A colleague from the North Shore sent me an alarmed email, referring to it as a “horrid article.” I respectfully disagree.
There are only minor inaccuracies: depicting Usui as a doctor who developed the practice at the turn of the century (he was not a physician and it was the 1920s), saying Reiki came to the U.S. in the 1940s (it was the late 1930s), and saying Takata taught Reiki “to a handful of Americans” (I don’t know of any data on this but Takata trained 22 Reiki masters, and since, like Usui and Hayashi, she reserved such training for a very few of her students, she clearly trained far more than a handful of Americans).
Of course a Boston Globe reporter would reach out to local hero and early proponent of mind-body medicine Herbert Benson, even though Reiki is not mind-body medicine. It would have taken a bit more digging to find a medical expert qualified to comment on Reiki, someone such as the NIH’s Ann Berger.
Benson clearly is not well-versed in Reiki; he’s much more a placebo kind of a guy, so it’s no surprise that he brought placebo into his comments. But it’s a valid point, one that many discerning minds would raise.
The overall evenness of the article is evidence that Reiki practice now has enough mainstream recognition to be taken seriously, regardless what the Catholic Bishops think.
Remember the first rule of advertising: no publicity is bad publicity. Although I feel for the patients who are being denied care as a result of the bishops’ pronouncement, it sparked a fire of public interest in Reiki that’s warming this practitioner’s heart.
Bishops’ Syndrome is raising Reiki’s profile, and in a sympathetic context, no less (public perception of Catholic bishops vs. patients in pain? — my money’s on the patients).
I encourage you to read the article.
When a story on Reiki receives a lot of public response, it signals the media that Reiki is a topic of interest, which leads to more stories on Reiki. If you take the time to comment on the Globe’s site, and to compose your comment carefully, all the better.
Self-righteous Reiki practitioners leaving poorly thought out comments gives evidence to support the bishops’ prejudice. It’s much more effective for people to simply share brief personal stories of how Reiki benefited their loved ones.
That’s what I think of Reiki in the Boston Globe. What do you think?
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Reiki and the Catholic Bishops, Again