Monday, May 18, 2009

Bishops vs. Reiki

There has been a lot of discussion in the Reiki community with regard to the Catholic bishops statement recently. Please make sure you have all the facts before you decide. And please, pray about this and make up your own mind.

A Response to the Bishops' Statement on Reiki
by William Lee Rand

On March 25, 2009, U.S. Catholic bishops issued a statement advising Catholic hospitals, health care facilities, and Catholic chaplains not to support the use of Reiki sessions. The statement was issued by The Committee on Doctrine, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and titled: “Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as Alternative Therapy.”

The statement was based on research the committee had done over a period of several months involving information found on the Internet and in Reiki books. Based on these sources, they concluded that Reiki came from Buddhist texts and has a religious basis; that Reiki healing energy is directed by human thought and will; that Reiki is not validated by scientific studies and has no scientific explanation, and that Reiki is not accepted by the medical community.

When considering the value of the bishops’ statement, it’s important to note the sources they accessed. Much of their research came from information published on Internet Web sites. Overall, the Internet isn’t a good source of factual information because there is no requirement that information published there be checked or approved for accuracy. Anyone can set up a Web site and publish anything they wish. What often happens is that authors of sites copy from each other, so if inaccurate information is published on one site, it can easily spread to many sites across the Internet. If one makes use of the Internet for research, one must use a developed set of selection criteria that limits one to only the most respected and reputable Web sites. Otherwise, one runs the risk of accepting rumor and misinformation as fact.

This is especially true for Reiki Web sites. Reiki information has been riddled with inaccurate ideas from the beginning of its practice in the West. Many Reiki practitioners, teachers and authors fail to check the accuracy of the information they base their teaching and writing on, and this has had a detrimental effect on the quality of information published both on the Internet and in Reiki books.

The best information on Reiki comes from those who have researched the history and practice of Reiki professionally by conducting research in Japan, reading original documents, and interviewing members of the founding Reiki organization in Japan. If the bishops who wrote the statement on Reiki had interviewed several of these experts, they would have realized that much of the published information on Reiki is inaccurate, and they would have had accurate, verifiable information on which to base their conclusions.

Origin of Reiki
One of the stories told by Mrs. Takata about the origin of Reiki indicates that the founder, Mikao Usui discovered the secret of Reiki n Buddhist texts.1 This story has been repeated over and over in Reiki classes, on Internet Web sites and in many Reiki books. Yet we know this isn’t true. For many years, Mrs. Takata was the only source of information about Reiki for those in the West, and most practitioners accepted her statements without question. Language, cultural, and organizational barriers in Japan made research difficult for those who wanted to learn more about the origins and practice of Reiki. It wasn’t until the end of the 90’s that a few researchers were able to make breakthroughs.

Researchers, including Toshitaka Mochizuki, Hiroshi Doi and Frank Arjava Petter, made contact with the original Reiki organization, discovered Mikao Usui’s grave, translated the story of Reiki inscribed on his memorial stone, and uncovered an original document written by Mikao Usui about the nature of Reiki. These sources indicate that Mikao Usui wasn’t seeking to discover a method of healing, but that the ability to heal came to him spontaneously during a spiritual experience on a sacred mountain. Furthermore, in his Reiki Ryoho Hikkei (Reiki Healing Art Handbook), Mikao Usui states: “My Usui Reiki Ryoho (healing art) is original, never before explored, and incomparable in the world.” These facts indicate that Reiki couldn’t have come from Buddhist texts, nor could it be connected to any religion or belief system. In addition, Japanese Reiki Masters who have knowledge of Buddhism have indicated that they can find nothing from Buddhism in the practice of Reiki and that Reiki is religiously neutral.2

The Nature of Reiki Healing
One of the first things I noticed after I took my first Reiki class and began to practice Reiki is that Reiki healing energy directs itself. I was unable to direct it with my mind or will and realized this wasn’t necessary as Reiki had its own form of guidance that was superior to my own. This experience has been verified by other professional Reiki practitioners and forms the basis of one of the important keys to using Reiki: If you want Reiki to provide the best healing experience, it’s necessary for the practitioner to set their own desire, will and ego aside, and allow the Reiki energy to guide itself.

Scientific Explanation for Reiki
There is a scientific explanation for Reiki that is based on scientific studies and factual information. This explanation has been presented as a testable hypothesis by James Oschman, Ph.D.

Dr. Oschman is a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. Through research, he discovered a number of important scientific studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology. These findings are discussed in an interview, “Science and the Human Energy Field,” published in the Winter 2002 issue of Reiki News Magazine.

The electrical currents that run through every part of the human body provide the basis for Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues of the body and can be detected anywhere on the body.

Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.

The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated. Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of this hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the interview mentioned above.

Acceptance by the Medical Community
Although Reiki is not universally accepted within the medical community, many medical professionals, hospitals, and healthcare facilities recognize its benefits and accept it as an adjunct therapy. In Holistic Nursing, A Handbook for Practice, Chapter 2 “Scope and Standards of Practice,” the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA) lists Reiki as an accepted form of treatment.3 In addition, according to the American Hospital Association, in 2007 Reiki was offered as a standard part of patient care in 15% or over 800 hospitals across the US.4 Doctors have recommended Reiki to their patients for amelioration of various health-related conditions. Surgeons make use of Reiki practitioners prior to, during, and following surgery. As an example, Dr. Mehmet Oz, one of the most respected cardiovascular surgeons in the US, uses Reiki during open-heart surgeries and heart transplants. According to Dr. Oz, “Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals.”5

Ethical Implications
To refuse Reiki treatment to patients that request it creates an ethical issue. According to the AHNA statement in response to the bishops’ statement, the practice of holistic nursing is not subject to regulation by the Catholic church and it would be an ethical violation for a member of the AHNA to withhold Reiki treatment from a patient who requests it; this includes those working in Catholic hospitals.

Scientific Studies
There are a number of reputable scientific studies that provide evidence that Reiki is therapeutic. These studies can be found by using one of the professional medical databases such as PubMed or Cochrane Collection.6 Studies meeting medical and scientific standards are usually published in peer-reviewed journals. There are over 20 such studies on the therapeutic value of Reiki. A review of some of these studies, “An Integrative Review of Reiki Touch Therapy Research” by Anne Vitale, Ph. D., can be found at While the Reiki studies conducted to date are preliminary in nature, they do provide support for additional studies.

One well-designed Reiki study is “Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study.”7 Forty-five subjects were assigned randomly to three groups. One group received no treatment, another received Reiki treatment by experienced Reiki practitioners, and the third group received sham treatment by a person with no Reiki training who used the same hand positions as those receiving real Reiki.

Measurements were made of heart rate, cardiac vagal tone, blood pressure, cardiac sensitivity to baroreflex, and breathing. Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly for those receiving Reiki, but not for those receiving sham Reiki, or no treatment. This study indicates that the body does respond to Reiki energy and that this response isn’t purely psychological. It also indicates a potential therapeutic effect for Reiki.

“Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats”8 is another valuable study. The value of using animals in this type of study is that they are not affected by belief or skepticism regarding Reiki. In addition, highly accurate telemetric implants were used to transmit the biometric data. White noise was used to increase the heart rate of three implanted laboratory rats. The rats were treated by a Reiki practitioner and by a sham Reiki practitioner prior to being exposed to white noise and after exposure. The procedure involved the practitioner directing their hands toward the caged rat at a distance of four feet. The rats that received Reiki experienced a significant reduction in heart rate, both before having their heart rates elevated by white noise and after, whereas those treated with sham Reiki did not. This is one of the most rigorous Reiki studies to date and demonstrates that Reiki reduces the heart rate in both stressed and unstressed animals and promotes homeostasis, both of which promote healthy heart function.

Reiki is practiced by followers of many religious traditions. Although some practitioners integrate Reiki into their existing religious beliefs, Reiki is not a religion, doctrine, or dogma. Reiki is grounded in the principle of compassionate action, which is common to all religious traditions. While each religion has the right to create its own rules, it’s within the nature of human dignity and free will for each person to decide which path to follow and what activities are appropriate for them.

1 Paul David Mitchell, The Blue Book, revised edition for The Reiki Alliance (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: 1985), page 13.

2 Personal communication with Japanese Reiki practitioners Hiroshi Doi and Hyakuten Inamoto.

3 page 56.

4 and


6 PubMed is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. The Cochrane Collection provides access to a collection of databases, which focus on the effects of health care and evidence based medical practice.

7 Nicola Makay, M.Sc., Stig Hansen, Ph.D., and Oona McFarlane, M.A., The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 10, Number 6, 2004, pp. 1077–1081. This study is also discussed in “The Science of Reiki” by Nicole Mackay, Reiki News Magazine (Summer 2005).

8 Ann Linda Baldwin, Ph.D, Christina Wagers, and Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 14, Number 4, 2008, pp. 417–422.

William Lee Rand is president of the International Center for Reiki Training and executive editor of the Reiki News Magazine. He has studied with five Reiki teachers, including two from Japan, and has made three trips to Japan to research the history and nature of Reiki. Rand has practiced Reiki since 1981 and has taught full time for 20 years.

Ahhhhh, facts. Gotta love 'em.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Are Not Forgotten, God Knows Your Name

God inhabits the praise of His people and praising God lifts all oppression. I dare you to feel somber listening to this.

"We are the chosen generation. We're gonna change the world...."

God is great. Can I get an amen?

Melancholy Baby

Today was a sort of melancholy day for me...and something that always makes me feel better is a little Paul Simon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reiki & The Adrenaline Rush

Ahhhhh, the blessed gift of Reiki.

Reiki is a light shining in our world. At first I had no real idea what it would come to mean to me but after working with it for over five years now, I can say confidently that Reiki is energy filled with tenderness and healing love that I know could only come from God, Him and Herself.

It is my humble opinion that each person has an energy field that is as unique as their fingerprint or DNA. Everyone 'feels' differently to me. You can ask me during a session what I'm feeling and I can pretty much sum it up in a few words. I'm not trying to feel anything mind you. I'm praying and keeping my intention quite focused during a Reiki session, but the overflow of energy cannot be denied. I'm learning to harness that energy or calm it, if need be. I mostly like to ride the wave as I've mentioned in the past. No big surprise there.

It's not exactly like an adrenalin rush but a pretty close second. When skydiving six years ago, I had probably the most alive feeling that I've ever experienced. Keep in mind, I don't need to leave my house to feel alive. I truly love this life experience and I have learned to appreciate the most under appreciated of circumstances, but jumping out of an airplane puts things in perspective. In that moment, you experience consciousness personified.

Believe me, you are in that moment, conscious and accounted for. Now, I've only gone skydiving once, and I'm hoping to go again this summer, but I feel pretty confident speaking on the subject. In that moment, you have to make a choice. Technically, you made the choice when you got on the airplane, but when the doors open and it's your turn, you decide in that millisecond to JUMP out of the airplane and your mind goes blank because the next thought cannot be computed that's how focused you are on the second at hand. This second. The second that you jump. No other second exists in this timeframe. Only now.

While jumping out of a airplane is a real physical experience, Reiki is similar because it is a real physical and spiritual experience. When you jump out of an airplane, you physically plummet through the earth's atmosphere and when you land safely on earth, you are not the same person you were when you went up. You are rejuvenated, fearless, as light as a feather, energy filled, ready to take on the world and could easily, quite easily jump out of an airplane all over again. Jumping out of an airplane can change you the way Reiki can help you change.

When you experience Reiki the body receives energy that it needs to heal. In addition, spirit approvingly floats through space and time while your mind records necessary information for growth and formulations for possible patterns of change are computed and offered to your higher self, your intuition, your mind, your inner eye, the I Am that is you - whatever you want to call your best self - or who you naturally are. Information is exchanged during a Reiki session. A sort of syncing if you will from Source to soul. A really successful Reiki session will include information and s p a c e for endless possibilities like emotional healing, acceptance, forgiveness, growth, advancement, creativity, intuition, etc.

All of this is going on in the unseen.

This is where consciousness personified is critical for both the Reiki light worker and the recipient.

Matthew 18:20

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."

Both persons are supremely conscious in their intentions. I am consciously focused on my intention to be open and present and they are supremely conscious about what they've come for. We both jump in without a parachute.

Since I've been working with energy for some time now, I've become accustomed to what I may be feeling. Beginners may need to adjust until they can feel the subtle differences between the ebb and flow of the energy. They may just want to doze off and take a nap and let the Reiki work on it's own. Either way, once the intention is set, the energy begins to flow. I can tell you that it is a very humbling feeling. Similar again to skydiving. You realize how small you are when you dive out of a perfectly good airplane. You also realize how small you are when you get the opportunity to be of service, work with individuals, their energy, and energy of Source.

It is joyful and restful, exhilarating and powerful, rejuvenating and loving, kind and harmless. It has changed my life for the better. Ever since my first experience with Reiki, I am not the same person I used to be. Let's just say that the combination of intention plus Reiki has equaled a constant flow of positive energy that has moved several mountains of resistance in my life. Energy to heal inertia, that would otherwise stay stagnant for a lifetime, is bountiful. When that happens lives change, lives heal, lives get lived to their fullest potential and people become happier, more joyful, more full of light - if that were possible.

Am I glowing? I feel like I'm glowing. I feel like a light bulb that even if you pulled the plug would glow all night. Did I have a Reiki session today? You bet I did. It went well. They always go well for me. I'm still holding my client in the light as the surge of energy heals and flows and lights the way for whatever is coming next.

Reiki heals on so many levels and I'm blessed to be acquainted with something so very basic and simple. It is spreading widely and is becoming more and more available to everyone. I am so looking forward to my future working with this light energy we call Reiki. It is by far, so much easier than jumping out of an airplane and it will change your life if only you're willing to step out on a limb.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Embracing The Mystery

Continuing the search. Continuing the love story...this longing.

What is this longing? Take the time, won't you please.

Friday, May 1, 2009

We Belong To The Beloved

Tree From Seed, Spring 2009
Photo Taken by me

"Silence is the great teacher,
and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.
There is no substitute for the creative inspiration,
knowledge, and stability that come from knowing
how to contact your core of inner silence.
The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote,

'Only let the moving waters calm down,
and the sun and moon will be reflected
on the surface of your being."
Deepak Chopra

I love being a student of life. I love all the delicious information that stokes my fire. I've stopped wondering why I am the way I am and I've learned to embrace it. I've learned to love myself. It's definitely different. I was used to dismissing myself or ignoring my heart or denying myself. That just made me frustrated and then I became a frustration to others getting the exact opposite of what I really wanted deep down inside. When we start to realize that we reap what we sow, we start to become more mindful of what we're sowing.

For instance, if I start my day before I even get out of bed with an attitude of indifference or worse, an attitude of dread, the day will be spent sending subliminal messages to the universe that this is going to be one of the worst days of my life. So, the universe obliges me and as soon as I get out of bed, the drama begins. I begin to orchestrate the worst day of my life unconsciously. I haven't realized yet that the words that I repeat to myself on a daily basis are like seeds to the dirt of the day. First I choose them, then I plant them, the universe waters them and I wind up with a crop load of "I'm always late", "things never go right for me", "I always burn the coffee", "my boss can't stand me and I'll probably get fired today", "my kids are always sick", "my car never starts", "I never get a parking space", "I always get migraines on Tuesdays"....

The opposite of that is also true. If I start my day with conscious intention and gratitude the rest seems to fall into place. When I'm grateful for my life I want to live it better. I want to live it fuller. I want to be expecting a positive report for all of my hard work and effort.

The following is a transcript of part of an interview with Dr. Joe Dispenza in What the BLEEP Do We Know! If you've not seen this film yet, please check it out.

"I wake up in the morning and I consciously create my day the way I want it to happen. Now sometimes, because my mind is examining all the things that I need to get done, it takes me a little bit to settle down and get to the point of where I'm actually intentionally creating my day. But here's the thing: When I create my day and out of nowhere little things happen that are so unexplainable, I know that they are the process or the result of my creation. And the more I do that, the more I build a neural net in my brain that I accept that that's possible. (This) gives me the power and the incentive to do it the next day.

"So if we're consciously designing our destiny, and if we're consciously from a spiritual standpoint throwing in with the idea that our thoughts can affect our reality or affect our life -- because reality equals life -- then I have this little pact that I have when I create my day. I say, 'I'm taking this time to create my day and I'm infecting the quantum field. Now if (it) is in fact the observer's watching me the whole time that I'm doing this and there is a spiritual aspect to myself, then show me a sign today that you paid attention to any one of these things that I created, and bring them in a way that I won't expect, so I'm as surprised at my ability to be able to experience these things. And make it so that I have no doubt that it's come from you,' and so I live my life, in a sense, all day long thinking about being a genius or thinking about being the glory and the power of God or thinking about being unconditional love.

"I'll use living as a genius, for example. And as I do that during parts of the day, I'll have thoughts that are so amazing, that cause a chill in my physical body, that have come from nowhere. But then I remember that that thought has an associated energy that's produced an effect in my physical body. Now that's a subjective experience, but the truth is is that I don't think that unless I was creating my day to have unlimited thought, that that thought would come."

So tomorrow, when you rise in the morning stop, take a few minutes with conscious intention to plan your day. Please, plan it with positive thoughts. Skip the negative at all costs. Get into the habit of living consciously and see what changes after a day, a week, a month. See if you or your friends and relatives notice a change in you. When you set about your life with deliberate convictions of the positive kind, you will very likely be pleased with your results. It takes practice so don't give up. If you have been a pessimistic person, you will need to retrain your brain. But the good news is that if you're just discovering this about yourself, you can begin to change and ultimately your life will manifest the change you want to see.

We are way more powerful than we think we are. Our thoughts are way more powerful than we think they are. Thankfully, the universe knows this and is still affording us time to change our thinking for the better.

This clip is of a work by one of my favorite poets, Jalaluddin Rumi.

This clip is from one of my favorite teachers, Deepak Chopra.