Why Scepticism is good with Complementary Therapies
I don’t practice Reiki because I believe in it, I practice Reiki because I can feel it working. I can feel the energy flowing through my hands, I can feel the immediate physical effects and I can notice the long-term physical, emotional, mental and spiritual changes in myself. I trust that when a patient tells me what they have experienced during and after a treatment, that they are telling the truth.
Reiki is simple. Anyone can learn it, you can’t do it wrong and the same energy flows through someone who has recently learned to someone who has been practicing for years. The Reiki energy goes to where it is needed – the placement of the therapist’s hands doesn’t necessarily correspond to where the patient feels the energy working.
The recommended time for a level one Reiki course is over two days. It is possible to learn in one day, or online but these courses wouldn’t be accredited to the national professional standards. The same Reiki is flowing through my hands now as when I first learned three years ago.
What have I learned from experience?
I can explain Reiki more easily to people. I can differentiate between what is Reiki and what is not in the world of alternative therapies. I no longer have doubts in my mind as to whether the Reiki is working when I’m giving a treatment. I connect to Reiki, relax and I know that the energy will go where it’s needed without me having to guide it. I can reassure patients when they experience something during a treatment as it has usually come up before. I don’t feel pressure to provide answers when I don’t know them or when there are none.
In fact, Reiki is the ultimate tool in combatting helplessness. Reiki has no contra-indications and works on many levels. It will help every problem even if we don’t know what the problem is.
A lot of patients expect me to be able to tell them what’s wrong with them. It’s actually what they feel and think during a session that is important. The answers might not come to them immediately. In fact, research shows that effects are most noticeable after three months (see my previous blog about Reiki research and the study from the University in Texas).
So talking of research, let’s get back to scepticism. If Reiki works, why isn’t that a known fact? Why isn’t everyone using it?
Most Reiki in the UK is used in hospitals, hospices, drug rehabilitation centres and mental health units. It is absolutely not appropriate and against patient confidentiality to talk about what happens during treatments there. The patients come in for support and we provide it, we don’t add to their stress by asking for testimonials. There is research available about Reiki, some readily available online, however lots of Reiki Practitioners are volunteers and there is generally not enough funding or time for large scale research projects.
Secondly, the therapist does not guide the Reiki, the Reiki goes to where it is needed. We cannot prove that Reiki will stop a patient’s big toe hurting. We say that the Reiki will help and it might be for example, that instead of the toe, it is needed in another area of the body. The patient might not be able to identify how the Reiki has worked. This is a really hard concept for a lot of people to understand. It is the concept which is the entire basis for complementary or (w)holistic therapy: don’t treat the symptom, treat the root of the problem. The root of a physical problem may be emotional, mental or spiritual and it may take more than one session to heal. It may take months with no immediate visible effects.
Usually, however, people do start to notice little changes after the first few sessions. People become more in tune with themselves and their habits and slowly bring about positive changes.
Therefore, I agree with scepticism when first finding out about Reiki. Critical thinking is crucial in modern society and it is important not to jump to conclusions too quickly. Reiki is a relatively new therapy so the research is limited. I suggest that you contact a Reiki Therapist who volunteers in the community and ask them why they do it and how it helps people. If you’re looking for proof, I would say that how someone chooses to spend their free time without financial gain speaks volumes.