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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Putative no more: Have scientists finally found the biofield?

Breaking news this week, in book form: scientists at the University of Arizona have measured not one but multiple human biofields. Some of the same scientists have also tested Reiki in the laboratory and found it has consistent, measurable effects in controlled studies, compared to "sham Reiki" and no treatment.

This news actually broke in August, with the publication of the book The Energy Healing Experiments by Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D., with William L. Simon. But it broke quietly, even though the book came from a major publisher (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) and has a foreword by a former Surgeon General of the United States, not to mention advance praise from such respected integrative-health celebrities as Larry Dossey, M.D., and Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D. As far as we can tell, it has yet to make the headlines beyond the one on the article you're reading right now.

Look up the authors online and you'll discover that their previous books include The G.O.D Experiments, The Afterlife Experiments (with Deepak Chopra, M.D.), and The Truth about Medium. You may also notice that some critics point out that Schwartz's work hasn't been published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Schwartz and Simon cover that point in this book and charge that medical journals have a bias against energy medicine, citing the controversial 1998 publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association of a fourth-grader's science project. Later found not to be up to adult scientific standards (details in the book), the nine-year-old girl's experiment claimed to debunk Therapeutic Touch, a form of energy medicine similar in some ways to Reiki. (The fourth-grader's study did make headlines, hundreds of which can still be found online today.)

And you'll notice that Schwartz is a Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Surgery at the University of Arizona, and he got his Ph.D. from Harvard, so he's definitely got a solid footing in mainstream medicine even as he explores energy healing and other "woo-woo" subjects.

Actually, it was not "woo-woo" but a high-pitched "wee" sound that confirmed to Schwartz that a repurposed radio telescope had found a 12-gigahertz signal coming from his own body. At the other end of the sound spectrum, the extra-low-frequency magnetic fields -- 8 to 12 hertz -- his team discovered coming from the hands of healers in another experiment weren't audible, but registered clearly on a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). A less expensive, and less sensitive, portable digital magnetic-field-strength meter also detected changes in magnetic fields coming from the hands of healers, including Reiki practitioners.

Schwartz and his colleagues also experimented with Reiki on test subjects such as e. coli bacteria and laboratory rats. Presumably, neither would have any expectations about Reiki and would therefore not be subject to the placebo effect. The bacteria were subjected to the stress of heat, while noise was used to create stress in the rats. The Reiki-treated rats had significantly less microvascular leakage (a measure of stress) than those receiving no treatment or sham Reiki. In the e. coli experiments, the researchers found not only that Reiki could affect cells in test tubes, but that the less stressed the practitioner, the more effective the treatment. And the most successful Reiki practitioner in the e. coli study coincidentally turned out to be a full-time animal healer.

The work Schwartz and his colleagues have done so far still may not be enough to change science's longstanding assumptions about the biofield. That will take more studies, more time, and perhaps a change in the scientific culture. Another Arizona-based scientist, Paul Davies, Ph.D. of Arizona State University, challenges some of the cultural assumptions of science last week in a New York Times op-ed piece headlined "Taking Science on Faith."

Let's stick with the topic of science and Reiki as we move on to this week's Celeb-Reiki, a rocket scientist-turned-Reiki practitioner featured in today's edition of the Dayton Daily News in Ohio. "Rocket man tries new path in life" is the headline, and former Air Force rocket scientist Keith Longstreth reveals his plan to become a "Roving Reiki Master" traveling the countryside in a converted school bus. (Kudos to our reporter in Beavercreek, Ohio, for finding that news item.)

Meanwhile, back on Mt. Kurama, the legendary birthplace of Reiki, Special Correspondent Michelle Shinagawa checks in this week to tell us about the Flying Cloud Stone.

Update on a previous Celeb-Reiki: Mega Millions winner (and Reiki practitioner) Rev. "Bunky" Bartlett turned up in the Baltimore Sun again earlier this month to explain about his plans for a pagan seminary that won't be like Hogwarts.

Next week: Reiki, stress, and the holidays

Also in December: The Carnival is coming! On December 22, we'll close out the year by hosting the Carnival of Healing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Many thanks

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States, a day to pause and give thanks for our many blessings, to savor this year's harvest feast, and enjoy each other's company.

Coincidentally, our top item this week is a big "Thank you!" to all of the readers who responded to last week's post on caregiving. I'm happy to report that my ailing loved one is feeling much better now. Readers on three continents sent messages of support and words of wisdom, and we'll be organizing those resources into a follow-up edition on the subject of caregiving soon.

This week, however, it's an unprecedented Celeb-Reiki feature: written by an actual Celeb-Reiki. Author and Reiki Master Jane Tara, whose delightful romance novel Forecast came out a few weeks ago, has been kind enough to write a few words about how she uses Reiki in her life and work. We hope she'll be the first of many to tell us about their own personal Reiki practice and experience. Without further ado, here's Jane:

I bought my first Mac desktop around the same time I became a Reiki Master. Within three months I was ready to pack the computer-age in and return to writing longhand. That first computer froze regularly. Apple was kind enough to give me a new computer, but that one was faulty too. I became a regular at the local Apple workshop. The guys there tried everything to locate the problem. They eventually admitted defeat and Apple once again provided me with a new computer. When that one also started freezing on me, the head technician sat me down and, in extremely scientific computer-speak, told me he felt Mac and I had past life issues. There was nothing more they could do.

Shortly afterwards, I was in Japan, having a drink with a Reiki Master friend of mine. He nodded and smiled when I told him about my computer woes. And then he told me, quite simply:

“It’s you. It’s your energy adjusting to the Reiki. That’s how powerful it is.”

It was then that I remembered my watch stopping when I was first attuned to Reiki in 1994. Just like with my watch, the new energy levels affected my computer. For the next few months I made a habit of grounding my energy before I logged on and it never happened again. In time, I adjusted to my newfound energy levels and so did my computer.

Reiki is a gentle energy with a very powerful presence. While I’ve heard of people having quite incredible initial experiences, usually Reiki is subtle. It tiptoes into your life and spring-cleans every corner. Health problems are resolved rather than cured. Emotional issues are dealt with over time rather than dissolved over night. Time after time, I’ve watched people who have been attuned to Reiki and within 12 months they are ridding their lives of major baggage: jobs they’ve always hated, friends who don’t empower them, relationships that hurt. Change doesn’t happen right away, but it happens. It gradually alters you. Every Reiki practitioner I’ve ever met embraces these changes because people rarely arrive at Reiki without the genuine desire to heal and grow. It’s not a magic wand that immediately cures all, but the path you take towards it. In an era of quick-fix solutions, Reiki reminds us that it’s the journey that really counts, not the destination.

There are many fun aspects to Reiki, or Pop-Reiki as I affectionately call it. I leave symbols around the house when I go away. I throw protection symbols on the planet, the car and the kids. Never a green thumb, my plants would all be dead if it weren’t for Reiki. I use it to calm scraped knees on my sons and my own nerves before meetings. But it’s the countless ways I use it without realizing that are most profound. It has become such a part of my life that I barely give it a thought as I go about my day—yet it’s there and I draw strength from its existence in my life.

Both my sons were conceived and born using Reiki. I gave my beloved cat Reiki as the vet put her down. Just recently my grandmother died at home, while my mother (an experienced palliative care nurse) used Reiki to help ease her through the transition of death. What a wonderful way to go!

Reiki literally touches every part of my life. And lest I forget just how powerful Reiki is, or take its presence in my life for granted, I remind myself of all my computer problems ten years ago. If it can alter the way a computer functions, surely it can alter the way a person functions. Yes computers have come a long way since then, but then so has my life, and my Reiki journey.

-- Jane Tara

Thank you, Jane! By the way, four computers died on me during my Reiki Master training, so I can confirm that the problem Jane experienced also can happen with PCs and even Linux machines.

Jane's novel, Forecast, is published by Dorchester/Love Spell. And yes, a Reiki practitioner makes an appearance (on Oprah, no less!). Forecast is clear proof that Jane not only knows how to write, but she knows the so-called "New Age" movement inside and out and enjoys having fun with it. We hope the rumors are true that there might be a movie version. Jane can be contacted via her website:

Our next contributor isn't exactly a celebrity, though he does share a name with one. Reiki Master Teacher Colin Powell of Eccles, Manchester, UK, writes in with a suggestion we're implementing immediately. Colin writes:

"I know you don’t have a “Reiki Quote of the Week” section but I cam across this on the Living Scotsman webpage from someone being interviewed about beauty treatments:

“I had reiki last week and threw up - the chakras went everywhere.”

Ba-da-BOOM! First time I've ever seen Reiki described as a beauty treatment....

If you have a suggestion for next week's Reiki Quote of the Week, please send it (along with a link to where you found it) to

Speaking of chakras, you may already have noticed a brand new set of dancing lights there in the left hand column. They're the new Chakra Candle set from Dancing Light Candles in New York City. Jean Bromage, the Reiki Master behind Dancing Light Candles, gave The Reiki Digest a set a few weeks ago and we've tried them out in various situations: one or two candles lit for Reiki sessions or just to boost particular energies around the house, or even lighting all of them at once to cover the whole spectrum. We love them.

Although the chakra system from India wasn't originally part of Reiki, the chakras are familiar to anyone who's studied yoga or western Reiki. Students of Chinese and Japanese martial and healing arts are more familiar with the three-part hara or tantien energy system, but these candles can easily be used with both. I asked Jean to tell us more about them:

Aromatic Prisms of Light

For those who know a little bit about Chakras, the first thing that often comes to mind is the image of the seven wheels of colored light spinning along the torso of the body. As each wheel represents a color on the spectrum of visible light, the pictures and paintings we see of the Chakra system are quite colorful and beautiful to look at. When we learn more about the Chakra energy system and compare it to scientific knowledge, we discover an amazing correlation between color and light and the wavelengths of energy. Red being the color of the Root or 1st Chakra is the color on the light spectrum that has the slowest vibration and the longest wavelengths. As we work our way up the other six colors, the wavelengths of light get shorter and shorter until we reach the Crown or 7th Chakra which has the highest vibration and is violet in color.

When we start to think in terms of how everything is energy simply vibrating at different rates and how we, as Reiki practitioners and energy healers, are aiding in the balanced flow of energy for our clients, we begin to understand the transformation that takes place in the healing process and just how much color is a part of that process. However, there are other elements to the manifestation of energy than just color. We also have temperature, sound and aroma to translate for us the rate at which energy vibrates.

As I began to think about creating a line of candles to reflect the Chakra system of energy, I began to recognize more deeply how essential oils are the spiritual messengers of plants, acting as angelic liaisons between the spirit realm and the earth plane. The more I researched and journeyed into the history of the essential oils I was blending for these candles, the more I began to see these plant essences as prisms through which light energy can express itself. Add to the mix the beautiful and therapeutic aromas of these little prisms and you have yourself a sensory party.

In experimenting with the different blends of oils for each Chakra, my intention for developing this line of candles became clearer to me. It was to aid in the balanced flow of energy for each Chakra. In doing my final draft of candles before launching the set, I closed my eyes as I breathed in the aroma of each candle and felt my body respond. I realized as I did so, each energy center was responding to meet my body’s needs in that moment. For example, the 6th Chakra blend of Juniper Berry and Lemon gently opened up my third eye area allowing me to release any tension I was holding in my head. When I breathed in the aroma of the 2nd Chakra, I felt a vibrational slow down around my navel allowing more warmth to surround it.

These candles are not only great for anyone who is looking to connect with their energy body through the Chakra centers but also for yogis, energy healers and masseuses because they are easy to transport and have a lid to cover the candle when the session is over. Made with all natural soy wax, these candles burn at a lower temperature than paraffin candles, allowing the essential oils to stay intact and not lose their chemical components that make them therapeutic. As one breathes in the natural aromas of each of these candles, it is helpful to relax and take note of how the area of the body associated with that particular Chakra reacts. Do you feel calmer or more stimulated? Are you made aware of any tension in your body that begins to release? Does a certain memory or emotion come to you?

Thanks, Jean. Dancing Light’s Chakra candles can be purchased individually or in a boxed gift set. More details about the essential oil blends in each candle and the corresponding energies are available here at Jean's online store. Jean is offering Reiki Digest readers 10 percent off with the coupon code RD 123. Thanks again, Jean. And thanks for helping us keep The Reiki Digest a free publication.

Next week: Have scientists finally found the human biofield?

Next month: The Carnival is coming! On December 22, we close out the year by hosting the Carnival of Healing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


If you are among those who became a Reiki practitioner in hopes of being helpful to your loved ones, raise your hand -- that is, if you have a free hand to raise. If both your hands are occupied with caregiving, just nod.

Last week I had a nice conversation with a regular reader in Michigan who thanked me "for putting yourself out there week after week for the Reiki community." I thanked her right back, because feedback like that is what keeps me going. I try not to include too much about myself in this publication -- it's about Reiki, not me -- but I do understand that the personal touch is important. Mostly I tell you about my own experiences in hopes that you'll do the same, so that this can become a community discussion instead of a one-way conversation.

This week, I'm "putting myself out there" once again to talk to you about what I've been doing for the past week or so: taking care of a loved one whose chronic condition has become acute once again.

My home Reiki table usually sits folded in a closet until needed, but this week I rearranged the furniture to give it a more permanent, accessible place in our household. I've done two sessions on my ailing loved one so far today, and may do another when we get back from his doctor's appointment this afternoon, depending on whether I can find time with all the other tasks that await me. There's already a prescription refill waiting to be picked up at the drug store, and probably one or more new ones after we see the doctor again. Then there are all the other tasks, both household and business, waiting for my attention -- so many that I have to do triage to take care of the most urgent matters first, and postpone anything that can wait another day. In the midst of all that I try to make time to look after myself as well -- there's no room in the schedule or budget for me to get sick too. Most of my usual daily wellness routine is on hold for now, so I'm doing my best to make do with an abbreviated version.

Each morning I go through the Reiki precepts as usual, except lately it feels like I'm grabbing onto them as I might an oxygen mask on an airplane -- you know how they always tell you to put your mask on first before trying to help anyone else. And though it's far from ideal, I've been combining meditation and exercise with chores such as laundry or carrying home the groceries, fitting in what I can when I can.

My loved one's illness is one of the primary reasons I got so interested in Reiki -- a few years ago, as a brand-new Reiki 1, I was able to give him a Reiki session that put an abrupt end to one of his acute episodes. Unfortunately we don't get such successful results every time, but Reiki always seems to help to some extent. (It's not a substitute for medical care, of course.)

My loved one's illness, and all the ways we and his team of healers have tried to address it, have been an education for me. From our family doctor to various specialists to acupuncturists to holistic practitioners, there are many different approaches, but one common thread: the patient (or client) goes to the practitioner, the practitioner tries something that might help, the client pays, makes another appointment, and leaves. Ideally, an energy shift takes place with each visit, and ideally, that shift is for the better. Sometimes ideal is too much to hope for. But as much as they want to help, none of the healing professionals we've gone to for help has felt that it was on them to solve the problem permanently. Personally, I wish for that so much that I would prefer it to winning the lottery. Professionally, I know that isn't my responsibility. Somewhere in my studies of the healing arts, I remember a Native American medicine man who said that the healer's job is simply to create a distraction while the patient heals himself. That sums it up better than I could myself.

No matter how professional, objective, and detached I try to be when I offer Reiki or other modalities to my afflicted loved one, I can't pretend I'm not emotionally involved -- of course I care deeply and want very, very much for him to feel better. That emotional attachment makes me less of a clear channel for the energy I work with, and as a result it makes me less effective with a dear family member than I might be with a professional client. But when my loved one wakes up sick at 4 a.m., I have no choice but to do my best to help him right then and there. During normal business hours, I enlist other professionals to help, but our resources are finite, of course, so we have to be judicious about the number of practitioners we call upon for help. This problem has been with us for years already, and is unlikely to magically disappear, so we have to be practical.

I thought about trying to offer some handy hints here for other caregivers, based on what I've learned from caring for this and other loved ones in distress. But reading over what I've just written, I realize I need to handle that a bit differently. Since I'm swamped at the moment, I'm asking you -- especially those of you who are caregivers -- to provide the handy hints, not only for taking care of others but for taking care of yourself in this kind of situation. Please send your handy hints to Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

On a brighter note, The Reiki Digest is happy to announce that the carnival is coming. Next month -- December 22 to be exact -- we'll be hosting the Carnival of Healing. What's that? It's a weekly online festival of blog posts that have to do with holistic healing, headquartered at the Holistic Healing page. In addition to the Carnival's regular contributors, we're inviting Reiki Digest readers to participate. If you have a blog of your own, write up a healing-related post for the occasion and send me the link by December 15. If you don't have your own blog but you've got something to say, send it to and be part of the Carnival anyway. The Reiki Digest's Carnival of Healing edition will be the final one for 2007, as we traditionally take some time off at year's end.

In other exciting news, this week we have a Celeb-Reiki spectacular, because there are so many famous people associated with Reiki in the news, so many that this week's Celeb-Reiki report will also serve as our Reiki Roundup.

First on our list is Kiwi (that means "from New Zealand") cyclist Hayden Roulston, who had to retire from the sport last year because of a heart ailment but is enjoying an amazing comeback for which he credits Reiki. We counted nearly 40 stories about Roulston and Reiki in the news this week. The best headline, "Roulston loves Reiki," doesn't have much of a story with it, but you can read more about Roulston's Reiki-enhanced recovery here and here. The Reiki Digest congratulates Roulston not only on his recent victories, but his recovered good health, and we wish him more of both.

In Liverpool, England, we find a Reiki practitioner who has worked with such celebrities as supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell, and whose partner has worked in security for the likes of sports/Spice couple David and Victoria Beckham. That means Schiffer, Campbell, the Beckhams (and their children) and the Spice Girls are among this week's Celeb-Reikies.

But wait -- there's more: Vivian Israel, Reiki practitioner as well as cellist in the Long Island Philharmonic gets a writeup in Newsday. And back in the U.K., actor Damian Christian of "Coronation Street," "East Enders" and "Emmerdale" is working on a new career practicing Reiki and other healing modalities.

That's it from here until next week. We look forward to your handy hints for caregivers, or anything else you might have to say.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The other day a friend asked me to contribute a few words to a collection of comments she's putting together on the subject of intuition. Even though it's not written specifically for Reiki practitioners, I thought you might be interested, since intuition and Reiki practice go hand in hand. This was my contribution:

What if you got a message from someone you hadn't heard from in awhile, urging you to do something that might seem contrary to logic or the opposite of what other people were telling you? Whose advice would you trust? And what if that someone you hadn't heard from in awhile turned out to be yourself -- your own intuition?

We all have the gift of intuition -- and like any other talent, some of us moreso than others. But when that soft inner voice speaks, how do we know that it's our intuition, rather than just our imagination or simply wishful thinking? Merely having intuition isn't enough: we have to learn how to use it and trust it, to turn that natural talent into a developed skill.

Before I devoted myself to the natural healing arts, I was a journalist: skeptical and cynical. I taught myself to dismiss my natural intuition, and only trust information I could confirm with multiple reliable sources. At least, that's what I thought. The truth was that, cynical or not, I used my intuition every time I asked a question or followed a lead on a story.

When I began studying health-care modalities, I got the same advice from each of my teachers, whether I was working on a very physical skill such as Thai Yoga bodywork, or a subtle energetic practice such as Reiki: "Your skills are pretty good, and getting better as you practice," my teachers told me, "But you have to learn to trust your intuition." And when I asked them how, they all had the same answer: "Just keep practicing. You'll figure it out."

And so it is for anyone: we can only learn to trust our inner voice when we are in the habit of listening to it. To do that, we have to learn to turn our attention away from outside distractions: turn off the television, get away from the computer, stop listening to friends and family and co-workers and simply look inward.

Meditation can help develop that skill, but when we meditate we need to go beyond listening to our own busy thoughts to find that still, quiet place beyond thought. As we practice and learn, it gets easier to simply acknowledge the thoughts that come up during meditation, without reacting to them. That way, thoughts that have nothing to do with intuition can just flow on by. Thoughts such as, "My foot itches" or "Did I remember to pay the electric bill?" or "There's a car alarm going off outside" may fill our heads, but they aren't intuition. Only when we learn to tune out both outer and inner distractions can we hear the voice of intuition ring clear and strong. And if we get into the habit of checking in with our intuition regularly, then it won't be the voice of someone we haven't heard from in awhile. It will be the voice of a dear friend and trusted advisor.

Perhaps you'd be interested in contributing a few words of your own on the subject of intuition -- just post them as a comment to this post on our web site, reply to this message if you receive The Reiki Digest in your inbox, or email

This week's first Celeb-Reiki was just sentenced to three years behind bars. Craig Shell, a 22-year-old in the United Kingdom who claimed to be a Reiki practitioner as well as a "psychic to the stars," turns out to be neither, and he pleaded guilty to various charges of fraud, deception, and theft.

On a more upbeat Celeb-Reiki note, one of the models for Bravo Television's reality series Project Runway is also a Reiki practitioner. Lea from New Jersey practices "Reiki medicine" according to the show's web site. Hope that doesn't get her in trouble with the authorities, because Reiki isn't medicine and shouldn't be called that.

We also have a whole group of Celeb-Reikies
this week: Deuter, Jim Wilson, Terry Oldfield, Lisa Lynne, and the other Reiki music celebrities at New Earth Records in Santa Fe, New Mexico, mentioned this week in an Albuquerque Journal article about the company. New Earth Records also has an Internet radio station featuring its artists' work.

On with the Reiki Roundup. This week we begin in South Africa, where we find yet another version of the classic reporter-gets-a-Reiki-session story. This time the reporter is unnamed, but he or she does seem to like Reiki.

In southwestern Florida, stress coach Jacquelyn Ferguson mentions Reiki in an article that's mostly about acupuncture. "It was the most relaxed I've ever felt," she says of her Reiki experience.

In Payson, Arizona, Reiki practitioner Michele Montbleau offers another description of what Reiki feels like: "When people ask what Reiki feels like, Montbleau likens the healing art to the feeling a baby gets when a mother rubs his tummy," according to an article in the Payson Roundup.

Next stop, Atlanta, Georgia, where a Reiki practitioner uses not just Reiki but common sense in helping his mother recover from a heart attack.

Our last stop this week: Mt. Kurama, Japan, the legendary birthplace of Reiki, where Special Correspondent Michelle Shinagawa finds some poems of peace at the temple.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Special Edition: The Fall Revue of Reviews

Our fall harvest may be the strangest collection of books ever brought together: new books, not-so-new books, even an out-of-print book; science books and spirituality books and even a romance novel. While only a few of these books include a mention of Reiki, we found all of them likely to be of interest to Reiki practitioners.

No guest reviewers this time -- all reviews are by yours truly, editor Janet Dagley Dagley. If you'd like to review a book for The Reiki Digest, contact us at Unfortunately our budget does not yet allow us to pay reviewers, but you get to keep the book you review.

The Body Has a Mind of Its Own
Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee
Random House
September 2007

Scientists and energy workers have a longstanding disagreement on the question of whether there is such a thing as a human biofield. Until or unless it can be proven scientifically -- and Kirlian photography isn't yet accepted by science -- the scientists will continue calling it "putative."

This book barely acknowledges that question, staying entirely within the realm of proven science, specifically the science of body maps in the brain. Third-generation science writer (and frequent New York Times contributor) Sandra Blakeslee and her son, fourth-generation science writer Matthew Blakeslee, are adept at translating science into understandable English, and their enthusiasm for the subject is contagious. The Blakeslees introduce us to "a recently discovered scientific fact" that is at least as fascinating as the putative biofield: peripersonal space.

Your peripersonal space is the space around you, as mapped by the ever-fluctuating body maps in your brain. Pick up a pencil or a fork and your peripersonal space automatically morphs to the tip of the object; drive a car and your peripersonal space engulfs it. We have not one but many body maps in our brain, each with its own function in enabling us to interact with the world around us.

Not only Reiki practitioners and other bodyworkers, but anyone who works in the healing arts whether Western or Eastern, should read this book. Hairdressers and manicurists and aestheticians and parents and lovers and siblings should read this book -- for that matter, anyone who gets close to another person, even on a crowded subway where our peripersonal space is contracted tightly. This is the first book I've ever read for review that I picked up and started reading again as soon as I was finished. Reiki teachers, if you have a required or recommended reading list for your students, this should be on it.

When we work with our clients, we move into their peripersonal space, not only with our bodies but with our own peripersonal space. When we practice Reiki self-care, we work with our peripersonal space. Not only that, but many of the problems that bring people to us are related to their peripersonal space. While it isn't necessary for us to understand the details of these brain maps, just becoming familiar with the concept can help us interact better with our clients.

Peripersonal space is just one of the scientific facts we learn about in The Body Has a Mind of Its Own. There are the homunculi, somatosensory and motor, comically misproportionate maps of our bodies found in the brain by an early 20th Century researcher who sawed open skulls and poked the brains of live, conscious patients with an electrode. There are our intuition cells -- yes, there are such things and scientists now know exactly where they are. And then there are the place cells and grid cells, the former able to adapt to rearranged furniture or even different environments, the latter fixed. There are even out-of-body experiences in scientifically controlled laboratory experiments.

There's even a brief mention of Reiki:

"In traditions of healing touch -- shamanic healing, energy healing, universal life energy, Reiki, and scores of other healing practices around the world -- practitioners use a combination of of visual imagery, motor imagery, and gestures to merge their own peripersonal space sense with that of their patients...The scientific method has never been able to confirm that chi flows or other mystical vital energies are real and present in the mind and body....

"Perhaps science, having banished these energies from its account of reality, can nonetheless explain the sensory awareness that people have of them."

The Demon's Sermon on The Martial Arts
Issai Chozanshi
Translated by William Scott Wilson

There is nary a mention of Reiki in this book, nor should there be as it was written in the 18th Century and Usui developed the system of Reiki in the 20th Century. It may be of interest to Reiki practitioners for two reasons: one, it takes place on Mt. Kurama, the legendary birthplace of Reiki; and two, the stories (and sermon) teach us about working with ki.

For hundreds of years (at least) before the birth of Reiki founder Mikao Usui in the mid-19th Century, Mt. Kurama was a training ground for martial artists, as it was the lair of the tengu, or mythical mountain demons. (Coincidentally, Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei is said to have trained on Mt. Kurama in the 1920s, and even learned some of his martial arts from the tengu there, according to the book's introduction.) All serious students of Reiki history, and of energy work, can learn from this book, and its stories are delightful and enlightening reading.


Jane Tara
Love Spell
November 2007

I don't usually read romance novels, but this one was recommended by a reader and Reiki Dojo regular who got an advance copy from a friend. "It has a Reiki practitioner in it," she told me, "A Reiki practitioner who's on Oprah. So I thought you'd be interested." She was right. Although Reiki plays a relatively small role in Forecast, the book weaves together (comically at times) many so-called "New Age" practices and beliefs in the archetypal tale of girl gets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back again. An amusing reminder that the phrase "New Age" was coined back in the 1980s to market books. Whether you're into "New Age" or sick of the term, it's an enjoyable light read. The "romance" scenes themselves are few and almost perfunctory, as Tara focuses instead on the attraction between the characters.

The Science of Oneness
Malcolm Hollick
O Books

Scientist-turned-spiritualist Malcolm Hollick went from the University of Western Australia to join the Findhorn spiritual community in Scotland 10 years ago, emerging nearly a decade later with an award-winning book subtitled, "A Worldview for the Twenty-First Century." This worldview includes not only physics and spirituality but a universal consciousness as well. Hollick addresses the limitations of scientific inquiry with all the credibility of an experienced scientist, forged with the insight developed in his spiritual search. By the way, one of the hundreds of sources Hollick cites is a prior work by Sandra Blakeslee. Hollick is also a member of the Zaadz online community, where he also has a blog.

Modern Reiki Method for Healing
Hiroshi Doi
Fraser Journal Publishing
(out of print)

I tried for more than a year to buy this book through Amazon, but even they couldn't find it. Fortunately, a regular reader who had an extra copy was kind enough to give it to me, for which I am very grateful. Hiroshi Doi is the outside world's connection to the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, the Japanese Reiki association. He has studied and practiced both traditional Japanese and Western forms of Reiki and developed his own form that is a fusion of the two. Doi gives us a glimpse inside the Gakkai, but only a glimpse. He also makes the unsubstantiated claim that Usui "rediscovered" Reiki, and calls it an ancient shamanic practice. Certainly there were ancient hands-on healing techniques, but there is no evidence (none public, anyway) that the system of Reiki goes back further than Usui. Perhaps there will be a new edition someday, and perhaps it will offer an explanation or even more detail on that much-disputed subject.

Although Doi himself is Japanese, his Reiki method seems more Western, which parallels his training. He uses the chakra system, for example, which comes from India rather than Japan and was added to the system in the West.

The photos of Doi's granddaughter demonstrating the hand positions are charming as well as useful, and along with the illustrations, Doi makes the point that actual physical contact is not necessary for Reiki to work.

Here's hoping the book will be reprinted, possibly in a new edition, or better still, we'd love to see a completely new book from the same author.

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Because of this Special Edition, we'll save the regular Reiki Roundup and Celeb-Reiki features for next week. See you then!