As alternative healing gains more attention in society, new studies have begun to validate the effectiveness of Reiki, and many people are curious about how it works, its effectiveness, and how it fits into their religious views. Recently, on the “The Dr. Oz Show,” Dr. Mehmet Oz interviewed Reiki Master Pamela Miles, and hosted a demonstration of Reiki healing. During his interview, Dr. Oz stated that Reiki was his “favorite alternative treatment that could change the future of medicine forever” and Reiki was the number one “Oz’s order.” Dr. Oz, whose wife Lisa is a Reiki master, invited an audience member to have a brief Reiki healing. The audience member reported that after a few minutes of Reiki, her headache was relieved.
That experience is just one of a growing number of reports indicating that Reiki has medical significance. A 2008 survey indicated that 15 percent of U.S. hospitals offered Reiki as a part of their routine patient services. This number is sure to grow as Reiki gains more and more acceptance in both the medical and religious arenas, even becoming listed in a nursing “scope and standards of practice” publication on patient care. Hartford Hospital in Connecticut reported that patients who received Reiki experienced pain reduction by 78 percent, and patient sleep was improved by 86 percent.
Julie Motz, a Reiki healer who works with Dr. Mehmet Oz at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, assisted during both open heart surgery and transplants. She reports that none of her patients treated thus far have experienced post-operative depression; all have reported a reduction in pain; and among transplant patients, none in her care have experienced organ rejection.
Even more astounding is a study conducted on the immune system in Portland, Oregon. Volunteers were divided into three groups, one received Reiki treatment, another received relaxation, and the third received nothing. Blood was drawn from participants before and after treatment. The study showed that the Reiki group received an immune enhancement by way of an increase of white blood cells after the treatment. Another study found that patients who received Reiki experienced a lower diastolic blood pressure. These exciting studies are opening the door for us to learn more about what Reiki can offer to the medical community, and its benefits on our bodies and immune systems.
Often, patients wonder about the religious aspects of Reiki. Reiki is a system of healing based off of Eastern energy principles–the universal life energy is all around us and is channeled through the practitioner to the client. The client’s spirit is healed, and when the spirit is healed it will cause the body and mind to be healed as well. The focus of Reiki is on the seven chakras, or subtle energy transformers along the body, through which life energy flows. This life energy is called “ki,” pronounced “Chi.” This concept of universal life energy is present throughout almost all different cultures and religions, it is known as “Qudra” in Islam, “Prana” in Sanskrit and “Mana” in Polynesian. Energy healing techniques are common around the world, and are mentioned in ancient holy texts. In Christianity, the apostle Paul speaks of healing in I Corinthians 12:4-12, as well as 12:28-31, in which he speaks of spiritual gifts including the ability to heal, and people having different roles in the church, as teachers and healers. In Islam, the seven points, which are referred to as the Chakras, are called the “lata’if,” and an Islamic form of energy healing similar to Reiki has developed called Reiki Sufi, in which the practitioner calls on Allah and uses verses from the Quran. In Israel, a healing technique called “Shefa” is practiced, which is similar to Reiki as well, but uses Hebrew Prayers.
The practice of Reiki, as taught by founder Usui Makao, however, is not at all religious in nature, but rather spiritual. Techniques for energy healing used in Reiki have been used for thousands of years; with over centuries of use, these techniques became closely guarded, reserved only for the religious and societal elite. Reiki as we widely know today was re-discovered nearly one hundred years ago, by Usui Mikao in Japan. Dr. Usui was a Buddhist monk in Japan. He was well-educated and traveled, studying history, medical science, psychology and the canons of Christianity and Buddhism. After traveling to China and Europe, Dr. Usui returned to the monastery at Mt. Kurama in Japan, where he discovered using the techniques of energy healing without depleting one’s own energy. In short, letting the energy of the universe flow through you like a conduit, rather than storing and using your own energy. Reiki itself is religiously neutral, in that it doesn’t call upon the power of any specific deity. Usui’s belief was that practitioners should be able to treat all people equally, and that every person should be able to share in these techniques. Because Reiki is spiritual in nature, love and compassion are an important part of its practice. Its nature is compatible with many religious beliefs, including Christianity, Judaism, Muslim and Hinduism. Thanks to what Usui called “the wonderful gift,” people of all faiths have begun healing, as well as practicing his technique. Reiki practitioners and clients are found in a vast variety of cultural, religious and medical backgrounds.
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