a second that it was the bacon-plum though.

If that wasn't helpful, let me know and I'll try to make an actual post out of it i.e. put some thought into it :)

 
At 4/9/08 8:12 am, Blogger Paul said...

I have an animated gif of that Penn clip. Used to use it as a forum avatar.

 
At 4/9/08 12:14 pm, Anonymous Adam said...

Thanks for the advice, I'll let you know how it goes.

I've got a feeling it's going to end the same way discussions about religion go with my mother. She agrees with me that other religions are silly, she also agrees with me that there are many unanswered questions about her own faith. To each of my points, be it the futility of prayer, or biblical contradictions, she will say that I make very good points, and can't actually answer any of my questions with anything concrete. And then she goes and says "but I just know it's true." You have to laugh ;o)

I definitely think it would be worth blogging about. This must be an extremely common problem; you know, the friend with a woo addiction thing. I wonder how many friendships haven't stood up to the test because the skeptic didn't know how to approach it properly. I imagine the knee jerk reaction of "can't you see how stupid that is?" doesn't go down as well as one would hope.

All the best,

 
At 18/10/10 6:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.

 
At 30/12/10 12:42 pm, Blogger Peter said...

People believe (or not) many things. (BTW, I neither believe nor disbelieve reiki.) Have you studied belief in general, or ancient beliefs, for example? Some cultures believed that if you ate the brains of the deceased, you would absorb their "mind". Others believed that to keep your spirit (animus) safe, you would hide it (a symbol of it, a token object) in a safe place, buried perhaps.

Point is, strong beliefs work for individuals and they are known to have had measurable impact on outcomes regardless of the efficacy (or lack thereof) of the thing actually believed. It's pretty well accepted that an ill pessimist is likely (not guaranteed, but likely) to die sooner than an ill optimist. It's a fact that if you believe in yourself, you're likely to accomplish more than someone with low self-esteem.

And so it is with reiki: if you believe it, it can make you feel better.

Your belief that reiki is bullshit manifests itself in your disparaging opinion of it . Acting out this disparagement by setting it in writing makes you feel better (it provides satisfaction): you think you're providing a service to alert others of what you think is unsubstantiated. However, you will not be able to provide any "scientific" evidence of your satisfaction, which puts you in the same category as reiki believers who also cannot provide scientific evidence.

Moral: I'd be very cautious in taking up a battle of beliefs.

 
At 30/12/10 9:29 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Peter:
Being a positive thinker is in no way the same as having actual evidence of efficacy for something as silly as reiki. There is something to be said for evidence, you know.

You said, "...you think you're providing a service to alert others of what you think is unsubstantiated. However, you will not be able to provide any "scientific" evidence of your satisfaction...": No, it's not what I think is unsubstantiated, it's what actually is unsubstantiated. I have nothing to do with it. If you have evidence of the efficacy of reiki in treating anything, please, point me to it. I'd love to see it. My satisfaction comes from people using their brains to evaluate claims, not just believing whatever nonsense comes along.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Reiki is stupid bullshit because they make claims they can't back up. Period. If you think differently, show your work, son.

 
At 5/11/11 4:38 pm, Blogger JohnE said...

my wife is working on her level II and honestly I don't know what to believe.. I have been in math and computer science for almost three decades.. may be it is me.. and of course I am not going to say something stupid to hurt her feelings, thoughts and beliefs..

 
At 28/12/11 3:32 pm, Anonymous RJS said...

What I also find incredibly asinine, is that every Reiki practitioner I've met, considers themselves a "master." What a crock of crap! In contrast, my husband is a martial arts "master" - but it took him decades to attain his skills and status. Listen up, Reiki retards - you're not a "master," just because you've completed a certificate course.

 
At 1/8/12 11:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intuition provides help downloading the guidance typically not open to our senses.
Call it a still voice, a hint or a gut feeling - as soon as it starts
manifesting you will know it's no fluke.!
Dowsing is a process we can use to gain access to the intuition with dowsing pendulum or maybe divining rod.
I've been doing it for a very long time and I do think anyone can very
well learn it.
my website: pendulum dowsing

 
At 1/8/12 11:50 am, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Nonsense. If you have evidence, let's see it, otherwise, you're full of crap.

 
At 25/6/13 8:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, I read your article and while I agree with you completely on hucksters and charlatans, some of these "soft-headed fellows" may be onto something, though they probably misunderstand it. John Bowlby, a noted psychological researcher found in a study that children who were well-fed and well-cared for still had stunted growth if they did not have healthy human contact. I feel that the purposive and nurturing element to a reiki treatment may actually be beneficial, but only on this scientific basis. Crystals and many other "Woo" phenomena seem to be complete rubbish to me, however from personal experience I feel that concentrated breathing exercises can be beneficial to one's health. Meditation is a perfect example of something that came about with many spiritual and other-worldly trappings attached to it, yet science has found that, at a fundamental level, there is something there that has a positive impact on an individual.

 
At 2/7/13 11:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have witnessed for years the benefits of healing with Reiki. If you have no experience...

what else is there to be said?

you have no idea what you are talking about, you don't understand it and never will, so why even talk about it?

I have seen Reiki heal women that couldn't conceive, I have seen people be healed from cancer, people that couldn't walk, could walk again... I have seen it heal anxiety and I have all the testimonies and know all of the people that have written them and they all say Reiki healed them.
Do your research before you bag something you know nothing about.

Skeptics are a dime a dozen, this Blog and all the people who have shunned a form of healing that has helped so many people, obviously have no knowledge, only snippets of online info, that you know nothing about.

ONLY A LOAD OF DUMB ASS SKEPTICS ON HERE IM AFRAID

DONT WORRY IF PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE DOING REIKI OR LEARNING IT, ,MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS IF ANYTHING AND KEEP YOUR OPINIONS that come from no experience to yourselves.

Reiki heals many ailments.

Many call themselves Masters that are in fact Masters in healing.
Some call themselves Masters after just learning it because they have been attuned to that level, you idiots!

BURN THE WITCH BURN THE WITCH !! BLOG

YOU ARE ALL SHALLOW MINDED , CLOSED MINDED INEXPERIENCED FOOLS.

THEN EVEN POSTING ABOUT DR.USUI...
are you kidding me???

You have no idea what you are talking about, all of you

A BUNCH OF WANKERS ON THIS BLOG!
AND THE WANKER THAT CREATED IT... GET A LIFE!

 
At 2/7/13 3:42 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Sure you've seen all that incredible stuff - and you *couldn't* be mistaken, could you? Of course not, because you just *know* this stuff works, right?

Who is the one with the open mind here?

If you actually came with evidence - real, credible, replicable evidence that showed these very testable claims to be true, I'd not be so dismissive of it. I'd seriously look at it as a viable option, but I don't.

You bring nothing but attitude and ignorance to the conversation, so fuck off...and take your ineffective, nonsensical, "energy" bullshit with you, until you're ready to defend you ideas.

 
At 22/8/13 8:20 pm, Anonymous RJS said...

"Some call themselves Masters after just learning it because they have been attuned to that level, you idiots!" Right. They're such evolved beings, that their advanced "attuned" ability made them instant masters. Kinda like instant oatmeal, with the same amount of mush. You're not an "idiot" but a mega moron. Don't have the "balls" to state your real identity "Anonymous?" I think you're a belligerent Brit twit, "wanker." Mike, I second your comment.

 
At 30/10/13 9:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am open but still critical. I went through the training and received some sessions. I do not think it is worth a penny.

How many times am I going to get told to reach into my past and my problems are all because of my past. I can only recall and move on from my past. I cant remove the past and dictate every natural connection/subconscious move that I have in my head. I can move on and make sure I release negative emotions through appropriate forms of expression.

Not all of our problems are about these 'attachments'.

Some of them are logical.

 
At 27/3/14 4:23 pm, Blogger Miz Kizzle said...

I had Reiki done on me (for free) when I was in the hospital recovering from spinal surgery. It felt great. But I was so looped on morphine that I suspect anything short of having my legs cut off with a dull knife would have felt great.
You're right: Reiki is a pile of steaming horseshit. I don't see how any rational person falls for it.

 
At 6/8/14 2:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi to all, my estranged brother is a self proclaimed reiki master, even though we are estranged, he is my brother, do you think i can save him? he believes reiki is the greatest thing ever, stupid bastard.

 
At 16/12/14 12:18 pm, Anonymous QmagnumQ said...

Wow...my wife wants to spend $25000 for a year long study of Reiki, Chakras, Bigfoot whatever...Everyone is entitled to believe whatever they please, but when a tonne of money is being made at the gullibility of others, I feel sad. I think Mike's statements are accurate and I wouldn't go anywhere near this junk...but, I now have to be the supportive husband and nod and agree with everything my wife learns. (insert rolling eyes)

 
At 16/12/14 12:35 pm, Blogger Heathen Mike said...

Hey there, QmagnumQ, I'm really sad to hear that your wife is spending that kind of cash on this - that said, I hear you on the, "Happy wife happy life" front.
Alternately, however, you don't have to just smile and support. Gentle criticism, I find, ,works best in those types of situations. 25Gs is a ton of money that could be spent, I don't know, on a nice holiday or something. Good luck with a re-direction of effort!

 
At 4/10/15 1:51 pm, Blogger v8mechanic said...

My wife took up Rieki and turned into a witch. She was so busy healing that she gave up 38 years of marriage to follow something she learned over a week end

 
At 15/3/16 7:01 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

My wife decided to end our 12 year marriage and destroy our family and our kids life let alone breaking my heart for this Reiki Bull shit. It was after her second session. A male reiki master has been giving her guidance and I truly believe brain washed her. He's older alot ugley and married. I can see on my mobile phone contract I have for us all they speak alot including stupid o'clock in the morning. We've been separated now for 4 months and it's all because of this shit. Reiki, as far as I'm concerned you can stick it up your ass. Karma is a bitch and because you destroyed my happy marriage it's going to kick your ass!

 
At 15/3/16 7:02 pm, Blogger The only way is up said...

Same situation myself, reiki can kiss my ass

 
At 15/3/16 7:03 pm, Blogger The only way is up said...

My wife decided to end our 12 year marriage and destroy our family and our kids life let alone breaking my heart for this Reiki Bull shit. It was after her second session. A male reiki master has been giving her guidance and I truly believe brain washed her. He's older alot ugley and married. I can see on my mobile phone contract I have for us all they speak alot including stupid o'clock in the morning. We've been separated now for 4 months and it's all because of this shit. Reiki, as far as I'm concerned you can stick it up your ass. Karma is a bitch and because you destroyed my happy marriage it's going to kick your ass!

 
At 5/5/17 12:03 am, Blogger Michael_G said...

I only breathe out through that channel

 

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