I’m thinking about communication these days. A lot.
I monitor Reiki in the media, and for each mention that is respectful and accurate–and there are definitely more and more of those–there are many more articles that refer to Reiki in ways that are hard to take seriously. And some that are outright derisive.
What’s heartbreaking is that the Reiki community itself is the source of most of the less credible information about Reiki.
How can we communicate Reiki in a way that communicates — that goes to people’s wants and needs and doesn’t scare them off with what looks to the public like New Age goobledygook? (Of course if you are presenting Reiki in New Age communities, that would be a plus rather than a minus.)
Many Reiki practitioners aren’t New Agers. We chafe under the New Agey-ness that’s been wrapped around Reiki. We yearn to share our practice with friends and the public, without embarrassment.
But when we open our mouths or our fingers hit the keyboard, something else takes over. You’ve been there. So have I.
It is admittedly a huge challenge to find the balance of passion and practicality that moves people to consider what we are saying. Yet when you love something as much as we love our Reiki practice, and when you see how quickly it relieves people’s suffering and reconnects them to their best selves, you can’t stop trying.
What is the hardest part of Reiki for you to communicate? Please share in a comment below. I might have an idea that can help you.
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Choosing Your Reiki Words
Reiki Healing Is for Everyone, So Let’s Speak to Everyone
30 thoughts on “Reiki Flakey?”
I am so grateful to have found this site. After having a *terrible* Reiki experience, I was going to give up on Reiki until I found this site. I realized that I picked a practioner who does not have a daily Reiki practice and provides training for Level I-Level III in 1 1/2 weeks. I see that I worked with an individual who was not committed to their practice.
I have a daily self-practice and am nervous but not discouraged about finding a new practioner or a Reiki Circle. I also look forward to growing into my practice steadily and with love.
Looking forward to being able to contribute to Reiki Credibility. 🙂
Susan, I hear that you are a critical thinker, and I wonder how many people would agree that someone who uses a pendulum to diagnose chakras and magnetic healing is not at least a little bit New Agey. 🙂
I completely agree that the practice, and the practice of teaching, become simpler and deeper the longer we practice, and I love your phrase, “less without and more within.” The increased simplicity and depth are related, and something we will likely discuss in my interview with Prashanti De Jager in the free Thankfulness series.
I have been giving Reiki treatments professionally for 6 years & still have a hard time describing what it is to clients who ask. I have been telling them that it is like acupuncture without the needles but that really doesn’t do it justice. I also use a pendulum to diagnose the condition of chakras & use magnetic healing. Reading the above comments about New Age craziness makes me feel uneasy about using these techniques with Reiki. However, I find them to be useful tools & they blend well with Reiki. I am not a New Age person at all. I question most of what I read & hear about healing & spirituality. The most important thing for me in my practice is truth & honesty. Honesty with myself above all. Coming across your website was serendipitous. The way I teach Reiki has evolved over the years & I am at another crossroads. I feel as time goes by, it becomes simpler. Less without & more within. There is a depth that wasn’t there when I began the journey. How do you communicate this to clients & students? And is it wrong to be blending other techniques with Reiki?
I very much appreciate the nuanced questioning and observations in your comments, Jennifer. Thank you for taking the time to write. Do you perceive a difference between healing and balancing?
I completely agree that Reiki brings the benefits of meditation. I often speak of it as an applied meditation. I wish Richie Davidson at Madison would do the research he is doing on meditation on Reiki as well, but that is not likely to happen. Since no one stands to gain financially from such research, it probably won’t happen until a neuroscientist becomes interested in Reiki.
BTW conventional medicine isn’t the only kind of medicine that saves lives. And I dare say that training medics, first responders, and ER personnel in some basic homeopathic emergency remedies, acupuncture points, and Reiki would improve outcomes. I know of two incidents in which someone knowledgeable enough to bite the tip of a patient’s little finger stabilized a cardiac episode well enough for the patient to live to be helped by conventional medicine.
Thinking about what Terry, Yu Jin, and Penny wrote has been very thought provoking. I am an early Reiki (level 1) trainee and an allopathic physician (boarded in internal med and allergy/immunology) who is struggling with whether to become an acupuncturist.
Western medicine saves lives. That’s what is is designed to do. Most of our current medicine started out on the battlefield and brought people from the brink or over the edge from death. That being said – what about the lesser forms of illness. Illness that is not profoundly or immediately debilitating or life-threatening. How is that managed? Who cares? Well, it would seem at this point in time, for the vast majority of the population, that “lifestyle” support does not exist. Yet the media is full of stories of small changes that someone (usually celebrity) has made that gave them more confidence and energy (social anxiety disorder), less chronic pain (fibromyalgia), their normal body weight (obesity and its multiple perils), etc. In and of themselves not ailments that destroy (like toxo or PE) but define life as a grind. Now we all want happy pills and a personal trainer- and I am truly no different than anyone.
I have found though that eating a diet that is not too rich, getting regular moderate intensity exercise, avoiding too much drink, and maybe a couple vitamins AND REGULAR MEDITATION are really helpful to being on keel. How easy is that? Weel, as most of you know – not at all. We are surrounded by marketing and stimulation at every turn. (Oh thanks to agribusiness, corn, and the electronic communications world).
Reiki really helps to bring the benefits of meditation to people who cannot sit still by themselves. Touch is reassuring (esp to metal and earth element people). I suspect that meditation is still really helpful in training the mind. (See PET images of Buddhist monks meditating. It would be interesting if those studies could be done with Reiki – but most western science is dealt with testing individuals.)
Healing has several levels and not every level is really ‘required’ by every one but healing does need some sort of space and energy of its own. Its an amazing thing how any form of insult (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual) ripples through our nervous and neuro-endocrine system affecting apparently distant organs and processes. How much time it takes to heal – 2 years for a strong bout of infection, really to change almost every level of a habit and the nature of the scars it leaves.
A good question – how much healing do we need? What is really interesting to me is how success and healing can be defined so differently. Especially intriguing is how the 5 elements might define it. and the fact that most successful people (ie the ones with the $$$) are often metal and woods -which may shed light on why definitions of health and healing are often defined in their reflection.
I’m still thinking about all sorts of stuff and apologize if its a little disjointed. I still struggle with typing (I’m a little older). And do actually practice allopathic medicine very successfully part-time (I’m most likely a water-type).
How much of our lifestyle causes pain? and without going into the buddhist thing about desire (for anything causing karmic debt and pain), I’ll finish with this simple little saying that got me through a lot of times and someimes helps me settle down for meditation. “Expectation leads to disappointment” and “Be here Now”
In Light and love, Dr. W
Information about chakras was part of my Reiki I, II, and III attunements (the same teacher) and when people ask ‘how and what do you do’, I mention some of my hand placements are focused on energy points. I also have been using crystals (on the chakras) for balancing.
I did not realize that chakras were not part of Usui’s practice and may have been added to Reiki by Westerners. I perhaps need to go back and review “The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui” which I have used as a reference for hand positions. It just passed by me that there is no information about chakras.
I agree that avoiding the word chakra is a good idea. Isn’t it funny that yoga (in the largest sense, not just postures), a very practical body of knowledge that is thousands of years old, has no credibility in this culture?
But I’m curious why you feel the need to mention chakras–or energy points–at all. The chakra-nadi system of yoga is an entirely different system than the Japanese hara system, and chakras were not part of Usui’s practice. It seems they have been added to Reiki practice by Westerners.
I have found that the word ‘chakra’ has a negative reaction in some people and imagine that they think of incense-filled rooms and strange rituals. I have substituted ‘energy points’ instead and make include ‘balancing the energy points’ as part of the Reiki session. Words like ‘deep relaxation’, ‘balancing’ also help.
I’m also working on a relaxation and rejuvenation meditation that would be an introduction to the location of chakras without all the technical knowledge.
You mention you are a new Reiki master but didn’t say how long you have been practicing. My guess is that you haven’t yet practiced long enough to create the comfort that you–and your students–deserve. Much of your discomfort could be relieved by simply taking the pressure to establish a professional practice off yourself, and giving your relationship with Reiki time to grow organically.
Completing Reiki training is really only the beginning. It takes time to acclimate to our new Reiki reality. Only when we are deeply comfortable with Reiki can we support our students and clients wisely. Until then, there is a tendency to overdo, to take too much on ourselves rather than allowing the Reiki treatment to run its course–to say nothing of the difficulties of communicating.
And remember, there is a difference between healing and cure. It may be that you are being too hard on yourself, and on Reiki. Expecting our Reiki practice to relieve us of the challenges of being human is not helpful.
Even with Reiki in our lives, life still happens, and sometimes it’s painful. When we practice Reiki self-treatment every day, no matter what, over time we come to realize that we are never alone and helpless, even when life doesn’t look like what we had in mind.
I am just getting started, or rather hoping to get started, with a Reiki practice. I recently completed the master-teacher level and have attuned one person to level II. I loved it. I’ve been “practicing” at home with pets, wounded birds and other animals, as well as family and friends who were open to the idea. My intention is to have a blended practice that includes work with animals.
Most of the responses I’ve read here are from established practitioners. I am at the first bump in the road. My biggest mental obstacle is the knowledge that the vast majority of my family members and friends view Reiki either with suspicion or worse. I’m afraid to “come out”. I find the discomfort with this situation blocking me again and again as I attempt to move forward to establish a practice. I can also identify with Terry’s story. Although my health issues haven’t been as critical as hers, they affect my every movement. I have fibromyalgia and as a result of limited activity, have also gained weight. The devil on my shoulder asks, shouldn’t the [physician] (or practitioner) heal him/her self? My self-treatment with Reiki brings decidedly mixed results.
I realize this is how the issue of Reiki acceptance looks at a very local, personal level and most here have graduated to the broader community. But it seems to me it is part of the same picture. I appreciate the original post and comments.
I have been practicing Reiki for nearly seven years now, and have more trouble communicating it now than when most people knew nothing about it. The same things that have prompted the bishop’s statement (misinformation and lack of consistency among resources) are causing the trouble. I recently had a client from California who had experienced Reiki there. She spent a good part of our session telling me what to do based on her prior experience. From what she described she was clearly getting something other than just Reiki. When I said that pure Reiki is very simple and suggested she may have received a combination of therapies, she implied I was a sham! I am active in a monthly Reiki share, and have also witnessed many Reiki practitioners using lots of other different techniques and still calling it Reiki. I think it is really important that we keep the integrity of Reiki intact, and clearly identify any other methods we may be using. If my Reiki teacher (who was wonderful!) had walked in waving her arms all over, chanting and swinging crystals around like yo-yo’s, I would have thought she was a little flakey too! Reiki is a simple and powerful healing modality that needs no other embellishment to be effective. Let’s stay true to the heart and soul of Reiki and not let our egos into it so it is preserved intact for the future. Thank you Pamela for all you have done to advance Reiki and for being a wonderful resource!
Melody, I applaud you for reaching beyond your natural talents. Reiki is so easy to practice and brings such quick relief that it is really not necessary to be able to speak coherently about it–unless we want to communicate about Reiki as well as practice it. Communicating requires a whole other set of skills.
But the foundation is your daily practice of Reiki self-treatment. Your comment doesn’t mention whether you do that or not. Our understanding develops from within as we continue our disciplined self-treatment over time.
Beyond that, there are many levels to your request, and they are all addressed in my classes and more than I can articulate here. But I can suggest that instead of trying to explain Reiki, you simply describe your experience and mention a few things that you and your clients have experienced. Simple things, such as an enhanced sense of well-being, or a lessening of anxiety.
The model that you have for Reiki–you mentioned energy transfers–is not the model I use, and it is admittedly a difficult one to speak of credibly. For this reason, you might want to avoid trying to articulate it and simply say that science does not yet know how Reiki works. This is a much more reasonable response to most people than speaking about energy transfers.
You might also read some of the articles on my website, such as the UPI interview or the piece I wrote for the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing, and see if there is language there that is helpful to you. You’ll find the links in the Articles and Books section.
Marilee asked about a communication teleclass. I am open to doing this. The more people who express interest, the sooner it will happen.
First, thank you Pam for sharing your knowledge through your emails. Your topics always resonate with me and keep me reading and wanting to attend courses (although I have yet to do so)… I am grateful for your insight.
In response to your email this a.m., the hardest thing for me to communicate with reiki or any other practice/knowledge I want to share is thru my articulation of words/or lack of… My reiki master guided me personally with her own energy and daily life practice. I know she taught me everything that I was supposed to know “textbook” about the origins of reiki and how the energy transfers ~ however ~ I do not know a good way to describe reiki to anyone who doesn’t already have an understanding. I always tell my clients/friends or potential clients that are inquiring that my gift is my hands (also a massage therapist) not my articulation of words.
I would really like to know how to articulate a description of reiki to the community and to those that are sent my way that doesn’t scare them off with New Age “hodgepodge” and that reassures them that it isn’t from the “dark side” and definitely is a gift from God/higher power.
Would love some insight…Namaste…
Thank you for taking the time to write, Jeanne. I’ve been aware of the program at M. D. Anderson for quite a while, and it’s great to connect and learn more about the great work you are doing. When I was speaking at the NIH OCCAM research conference in 2007, I enjoyed chatting with Moshe Frenkel.
You’re right, documentation and research are key to establishing credibility and reliability. Would love to know more about how you are documenting results.
I work at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, Mind/Body/Spirit Center and we provide education, interventions and some research to our center on integrative medicine. We provide different Energy Medicine sessions to cancer patients. We have been doing this for 7 years and it’s been well received by patients, families and even doctors. Patients don’t see us without a doctor referral. Where we have been able to override the skepticism is the results. Patients are certainly helped with many symptoms and quality of life. There is some resistance in admnistration yet not among staff. Many team members have gone on and done their own training. We have policy and procedures, competencies listed on our intranet which helps to root it in traditional practice. We also use the term Energy Medicine (NIH term) as the over arching umbrella and that includes many energy modalities.(Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine, HT etc)
We also just did an extensive literature search, using Natural Standard and Cochrane. Therapeutic Touch received some “B” (Good Scientific Evidence) grades for Pain, Psychiatric disorders (children) and stress, the rest were “C” (unclear or conflicting scientific evidence.
Our referrals are computerized as are notes which includes it in the care plan. All this and more seems to jump the Flakey hurdle even though we live in the Bible belt. Of course there are some that don’t believe it. It has not been an easy journey and I think we are making progress. All that being said there are still some disbelievers. For us…much to my chagin is research, research and documentation.
Thank you for the question and all the best as you give your presentation. Jeanne
I have been practicing and teaching Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki since 1997. This practice and gift has been the most beautiful thing in my life since that time. Many of my students come from the allopathic/ mainstream medical profession, which is wonderful.
Earlier this year I was hospitalized for 10 days with migraines and severe vertigo. It was determined that a bout of Toxoplasmosis had caused lesions on my brain, which was a life threatening condition. I have never been so ill. Conventional treatment is very unpleasant, as one must take a very strong antibiotic (Cleason) as well as eight other medications daily. I have been on these medications for three and one half months now.
Two weeks after I was released from the hospital, I suffered from bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots in my lungs), also life threatening, and spent 6 days in ICU. I am also on medications for that.
Although I am still administering Reiki to myself, I find that I am dealing with much emotional trauma concerning my practice and teaching of others. It isn’t as if I have lost faith in Reiki, as I do understand that healing comes from within and that Reiki is not to fault for my illness. However, I have been shaken to the core as it concerns my teaching of Reiki to others. Would a prospective student want to learn from someone who has been stricken with such illness?
I feel certain that I will get through this and hopefully, I will eventually feel guided to teach again, although I do not think that the teaching will be the same as before. How could it be? All I know is that I love teaching and it saddens me to think that I may not teach again. For now, I have set that idea aside until I am well and I can work through the emotional turmoil and lessons that this year has brought me thus far.
I studied with three Reiki Masters over the years. Two of them passed away shortly after my training. One from cancer, the other from a stroke. At the time, I was affected greatly by confusion and doubt. I thought that I had worked through those doubts. Obviously, there are more lessons to be learned.
I spent several years, the last two, as President of the Florida Health Freedom Coalition. That role placed me in a position where I had very little trust in the mainstream western medical establishment. When these illnesses hit me, I was left to rely on them entirely for treatment. It has been quite a change for me.
I read your book a couple of years ago and have reread it since then. From the start, it brought a freshness and clarity of understanding. Thank you for that.
I guess right now, I am feeling that I just want to let go of the concepts about Reiki, the differences in training, what it IS and ISN’T, etc. and just settle into the experience that Reiki brings, offering THAT instead of the mental jewelry that has been created around the practice. I sometimes wonder how many people come to the class expecting Reiki miracles and just how many are disillusioned because of their concepts and never practice. We, solely as Reiki practitioners, are not health care professionals but Reiki practitioners. My last Reiki teacher put it simply when he said to be as a hollow reed.
It has been my experience and belief that one of the greatest challenges of being a practitioner is working through this issue and discovering that Reiki is NOT what we conceptualize it to be.
As the Reiki community now addresses the language and concepts that we share with others about the practice, I am finding that I am on a similar path, not because of some Catholic edict, but basically from a need for personal clarity and simplicity in my practice and teaching.
Thank you for questioning and your constant search for that clarity.
Hi. I am an acupuncturist, not a reiki practitioner in a conventional sense. However, I understand this feeling of being misunderstood and not being accepted by mainstream society. My question is: what are we trying to get out being accepted by others? It’s human nature to fear the unknown, fear the immaterial, the realm that is out of our control. I am sure every one of us is familiar with this fear. We shouldn’t take it so personally because it really doesn’t reflect who we really are and the power of energy healing. What is real is real. It doesn’t need anyone’s validation. What we need is compassion for those with closed hearts as well as our own insecurities that make us put up our defenses. We must continue to persevere in manifesting from our hearts from a place of love. If we merely stay true to ourselves and explain what we do from a place of complete honesty by sharing only what we know to be viscerally real, others may become curious and encouraged to try something new. It seems like a waste of time and energy for us to reach out externally for acceptance. Why don’t we work harder on accepting ourselves and our work by strengthening our grounding, and just hope that our desire for truth and the wellness for our world will catch like wildfire?
For me, the best way to respond has been to answer simply, clearly, and to teach people a few simple Reiki positions. Children and teenagers are particularly open to these demonstrations and adapt quickly.It helps people if they can tune into their energetic body in an understandable way….i.e. rubbing their palms together and then holding them slightly apart. Of course we are energetic beings…chemical interactions in the body, synapses in the brain etc. make it impossible to deny the “electricity” going on in there…it is a starting point to acceptance that there are other ways of healing and bringing the body into balance is a powerful way!
The comments on your blog are most helpful. Will you be offering a telephone or web class on communication any time soon?
Listing the commonly reported benefits is a good way to address questions. When doing so, it’s important to state clearly that this is anecdotal, rather than research, evidence. I often start by saying that as in conventional medicine, we cannot promise specific results, but that scientific research has shown Reiki can be useful to reduce pain and anxiety and induce relaxation.
You can also get yourself off the hook by saying that science doesn’t yet know how Reiki treatment works. I often follow that statement by pointing out that aspirin was used for 70 years before science figured out how it works.
Especially when caught off guard, remember to keep it simple and objective. When people or animals relax, their bodies’ ability to heal is better able to respond to whatever health challenge they are facing. The value of stress reduction is well documented and no doctor would dispute this statement. We know that deeper healing can happen, but it’s sometimes better to wait until the person has had some experience before venturing into that level of subtlety.
Thank you all for your comments and support. I completely agree with Jeffrey that in the big picture, this is all good. If Reiki weren’t having an impact, no one would make a fuss. I also agree in engaging skeptics, and encourage my students’ skepticism. I’d rather have them work it put with their minds and hearts than bypass the mind.
Sharon, it can be helpful to remember that we don’t have to tell people everything we experience during a session. When people ask me, I reinforce their experience by telling them what a pleasure it was to share Reiki with them.
My experience of offering Reiki in hospitals has been the same as Janine’s. The staff quickly see the benefit the patients are experiencing, and the patients are often quite vocal in their gratitude. Once the staff sees that we are there to support them and the patients, and that Reiki treatment enhances and does not interfere with their work, they are very supportive. The trick is to keep a low profile and let the benefits of Reiki treatment speak for the practice.
Opposition is a sign of success.
Waving, humming and crystal bowls are easy targets for ridicule. As practices become more popular, they dilute and mix with other traditions and new ideas, and opportunities for egotists multiply. That is the price of reaching the world. Some great heart-opening and deeply powerful practices can look silly on camera but are deeply affecting in person (example whirling dervishes). Without the attunement process, lineage and history, Reiki would have sunk beneath the waves of New Age “mumbo-jumbo” already.
Simple hands-on Reiki itself can look silly on camera. To a skeptic’s eye, there is the practitioner, deeply focused and concentrating, and all s/he’s doing is holding hands on the client. On TV, we’re used to seeing such intense concentration for complex and urgent activities, from car chases to ER trauma, not still hands. This unconscious expectation makes ridicule easy – “they’re not DOING anything!”.
All this attention, from the Bishops, to the attempt to gut NCCAM, to the AP article, indicates that Reiki is widespread enough now to alarm some folks.
I always welcome and engage skeptics, and there’s at least one in every group I speak to. They call us to a discipline, of being grounded in how we practice and present ourselves.
Happy to see Dave Gorczynski’s comments here! Look him up, he has a great project doing Reiki in the parks in NYC.
For questions, I send people to your book, which by the way is near the yoga section at Barnes and Noble and far away from the New Age section.:-)
In the AP video, the doctor interviewed said, “We do (Reiki) because it helps our patients,” and he seemed very genuine. The written article does not include this quote.
So keep doing the wonderful job that you are doing! There are still many people out there who don’t have questions or concerns and who want to receive Reiki, because it helps.
In regard to Sharon’s comment, I found it easier to explain Usui’s vision on the mountain after learning more about the practices of different groups, like Buddhist monks and those who practice Shugendo that involved extreme physical endurance – I often liken it to the Native American Sweat Lodge. People can grasp that concept more easily than the “A man named Usui climbed a mountain and had a vision” that I learned in my first Reiki class.
I don’t find that many people even ask me about where Reiki came from, though – I have learned to have my prepared statement ready to explain it to people (“Reiki is a subtle vibrational practice that promotes systemic balance through light touch”) but when it comes to going to the next level with people who are totally unfamiliar with it, I sometimes lose them.
I just found your interview with Phyllis Lei Furumoto on the internet which discusses the use of the words “energy” and “vibration” and while I understand what you’re talking about, I’m not able to relate that information to others in a way that doesn’t make them space out, get intimidated, or lose interest.
I have read your book (where I first read a description of Reiki being vibratory, rather than energetic in nature) but what I think I need is a way to distill the information down further in a non-scientific way that doesn’t intimidate people.
I have found that by listing the benefits of Reiki and by using examples of how Reiki is being used by hospitals really helps make the case sometimes, and I can avoid trying to explain the exact how and why.
I’m looking for tips on adding to my repetoire of facts about Reiki that people who often rely solely on western medicine and concepts will “get”.
Here’s another, more specific instance in which I could have been better prepared.
I got a call from a woman whose dog had just been diagnosed with cancer. Friends had suggested looking into Reiki for the dog. She wanted to know how long the effects of a Reiki treatment would last. I think she did not want to pay for something that she likened to a massage that would give her dog relief for only the duration of the treatment.
I was caught off guard and told her that there was no clear way of knowing. I told her that subtle and profound healing could occur – I suggested she observe her dog after treatment to help get some perspective on the healing process. I also explained that many humans being treated for life threatening diseases reported not only physical relief from pain, but were able to see things more clearly and with a deeper perspective after receiving Reiki treatments. She replied that her dog was not aware that there was anything wrong with him.
What I was trying to get at was that since healing occurs on all levels, including the subconscious level, there’s no way for anyone to predict, or in the case of an animal to really know the extent of healing has occurred. She was doubtful and I never heard from her again. I’m interested in how to handle that kind of question.
I’ve been a Reiki Master since 1999 and have a full time business. I was a nurse 35 years before this.I have done a good many workshops for doctors and nurses and have my state provider number for ceu’s for nurses. I have never advertised in the paper or anywhere but have medical professionals who refer me.
I feel that a lot of people get misinformed and see things on the internet that puts fear in them. I try to stay as professional as I can. I think that there needs to be consistent guidelines presented to the medical community if we want to have reiki more mainstream, and in hospitals. I see a lot of people practicing reiki with ego and money as their main objective. I also think that reiki needs to be advetised as stress relief or a relaxation treatment instead of all the promises some people make. The healing is up to the higher power. In other words we need to keep it simple for the medical field.I have seen such powerful results I will never quit.
I tell my clients that Reiki is green, it’s environmental as in bringing sunlight to areas in the body that need warmth and care. Reiki creates the conditions in which healing can take place (in response to a client’s question “Does Reiki attack the cancer?”).
The client’s job is simply to open to the experience, as is, as it may be, to take it in; the practitioner’s job is to allow Reiki to do its work.
Reiki is natural, organic healing; New Age has “cool” attached to it, ergo ego. One may be cool, hot or medium, but Reiki is closer than labels and concepts.
Certainly the ‘new age’ category is making our conversations more difficult. Instead of talking about Reiki, I spend more time answering questions about what it is not – extricating it from the ‘new age’ gop pot (a melting pot that simmers for so long you can’t tell what the original ingredients were). ‘New Age’ is an ill defined ‘catch all’ term. Look at most bookstores – Reiki books are found with witchcraft spell books, UFO abduction accounts, tarot reading, personal accounts of recent visits to Atlantis, erotic massage, crystals to win the lottery, etc. New Age has unfortunately become the collecting umbrella for too wide a range of subjects (old herbal medicine to new religions, fantasy to therapy, cults to fads) – and almost everyone finds something within that category offensive. Then all other contents of that category are ‘guilty by association’. Too many people who have seen Reiki titles in this category are automatically prejudiced and I understand how the recent Catholic misunderstanding occurred.
I would love to see ‘complementary/alternative/integrative’ medicine rise up out of the mire and consistently be given its own category – where I believe Reiki would fit well. Let Reiki stand out as a valuable healing therapy. I believe then people will start with a more positive set of questions.
I am a reiki volunteer at the Hartford Hospital cancer center. The doctors and nurses are SO supportive of our work. They see the patients comforted, calmer and sometimes reporting less pain. It is wonderful to see a patient receiving a chemotherapy infusion lean into your touch and sigh in sweet relief.
In the hospital I keep my reiki practice more focused on stress relief and giving the patient permission to stop, rest and tap into their natural healing capabilities.
Looking to find comments from others I am surprised there are none yet. The more treatments given, the more benefit witnessed, I continue to come up against uninformed or misinformed prejudice against Reiki. Most generally, I do communicate with clear, simple examples and send people to your site for further information.
Thankful for this support, Merilyn
There are a number of aspects of Reiki that I find hard to communicate without coming across as a hand waving hippy.
The first is the the ‘traditional’ Usui story of the mountain and the healing miracles so I am very happy to refer people to the more pragmatic and up to date accounts of Usui’s life and achievements as per Pamela’s book.
Another question that I find I have to give quite convoluted answers to is: ‘what does Reiki feel like when you’re doing it?’ The more I practice the more experiences I have and these are a combination of images, sensations and colours which can be quite a challenge to explain to people.