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Thursday, February 28, 2008

More points of consensus?

We're putting together a list of proposed points of consensus, things that Reiki practitioners of all styles and lineages can agree upon.

So far we have:

1. The system of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui.
2. Usui was not a doctor.
3. Reiki is not massage.
4. Reiki is not a religion.
5. Reiki is not a substitute for medical care.
6. Reiki is performed on fully clothed recipients by fully clothed practitioners.
7. Reiki works on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
8. Reiki can help reduce stress.
9. Reiki is being practiced in a growing number of hospitals and other medical environments.
10. We aren't quite sure how Reiki works.
11. A Reiki practitioner functions as catalyst to engage a person’s self-healing.
12. Reiki is balancing.
13. Reiki has no contraindications.
14: Reiki has never been known to harm anyone.
15. There are now many different styles and lineages of Reiki practice all over the world.

This week, we propose the following:

16. Reiki is compatible with all religions.
17. Reiki is practiced by people of all faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists.
18. Neither practitioner nor recipient need believe anything about Reiki in order for it to work.
19. Reiki can be used alone or in conjunction with other natural healing modalities.
20. Reiki can be used alone or in conjunction with conventional medical care.

What do you think? Are we still in agreement so far? Next week, five more proposed points of consensus. To submit your suggestions, email or post a comment on our web site.

And this week's Celeb-Reiki is....

Erykah Badu, Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, actress AND Reiki practitioner, according to this Dallas News article about her new CD, -- her first in five years -- Amerykah Part 1 (4th World War). She took some time off from her career to stay home with her young children, and she also used some of that time to learn Reiki. We wonder what kind of music she puts on in the background when she gives sessions -- or maybe she just sings while she works?

Carnival of Reiki #2

Laydeez annnd gennntlemennn! Step right up for the second edition of the Carnival of Reiki, hosted monthly by The Reiki Digest! The Carnival of Reiki is one of a growing number of blog carnivals, collections of blog posts on a given topic. In our case, the topic is Reiki. Since most of the posts submitted were off-topic and/or spam, we decided to take a look around the blogosphere ourselves for Reiki-related posts.

Our top pick: novelist Lynn Price asks, and answers, the question, "Why Reiki?" on her blog, Is it Friday yet? Price follows with an update on her doctor friends' reactions to Reiki, titled "We Need Scientific Proof!"

For the birds: Greenwoman writes about poultry Reiki.

Hold your horses: Grey Horse Matters, "The blog for the aging equestrian," features a post on Reiki for horses.

Our next Carnival of Reiki will be March 27. Deadline for submissions is March 25. Click here to submit your post.

Free reprint: Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self-Care

Reiki Master Luis Romance in Barcelona, Spain, has given us a good idea. He translated our popular article, Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self-Care, into Spanish and turned it into a handy downloadable PDF. We decided it might be nice to have an English version in PDF form as well. Click here for your own printable copy.

The article is published under a Creative Commons some rights reserved license: reprints are permitted as long as you credit the author and make no changes. For other uses, please contact Translations into other languages are permitted, as long as you credit the original source of the material.

What's your Reiki story?

How did you discover Reiki? And what effects has it had in your life? Whether you're a practitioner or just a recipient, a beginner or an experienced master, we invite you to share your Reiki story with readers of The Reiki Digest. Reiki Master Phillip Racette is our first volunteer, with the story of how Reiki has helped him heal some deep wounds that go back to childhood. Thanks, Phillip!

To submit your Reiki story for publication, just email it to Please include the words MY REIKI STORY in the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'My Reiki Story' -- by Phillip Racette

Editor's note: Today we introduce a new feature, My Reiki Story, written by our readers. Many thanks to Reiki Master Phillip Racette of suburban Chicago, Illinois, for sharing his story. If you've got a story of your own to tell, send it to

I came to know Reiki in 1996. I was 58 years old. My Reiki Level 1 initiation opened up a whole new world for me. It was, and remains, a fresh and wonderful ride into self-knowledge and into better, more intimate communication with my fellows in the human family.

Today Reiki expedites and encourages my continuing self-healing. I give Reiki to myself every day. Many other uses there are, blessing and energizing the food that I eat, and "feeding" my plants and the ancient maple tree in my back yard. But what called me in the first place?

My need for healing most likely started at my birth. Researchers describe clearly the normal trauma that leaving the mother's womb at birth presents to the newborn child: the "rough" world, the slapping hands of the doctor or midwife, the bright lights of the delivery room which assault the tiny eyes of baby, the need to breathe differently, and various other challenges to living outside the safety of the womb. (1)

In my case, my mother, Jean, was an emotionally unstable woman who chose a husband well on his way to wedding himself to alcoholism. Also, my paternal grandmother objected strongly to my parents' union. These factors resulted in deep inner conflict for my mother, which remained during pregnancy and beyond my birth. For the first seven years of my life, my mom and dad struggled to cope with the disease of alcoholism. Mom embraced drinking herself, as an escape and a way to stay close to my dad. Two sisters were born into the family. Much chaos and constant stress surrounded us. Mom and Dad would often leave us alone in our urban apartment, go down the street to the local pub and stay there till 2 a.m. closing time. Jobs were lost by my dad. Grandma brought groceries over on Friday evenings after getting her own paycheck as an office worker. There probably was no phone, though I cannot remember the details of the apartments we rented. Grandma often warned four-year-old Phillip: "Take care of your sister. Watch her good!"

Finally, the family disintegrated. The Family Court, at Grandma's insistence, placed me and my sister, Ruth, in a large Catholic orphanage about 20 miles from Grandma's home, an apartment in Chicago. My youngest sister arrived there two years later. This training school of 900 children was a mixed blessing. I had security of body now, a good routine, and good teachers and caregivers. Yet it was trauma, repeated, for me because it segregated the sexes into separate dorms and separate dining halls. I visited with my sisters for two hours every sunday, and on alternate Sundays my grandparents came to visit us. I did not know how to be a good brother, a good family member in this environment. These early life experiences resulted in great sorrow and anxiety, partly due to being the oldest child. This weight never lifted throughout my adult years. Career and marriage did bring me some contentment...a big hold in my heart, in my aura, remained. A variety of psychotherapists helped me to a degree.

The turning point in my recovery and transformation was Reiki. Each of the three attunements removed some blinders and they spured me to topple the wall I had erected around me. I began to see and to feel the beauty of God in His Creation, in Nature, and in the people I see and know in my daily life. I appreciate now the gifts of empathy and compassion and poetry which led me into professional social work for 35 years. I see this gift of Self in a new way, with "Reiki eyes." I relax, I forgive my mom and dad, and I heal on all levels, especially on the spiritual level. It's never too late. I embrace that slogan and I live by it. I see truck loads of new, exciting, and colorful experiences ahead of me. I'm teaching Reiki Principles, I'm delivering Reiki energy, and I'm advocating for the spread of hands-on energy activities among family members as well as among other professionals who can integrate it into their practices. The U.S. population, akin to the British one, hungers for Reiki -- and other hands-on therapies -- because of its puritanical roots, harboring as it does ambivalane attitudes and beliefs about physical touch in daily life. Research has confirmed that the U.S. citizenry is among the world's most inhibited populations when it comes to touching one another. (2)

A smile, a touch, a hug. We forget how powerful they are. We are all healers. Reiki simply shows us in bold relief that this is so. Very early in my new career I saw where Reiki fits into the scheme of things. A close friend, an emergency room nurse and a mom, was anxious about her four-year-old boy who fell off the top of a swing set he should not have been walking on. He severely sprained an ankle. Two days after the hospital staff had wrapped the foot, little Jimmy hobbled around on one leg, refusing to put the slightest pressure on it. When I visited the parents' home, I asked mom if I could lay my hands on his ankle. Five minutes later, he was removing the wrap and he was walking as if nothing had ever happened. There was not even an "oh, look" or any comment from the boy who normally talked a lot. He simply went back t his play activities. The adults exchanged wide-eyed glances. Yes, we are all healers. Our advanced cultures, just as all cultures have, apparently need healers that are "Godsends" to bring Spirit to re-create our bodies and our minds.

(1) Making Sense of Suffering: the Healing Confrontation with Your Own Past, by J. Konrad Stettbacher, Dutton, 1991, Page 13.
(2) Medical Minutia, by Barb Bancroft, Willowworks Publishers, 1994, Page 125

Friday, February 22, 2008

List of scientific journal articles about Reiki

UPDATE Editor's note: The original source of this list was James Deacon's Reiki Pages.

Found this treasure in an unlikely place -- a comment posted to this article in the Hattiesburg American in Mississippi. Many thanks to the person (identified only as "moelle") who posted this list of articles, nearly all of them from scientific journals:

Alandydy, P. (BSN, RN,,CNOR), Alandydy, K . (BA) [1999] Using Reiki to support surgical patients. Journal of Nursing Care Quality. Apr; vol 13, no 4, pp 89-91.

Algarin, R. [1995] Using Reiki as a harm reduction tool and as a stress management technique for participants and self. Northeast Conference: Drugs, Sex and Harm Reducation Conference Syllabus, [1995], Harm Reduction Coalition and the Drug Policy Foundation, the ACLU AIDS Project and the City University of New York.

A RK, Kurup PA. [2003] Changes in the isoprenoid pathway with transcendental meditation and Reiki healing practices in seizure disorder. (Department of Neurology, Medical College Hospital, Trivandrum 695-003, Kerala, India). in Neurology India. 2003 Jun; vol 51, no2, pp211-4.

Author Unknown [?] Autonomic Nervous-System-Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine vol 10, no 6.

Author Unknown [1997] Reiki: Tapping the unseen self. International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol 15, no 9, pp22-23

Author Unknown [1998] Reiki; a balancing therapy. International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol 16, no 2, pp22-23

Author Unknown [1999] Remedy Brief: Reiki. This Japanese system of energy healing is used for acute and chronic pain. Natural Health - Massachusetts, Sept, p41

Barberis, L., [1996] Reiki: Esoteric therapy or quantum interaction? (Paper presented at:) 3rd European Colloquium on Ethnopharmacolgy - 1st International Conference on Anthropology and History of Health and Disease

Barberis, L., [1998] Reiki healing: No matter nor energy. Just being. (Presented at:) the 12th Continental members’ Meeting of the Scientific & Medical Network, Cortona, Italy.

Barnett, L., & Chambers, M. [1996] Reiki energy medicine: Bringing healing touch into home, hospital, and hospice. Vermont, U.S.A: Healing Arts Press.

Behar, M. [1997] Reiki; bridging tradition & complementary healing techniques. OT Practice; Feb 1997

Brewitt, B., Vittetoe, T., Hartwell, [1997] The efficacy of Reiki hands-on healing: improvements in spleen and nervous system function as quantified by electrodermal screening. Alternative Therapies 1997 July; vol 3 no 4.

Brown, F. [1992] Ancient Reiki accepted at a modern American Hospital. The Journal of Awareness. pp 3,16.

Bucholtz, R. A. [1996] The use of Reiki therapy in the treatment of pain in rheumatoid arthritis. Master's thesis (unpublished), University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Bullock, M. (RN BSN), [1997] Introduction to Reiki: A complementary therapy for life. Alternative Therapies in Clinical Practice vol 4, no 2, pp41-43

Bullock, M. (RN BSN), [1997]Reiki: A complementary therapy for life. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, Jan 1997, Vol 14, no 1, pp31-32

Clark, L. [1988] Reiki in a G.P. Practice: A Report based on 29 patients over the period 5.10.99 - 25.7.01. Unpublished.

Dressen L. J. & Singg S., [1997] Effects of Reiki on Pain and selected affective and personality variables of chronically ill Patients. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, vol 9, no 1, pp51-82

Engebretson, J. & Wardell, D. [2002]. Experience of a Reiki Session, Alternative Therapies, vol 8, no 2, pp48-53

Gallob R. [?] Reiki: a supportive therapy in nursing practice and self-care for nurses. University of Rochester School of Nursing, Loving Touch Center of East Rochester, NY, USA

Harris, D.(Dip.App.Sc.[Nursing] [UWSN]., B.H.Sc.[Nursing]) [UWSN].,MCN[NSW]., MRCNA.) & James B.H. [?] The Mystery and Meaning of Reiki.

Hartwell, B., Brewitt, Dr. B. [1997] The efficacy of Reiki hands-on healing - Improvements in adrenal, spleen and nervous function as quantified by electro-dermal screening. Alternative Therapies Symposium, Florida 1997. Alternative Therapies, vol 3, no 4, p89.

Hodsdon, W., Mendenhall, E., Green, R., Kates-Chinnoy,S., Wacker, E, & Zwickey, H. The Effect of Reiki on the Immune System. Helfgott Research Institue at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, USA

Kennedy, P. [2001] Working with survivors of torture in Sarajevo with Reiki, Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, vol 7, no 4

Litchfield, G. [1999] Reiki Healing. Journal of Natural Medicine vol 3, no 1, pp3-4

Mailoo, V.J. [2002] A brief introduction to Reiki. British Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation. May 2002 - vol 9, no 5, pp190-3

Mailoo, V.J.[2001] Reiki to Reduce Anxiety:A Literature Review.Journal of Chartered Physiotherapists in Mental Healthcare. Jun; 18 pp13-17.

Mansour A, Laing G, Nurse J, & Denilkewich A. [1998] The Experience of Reiki: Five Middle-Aged Women in the Midwest, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Therapies; vol 4, no 3, pp211-217

Mansour, A., Beuche, M., Laing, G., Leis A., & Nurse, J. [1999] A Study to Test the Effectiveness of Placebo Reiki Standardization Procedures Developed for a Planned Reiki Efficacy Study, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, New York vol 5, no 2, pp153-164.

Miles P. [2003] Preliminary report on the use of Reiki for HIV-related pain and anxiety. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2003; vol 9 no 2 p36.

Miles, P. & True, G (PhD).[2003] Reiki: Review of a Biofield Therapy. History, Theory, Practice & Research. Alternative Therapies, Mar/Apr 2003; vol 9, no 2, p67

Milton, G., & Chapman, E., [1995] The benefits of Reiki treatment in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. Pathways to healing: Enhancing Life through Complementary Therapies, Conference Proceedings, Sept, 24-25 Canberra: Royal College of Nursing, Australia

Neklason, Zale T. [1987] The effects of Reiki treatment on telepathy and personality traits. Thesis [MS in Counselling] - Calif. State University, Hayward

Nield-Anderson, L. Ameling, A. [2000] The Empowering Nature of Reiki as a Complementary Therapy. Holistic Nursing Practice, vol 14, no 3, pp21-29

Olson, K. & Hanson, J. [1997] Using Reiki to manage pain: a preliminary report. Cancer Prevention & Control, vol 1, no 2, pp108-115. Cross Cancer Institute.

Olson K, Hanson J, Michaud M. [?] A phase II trial of Reiki for the management of pain in advanced cancer patients. Faculty of Nursing and International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Pankhurst, J. (RGN, Reiki Master) [?] Thirteen Case Studies to Investigate the Effects of Reiki on the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. The Reiki Research Foundation.

Retzlaff N. [1998] Reiki - the gift of love, healing and wholeness; Nursing Matters Feb,1998

Rivera, C. [1999] Reiki Therapy - A tool for Wellness. Imprint - New York - National Student Nurses Association, vol 46, no 2, pp31-33

Robertson, A.L. [?] Pronounced effects of proper Reiki attunement. American Reiki Master Association Newsletter; vol 1, no 5, p6.

Rosentiel, L. [1991] Hypnosis and Reiki. Journal of Hypnotism, Dec; pp8-10

Sabrina, T. [2000] The Science Behind Reiki - What Happens in a Treatment? UK Reiki Federation

Sawyer, J. [1998]Clinical Exemplars; the first Reiki practitioner in our OR. AORN Journal, vol 67, no3, pp674-77

Schiller R. Reiki: A Starting Point for Integrative Medicine. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.2003; vol 9, no 2, pp20-21.

Schlitz, M. & Braud, W. [1985] Reiki-Plus natural healing: an ethnographic/experimental study. PSI Research, 1985 Sept/Dec vol 4 no 3, pp100-123.

Schmehr R. [2003] Case Report: Enhancing the Treatment of HIV/AIDS with Reik Training and Treatment. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2003; vol 9, no 2, p120.

Tattum A., [1994] Reiki - healing and dealing. Australian Nursing Journal.1994 Aug; vol 2, no 2, p3

Thornton, L. [1996] A study of Reiki, an energy field treatment, using Rogers' science. Rogerian Science News, vol 8 no 3, pp14-15

Thornton, L. [1996] A study of Reiki using Rogers' science: Part II. Rogerian Science News, vol 8, no 4, pp13-14.

Thorton, L. [1996] A study of Reiki, An energy field treatment, using Rogers' Science. Rogerian Science News; vol 8, no 1, p3.

Thorton, L. [1996] A study of Reiki using Rogers' Science, Part II. Rogerian Science News; vol 8, no 1, p4

University of Michigan.[?] Reiki Technique Study to Control Chronic Pain in Diabetic Neuropathy.The Department of Public Relations & Marketing Communications, University of Michigan

Van Sell, SL. [1996] Reiki: an ancient touch therapy. Reiki News. Feb. 1996, pp57-59

Wardell D.W.; Engebretson J.[2000] Biological correlates of Reiki Touch healing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol 33, no 4, February 2001, pp439-445

Wetzel, W. [1989] Reiki Healing: A Physiologic Perspective. Journal of Holistic Nursing, vol 7, no 1, pp47-54.

Whelan, K. M. & Wishnia, G. S. [2003] Reiki therapy: The benefits to a nurse/Reiki practitioner. Holistic Nursing Practice, vol 17, no4, pp209

Whitsitt, T., [1998] Reiki Therapy Journal of Christian Nursing, vol 15; no 1, pp12-13

Witte D. & Dundes L. [2001] Harnessing Life Energy or Wishful Thinking?: Reiki, Placebo Reiki, Meditation and Music, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, vol 7, no 5, pp304-309

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Celeb-Reiki Report

This week's Celeb-Reikies include Rolling Stone Keith Richards and singer Amy Winehouse, since Reiki makes a cameo appearance in this article in The Guardian about her current substance-abuse difficulties and his legendary history with same.

We also have a live celebrity sighting by yours truly, although this one is only peripherally related to Reiki: I found myself browsing right next to Project Runway designer Chris March in a thrift store the other day, but since he's not one of the Reiki practitioners among the show's cast, that doesn't exactly count -- he definitely qualifies as a quasi-Celeb-Reiki, though.

Yeee-ha! It's Reiki Roundup time!

This week's Reiki Roundup begins with a polite round of applause for Massage Therapy Journal's article on Reiki in its Spring 2008 edition, for making it clear that Reiki is not massage. Massage therapists can learn Reiki and incorporate it in their work, however, and this article focuses on that. While some of the facts are a bit off -- "Both Reiki and massage have long histories" (massage has been around for centuries, Reiki since the early 1920s) -- it's still an improvement over much of what we've seen, and we like the emphasis on how massage therapists can use Reiki for self-care to prevent and treat their own occupational injuries.

Reiki made The New York Times again this week in an article on a kinder, gentler approach to treating patients at several suburban New York City hospitals as well as a travel article about Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

In Mississippi, the Hattiesburg American introduces a new word in its article about Reiki, describing the practitioner as a "Reikier." I guess that's OK, as long as we don't start claiming to be "Reikier than thou," so to speak. If you check out the article, be sure to scroll down to the extensive discussion in the comments area below it.

In Helena, Montana, an item headlined "Reiki for People and their Pets" in the Independent Record seems to be chiming in on our discussion about points of consensus.

And in Chatham, Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Chronicle reports on new regulations for massage therapists that fortunately do not apply to Reiki practitioners because Reiki is not massage.

Building consensus

We're putting together a list of proposed points of consensus, things that Reiki practitioners of all styles and lineages can agree upon.

So far we have:

1. The system of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui.
2. Usui was not a doctor.
3. Reiki is not massage.
4. Reiki is not a religion.
5. Reiki is not a substitute for medical care.
6. Reiki is performed on fully clothed recipients by fully clothed practitioners.
7. Reiki works on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
8. Reiki can help reduce stress.
9. Reiki is being practiced in a growing number of hospitals and other medical environments.
10. We aren't quite sure how Reiki works.

So far, we've heard no disagreement on any of those. It's time to add five more.

Last week we got this one from Casey in KC: We are not "healers", but a "facilitator" for healing. I agreed with the idea, but thought we needed to word it differently.

Reiki Master Pamela Miles in New York City suggests: "I agree that we all have the capacity to heal, so maybe something like:

A Reiki practitioner functions as catalyst to engage a person’s self-healing."

Pamela also suggests this one:

Reiki is balancing.

Thank you, Pamela and Casey!

That brings us up to a dozen. To those I propose we add:

13. Reiki has no contraindications.
14: Reiki has never been known to harm anyone.
15. There are now many different styles and lineages of Reiki practice all over the world.

Agree? Disagree? Let's find five more points of agreement by this time next week.

¡Hola, Barcelona!

Muchas, muchas gracias, maestro de Reiki Luis Romance en la ciudad Barcelona en España, para traducir mi artículo "Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self Care" y haciendo este PDF, Como Usar Reiki Sin Las Manos. Las gracias a ti, tenemos muchos nuevos lectores de países de habla hispana por todo el mundo. Lo siento que no puedo escribir tan bueno en Español, pero estoy alegre tú encontré el artículo bastante útil para traducir y para distribuir en su blog y más.

Hello, Barcelona!

Many, many thanks, Reiki Master Luis Romance in Barcelona, Spain, for translating my article, "Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self Care" and making this PDF, Como Usar Reiki Sin Las Manos. Thanks to you, we have many new readers from Spanish-speaking countries around the world. I'm sorry I can't write very well in Spanish, but I'm glad you found the article useful enough to translate and distribute on your blog and elsewhere.

Strings attached

For more than 22 years now, I've devoted part of my day to an exercise that begins like this:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging loosely at your sides. Imagine that there is a string of pearls attached to the crown of your head, reaching up into the heavens, and your whole body is suspended from that string. The string of pearls extends all the way down your spine, and as you imagine the string tugging upward from your crown, your spine straightens. Keep your body relaxed and loose as you feel the connection between your feet and the ground, and feel yourself stretch, supported by the string of pearls, between heaven and earth.

That position, and the imagery that go with it, are the foundation of any tai chi or qigong practice, and I've found the string-of-pearls idea fits perfectly with Reiki as well -- ki, chi, qi -- they're all universal energy. So at Monday's Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center, I was pleased to hear puppeteer and Reiki Master Yvette Edery's answer when she was asked, "But how do you use puppetry when you practice Reiki?"

Edery's reply: "I try to become a puppet when I practice Reiki."

Her puppets aren't supported by strings of pearls, exactly -- the pearls would be visible and spoil the effect during a marionette show. But they do hang from strings, exactly the way I've been hanging from that energetic string during tai chi, qigong, and Reiki practice all these years.

The theme of this year's symposium was "Reiki and Your Creative Spirit," and Edery's puppets weren't the only dancers in attendance. Downstairs in a simultaneous workshop, Reiki Master Jean Bromage was leading a "Dancing With the Chakras" group through guided and improvised movement. The visual arts were represented in art therapist and Advance Reiki Practitioner Natasha Shapiro's mandala-drawing workshop, which ran simultaneously with "Reiki, Sacred Imagery and Your Creative Life" with Reiki practitioner Faith Linda Weissman. And then world-renowned author and Reiki teacher Bronwen Stiene focused on the written word in her "Write from the Heart" workshop.

Bronwen and her husband and co-author, Frans, have done extensive research into the roots of Reiki in Japan, first coming out with The Reiki Sourcebook (2004), and then The Japanese Art of Reiki (2005), the A-Z of Reiki (2006), The Reiki Techniques Card Deck (2006, and Your Reiki Treatment (2007). While they include modern Western Reiki in their books and podcast interviews (The Reiki Show), they focus on traditional Japanese Reiki practices in their classes and personal work with Reiki, including the process of writing.

"One of the things we learn about when we write is balance," Bronwen said. "And in the Japanese tradition, we are the balance of heaven and earth...a microcosm of the universe. When I begin writing, I bring myself into balance with heaven energy and earth energy." The traditional Japanese meditation technique Bronwen used to demonstrate brought us right back to the same space, grounding ourselves to the earth, stretching to the skies, and centering ourselves in the hara (lower abdomen), the body's natural energetic center. No strings (pearl or otherwise) were visible, but we all felt the connection.

Picking up the pace

Dear Readers,

The Reiki Digest is pleased to announce a new expanded format that will enable us to move a bit faster as we work to keep you informed on Reiki-related news around the world. Effective immediately, we will be posting items on our web site not just once a week, but frequently throughout the week. Our email subscribers will continue to receive a complete weekly edition of the Digest every Thursday, including each and every item that has been posted on our web site during the week. If you prefer to read our reports and features as they happen, just drop by The Reiki Digest web site at your convenience anytime for the latest updates. Or if you'd like to receive them as they are posted, just add our RSS feed to your news reader and you'll get them automatically. Our new format will also give each item its own link, which will be helpful to writers as well as readers. And if you write an article for the Digest, it will be a separate post, with its own headline, and you can link to it directly, from an email or your own web site. If you're a reader or researcher looking for an item we've published, we hope you'll be able to find it, and link to it, more easily. (To submit an article, contact

To make our new format possible, we are discontinuing an option that only a handful of readers chose anyway -- the link-only edition. Since there will be not one but many links in each weekly edition, that will no longer be feasible. Link-only subscribers will automatically receive the full edition from now on.

We welcome your comments on our new format and on any item in The Reiki Digest -- in fact, you'll be able to comment directly on individual items rather than an entire edition, which we hope will lead to a livelier discussion on specific topics. We do moderate comments to weed out the spam, including the comments advertising the services of individual Reiki practitioners. (To advertise in The Reiki Digest, contact

Thanks for your support!

Janet Dagley Dagley
The Reiki Digest

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fully clothed, fully clothed, fully clothed

A picture can negate a thousand words.

Yet the text and graphics that make up most newspaper and magazine articles are created by independent departments and then combined by one or more other independent departments, sometimes with misleading results. 

Natural Health magazine illustrates that unfortunate truth in its current issue (March 2008), in which an otherwise fairly accurate article about Reiki is illustrated with photos of a nude recipient covered only with a couple of strategically placed folded towels. Sure, the words "fully clothed" show up twice in the text, but that's not what you see when you look at the page.

What a missed opportunity! Natural Health magazine reaches more than 350,000 readers, and now those 350,000+ readers have the wrong idea about Reiki. The Reiki Digest reaches far, far fewer readers, but we'd like to do our part to correct that mistake anyway. For the record, Reiki clients are fully clothed when they receive Reiki -- so fully clothed that they usually even keep their socks on and often are covered with a blanket or sheet. Reiki practitioners are fully clothed, too. There are some exceptions to that: for example, when a massage therapist adds a little Reiki before, after, or during a massage, or at a nude resort. A practitioner doing Reiki self care in the shower would be another exception.

If there were such a thing as an Au Naturel magazine, then maybe those pictures would be appropriate there.

We'd been intending to add a few more proposed points of consensus on Reiki this week to build on those we published last week, so let's start with that one:

Reiki is perfomed on fully clothed recipients by fully clothed practitioners. 

So far, we've heard no disagreement about the five proposed points of consensus on Reiki we published last week:

1. The system of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui.
2. Usui was not a doctor.
3. Reiki is not massage.
4. Reiki is not a religion.
5. Reiki is not a substitute for medical care.

And now we have:

6. Reiki is performed on fully clothed recipients by fully clothed practitioners.

Here are a few more:

7. Reiki works on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
8. Reiki can help reduce stress.
9. Reiki is being practiced in a growing number of hospitals and other medical environments.
10. We aren't quite sure how Reiki works.

Reiki practitioners, would you agree with all those points so far? And what points would you suggest?

Casey from KC added a comment on our web site to propose this one:

We are not "healers", but a "facilitator" for healing.

What do you think?

Personally I think everyone is a healer, and the best healing is self-healing, although sometimes we need help, whether from mainstream medicine or alternative medicine. I do agree with the concept, though, Casey -- but we might need to fine-tune the wording.

We're hoping to put together a list of at least 100 points of consensus among Reiki practitioners, things we can all agree on regardless of lineages or styles. If you'd like to add one or more proposed points, just post them as comments on our web site. Next week, we'll add at least 5 more.

Speaking of clothes, Reiki showed up again this week on the television reality show Project Runway, even though Reiki practitioner/designer Elisa Jimenez was eliminated several episodes back. Model Lea Rannells is also a Reiki practitioner, and she offered a little energetic support to the designer she was working with in the penultimate show of the season. And that qualifies her as this week's Celeb-Reiki. We hope there's even more Reiki on the show's next season. (Hey, maybe the designers can come up with some outfits for fully clothed clients to wear while receiving Reiki from fully clothed practitioners....)

This week's Reiki Roundup begins in Melbourne, Australia, a destination recommended for Valentine's Day by the New Zealand Herald. Writer Nicky Shepheard got a facial and more. She writes that her therapist, "... also practised reiki on me, which I've also always been sceptical of, but my whole body was buzzing and tingling afterwards. I felt restored, calm and integrated, having arrived anxious and discombobulated post-red-eye flight." Unfortunately, it's already February 15 in that part of the world, but there's always next year.

On to London, where the British Veterinary Association warns pet owners not to use Reiki and other alternative therapies as a substitute for veterinary care. A spokesman for the association tells the BBC that one alternative practitioner diagnosed an animal over the phone, presumably without actually speaking to the animal. Ethical Reiki practitioners, whether working with humans or other animals, do not diagnose, period.

Next stop: Connecticut, where a local TV station reports on Reiki for cancer patients. From there we move on to Durango, Colorado, where a Reiki practitioner gets an unusual tattoo.

We're still accepting submissions for the second edition of our Carnival of Reiki, so if you have a blog or web site post you'd like us to consider, just click here to submit it.

Next week, we'll have a report on the second annual Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center. And we'll have at least 5 more points of consensus for your consideration.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Competition, cooperation, and consensus

It's been a big week for competition here in the United States -- even moreso than usual.

First, on Sunday my neighbor and his teammates won the Super Bowl in front of an estimated 97.5 million television viewers. (In case there is anyone out there in the more than 90 countries reached by The Reiki Digest who isn't familiar with it, the Super Bowl is a football game, as well as our biggest annual sports and advertising event.)

Then two days later, we had "Super Tuesday" -- primary elections in many states for the Democratic and Republican party presidential nominations. American football and politics are similar in that they both involve two teams facing off and trying to knock each other down.

In the global Reiki community, we have more than two teams, not to mention some players who don't seem to be part of any team. And while we have plenty of competition, we have so many definitions of Reiki and interpretations of the practice that it would be impossible to get any kind of game going -- if you'll indulge my sports speak for just a bit here. As Reiki competitors, we would have trouble even agreeing on the size and location of the playing field, not to mention the rules of the game. And who would officiate?

There are many who believe this is an insoluble problem. Perhaps so. But that doesn't mean the situation couldn't improve. Reiki masters who've been practicing far longer than I have tell me that the bickering among Reiki's various factions isn't quite as bad as it once was. Maybe that's because of the more recent conflict over such new threats as online attunements and instant Master programs. There's still plenty of "my Reiki is better than your Reiki" going around.

But I believe we can do better. We can, and we must -- people are coming to us for help. I don't know about you, but the people who come to me for Reiki are dealing with life-threatening illnesses, histories of abuse, and other serious issues. They don't need to be bothered with our conflicts.

The "my Reiki is better than your Reiki" argument reminds me of the perpetual Mac vs. PC (and Linux) dispute that's been going on since, coincidentally, a 1984 Super Bowl ad introduced the first Mac.

Mac users tend to like their machines, even if they've never used any other kind. Same goes for PC users. Linux users are convinced their operating system is better, but then they disagree among themselves about which version of Linux is better. It's endless.

So what can we do? The Reiki Digest hereby proposes that we look for some points of consensus as we move toward greater cooperation. We're starting a list of things all Reiki practitioners might agree upon, and we invite you to add to it and/or comment upon it. If you agree, if you disagree, if you have anything to add, please speak up.

Here's the list so far:

1. The system of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui.
2. Usui was not a doctor.
3. Reiki is not massage.
4. Reiki is not a religion.
5. Reiki is not a substitute for medical care.

Can we agree on those points to start? Please let us know what you think. We hope this is the beginning of a productive discussion.

On to the Celeb-Reiki report. As regular readers know, in order to be named a Celeb-Reiki, a person needs to have a connection, however tenuous, to Reiki. Sometimes that connection is very, very tenuous, as it is with this week's first Celeb-Reiki, George W. Bush. He may never have heard of Reiki, but he still gets linked to it in this news spoof. But that's not all. Apparently some well-meaning Reiki practitioners have been attempting to send the lame-duck president distance attunements. And Mr. Bush isn't the only U.S. politician who's had distance Reiki aimed his way. There's even a web site named We looked, but couldn't find similar sites for any of the other candidates. We'd like to stipulate that sending unsolicited Reiki is unethical. What do you think?

Our next Celeb-Reiki is in a country that Mr. Bush seems to find fascinating: Iran. Painter and Reiki practitioner Mahdokht Khanboluki made online headlines for her artwork. She told an interviewer that she paints "because I think this way I can have many discussions and exchanges with many people without being constrained by language, culture or personal taste." We know the feeling.

This week's Reiki Roundup begins with yet another version of the classic tale of a reporter who gets a Reiki session and writes about it. This time the Des Moines, Iowa, reporter focuses on what it feels like to receive Reiki.

In the United Kingdom, Reiki has been some comfort to former nurse Colette Mills, who is fighting cancer as well as the National Health Service.

And in Colorado, two brand-new Reiki 1 students receive more recognition for earning their certificates than we've ever seen anyone get.

We conclude with a couple of reminders. First, we're planning to attend the second annual Reiki Symposium on February 18 at the New York Open Center, and we hope to see you there.

And we invite you to contribute to the next edition of the Carnival of Reiki. The deadline is February 25, and the Carnival will be published on February 28.

We also want to thank everybody who's contributed comments to recent posts on our web site. Please keep the discussion going.