The story on Reiki healing practice was aired on August 5, 2002 by an Ohio T.V station where Reiki Masters explained to the viewers what the practice was all about and how to receive it. The notable aspect about the debate aired where a psychologist also reiterated his views on the
practice was secular based. The Master present highlighted that Reiki was an ancient practice but it has gained popularity lately from the benefits the practitioners have received. Reiki theory holds that practitioners can channel the universal life force as a healing energy into the client’s
body in order to balance and enhance the flow of vital energy.
The client/patient lies on a table as the Reiki practitioner gently touches him/her. The practitioner places their palms on major organs and glands, and centers of psychic and spiritual energy, going from the base of the spine to the top of the head. To practice Reiki, one must be attuned through a particular ritual in which the Master activates the universal energy within the patient. There are three degrees of Reiki; the first degree requires four attunements, after which the patient can transmit healing energy by touching anything alive. Being initiated into the second degree requires the use of sacred symbols and teaches the student how to transmit energy over distance, as well as teaching the art of mental/emotional healing. The third degree is for those who want to become Masters. Reiki is an alternative healing technique/therapy that involves the laying of hands in certain positions of a person (patient) by the Master when praying for them.
Reiki originated from Japan around 1800 with the term Rei representing God’s wisdom or the higher power and Ki meaning life’s force energy; Reiki then means spiritually guided life force energy (Montenegro 1). Reiki is a treatment of the whole person including the body, emotions, mind and
spirit as well as the relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well being. Reiki has a spiritual name but itself is not a religion and do not belong to any dogma and not restricted to believers; open to anyone who needs its assistance (Montenegro 2).
According to the founder Dr. Mikao Usui, Reiki is an ethical practice that promotes peace and harmony across all cultures of the universe. He recommends Reiki for a spiritual balance and enlightens people about the spirit of healing. He also cautions that for the Reiki healing to have long lasting effects, the recipient must be able to accept responsibilities for the healing and participate actively in it. Christians have not
welcomed the practice of Reiki and it has received a lot of criticism. The Catholic Church (represented by the Catholic Bishops of the United States) for instance have come out and argued that there are only two types of healing; healing by divine grace and healing that employs the powers of nature (Montenegro 32).
The church has averred that Reiki is an unscientific, unproven and dangerous to the spiritual health of Christians. The Catholic after going through the doctrine of Reiki have reiterated that Reiki literature make constant reference to God, the goddess, the Divine healing power and the Divine mind.
The attunements which Reiki practitioners seem to receive from their Master are in form of sacred ceremonies and manifested through sacred symbols thus they conclude that Reiki is indeed a religion. They back their arguments on the testimonies of Reiki practitioners who have
explained Reiki as form of Christianity but the Catholic Church is quick to add that these practitioners are mistaken as Christianity healing power is accessed through prayers to Christ and not a Master. The Catholic Church has cautioned its members to be on the watch-out for false religion and occult practices and thus should stay away from Reiki which is non-scientific, non- Christ focused and superstitious filled (USCCB 1-3).
In reaction to the Catholic ban of the practice among its faithful, the Reiki Center who found the ban provoking and misled as Reiki is practiced by Catholic faithful and even recommended by some parishioners and wonder why the church would deny humanity the healing that comes with benefits. Reiki Center wonders why religious leaders are allowed to lay hands on worshippers but this is found to be disturbing when Reiki Masters lay hands on patients when asking for healing powers (Haley & Director Reiki Center 1-4). They declare the Reiki practice as safe and natural as well as simple and as is not affiliated to a religious belief, it is complementary to health care.
In fact, the United States Army spends about $ 4 million on Reiki healing practices for the veterans who return home. Secondly, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York incorporates the Reiki healing practices in their treatments to ease the side effects of Chemotherapy, and radiation so as to improve the immune systems of the patients. It also helps in promoting relaxation of the patients, decrease pain and enhance positive emotional attitude. Another major subscriber is the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine who recommends the Reiki healing practice without conditions (Haley 1). The American Hospital Association in 2007 noted the Reiki was
accredited in about 15% of the 800 hospitals in the United States and by 2008; the number had increased to 37%. Reiki Center believes that in the American society where the community is embraced in fear, guilt and loss, the Reiki healing offers compassionate and loving care and
according to a national survey by National Health Interview Survey, Americans spend about $ 33.9 billion on complementary and alternative medicine in the year 2007 (Haley 3).
According to Reiki supporters, they stress that Reiki is a health benefit practice that relieves the body, soul and mind of stress and triggers the body’s natural healing abilities as well as maintains the body’s health. By the touch of hand, there is a flow of energy from a limitless
source to the recipient via the Master and when the flow of energy is disrupted, both the emotional and physical health of the person is disrupted too. Practitioners of Reiki have testified that the healing has helped them sleep better, reduce blood pressure, accelerate the self healing ability of the body, relieve pain, remove energy blockages, cleanse the body and intoxicates it, supports the immune system, increase vitality and postpone the aging process as well as reduce the side effects of drugs, surgery and chemotherapy. They believe that Reiki complements Eastern and Western medicine and helps in spiritual growth (International Reiki Center 1).
According to the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations, Reiki practice has been received as an esoteric system of belief and involves initiation into secret teachings and techniques is required in learning Reiki. This initiation and secrecy is a hallmark of occult systems. The belief in summoning, controlling, manipulating or channeling an invisible energy that cannot be objectively measured or identified, and for which there is no biological, medical, or other evidence, is another classic trademark of occultism. Although disguised with spiritual language and beliefs, Reiki fits the profile of an occult practice.
USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) ‘Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an
Alternative Therapy’ March 25, 2009. Retrieved on March 5, 2011 from
Haley, Linda & Director Reiki Center. ‘Catholic Church bans Reiki’ August 10, 2009. Retrieved
on March 5, 2011 from
International Center for Reiki. ‘What is Reiki?’ Retrieved on March 5, 2011 from
Montenegro Marcia. ‘Reiki: Healing with the Force.’ 2001, pp 1-4. Retrieved on March 5, 2011