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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Reiki rubdown, and other misrepresentations

So you'd like some Reiki? Sure -- just take off your clothes, lie down on the table here and your practitioner will be right with you. His name is Elvis, and he's running a little late today because his UFO got stuck in traffic. While you're waiting, one of our Reiki Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Masters will be happy to give you a diagnosis, tell your fortune, let you hear from your dearly departed Aunt Millie and advise you to avoid both medical care and Jesus at all costs. Speaking of costs, it's all free because this is complimentary medicine, right?

I don't know if anyone is as tired as I am of seeing misrepresentations of Reiki in the media. For one thing, I have many more opportunities to see those misrepresentations because of the work I do putting together each week's edition. For another, having been a part of "the media" long before I discovered Reiki, I know how those mistakes happen and worse, how they perpetuate themselves. I also know that facts are the best ways to dispel those untruths. And now that I've been publishing The Reiki Digest weekly for nearly a year, I know that setting the record straight about Reiki is slow going.

This week, for example, Forbes Traveler magazine, by way of MSNBC, introduces us to the "Reiki rubdown," blissfully ignorant of the fact that there's no such thing. And in The New York Times we meet a woman who runs a "Reiki massage studio."

So once more, with feeling: REIKI IS NOT MASSAGE.

Sure, I know massage therapists who are also Reiki practitioners, and sometimes they use a little Reiki with massage. Sometimes they use essential oils, too, but aromatherapy isn't massage. They may offer their clients a glass of water after a session, but water isn't massage, either.

And for the record, you remain fully clothed for Reiki, your practitioner is not a deceased legend who commutes to work in a UFO, and Reiki practitioners do not diagnose, prescribe, tell fortunes or act as mediums unless they are trained, practiced, and where appropriate, licensed in those areas. Reiki may be called "alternative" but it is not an alternative to or substitute for medical care. Complementary, not complimentary, medicine is used with, not against, conventional medicine. Reiki is not a religion and is practiced by people of all faiths, or no faith.

Now that we've reviewed those key points, let's move on to the rest of this week's Reiki Roundup. Put on your spacesuit, because our first stop is far, far away in another solar system. The World Health Care Blog speculates about, among other things, whether Reiki would be more available if our civilization started over on the newly discovered planet Gliese 581c.

From there we zip back to earth, the town of Auburn, California, to be exact, where yet another reporter encounters a Reiki practitioner. This time the reporter gets a lot of the facts right, but unfortunately substitutes the word "parishioner" for "practitioner."

In the Shetland Islands, a Scottish reporter has a chance to experience Reiki while staying in a lighthouse, but he opts for reflexology instead.

On to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where we discover a couple who lost their only child to cancer and are honoring her memory by offering Reiki and other stress-reduction techniques to children with cancer and their families.

Our final stop on this week's Reiki Roundup is Japan's Mt. Kurama, the legendary birthplace of Reiki: Our Special Correspondent Michelle Shinagawa checks in with part four in her series about her recent visit there.

This week's Celeb-Reiki is not Elvis but British television star Gaynor Faye, a regular on the veterinary drama "The Chase." Faye admits to a reporter that she's allergic to some of her co-stars, and in her spare time, she likes to practice Reiki.

And on this week's podcast of The Reiki Show, hosts Bronwen and Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki interview a Reiki practitioner who's also a nutritionist about Reiki and healthy eating.

And speaking of the International House of Reiki, The Reiki Digest will once again be sponsoring a Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) workshop with Frans Stiene October 19, 20, and 21 in New York City.

Secrets that aren't

Here's a snapshot I took the other day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden that may be of particular interest to Reiki practitioners, especially Reiki Masters:

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