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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Reiki Digest for August 30, 2006: Let's Talk

Psssst! It sure is quiet in here -- so quiet that this week's edition of The Reiki Digest begins in a whisper.

Last week, as you may recall, we introduced a new feature, the Question of the Week. Our first question, "Do you talk during Reiki sessions?" was met with a decidedly underwhelming response. One person used the subscribe form to answer, but otherwise, silence.

Here in the United States, the end of August is a pretty slow time, especially the week leading in to the Labor Day holiday. So maybe that explains why we failed to get a conversation going. It could also be because -- my apologies here -- our first Question of the Week was actually a trick question (the session begins before the client gets on the table).

In any case, I'm still hoping to get a conversation going here, because I want The Reiki Digest to serve the global Reiki community not only by collecting the most interesting news about Reiki from around the world, but providing a forum where Reiki practitioners, Reiki teachers, Reiki recipients and even curious visitors can communicate with each other.

If you're reading this on the web site and you'd like to join in, simply click on the word "comments" below any post, and type away. Your comment will appear within a few hours, maybe sooner.

If you're reading this by e-mail, you'll have to visit the web site to comment.

To get things moving forward, I'm going to answer my own question. Yes, I talk during Reiki sessions -- I greet my client, and then we sit down for a brief conversation before the client gets on the table. According to the Reiki training I received, this conversation is referred to as Reiki spiritual counseling. We talk a little about what's going on in the client's life, and I ask clients how Reiki, and this session in particular, can support them with the issues they identify. In that conversation, my job is primarily to listen, not talk. When the client is on the table, however, I rarely talk, usually just a few words to ask the person to change positions. Most clients prefer not to talk while they're on the table, either, although I've encountered a few who do. Then after the hands-on portion of the session is over, clients often want to talk a little about their experience, so we have a brief conversation before saying goodbye until the next session.

The reason I asked in the first place is that in several of the Reiki videos I've found in online searches, some practitioners talk quite a bit more than I do, almost narrating the session. That got me wondering what other practitioners do. 

Irene, a Reiki 2 practitioner in New York, is the only one who's responded so far. She says, "I like a little dialogue during a session but feel that conversations are distracting...."

How about you?  Please add your comments.

Meanwhile, let's move on to the second Question of the Week: We're thinking of adding a "Please Send Reiki" feature to The Reiki Digest, in which readers can request that other readers send Reiki. What do you think? If we included it, would you participate? Please add your comments.

On to the weekly Reiki Roundup. This week we begin at, where Phylameana Iila Desy, Guide to Holistic Healing, has done her own roundup of some of her favorites among the more than 15 million sites that turn up on a Google search of the word "Reiki."

From there, we travel to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where a mother whose child died of cancer is establishing a foundation in her memory to help provide alternative treatments, including Reiki, to children in similar circumstances. Beecher Bartlett is following through on the work her 12-year-old daughter, Lucy Grogan, began before she died. Not only did Lucy come up with the idea of the foundation, she even designed the logo for it.

During Lucy's treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, her mother told a reporter, "the only time Lucy felt complete relief from the pain was when she was given a strong pain medication and reiki, massage, or acupuncture."

In Orlando, Florida, senior citizens lined up to find out more about alternative therapies at a fair sponsored by a local parapsychology organization. One of those waiting in line told a reporter, "Who's to say this stuff doesn't work? If you believe in it, and it gives you some peace of mind, then why not?" Another explained, ""I think people - seniors - are less hesitant today to say they're interested in this. They are at a point in their lives where they can finally say I'm going to do it and I don't care what anyone else thinks." The reporter talked to one attendee right after she received Reiki at the event, and she said she was "very relaxed."

In recent weeks we've seen stories about Reiki for dogs and even for horses, so it's no surprise that this week, there's a story about Reiki for cats.

We have an all-star cast of Celeb-Reiki's this week: Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Sandra Bullock, Ellen DeGeneres, Macy Gray, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, Helen Hunt, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Naomi Watts -- all wearers of Reiki-infused jewelry by Los Angeles designer and Reiki Master Catherine Michiels.

No edition of The Reiki Digest would be complete without a link to the world's only weekly Reiki podcast: The Reiki Show from Bronwen and Frans Stiene at the International House of Reiki in Australia. This week, they interview James Wells, a Canadian Reiki Master and Tarot consultant.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Reiki Digest for August 23, 2006: Reiki Reaches 1.4 Million Viewers on Reality TV Show

Did last week's Celeb-Reiki, Tom Collett, walk on fire as part of his new-age experience on the reality TV series 30 Days? That's the question that remained as last week's edition of The Reiki Digest was published, just hours before the program aired.

Yes, he did. And so did this week's star Celeb-Reiki, Collett's then-girlfriend, now wife Misti. Tom may have been the primary one undergoing the experience, but Misti was even more profoundly changed.

Our other Celeb-Reiki was also featured in the program, although not connected to the Colletts: cancer survivor Taylor Matthews, who talked about how Reiki and other alternative therapies made the surgeries, chemotherapy, and other cancer treatments she had "so much more bearable."

All of us who practice Reiki owe these Celeb-Reikis our thanks. None of them was famous before the show premiered last week, but now they've all opened up in front of an estimated 1.4 million viewers: FX Network viewers at that. All those viewers are one reason we're featuring the program again in this week's digest. The other reason is the handful of Reiki Digest readers who, in their own new-age way, have Internet access but not cable television and didn't get to see the show.

Kudos as well to "30 Days" producer Morgan Spurlock (a Celeb-Reiki last week) and his crew for putting together not only a fairly accurate representation of alternative healing, but a compelling story as well.

A few weeks ago when I first met Celeb-Reiki Barbara Biziou, the life coach who led the Colletts through their monthlong transformation, she mentioned that she'd been doing a lot of work in television, and she was especially happy to be reaching more of middle America. I saw her again last night and I can report that after the "30 Days" episode, she's even happier to be reaching so much more of middle America.

Biziou isn't a Reiki practitioner per se, but she did train in the related art of Johrei early in her new-age career, according to her book, The Joy of Ritual. Unfortunately, the Reiki practitioner who gave Tom his first session was not named in the program.

The program includes, of course, the de riguer interview with the guy who says "this is all bunk" (possibly the motto of the magazine he edits, predictably called Skeptic.) It also includes an interview with a doctor at a respected hospital who points out that those who dismiss alternative therapies would subject them to much more scrutiny than they do conventional medicine.

It's a double standard, says Dr. Kara Kelly, Director if the Integrative Therapies program at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian at Columbia University Medical Center. "They want to see evidence for the use of some of these therapies when they're not looking for the same evidence with conventional therapies."

"How important could it be to have these therapies available at every hospital?" Spurlock asks Dr. Kelly.

"I think it would help tremendously," the doctor says.

Matthews, the young cancer survivor, agrees with the doctor, and her personal story is even more convincing than the doctor's reasonable argument.

The unnamed Reiki practitioner greets Tom when he arrives for his first session, and explains Reiki a little differently than I would: "I'm a person that has had their channels cleared that I can channel this life force into you and relieve a lot of stress and pain. It's very subtle, but extremely profound."

During the session, the practitioner says something else that I wouldn't -- in fact, I rarely speak while the client is on the table, except to ask them to turn over or break the news that it's time to get up. She asks Tom if he has any pain in his knee, and tells him, "There's a lot of fire coming down this way. I'm starting to sweat."

The best part of the show, from a Reiki practitioner's point of view, is the peaceful, happy look on Tom's face when he gets up after the session:

"She felt the stress coming out of me, which surprised me because she said she was sweating profusely, which, normally, that's what I do. "It was pretty neat," he said. "It was amazing. I'm super-relaxed."

There's a brief glimpse of what appears to be a bottle of Young Living Essential Oil in the hospital Reiki scene, and we also see a cameo appearance by the New York Open Center as Tom joins a yoga class -- by the way, I'll be teaching "Qigong for Reiki Practitioners" in that very same classroom at the Reiki Symposium in January 2007.

What makes the reality show a real-life drama, however, is Misti. At first, she is suspicious of the word "spiritual," protesting that, as a Christian, she is skeptical of spirituality. The tension builds as Tom tries more and more new-age treatments or activities under Barbara's guidance, and Misti 's objections grow stronger. When he comes home with marks on his back after a cupping treatment from an acupuncturist, she blows up. It seems that Tom may have to back out of the show in order to save his relationship. But when Misti finally meets Barbara, she likes her immediately and becomes less and less skeptical. By the time the firewalk comes up, Misti is even more enthusiastic than Tom.

If you missed the show, don't worry: the first season of "30 Days" is already available on DVD, so it seems likely the second season will make it to DVD as well.

In other Reiki news this week, the latest edition of Reiki News magazine is now available online, featuring some but not all of the stories that will be in that magazine's fall edition. As far as I can tell, that is the only regular print magazine -- so far -- devoted entirely to Reiki.

Meanwhile, in the scientific world, physicists announced this week that they have finally confirmed the existence of dark matter. So according to the latest research, the matter we can percieve makes up about 5 percent of the universe. Dark matter, theorized but not yet confirmed, is thought to make up another 25 percent, and the rest -- 70 percent of the universe -- is so-called "dark energy" which also (so far) cannot be perceived. That news reminded me of Reiki.

This week's edition of The Reiki Show podcast, meanwhile, is bilingual, as the guest is Kansaku Yosei, who chairs the Japan Holistic Reiki Association.

But wait -- there's more. This week we introduce a new weekly feature: the Question of the Week. This week's question: Do you usually talk during Reiki sessions? Please answer by adding your comments to this post.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Reiki Digest for August 16, 2006: Tuning in to Reiki on TV

This week's edition of The Reiki Digest is upside down. Usually, our Celeb-Reiki feature is at the end of the digest, but today it's at the beginning. What's more, this week's Reiki celebrity isn't exactly a celebrity -- yet. In a few hours, however, this non-famous person will be much better known, because he'll have been on television for an hour this evening.

So congratulations, Tom Collett of Denville, New Jersey, USA. You're our star Celeb-Reiki!

This week's other Celeb-Reikis are a little better known already: the first is documentarian Morgan Spurlock. He became famous, and suffered ill health, with his movie "Super Size Me," in which he ate only McDonalds food for a month. Spurlock has since recovered and gone on to his latest venture, this time on television. His reality series "30 Days," now in its second season on the FX Network, features real people who spend 30 days doing something they wouldn't ordinarily do. Brand new celebrity Tom Collett is the star of tonight's episode of "30 Days," titled "New Age." During his 30 days, Collett, described as "skeptical 37-year-old New Jersey salesman," tries out numerous so-called "New Age" methods under the guidance of this week's other Celeb-Reiki, life coach Barbara Biziou.

"New Age" premieres tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern, but if you're reading this sometime after that, don't worry: the show will be rerun several times between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21, at least.

Reiki is just one of the stress-reduction methods Collett and his wife, Misti, tried during the taping of "30 Days." And even though the cameras stopped rolling some time ago, they told reporters that they're still doing Reiki, unlike some of the other things they tried.

The Colletts were discovered by Spurlock's team one day as they were eating lunch right here in Hoboken, New Jersey (home of The Reiki Digest). The producers took note of the former college football player enjoying chicken wings and beer and decided he was just right for the part.

In addition to Reiki, Collett's "New Age" experiences for the program included yoga, acupuncture, a spring-equinox ritual, a tribal-dancing class, and a Tantric-intimacy workshop, according to the episode's blurb at Does he or doesn't he walk on a bed of hot coals as a finale? Even if you don't get to see it, we''ll let you know in next week's edition of The Reiki Digest.

While we're on the subject of television, this week search engine Google redesigned its main page to include a link for video. It's turned out to be very popular, so we decided to search for Reiki videos. The results were a bit disappointing: fairly good technical quality, but with wildly different interpretations of what Reiki is and how it is practiced. Then again, you have to take all Internet searches with a large grain of salt. And as a whole, they're a fairly accurate representation of the diversity of 21st Century Reiki practices. We did like this one, however: it's a Reiki screensaver.

Yahoo!'s search engine also offers a video search, so we searched for Reiki videos there as well. The biggest difference seemed to be that Yahoo!'s results were more international and in more languages.

Both those links to videos will give you fresh search results, so what you find there may be different from what we found today. In any case, take a look and tell us what you think by adding a comment to this post (if you're reading this on our web site) or by email to (if you're a subscriber.)

From video we move to audio for this week's podcast of The Reiki Show from the International House of Reiki in Australia. California Reiki practitioner Kathleen Prasad, whose specialty is Reiki for animals. Prasad is the co-author of the book Animal Reiki. As usual, it's a fascinating program, and you may get a tear in your eye, especially when you hear Prasad talking about her work with seeing-eye dogs and in animal shelters.

And if you look at the latest newsletter from The Reiki Show hosts Bronwen and Frans Stiene, you'll find, among many other items, the good news that they have at least 15 more episodes already taped.

Speaking of celebrities, from a press release headlined "Celebrity Nude Resort Opens in Palm Springs," we learn that clothing-optional Reiki is now available, among other natural healing modalities au naturel, at a spa called Sea Mountain in the California desert. No word on which, if any, celebrities would be giving or receiving the Reiki or other treatments.

And on that note, we'll sign off by once again encouraging readers to make this more than a one-way communication by adding your comments.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Reiki Digest for August 9, 2006: Extraordinary and Ordinary

When you do a Google or Yahoo! news search on the word "Reiki", most of the items that turn up are simply announcements for upcoming Reiki classes or demonstrations. That's not really news, unless you look at it from a larger, longer-term perspective. For example, here's a typical one from the Village Voice of Hot Springs, Arkansas:

Reiki natural healing and Reiki healing circle at Good Sam's

The community is invited to attend a free introduction and demonstration of Reiki natural healing from 7-9 p.m. Aug. 14 at Good Samaritan Health Care Center in the conference room. Bring your aches and pains to experience first-hand how this method of natural healing may be able to help you...

That simple public service listing also gives us a bigger story: the extraordinary healing art of Reiki is becoming ordinary, a part of everyday life in more and more places, even those that aren't trendy new-age meccas. For example, these Reiki classes are being offered by an Arkansas hospital, the Reiki program there has been going several years and there has been enough interest that a limit has been established on the number of students. Nurses and other healthcare practitioners can get continuing education credits for studying Reiki.

Multiply that by the several hundred similar announcements that show up every week, and you get the larger story about how commonplace Reiki has become.

Earthsend founder Carolyn Jackson, featured in last week's post about sending Reiki to the Earth, is in the news again this week with the re-release of her book, The Spirit of Reiki (not to be confused with the book of the same title by Lubeck, Petter & Rand, or the CD of the same name by Guna Sangah).

In Danbury, Connecticut, USA, we find another example of the classic newspaper feature about Reiki: Reporter Susan Tuz experiences Reiki firsthand from Reiki Master Teacher JoAnn Duncan.

Unfortunately, the story contains an all-too-common error: "Reiki is based on a belief in seven chakras, or energy centers, that the life-force energy travels in the human body."

Although those Reiki practitioners who are familiar with the chakra system in Ayurvedic medicine (the healing tradition of ancient India), Reiki is not based on belief of any kind, nor is it based on the chakras of Ayurveda.

A student newspaper, the State News at Michigan State University in East Lansing, includes Reiki in an article about natural healing, quoting professors of medicine there at the university on how natural healing methods may help deal with the rising cost of prescription drugs and health care in general.

In Littleton, Massachusetts, USA, Reiki Master Pamela Ross, whose specialty is Reiki for her husband's patients (he's a dentist), has opened her own bookstore.

From the dentist's office and the bookstore, we follow Reiki to the bus and the gift shop, as Reiki Master Jeanne Sano trades a three-hour commute for her own small business close to home.

This week's podcast of The Reiki Show from the International House of Reiki in Sydney, Australia, features a delightful interview with Phyllis Lei Furomoto, granddaughter of Hawayo Takata, to whom most everyone reading this owes a debt of gratitude for bringing Reiki from Japan to the rest of the world.


This week's Celeb-Reiki is actress and Reiki practitioner Sharon Stone, whose Reiki has made the news as far away as India.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Reiki Digest for August 2, 2006, Reiki for the Earth, Reiki Around the World

As I write this, Mother Earth is burning with fever. We are sweltering here in much of the Northern Hemisphere, and using record amounts of energy to beat the record-breaking heat, which only makes the problem worse. Our dear planet needs our help, and Reiki practitioners all over the globe are joining together to give the Earth regular Reiki sessions. As with any Reiki we give, we have no way of knowing if or how it will help the recipient. But Reiki has never been known to hurt anyone or anything, so why not?

This week's podcast of The Reiki Show features Earthsend, a "united group of Reiki Masters and Practitioners who have willingly joined together to learn and grow in consciousness and are dedicated to the service of infusing situations and conditions of Earth with the consciousness and compassion of Reiki." Earthsend co-founder Carolyn Jackson of Bellingham, Washington, USA, talks with hosts Bronwen and Frans Stiene about the group, its history and goals. Every Friday at 9 p.m. Universal Standard Time (Greenwich Mean Time) -- that's 5 p.m. EDT where I live -- more than 600 Reiki practitioners of all levels from most every country in the world gather their attention to send Reiki to the Earth.

Also thinking globally, the International Association of Reiki Professionals has welcomed The Reiki Digest as an affiliate, which means our readers can get $10 off the regular price of membership with this special code: TRD63. I joined IARP myself not only for the benefits (such as professional liability insurance) but because I like the idea of a professional organization that welcomes all Reiki practitioners, not just those of a specific branch of Reiki -- that's the same philosophy behind The Reiki Digest. IARP also publishes its own monthly magazine, The Reiki Times, online for members only.

This week's Reiki Roundup begins on a globalized note, as a British reporter travels to South Africa, visiting a spa (owned by a French couple) where visitors have their choice of ancient Asian healing techniques, including two of my favorites, Reiki and Thai massage, administered in Native-American-style teepees.

The Washington Post finds an ex-fighter pilot Reiki practitioner in an article headlined "Ex-Wonks for Inner Peace."

Another great headline, "They'll Heal Sarajevo -- With Just Their Hands," leads us to a British couple, both Reiki masters, traveling to the formerly war-torn republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina to offer some Reiki to those still traumatized by the 1990s war there.

In Frederick, Maryland, USA, another satisfied Reiki customer explains to another reporter that Reiki is neither a substitute for medical care nor a panacea, but it feels good and it seems to help with a lot of things.

In Poughkeepsie, New York, runners in the 28th Annual Dutchess County road race are being offered Reiki mini-sessions, and other holistic health mini-sessions, in a free pre-race expo.

The BBC reports that the healing waters have returned to the legendary baths of Bath, and Reiki is now available there as well.

From Britain, one volunteer is traveling to South America to offer Reiki to orphans and disabled children.

In Massachusetts, a dog hospice offers Reiki.


In New York City, Reiki Digest subscriber Pattie Jordan and Michele Matteo will be offering a special Reiki 1 workshop for cancer survivors and caregivers on Sept. 10 at a special reduced fee. For more information, contact Michele at or Pattie at

Please send your announcements to, and we'll do our best to include them.


And finally, in case you haven't guessed already, this week's Celeb-Reiki, not Al Gore (with all due respect). It's our home, the Earth: