Reiki, Science & the Media

Do you find Reiki healing hard to talk about? Practitioners often struggle to communicate Reiki practice to the (literally) uninitiated, especially the media.

Caught up in Reiki enthusiasm, a practitioner can easily wind up looking ungrounded, and the practice a bit out there and, well, unscientific. It may be surprising to learn that scientists also struggle to share their work accurately, often for similar reasons.

Of course not all scientists and Reiki practitioners are allowed to speak to the media. Working for institutions carries prestige, but really cramps communication.

Institutions know how easily media coverage can go awry, and typically forbid their staff from speaking publicly, preferring to leave the messy job of communication to their public relations specialists. Often my conversations with hospital Reiki masters are off the record because they haven’t been cleared to speak publicly, lest their words reflect badly on their employer.

When scientists are free to speak on the record, they tend to do so with great care and precision; they are, after all, scientists. Having been so deliberate in their choice of words, they may be horrified to see what gets published. Even carefully chosen words are easily misquoted or taken out of context, misrepresenting science to the public and making dedicated professionals look foolish before their colleagues.

Same words, different meanings

Part of the problem is that science-speak is too precise for mass consumption; nuances critical in science are meaningless to the public and easily get lost in translation.

Reiki practitioners are rarely as precise as scientists, but like scientists, they tend toward a peculiar use of language, one that is foreign to the masses and begs to be misunderstood. Thus many public depictions of Reiki healing are enough to make a credible practitioner’s skin crawl.

To be fair, even reputable media can make mistakes, especially with so much sketchy information about Reiki healing floating around.

But some media outlets don’t bother to fact check. Talk has always been cheap, but with the new online media, it’s now cheap to publish, and we can no longer count on accuracy being a writer’s top priority.

What’s the agenda?

Motivations add to the confusion. Scientists and Reiki practitioners are motivated to bring accurate information to the public, but media are motivated to promote controversy, because controversy is good for business.

Popular articles about medical research can be so skewed toward the sensational that I’ve read halfway through an article before recognizing the study being discussed was one I know well. The writer had either totally missed the point or decided the facts didn’t make a good headline.

9 tips to help you communicate Reiki healing effectively

Want to get credible Reiki information to the public? Here are 9 tips to keep in mind when approaching the media, or any time you’re communicating about Reiki:

  • Speak plainly and simply.
  • Don’t try to explain Reiki.
  • Describe what a treatment looks like from the outside (recipient fully clothed, hands placed lightly).
  • Share a few of the most commonly reported benefits (such as feeling more relaxed, more centered, less anxious, less pain).
  • Stay calm and low-key.
  • Avoid making claims.
  • Don’t talk science (you see how much trouble scientists get into).
  • Position Reiki treatment as daily self-care, or as a professional support to conventional health care.
  • Have an agreement at the start that all direct and indirect quotes will be fact-checked.

Easy enough. Now get out there and do it! We need more non-sensational, matter-of-fact Reiki coverage in the media. Every clear communication you produce — a public event, a poster, a flyer, an article, or your website — makes it possible for more people to see Reiki as an option in their lives.


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  1. says

    I received your book, Reiki A comprehensive Guide, yesterday. The words I would use to descibe your book are, eloquent, intelligent, truthful and caring. The information in this book and the information you offer on this site shines a long distance light and clears up alot of mystery surrounding Reiki. You have done the work of a thousand and cleared the way for us to practice and share our Reiki. You make it possible for alot more people to benefit from Reiki. Thank you.

  2. says

    That is some great advice, thank you. Science is such a funny word that has been distorted these days. A true scientist is simply someone who investigates all aspects of a given situation. We’ve taken it to mean drug studies with rats. And scientific studies are only shared with the public when they are sensational enough to get someones attention. Well said.

  3. says

    Hi! I thought your media was really valuable. Especially the keep it simple instructions. My only question is on the 2nd point, how do you tell someone about Reiki without explaining it?

    I am glad to have found your blog! I’m taking Reiki I this weekend =)

    • Pamela Miles says

      Geena, the points after the second one answer your question.

      Trying to explain the unexplainable is not a good strategy, but calmly describing a Reiki treatment and sharing how you feel you benefit is completely reasonable — as long as the Reiki practitioner doesn’t launch a monologue! :-)

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