Seems like kind of a “Duh!” headline, but there you have it. I had a friend in university who trained as a reiki master and took another friend and me through the paces of learning how to do it, too. Masters claim they can heal from afar, but our buddy just gave us lessons on the laying of hands and waving away the bad chi after a session. I always felt like a tool performing that last part, but the laying of hands at least had a little benefit – nowhere near as good as a decent massage, though. Body heat radiating from your own hands warms the area, even though you aren’t physically touching the person. The residual heat still provides some comfort, though, and the patient’s own gullible mind provides the rest. It’s too bad that there are people drawn into believing it’s a legitimate cure for what ails you.
The Guardian reports on a study out of the States involving trained reiki practitioners, who promised patients they’d channel healing energy into them, and untrained fake practitioners who claimed they were trained but just went through the motions. The results are pretty unsurprising to these eyes. Each technique worked equally well for making patients feel better.
The scientific stance may appear heartless and cruel in light of the suffering of cancer patients, while the attitude of the nurses seems patient-centred and caring. This impression is wrong. By insisting that patients must not be treated with placebos like reiki, scientists also advocate that they receive treatments that demonstrably work better that placebo. For instance, massage has been shown to improve the wellbeing of cancer patients beyond a placebo effect. If a patient receives a massage with empathy, sympathy, time, understanding and dedication, she would benefit from the placebo effect – just like the reiki patient – but, in addition, she would also benefit from the specific effect of the treatment that massage does and Reiki does not offer.
Like I said. Many of my relatives have had to undergo chemotherapy for their bouts with the disease, with varying degrees of success. One of them had prayer for a placebo on top of all that but it didn’t stop the bone cancer from decimating every piece of her. Of course people would rather find ways to cure cancer in ways that don’t involve radiation and the like. But reiki not the course to take in order to do that.