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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Reiki Digest for October 4, 2006: Reviewing Reiki Online

Mikao Usui, the man who developed the system of natural healing we now call Reiki, was not a doctor. Yet if you do a Google search on the term "Dr. Mikao Usui," you'll find (as of today) more than 112,000 sites referring to Usui as a doctor.

He was not a Christian, but if you search for the words "Usui" and "Christian," you find more than 98,000 sites, some of which attempt to correct the record, while others claim he was the head of a Christian boys' school in Japan or perpetuate other claims of a Christian/Usui connection. Usui was actually a Buddhist, but a search for "Usui" and "Buddhist" returns only about 78,000 sites.

Similarly, although there are many claims that Reiki originated in ancient Tibet, there is so far no solid evidence of that, despite more than 877,000 sites that include the words "Reiki" and "Tibet."

We understand how these myths were spread -- Hawayo Takata, the American of Japanese origin who brought Reiki from Japan to the rest of the world, herself claimed that Usui was a doctor and a Christian. We also understand that with the strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States during and after World War II, Mrs. Takata seems to have felt that those claims would make Reiki more acceptable.

It's a bit more difficult to understand the claims of a Tibetan connection, which did not originate with Mrs. Takata. I first read of it in Diane Stein's 1995 book Essential Reiki, and was intrigued until I realized the only attribution for that claim was the author's conversation with an unnamed "Tibetan nun." Since then, I've seen it elsewhere, and I've also encountered Reiki practitioners who find it important to tell me that their training included "Tibetan" Reiki information and was therefore more powerful than mine.

At least the Wikipedia entry on Reiki has been updated and improved -- Wikipedia is open source, so anyone can contribute and help edit the entries.

In any case, it's time that all of us who practice Reiki take responsibility for setting the record straight. Meanwhile, let's all keep in mind that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

It's also time that we come up with a better way for people to research Reiki online than sorting through those hundreds of thousands of sites.

To that end, The Reiki Digest is hereby inviting everyone in the world who has a Reiki-related web site to submit it for our new directory. It may take awhile, but the plan is to take a close look at each site and review it, so that cyber-seekers will have a better chance of finding accurate, meaningful information.

Whether or not you have a web site, The Reiki Digest also invites you to become a reviewer.

Of course, checking out each and every Reiki-related web site is as impossible as dining in each and every restaurant in New York City -- however diligently one might approach such a project, there are just too many, and they change too often. So maybe the best we can come up with is a short list of sites that have been reviewed and recommended by other Reiki practitioners. That would not only be an easier task, but a more positive approach than seeking out all the sites with inaccurate information.

So, is anybody here up for such a project? If so, please add you comment to this post (if you're reading The Reiki Digest on the web site) or, if you're an e-mail subscriber, just hit "reply" and volunteer. Rather than trying to review the whole web at once, we'll start with three sites for each reviewer and see how it goes from there.

At this point, we can offer little in the way of compensation to reviewers except the good feelings and glory involved in seeing your name here in boldface letters.

But we CAN offer a reward for good web sites. Regardless of how many reviewers volunteer, The Reiki Digest will be putting together an annual listing of the Top Ten Reiki Sites (aside from this one, of course). We'll announce the 2006 winners by January 1, 2007.

Speaking of cyber-misinformation, it appears that some Reiki practitioners are being targeted by e-mail scammers who write to ask about taking Reiki classes, offering to pay in advance, then trying to get the practitioner's bank information as in other e-mail scams. If you happen to get any of these suspicious e-mails, please let us know.

Next, our weekly Reiki Roundup, featuring Reiki in the news (on actual media web sites, presumably a bit more reliable than the average site).

First stop, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where the National Health Service is spending £27,700 ($52,200) this year on alternative therapies, including Reiki.

"Aromatherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage and reiki have been shown to be highly effective in helping patients cope with stress and pain," a spokesperson for the National Health Service said.

In the Daily Mail (also UK), we find this headline: "Could Spiritual Healing Actually Work?"

Also in the United Kingdom, we find an article headlined "Noble Retreats," about the growing number of mansions-turned-spas, many of which offer Reiki along with other therapies.

This week's Reiki-for-pets story is in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Just published, the October issue of The Reiki Times, published by the International Association of Reiki Professionals and available to members only (if you join, be sure to use the discount code in the IARP ad on this page!) This month, articles about developing your Reiki practice as well as Bach Flower Essences, craniosacral therapy, and offering CEUs to nurses, doctors, and other professionals who study Reiki with you.

On this week's edition of The Reiki Show podcast, guest host Jennifer Thibodeau interviews Frans Stiene (usually co-host of The Reiki Show and co-author of several great books) on the subject of historical inaccuracies about Reiki.

The results on the new video search features online are improving somewhat. This week we can recommend two videos, one a free meditation, and the other a brief glimpse at a Japanese garden (in Germany).

This week we have more Celeb-Reikis than ever, thanks to Darcy Lynch, a Rhode Island Reiki practitioner and massage therapist who mentioned a long list of celebrity clients, including:

* Neil Young (and son)

* Mic Fleetwood

* Willie Nelson

* Lynyrd Skynyrd

* Brian Setzer

* Bonnie Raitt

* Angels and Airwaves

* Taking Back Sunday

* Crosby, Stills and Nash

* Keb Mo

* Rascal Flatts

* John Fogerty

* Michael McDonald

* Santana

* Megadeath



Next week, the debut of our new Ask the Masters feature. Meanwhile, if you've got a question for our panel of Reiki Master Teachers, ask away (post a comment, or reply to this e-mail). And if you're a Reiki Master Teacher who'd be willing to field a few questions, please let us know.

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