Concerns about Reiki

Dear Reader,

I have come across Reiki recently in three different ways (which I will tell you in a minute). It is something that disturbs me greatly and so I suppose my aim here is to do my little part to argue against it. My own internet searches produced a lot of pro-Reiki sites but not a ton of information from a critical or neutral perspective. The Catholic church does have a position on it which I recommend reading whether you are Catholic or not.

To let you know where I am coming from, I am a Christian, specifically a reformed Christian (or Calvinist of you prefer). I am also a mother of four children. For some reason, God has brought  a lot of medical issues into our lives over the years. My older daughter has type 1 diabetes. My older son had a chronic headache that lasted 2 years and was finally cured through a combination of acupuncture and homeopathy. My younger daughter has bad eczema which at this point we treat through diet and frequent bathing. I am not opposed to alternative medicine. In fact, I think I often like it better than traditional western medicine. My daughter with diabetes needs to take insulin which is a product of western medicine. Without it she would quickly die. But for our other problems, I have found that alternative medicine has provided better answers with fewer side effects. And its practitioners seem to really care about us and our problems and view it as their personal mission to find the solutions we need. I haven’t found that in most medical doctors. So my objection to Reiki has nothing to do with its being alternative.

But before I get to that, these are the ways in which I have encountered Reiki:

1. It was recommended to me as part of a longer list of possible therapies to try when my son, now 12, was having his constant headache which ended up lasting two years. This recommendation came form his neurologist at the headache clinic of Boston Children’s Hospital. This is a very prestigious hospital in the area. While Reiki was nor recommended over other approaches, like acupuncture and physical therapy, it was one for which I was told “Oh, and we offer that here.” Though I knew nothing about it at the time and never ended up looking into it for my son, there is a certain legitimacy that one assumes when it is not just recommended by a respected hospital but it is actually performed at their facility. This seeming endorsement by the medical establishment is one of the things that has me very concerned about Reiki.

2. More recently, I met a woman who is a Reiki master. This means that she teaches others to do Reiki as well as performing it herself. We had one conversation about Reiki and what it is, but she seems to have fallen out of my life for the time being.

3. Very recently, I found out that my children’s beloved art teacher who has been instructing my older daughter for 4 years, is going with her friend to be offering Reiki and other healing arts at her studio.

I don’t know if God is just making me aware of this at this time or if it is truly increasing in prominence, but it sure seems to me like Reiki is becoming popular. So why do I care? And what is Reiki?

Here is the “brief overview” from Reiki.org:

“Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.”

The part of this that concerns me is the “unseen ‘life force energy.'” This is not a neutral life force. The Reiki master I had a conversation with explained to me that it is “a force . . . whatever you want to call it . . .the Unconditional Love . . .” that flows through her to provide healing.

Reiki.org provides a little more on the “life-force” behind Reiki:

“Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of “life force energy” to improve one’s health and enhance the quality of life.

Its use is not dependent on one’s intellectual capacity or spiritual development and therefore is available to everyone . . .

Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.”

The key points for me here are:

1. The practitioner is a conduit. Reiki is not dependent upon their capacity or knowledge.

2. There is a spiritual force which flows through the healer and does the healing.

3. While in the above quote Reiki.org calls this force “God,” this is not meant in the sense of the one, true, Christian God. It seems to be rather an impersonal “life-force.” This seems to be a kind of pantheism.

In his article “Reiki Energy,” William Lee Rand gives a longer definition of what the power behind Reiki is. The word itself is a combination of two words, Rei and Ki. The latter is the same chi which is active in acupuncture. It is the more physical part of Reiki though it is not physical in the sense that it can be located in one place in the body. While it is not something I fully understand, I know that acupuncture, which relies upon the concept of chi, has helped my son.

Rei, on the other hand, seems to be the more spiritual component. Rand says,

“Rei can be defined as the Higher Intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe. Rei is a subtle wisdom that permeates everything, both animate and inanimate. This subtle wisdom guides the evolution of all creation ranging from the unfolding of galaxies to the development of life. On a human level, it is available to help us in times of need and to act as a source of guidance in our lives. Because of its infinite nature, it is all knowing. Rei is also called God and has many other names depending on the culture that has named it.” (William Lee Rand, “Reiki Energy” from Reiki.org)

The combination of these two aspects is what defines Reiki energy. Rand says that

“Reiki can be defined as a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy.” (William Lee Rand, “Reiki Energy” from Reiki.org)

[I could say more here about why this force, though Reiki calls is God, is not the Christian God. There is a whole school of Christian Reiki which seeks to reconcile the two, but because it is a large topic, I will leave it for a follow-up post.]

What does Reiki claim to do?

Reiki does not claim to heal certain physical conditions. Rather, it balances one spiritually and thereby allows healing to occur. Where there is a particular physical illness, it is often recommended in combination with more traditional treatments. IARP, the International Association of Reiki Professionals, says that “A Reiki session may help ease tension and stress and may help support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels- physical, emotional and spiritual” (“Learn about Reiki” from iarp.org).

I am not sure if this is a widespread belief in Reiki, but one site I found focuses on the power that Reiki enables one to have in one’s own life:

“The energy of Reiki works by gently opening you up to the understanding that you are the creator of your own reality – that there is no greater power than you. With this knowing comes the realisation that everything that happens in your life happens because youwant it to…

There are no accidents.

You make what happens happen.

With this awareness comes the realisation that every event in your life, including that of illness, is brought to you, by you – and that it can, therefore, be taken away by you as well.

So the short answer to how Reiki works, therefore, is the energy of Reiki works by bringing your power back to…

YOU”

(“What is Reiki” from Chikara-Reiki-Do.com)

As a Christian, I see this as pretty much the definition of sin – to desire to have all the power in one’s own life rather than to rely upon God Himself.

My problems with Reiki have nothing to do with its effectiveness. It may indeed do a lot of what it claims and enable healing on some levels. I am not saying to avoid it because it is ineffective. Rather, I am mainly concerned that there really is something going on here and that it is not good.

So what I am concerned about?

My concern here goes beyond “people believe something I don’t believe.” Obviously, that is true of a lot of people whether they are monotheists or polytheists or pantheists or other.  My concern is that people I know and care about are playing around with something that I think is really dangerous.

I believe that there are spiritual powers at work in the world. Reiki assumes that these powers are good and that what happens through them is good. But the Bible tells us that there are evil powers out there:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12; ESV)

In Reiki, the primary force at work is assumed to be good:

“Because Reiki is guided by the higher power, it cannot do harm and always works  for the positive benefit of the client.” (William Lee Rand, “The Nature of Reiki Energy,” from Reiki.org)

It is important to remember that this life-force is also what does the work in Reiki. The practitioner seems to be little more than  a conduit. Which brings me to my major concern — those  evil forces in the world would love for us to be their conduits. They want to be invited in and they don’t need much of an invitation. If you even crack the door in your life to let them in, they will take advantage of that.  We don’t tend to see much demon possession in our country, or perhaps we just don’t recognize it when we do, but there is no reason to think that it ended with New Testament times. Missionaries to other lands still report seeing it, and I see no reason why it can’t happen here and now. Though I suspect that often the demons do not make people foam at the mouth but use far more subtle methods so that we will ignore them and their work can continue.

So this is my concern, that the practitioners of Reiki are inviting into themselves spiritual forces that they cannot control and really know nothing about and whose purpose, I believe is evil and not good, and that the patients who undergo Reiki are also laying themselves open to the activity of demons and unknowingly making themselves more vulnerable to demon activity as well.

But if Reiki heals (which is good) how can it be evil? Doesn’t the very nature of Reiki, accomplishing a good end, show us that this is not the work of evil spiritual forces?

My short answer is no. I just don’t buy the argument that because good may happen through Reiki, that that means good powers are behind it. Sometimes a good God does things that seem evil to us because they serve some role in His good plan. An example would be the trials Job suffered. Clearly, losing his children and wealth were not good things. But God used them to teach Job a lesson and to sanctify him. So too evil powers may at times do things we deem good but that doesn’t mean they are good. What better way to get people to let you in then to pretend to be good? If we saw them for what they are, we would not be asking them into our lives.

And there does seem to be a point at which practitioners of Reiki ask specific spiritual “guides” into their lives. It is not at all clear to me at what point Reiki guides become a part of the equation. I know that they say one can learn to do Reiki through just a few simple lessons (this is largely because it is not the practitioner but the life-force that does the work; so little real training is needed). From what I can gather, one may at some point as one advances come into contact with specific spiritual guides, also sometimes called angels. It is interesting to me that one Reiki site at least says that “One of the first things that I learned is that we cannot receive non-emergency, angelic, or spiritual assistance unless we ask” (Laurelle Shanti Gaia, “An Interview with Reiki Guides and Angels” from ReikiClasses.com). In other words, one has to ask a Reiki guide into their life (see also “Sensing Your Reiki Guides” from Chikara-Reiki-Do.com) just as I would say one may open the door to evil powers to enter.

So again I am left asking, how does one know is the power at work is good or evil? Gaia also asks this question also: “‘How can I be certain that the guides that are working with me are good and are of the light, rather than a negative influence?'”  Her answer is that “The greatest test of discernment is the level of peace in your heart when advice
or direction is offered to you”  (Laurelle Shanti Gaia, “An Interview with Reiki Guides and Angels” from ReikiClasses.com). In other words, it all come down to feelings. Though apparently at times guides will also be seen or heard, just feeling them there seems to be the main way of both sensing their presence and of evaluating them (“Sensing Your Reiki Guides” from Chikara-Reiki-Do.com).

As a Christian, my immediate response is that our feelings too have been affected by the Fall. We cannot inherently trust them. And the more we indulge in practices which mute our consciences and diverge from what God has commanded, the more likely we are to have our feelings be corrupted, to not have them function for us as they were originally supposed to pre-Fall. So while the Reiki practitioner says tat because they have much experience, they can tell from the sense of peace they get that their guide is good, I would say that they have so blunted what their feelings and minds were created for by their practice of Reiki that they can no longer recognize evil (or true good).

We are I suspect at an impasse here. I can only add that Christianity has a set standard by which to measure our feelings and thoughts. We have God’s specific revelation in the form of His Word, the Bible, which corrects us when our own sinful hearts and minds threaten to lead us astray.

Which is a nice segway into the second post on this that I want to do: What about Christian Reiki?

Nebby

Advertisements

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Patti on May 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Dear Nebby: Thank you for your insightful and helpful article. I look forward to the next part. It seems to me, too, that as we move away from being a Christian nation it is not a surprise that Satan who comes as an “angel of light” would try to deceive us in more ways and that somehow as our thinking is darkened we are susceptible to accept things that are counterfeit. I appreciate your careful thought and study, not just accepting a thing because it “works”. Witch doctor’s methods also work because Satan does have real power. Even with Homeopathy and other “natural” things we need to ask ourselves, How does this work and why? Where is the healing coming from? I ask these same questions of the standard medical procedures recommended for my family – I want to know what is in the medicines recommended and how they are made. We can’t afford to accept things without thinking about them or to trust “experts” who don’t come from a Christian world view. Even if they are “Christian” we need to keep thinking and asking questions. God is the ultimate healer and he has given us many things in our world that work for our healing, but Satan and the demons are also busy deceiving people. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts, I always appreciate your insightful posts! Patti

    Reply

    • Posted by Naptime Seamstress on May 26, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      This was a good article, Nebby. I never heard of Reiki.

      And, Patti, I found your comment so spot on!

      We personally, tend to more herbal-type things when we can; massage / chiropractor, and traditional med as needed. Eating healthy and being active go along way to being healthy, too.

      I’ve found that home-remedy-type things often take so much time….and sometimes I specifically choose them to wean myself off the “pop-a-pill, get-back-to-the-mill” mentality.

      Chronic issues definitely make things more sticky! But I’d encourage people to seek God’s will and something like Reiki definitely seems to be of questionable origin.

      Reply

  2. Thank you both for taking time to comment. I am a little nervous about this series. I tend to write posts a little ahead of time so I can tell you there will be at least 4 more on this topic! I am also reading some books on demonology which are very good and encouraging too. I will also do some posts on what I have learned from them I think.

    Reply

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this! I emailed it to my husband, who has been training to be an alternative practitioner for some time now. It is hard as a Christian because so much false belief is tied up with certain practices that are helpful. He has found that the ones that actually work (and not all do, of course)–but for example acupuncture–can be explained scientifically. It is sort of like Greek myths, to my mind. The Greeks observed something and invented a story to explain it. I think the Asian cultures have done this.

    I say this not to justify Reiki, though, for we are all too familiar with the demonic influences in those cultures.

    Here is a similar article on martial arts that might give you some perspective on the culture surrounding these sorts of practices…The article she’s referring to <a href="http://warriorfox.blogspot.tw/2013/05/my-kung-fu-hustle.html"can be found here and is even *more* fascinating, in my opinion.

    Reply

  4. Sorry I botched the html on that last link. 😦

    Reply

  5. Thanks for the links, Brandy. I hadn’t really thought about martial arts and how it relates to Christianity. I knew there was lots of debate about whether it is okay for Christians to do yoga. My inclination is that martial arts is something one can pursue up to a point but that Reiki has really no redeeming value. You can’t do Reiki without accessing some sort of spiritual power. I highly recommend the book Satan Cast Out by Leahy. It is great on the theology of Satan and how his power operates in this world now.

    Reply

  6. […] is my third post on the healing practice known as Reiki and my second on Christian Reiki specifically. I expect there to be one more after this as well. […]

    Reply

  7. […] is my fourth post on Reiki and my third on Christian Reiki specifically. In the first post, I discussed Reiki in general, ignoring for the moment the Christianized varieties of it. In the […]

    Reply

  8. […] time I really think this is my last post on Reiki (see previous ones here, here, here and here). There are just a few more claims on ChristianReiki.org that I want to […]

    Reply

  9. […] demonology and it has helped further clarify my thoughts on the subject of Reiki (see earlier posts here, here, here and here) and the possible influence of […]

    Reply

  10. […] have recently finished reading two books on demonology. This was all inspired by my encounters with Reiki and my desire to understand more about what is really going on behind this “healing” […]

    Reply

  11. This was very interesting. I hear about a lot of alternative/natural treatments and practices but I’m not very familiar with Reiki.

    I see that you briefly mentioned eczema and wanted to throw out there that our family has had successful results with hazelwood necklaces and probiotic foods (lots of yogurt and water kefir).

    Reply

    • We do probiotics in a pill daily. My dd can’t do dairy because of the eczema. I will look into the hazelwood. I had never heard of that. Thanks!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Sabbath Mood Homeschool

Desiring That a Sabbath Mood Rest on Your Homeschool

dayuntoday

my musings, wise or otherwise

Festival Fete

locally grown art, food, and merriment

StrongHaven

A Literary Homestead

journey-and-destination

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Harmony Fine Arts

Blogging about education, theology, and more

The Common Room

....Blogging about cabbages and kings since 2005.

Sage Parnassus

Blogging about education, theology, and more

A peaceful day

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Living Charlotte Mason in California

Blogging about education, theology, and more

weeklywalrus

Weekly Walrus Whatevers

Creations by Maris

Craft Projects For all Ages

Fisher Academy International ~ Teaching Home

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Afterthoughts

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Leah's Bookshelf

Book Reviews You Can Trust

Duxbury Art Boosters

Supporting the visual arts in Duxbury Public Schools

Just Right Porridge

... you'll lick your bowl clean...