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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Reiki Digest for September 6, 2006: Bedeviled


Bedeviled

Reiki is not a religion. It is a natural healing art, practiced by people of all religions, or no religion, all over the world. No belief in Reiki or anything else is required on the part of the practitioner or recipient. Why, then, would any religion, or any person claiming to speak for a particular religion, consider Reiki to be not only in conflict with religion but even -- pardon the expression -- evil?

Perhaps Father Tom Ingoldsby of suburban Dublin, Ireland, can answer that question, since last week he declared Reiki to be the work of the devil. That outlandish charge made headlines around the world, and revealed that Ingoldsby, a member of the Salesian Order, is in conflict not only with Reiki practitioners but also with his fellow Catholics, many of whom not only practice Reiki but teach it and offer it to patients in Catholic hospitals.

Ingoldsby also claimed that he knew of one person who suffered a migraine after receiving Reiki, and was later diagnosed by a priest as having had "evil channeled into him." If that were true, it would be the first case in history of Reiki harming anyone. The only evidence, however, is Ingoldsby's secondhand account of what another priest claimed to have determined.

The priest's claim has resulted in increased calls from the curious public to the Reiki Federation of Ireland, and a flock of new visitors to that organization's web site, which may not have been the result Ingoldsby was hoping for when he attacked this natural healing art.

Unfortunately, Ingoldsby is not alone in his ignorance about and opposition to Reiki. Last year when I was one of several practitioners offering free Reiki chair sessions at a health fair in Queens, New York, one woman jumped ahead of the long line of people waiting for sessions to announce that she was a Christian and consequently did not approve of Reiki. She was somewhat taken aback when I told her that a lot of Reiki practitioners are Christian. I didn't know then that Christian Reiki practitioners have at least one organization with a web site: Christianreiki.org.

Reiki is also practiced by members of many other faiths, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, and Taoism, not to mention atheists and agnostics.

Let's move on from the negative to the positive: Reiki gets a passing mention in the Norwalk, Connecticut, Advocate this week in an article about the benefits of positive thinking. The article also mentions the late centenarian comedian George Burns, but since it doesn't quite connect the two directly, we can't exactly name Burns a Celeb-Reiki.

Celebrities and Reiki also turn up in an article headlined "Celebrities and their unconventional therapies" in The Scotsman of Edinburgh. Although celebrities Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kylie Minogue and Prince Charles are mentioned, the article doesn't directly connect any of them to Reiki specifically, so that leaves us still searching for our Celeb-Reiki.

By default, then, Father Tom Ingoldsby is this issue's Celeb-Reiki, since he made more Reiki headlines than anyone this past week.

Reiki elsewhere: 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on the increasing popularity of alternative treatments such as Reiki at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine.
A Maltese newspaper article about Reiki begins with the Reiki precepts.

In suburban London, a reporter tries yoga and learns a little about Reiki.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, a retired nurse travels to people's homes to provide massage therapy and Reiki. (In Florida, as well as Utah and North Dakota, only licensed massage therapists can provide Reiki, even though elsewhere it is not generally considered massage, and accordingly, the article calls Reiki "a type of massage.")

And finally, in cyberspace by way of Australia, The Reiki Show podcast this week features a Tendai Buddhist priest who provides some background on the faith of Reiki founder Mikao Usui.

Following up on last week's Digest, the votes are in, and it's official: this publication is not a community discussion forum, at least not yet. Readers are still not only welcome but encouraged to add comments to any post.

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