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Thursday, May 28, 2009

A slight delay

Dear Readers,

I've had to make some schedule changes to deal with an urgent family medical situation. The next edition of The Reiki Digest will be published on Tuesday, June 2. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

All the best,

Janet Dagley Dagley, Editor

Friday, May 22, 2009

William Lee Rand issues rebuttal to bishops on Reiki, others preparing responses

It's been nearly two months since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' new guidelines denouncing Reiki, and now some of the best-known names in Reiki are issuing responses. 

William Lee Rand, executive editor of Reiki News and president of the International Center for Reiki Training in Southfield, Michigan, issued a prepared statement earlier this week. The statement began with words of caution about Internet research:

"When considering the value of the bishops’ statement, it’s important to note the sources they accessed. Much of their research came from information published on Internet Web sites. Overall, the Internet isn’t a good source of factual information because there is no requirement that information published there be checked or approved for accuracy. Anyone can set up a Web site and publish anything they wish," the statement said.

Rand's statement goes on to correct some common misinformation about Reiki and cite several scientific studies on humans and animals that found Reiki to be helpful for various conditions. He also cites the American Holistic Nurses Association's response to the bishops' guidelines.

The statement concludes:

Meanwhile, in Australia, Frans and Bronwen Stiene of the International House of Reiki have announced that they "busy getting ready a VERY long article about Reiki and the Catholic Bishops" as many of their students have been asking for a response from them.

We'd like to hear from other Reiki teachers and practitioners: have you prepared a response to the bishops' guidelines to give to clients, students, and/or your local media, or posted a statement on your blog or web site? If so, please send us a link. The Reiki Digest has become a hub of information about the controversy and we'd like to make our collection of news items and comments on the subject as comprehensive as possible. 

Send your statement or comments to, or add them as comments to this post on our web site.

Book review: Animal Reiki Handbook

The Animal Reiki Handbook
By Kathleen Prasad and Shelter Animal Reiki Association Members

Reviewed by Beth Lowell

The Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) is an international not-for-profit organization founded by Kathleen Prasad and Leah D’Ambrosio whose mission is to:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits that Reiki can provide for shelter and rescue animals
  • Teach and foster an understanding of energy healing and the best ethical approach to use when working with Reiki and animals
  • Promote the highest standard of professional shelter Reiki programs around the world
The Animal Reiki handbook is a compact and complete guide, which includes everything Reiki practitioners who are interested in offering Reiki in animal shelters need to know.

Opening the book with clearly written and moving accounts of their experiences with and observations of animal Reiki, Amelia Funghi, director of operations at the Oakland – Tri-Valley East Bay SPCA and Patricia Monahan Jordan, DVM, provide testimonials to both the power of Reiki and its benefits to animals in the preface and forward.

The book moves quickly through the mission statement and Animal Reiki Code of Ethics to get to the nuts and bolts of how to offer Reiki in shelters, including:

  • an overview of animal Reiki that describes different approaches for different animals and common reactions and signs of acceptance
  • how to identify and assess shelters to find the right fit
  • how to approach shelters
  • a walkthrough of a shelter Reiki treatment from beginning to end
  • practical considerations for offering Reiki in a variety of environments including:
play rooms
stalls and paddocks
  • tips and exercises to help practitioners begin and move forward with confidence
  • dog and cat specific information
  • a FAQ section in which SARA volunteers answer the most frequently asked questions about Reiki in shelters
  • a special section of animal Reiki cartoons

Cover to cover the book is only 90 pages - and that includes a section for notes, the index, a recommended resources section, photo credits and biographical information about the contributing authors – but it is by no means short on information. Great attention to detail has been given by all of the writers on each of the topics presented, not only to the factual and practical content like how to work with frightened animals and shelter culture, but also to insights on issues such as how they cope with working in a kill-shelter that will surely benefit and inspire anyone interested in offering Reiki to shelter animals. Although written especially for Reiki practitioners who are looking to volunteer in shelters, the book is put together in such a way that it also provides a wonderful resource for shelter personnel interested in learning about Reiki, the profound impact it can have on the lives of shelter animals, and how it can be integrated into their existing volunteer programs.

You can find The Animal Reiki Handbook – Finding Your Way with Reiki in Your Local Shelter, Sanctuary or Rescue at right now. The book will be available on Amazon and in other book retail outlets by late summer.

Reiki Roundup

Ankara, Turkey: Ali Bardakoğlu, head of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, made headlines this week with his controversial statement that "meditation, yoga and Reiki may lead people to extremism" -- a statement that was quickly contradicted by Islamic scholars (Turkey's population is 99.8 percent Muslim), yoga teachers, and others. 

Dehradun, India: A Reiki teacher writes in the Times of India about his own blend of Reiki meditations. Unfortunately the article is illustrated by an unrelated photo, showing a person clad in a towel receiving a massage with oil. For the record, Reiki is not massage, and Reiki clients keep their clothes on during treatments. 

Petaluma, California: A Reiki master, graduate student, grandmother and community activist talks to a reporter about her busy life.

Springfield, Illinois: A nun and longtime Reiki practitioner and teacher is no longer allowed to practice Reiki at the facility where she's been offering it for years.

Norwalk, Connecticut: A Reiki practitioner is named nurse chaplain at Norwalk Hospital.

Please stand by...

The good news: Just spent the better part of the day closing on our home refinancing. Hooray!

The bad news: This week's edition of The Reiki Digest will have to wait until Saturday morning, but we trust it will be worth the wait.

Thanks for your patience!

"I cried for an hour" after 1st Reiki session, Celeb-Reiki says

Priya Kaur-Jones was a newsreader for the BBC when she came down with pneumonia in Nepal five years ago. After recovering with the help of both mainstream and holistic medicine, she traveled to Goa, India for a recuperative retreat. It was there, according to an article in The Daily Mail, that she had her first Reiki session.

Since then Kaur-Jones has moved on to the ITV network's GMTV, and she's gone back to school to learn massage in her spare time. And, as of today, she is officially a Celeb-Reiki.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In this week's issue. . .

This week in The Reiki Digest:

Nearly two months after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' issued guidelines denouncing Reiki, a well-known Reiki teacher publishes a response -- and another internationally known team of Reiki authors and teachers have announced they are preparing a "very long article" on the subject.

Book review: A new handbook from the Shelter Animal Reiki Association.

Meet a Celeb-Reiki who says she "cried for an hour" after her first Reiki session.

And our Reiki Roundup brings us news items from the U.K., U.S.A., India, Canada, Turkey, and more.

Coming Friday (or Saturday morning at the latest) to this web site, and if you're a subscriber, to your inbox.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The weekly waka


Setback equals test,
Stumble opportunity,
Reversal a chance
To master fate and oneself,
To grow stronger and wiser.
(By Michael Dagley)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Reiki mentioned but misrepresented in TIME magazine

Just what we need: more misinformation about Reiki.

This week, Reiki got a mention in the most mainstream of mainstream media, TIME magazine. That might be good news, except that TIME refers to Reiki as "faith healing."

News organizations are undergoing hard times and suffering extreme cutbacks these days, so perhaps the researcher who was supposed to have worked on the article was laid off before that assignment could be done. Maybe the editor, too. And the fact-checking department. In any case, the damage is done, and now it's once again up to Reiki practitioners to correct the record. 

The article is headlined "Should Universal Health Care Cover Faith Healing?" and its author seems to have anticipated that some might object to that description:

"Of course, they wouldn't call themselves 'faith healers'," the second paragraph begins. "They argue that the term dismisses what they do as simple wishful thinking. But practitioners of Christian Science as well as other alternative therapies — including acupuncture, biofeedback, herbal medicine, holistic medicine and Reiki, a Japanese healing and relaxation technique — are intent on influencing the coming health-care-reform process."

Whoa, Nellie! Let's take a look at that list:
  • Christian Science: a religion. The article repeatedly refers to it as "a therapy."

  • Acupuncture: a healing practice that dates back thousands of years in which belief is not required on the part of either practitioner or recipient.

  • Biofeedback: a mind-body therapy recommended by, among others, the Mayo Clinic that also requires no belief on the part of the people who use it or the medical professionals who prescribe it.

  • Herbal medicine: A healing tradition that dates back to long before recorded history, and that also does not require faith or belief on the part of the practitioner or recipient. Herbal medicine is the precursor of pharmaceutical medicine, and many pharmaceuticals were derived from herbal remedies.

  • Holistic medicine: An approach to health care that considers the whole person, not just the specific illness, injury, or symptoms being treated in any given case. Holistic medicine has been increasingly accepted by and integrated into conventional medicine.

  • Reiki: "A Japanese healing and relaxation technique," as described by the TIME article. That part is generally accurate. But Reiki is not "faith healing" because it does not require belief of any kind on the part of either the practitioner or the recipient in order to work, and it is most unfortunate that TIME mischaracterized it that way.
But faith does play a role in the article, because it's faith reporting: the reporter believes it, so it must be true. 

Apparently neither the writer nor anyone involved with the editing process on this article had a chance to access to TIME's own archives. We found 124 articles that mentioned acupuncture, for example. Here are a few highlights:
  • November, 2005: "There is growing scientific evidence that acupuncture, a pillar of Chinese medicine, can relieve many kinds of pain, but there's no clear agreement about how it works."

  • October, 2004: "That acupuncture would relieve postsurgical nausea and vomiting was not entirely surprising to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. After all, they were stimulating P6, an acupuncture point near the wrist that is known to control nausea. It's the reason commercial anti-seasickness wristbands work."

  • June, 1972: "For at least 21 millenniums [sic], Chinese physicians have used acupuncture to relieve pain and treat conditions ranging from arthritis to impotence."
Those are just a few examples, and note that there is no mention of faith healing in those older TIME articles.

As for the question, however misstated, behind that article -- should Reiki be covered under whatever insurance system emerges from the current health-care reform effort? -- my research is anecdotal, but every week I get at least one call or email from someone asking if I "accept insurance" for Reiki treatments. It's not that Reiki practitioners don't accept insurance payments, but that the insurance companies don't accept Reiki. If that ever becomes an option, there will almost certainly be some Reiki practitioners who don't accept insurance payments, just as there are some doctors and dentists who don't. 

Insurance coverage for Reiki could actually end up saving providers money. For example, many patients who receive Reiki treatments before, during, and after surgery have needed less pain medication and suffered fewer complications. Will the people putting together a new American health insurance system take such factors into account? We'll keep following that story, and meanwhile, I'll be writing a letter to the editor of TIME to complain about that article.

Distant healing found effective for chronic pain in scientific study

A double-blind, randomized controlled study of the effects of distant healing has found that subjects with chronic pain reported significant improvement after treatments by a professional Japanese healer, according to an article published in the May/June issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal.

The study, by Kenjiro Tsubono, M.D.; Paul Thomlinson, Ph.D., and C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., asked subjects to rate their level of pain before and after treatment by Jiho Otsuki, a Buddhist monk, certified Shinto priest, and qigong master with more than 20 years of experience of healing practice in Japan, performed mostly from a distance.

The test subjects, 13 women and 3 men with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, injuries, and other causes, were randomly assigned to either the healing or control groups. All met with the healer at the site of the study, Holos University, but the subjects did not know whether or not they were receiving distant healing from Otsuki after he returned to Japan. They were asked to describe their level of pain before and after treatment using a visual analog scale (rating their pain level from 0 to 10) and similar measurement scales. The subjects who were treated reported slightly significant improvement on the visual analog scale and significant improvement on the Present Pain Intensity Scale. Another measurement, the Pain Rating index, showed improvement in those who received distant healing, but the results were not statistically significant.

"The results showed that the treatment group was significantly improved compared to the control group even though both groups were kept blind to their group assignment. Moreover, many subjects in the treatment group were relieved of chronic pain after only 2 months of healing," the report states. "This suggests that healing can take place even from a distance, and distant healing can be a very effective treatment for chronic pain." The researchers recommend replicating the study with a larger sample.

Although Reiki was not specifically mentioned in the article, Reiki practitioners do learn to practice distant healing at advanced levels, and this research could be an important step toward validating that practice. 

Reiki for mental health inpatients

Reiki plays a minor but significant role in a a study just published in the journal Nursing Times, in which inpatients in a mental health facility were offered various community activities as well as brief samples of Reiki and other natural modalities. 

The goal of the experiment was to track the response of mental-health inpatients, who are traditionally some of the most excluded members of society, to various social and creative activities. Not surprisingly, the overall response from the patients was positive. 

The Celeb-Reiki Report

Congratulations to Celeb-Reiki couple Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Reiki Master Lisa Oz, on the success of the doctor's five years of appearances on the Oprah show, and the new Oprah-backed Dr. Oz scheduled to premiere in September. While Mrs. Oz isn't on TV as often as her famous husband, we know that one big reason he is so famous is the work she does behind the scenes, whether in books, on TV, on the radio, or otherwise educating the public to educate ourselves about our own health. We look forward to the new show and we hope, we hope, we hope that Reiki will get more than a mention on it.

Has American Idol judge Paula Abdul ever tried Reiki? We have no idea, but she makes The Celeb-Reiki Report because she's mentioned in the same sentence as Reiki in this news article about the time she did, or didn't, go through drug rehab: Reiki not rehab for Paula Abdul?

And our third Celeb-Reiki this week is Reiki master and singer/songwriter Jeannie Gagné, who'll be performing at a benefit in Massachusetts this weekend.

Music review: The Healing Power of Music - Reiki Meditations - Energy Purification, Self-Healing and Distant Healing

Music review: The Healing Power of Music - Reiki Meditations - Energy Purification, Self-Healing and Distant Healing

By Beth Lowell

Celeste is a Reiki Master/Teacher and holistic practitioner in the South West of England who has taught Reiki since 1997. Her CD, Reiki Meditations - Energy Purification, Self Healing and Distant Healing, includes Japanese Reiki meditations in the tradition of Mikao Usui. It starts out by introducing the listener to Hatsurei Ho, and then continues through each step clearly explaining the meaning of the Japanese name and purpose for each ritual:

Kenyoku or dry bathing
Connecting to Reiki
Joshin Kokkyu Ho - a breathing exercise in which the listener visualizes breathing white light in through the crown and out through the body into the universe
Gassho to focus
Seishin Toitsu – an exercise in which the listener imagines breathing in and out of the tanden, through his or her hands
Contemplation on the precepts

Hatsurei Ho is followed by two guided meditations, the first on self-healing, and the other on distant healing.

Celeste includes explanations of Japanese concepts, phenomena practitioners may or may not experience, and her gentle guidance allows the listener ample time to relax, connect and remain focused throughout. I would recommend her CD for these reasons alone.

But Celeste is not only a Reiki practitioner. She’s also a gifted singer who believes in the healing power of music. The background on this CD is a rich tapestry, woven of layers of Celeste’s voice, birdsong from her garden, and the sound of water. The combination is amazing and the result is transcendent. It’s hard to describe it with any word but ethereal. Listening to Celeste’s music alone is a healing experience, one in which the love and intention she brings to it are undeniably evident. This in combination with the relaxed pace of the Reiki meditations creates a powerful and resonant experience that listeners will want to hear often.

Celeste says she sings with the angels. After listening to this CD, I’m inclined to agree. You can purchase this CD as well as her other selections online at her web site: or at

Rest in peace

Reiki practitioner Barbara J. Greevers, 60, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 6, 2009.

Reiki Master Elizabeth Loyd, 60, Cumming, Georgia, March 21, 2009.

Reiki Master Janine Gerencser, 54, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, April 5, 2009.

Reiki practitioner Sharon L. Raymond, 42, Lee, New Hampshire, April 15, 2009.

Reiki practitioner Jean E. Scanlan, 69, Aurora, Illinois, April 30, 2009.

Reiki Master Mary Jane Margerate Dilmore, 56, May 10, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In this week's issue. . .

In this week's issue of The Reiki Digest:

The good news: Reiki gets a mention in this week's Time magazine.
The bad news: Time magazine adds to the misinformation about Reiki by calling it "faith healing."

Peer-reviewed distance healing: No mention of Reiki in the new issue of the journal Alternative Therapies, but a double-blind study of distance healing produces encouraging results.

Reiki in a mental health facility: Nursing Times publishes a study on activities, including Reiki, for inpatients. All the patients studied enjoyed it, some more than others, but what conclusions can be drawn?

Plus: The Reiki Roundup, the Celeb-Reiki Report, and more. . . stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The weekly waka


Energy from suns
Pours freely into the void
Towards entropy,
Yet fragile grass and flowers
Capture it and build whole worlds.

(By Michael Dagley)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Catholic Reiki masters group rebuts bishops guidelines

A group of Catholic Reiki masters has responded to the controversial new guidelines on Reiki issued in March by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issuing a point-by-point rebuttal and calling for further dialogue with Reiki-practicing Catholics.

"Catholic Reiki Masters do not agree with the Bishops Guidelines about Reiki," the Catholic Reiki masters said in a statement published at

"In preparing their document the bishops did not consult any Catholic Reiki practitioners, but instead based their evaluation purely on research and the internet . . . Many Catholics who use and practice Reiki find it to complement their Catholic spirituality not contradict it."

The Catholic Reiki masters' statement explains that "Catholic theology as it is done by the bishops is almost exclusively based on a western philosophy of the world. This is largely based on the classical Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. . . In this worldview there is no concept of "'universal life energy.' 

"Eastern philosophy has a very different view of the world and humanity. The concept of a basic energy force (chi) that is responsible for the health and well-being of all living things is an ancient idea that originated in China over 5,000 years ago. In Japan this concept is called Ki. . . . Coming from a completely different worldview it is easy to see why the bishops fail to understand the basic premise of Reiki."

In response to the bishops' claim that "Reiki lacks scientific credibility. It has not been accepted by the scientific and medical communities as an effective therapy," the Catholic Reiki masters wrote, "They do not support this statement with any evidence. The document is not short on footnotes but they do not cite a study that shows Reiki as ineffective."

The Catholic Reiki masters go on to cite evidence that Reiki is frequently used in hospitals along with several studies. "The large number of hospitals who have Reiki programs indicate that while Reiki is not completely embraced by the medical community it is far from rejected by it. The on-going study and research of Reiki will continue to provide valuable insight into this healing modality. . . .

"For Catholics who practice Reiki, Jesus is the source of healing," the group said in the statement.

"The medical practices and studies illustrate that one cannot merely claim Reiki is only 'superstitious.' Catholics who practice Reiki believe that Reiki can help them on their spiritual journey, not provide a dangerous exposure to evil forces. To claim that the worldview, which helps one to understand 'universal life energy,' is a 'no-man's land that is neither faith nor science' is a prejudiced view against Eastrn philosophy and belief. The bishops' document is merely a guiding document to help bishops discern the appropriate use of Reiki in Catholic institutions. The concerns expressed in the document can and should be adequately addressed in dialogue with Catholic Reiki practitioners."

The statement does not list its authors by name, but the site where it was published,, is owned by Reiki Master Jeffrey Montoya.

Two weeks ago we reported on the American Holistic Nurses' Association's response to the bishops' denunciation of Reiki, last week we told you about the fallout from the decision and some of the Reiki programs that have been discontinued as a result. For those just joining us,or readers who want to see all our articles on this topic on one page, click here. The latest articles will be on the top.

The bishops' guidelines and their impact will be among the topics we'll be discussing on Tuesday, May 19, in our first BlogTalkRadio discussion. You'll be able to call in and comment, or just listen, and/or chat, all in real time. And if you aren't able to join us live, you can listen to the archived version anytime. Stay tuned for more details next week.

Meanwhile, we welcome your comments: just add a comment to this post on our web site, or email

There will be a quiz

Whenever a new student comes to me, I explain before we begin that if their only goal is to get a certificate, they can just design and print one for themselves without a teacher. I don't recommend that, but I bring it up because with Reiki, there is no way to tell from looking at a practitioner's certificate how much training they've had, or their teacher has had, what the quality of that training was -- or even if the student and teacher have ever met in person. Certificates are usually dated, so it is possible to find out how long it's been since a practitioner was trained, but that doesn't give people much to go on, either.

That's why we've decided to make the certification for The Reiki Dojo's new Reiki Update Training more meaningful. And we'll be offering the training as a teleclass so that practitioners can join us from anywhere. Students who successfully complete all course requirements will receive a certificate to prove they've done so: and one of those course requirements will be a final exam. Those who pass it will not only receive a certificate, but they'll be eligible for our referral list and other benefits. We will stand behind that certificate by confirming, by phone, email, or on paper, to clients and students that the practitioner whose name is on it has met certain standards.

Practitioners from all lineages are welcome to sign up for the Reiki Update Training classes, but for now we'll be admitting only Level 2 practitioners or above, and we will need a copy of your Reiki certificate when you register.

So, has it been more than a few years since your Reiki training?

Did your teacher tell you Reiki founder Mikao Usui was a Christian minister, university president and medical doctor?

Were you taught that Reiki was an ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice that Usui "rediscovered" while studying sutras in Sanskrit at a Christian university in Chicago? Or that Reiki wasn't practiced in Japan after 1940?

Or, for whatever reason, has your personal Reiki practice become something you used to do?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it may be time to update your Reiki training with this new refresher course from The Reiki Dojo and The Reiki Digest, open to all who have completed Level 2 or above in any lineage.

It's not your original Reiki teacher's fault if what you learned back then turns out not to be the case -- a lot of new information about Reiki, and about Usui, has come out of Japan in recent years. But some of that turns out to be misinformation as well. So what's a Reiki practitioner to do?

You may not have time to keep up with all the news and research about Reiki, but we'll be glad to share the highlights of what we've learned from our ongoing research to bring you up to date. And we'll work together on some ways to get your Reiki practice going again.

Continuing education and training updates are a normal part of most respected healing practices. We believe it's time Reiki practitioners had the opportunity to keep their training current as well.

In this class, you'll learn:

* The documented history of Reiki
* The truth about the most common Reiki myths
* Where to find credible information
* How to keep yourself informed on further developments
* Highlights of the latest Reiki medical research
* Traditional Reiki meditation techniques
* How to get the most out of your personal practice

. . . and much more.

This course will take your practice, and your understanding of Reiki, to a new level, and if you pass the final exam, you'll receive a certificate to confirm that your training is up to date. The course is an update only.

And if you're a Level 2 practitioner thinking of advancing to the next level, a Reiki Master looking to retrain in another lineage, or considering other advanced Reiki training, we can share the benefit of our training in multiple lineages to help you find the advanced training program that's best for you.

Class fee: $65 (includes cost of certificate if you pass the final exam)

Early bird discount: Register by June 1, 2009, and pay only $45 (includes cost of certificate if you pass the final exam)

For more information, email or call 917-512-1330 or toll-free in the U.S.)

Reiki Roundup: Another cynic won over

This week's Reiki Roundup begins in Knoville, Tennessee, where a proud cynic submits to a Reiki session. When he gets up from the table, he's not a cynic anymore -- at least not about Reiki.

"For me, Reiki with Munday is my eureka moment; she’s a miracle worker, as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to future treatments. And though I look at Reiki foremost as a means of fostering inner healing—my session was tantamount to receiving a 60-minute transfusion of contentment and inner peace—I find other, unanticipated benefits, too," Metropulse's "resident cynic" Mike Gibson writes. 

On to Montana, where Reiki practitioners are among those exempted from a new law licensing massage therapists. Rightly so, since Reiki is not massage. Unfortunately some states require Reiki practitioners to be licensed massage therapists, and in some places the regulations vary from town to town. Check your local regulations to be sure.

Next stop, Lakewood, Ohio, where another reporter recommends Reiki.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a reporter interviews Catholics about Reiki, as does a reporter in Frederick, Maryland. In Appleton, Wisconsin, a fibromyalgia sufferer says, "I learned Reiki so I could Reiki myself." And in suburban Chicago, a former nun who turned to Reiki while fighting breast cancer is fondly remembered.

Donna Karan, re-Celeb-Reiki, plans to expand Urban Zen training program

Designer/philanthropist Donna Karan became a Celeb-Reiki a few months ago, thanks to her Urban Zen Foundation's new Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT), which includes Reiki (taught by Celeb-Reiki Pamela Miles). This week she's a re-Celeb-Reiki, because we have it on good authority that there are plans to expand the UZIT program to cities beyond New York next year

Our readers say . . .

Here's what our readers had to say this week:

Patsy Guglielmo writes in response to last week's article, "For today only, do not panic": 

"Good job on staying calm. We all have stayed calm through the 'depression' and are fine, why not the 'swine' flu. Big deal!! What will they dream up next to stir us up to panic?


Thanks, Patsy.

Pamela Miles writes about the Catholic/Reiki controversy:

I have long felt that eventually Reiki would be in the US what medicine and the health care industry decides it is. Never did I imagine that Catholic bishops would help move this along. This apparent obstacle is a call to action and a sign of how significantly Reiki is showing up in health care.

Practitioners and students learning to think critically and communicate our practice credibly is a powerful antidote to this poison. If we look at most of the way Reiki is represented on the internet, the main wonder is that this didn't happen sooner.

Kudos for being on top of this. I'll be writing about it soon in ReikiUpdate.

Thanks, Pamela.

If you'd like to join our ongoing discussion, add a comment to this or any other post on our web site, or email it to

Waka Fest enters its last week

Welcome once again to our first annual Waka Fest, in which we focus on the 31-syllable form of Japanese poetry that plays a minor role in the practice of Reiki -- and for some, a major role.

For those just joining us, in the past few weeks we've had some articles about waka as well as dozens of contributions from our readers. This week, however, it was quiet, with not a single new waka. So I commissioned one from our regular waka writer, asking him to sum up this year's festival in 31 syllables:


As chattering birds
Sing the news of the sunrise
In glorious tones,
So our waka sing our first
Cherry blossom festival.
(By Michael Dagley)

So if you'd like to contribute a waka (or more, or even part of one) to this year's festival, get it to us by Wednesday, May 13, 2009. You can submit your waka by adding it as a comment to this post on our web site, or by emailing it to

Thursday, May 07, 2009

In this week's issue

BREAKING NEWS: We're re-editing this week's edition to include breaking news on Reiki and the Catholic church!

Also this week:

Taking it online: Our Reiki Training Update class expands into a telecourse that comes complete with a quiz you'll need to pass to get your certificate.

Reiki Roundup: It's been several weeks since we've done a roundup, and it's time to get caught up

Plus this week's Celeb-Reiki report, our Waka Fest enters its final week, and an important announcement about a special Reiki Digest real-time community event coming next Tuesday.

Look for it on Friday!

Friday, May 01, 2009

For today only, do not panic

When news of a global flu pandemic broke this week, I soon began receiving email after email from various natural health practitioners offering suggestions on how to prevent or treat the illness: nutritional supplements, essential oils, herbs, etc. I won't publish any of those handy hints here, since they go beyond my scope of practice and the focus of this publication. But I would like to remind Reiki practitioners everywhere that we have a powerful tool for dealing with a side effect of the pandemic that is spreading even faster than the disease: fear. When the news gets worrisome, simply apply the Reiki precepts to the situation. Our favorite translation is this one:

For today only
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others

Yes, the news is worrisome, as reporters show us colorful, high-definition graphs of what might happen. But that's only what might happen. If we stay focused on the present moment -- for today only -- we realize that all those "what ifs" are just that. If the worst case scenario did come about, we wouldn't want to be exhausted from worry when it happened. 

Along with the handy hints, I got a few emails spreading rumors that this or that government or corporation or interest group was responsible for the flu outbreak. People who believe that stuff get angry, and people who don't fall for those rumors conserve their energy for more urgent needs. 

One of the translations of "be honest in your work" is simply "do your duty," and if we practice that precept, we can also help avoid spreading both the disease and the fear. Do your duty by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, and you'll be less likely to catch or spread the flu. Do your duty by staying home if you become ill, and you'll spare innumerable others from the illness. Be humble: remember that it's not about you. Rather than crowding the emergency room and demanding treatment because you think you might be getting sick, leave those facilities to the people who urgently need them.

And of course, all the other aspects of Reiki personal practice can help you stay healthy, recover if you do get sick, and help those who may need you.  

Finally, a handy hint that comes not from Reiki but from my decades of experience in journalism: the news media always play up the fear factor because the more worried people are, the more likely they are to monitor the news. They may tell you they're being objective and professional, they may even believe it themselves, but they are serving their own interests -- not necessarily ours -- in telling us to worry. 

Readers, if you'd like to offer your suggestions for using Reiki to deal with the global flu pandemic, add them as comments to this post on our web site or email 

No longer welcome: Fallout from Catholic bishops' decision on Reiki continues to spread

It's been more than a month now since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued new guidelines -- based in large part on misinformation and misunderstandings -- denouncing Reiki and declaring it inappropriate for Catholic institutions. The repercussions have now spread not only through the Catholic health-care system but beyond.

Here are a few of the latest news items:

Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reiki teacher resigns from Dominican Center. . . .

And there are other stories that haven't made headlines. Here's a letter we received from a Reiki practitioner who lost her practice space as a result of the bishops' guidelines:


I just wanted to share a situation that happened to me recently to see what you (and or others) think.

I am a Reiki Master Practitioner. In Dec. of 2008, I approached a local chiropractor asking if he had space to rent me so that I could begin to practice clinically. After a few discussions, he said yes and was excited to be able to tell his clients what I was offering, but also excited to help me get up and running.

Jan. 2009 I began my own practice out of the Chiropractic office. It's a small office with two massage therapists, a chiropractic assistant, and an administrative woman. I saw clients in January, February, and March. I even held an open house with a "Reiki Information Session" for the public in February that had a large draw, including a few people who traveled over 100 miles for the information session! I was only renting space on Tue and Thurs, and acquired a second location to see clients on M-W-F. From Jan - March I accumulated 48 clients!

At the end of March, I received a call from the Chiropractor who seemed disturbed asking to meet with me. I asked what it was regarding, and he said, "Contra Indications to 'what I was practicing' ". I agreed to the meeting. When I arrived to the meeting, the chiropractor grabbed a stack of papers and led me into an office. As I was sitting down, he said that the office admin had a 'problem' with Reiki. It seems that it was "against her religion". He showed me a stack of papers that she had printed off from the internet with highlighted sections of things like: Against Jesus, occult practice, work of the devil, etc. The chiropractor told me that he was ok with what I was doing. In fact, as a result of my working with his wife, she is now in the process of signing up for her first Reiki course. There was a knock at the door, and in came the admin woman. She was quite red in the face, and very nervous, shaking and at one point, even through her pen! The meeting lasted a little more than an hour and a half with the first half grilling me on my own personal beliefs. The chiropractor had a client to treat, so he left, and the admin continued to grill me about the information she found about Reiki. I told her at first that I really didn't feel qualified to discuss her Religious concerns as I did not have formal training in that area. I shared that Reiki was a spiritual practice, and not affiliated with any religion. I tried to talk about the difference between spirituality and religion, and she just got more red in the face. I guided her to speak with a member of her religious order, and she stated she already had. I asked her what she wanted from me. She gave me a laundry list of things she was demanding to have me prove that they were not evil in nature. From the "sacred attunements", the use of symbols, to the fact that it was a Buddhist monk who was "enlightened"...and much more! I told her I would have to gather some data for her, but that I would do it from an educational stand point, to share what Reiki is....and is not.

A week later, after much contemplation and discussing the issue with my husband, Reiki Masters, friends, and from leaders from my church, I met again with the Chiropractor, the admin woman, and I brought one of my 3 Reiki Masters along to help me "smooth things" if necessary. It was another fairly long meeting. I spoke, and so did my Master about the peaceful nature of Reiki, what it is, etc. The admin woman was still adamant, and actually told my Master and I that we were doing "the work of the devil" and she would "pray for our souls". I shared that I understood and respected her opinion, but that I held a different one. I stated that I was going to continue to practice Reiki. I asked the Chiropractor where this left our rental agreement. He stated aloud to everyone, that he did not feel that Reiki was harmful to clients, and that he supported it. He asked the admin woman how she would feel if I continued to practice at the clinic. The admin woman said she could not deal with it, and would have to leave. The chiropractor then stood up, paced, said, "I can't believe you both are putting me in the middle of this". He turned to me, and said, if one of you has to go, that I would have to leave. She has been working with him longer, and he does not "pay" her for her services...she does it in trade for chiropractic. I was given no notice, and had to leave. He then left the room, left the clinic and drove away.

I have had many responses to this situation. One of my Reiki Masters said to let it the bigger person and walk away. One of my Reiki Masters said get a lawyer!

I am a very peaceful person. Even more so since I started practicing Reiki! I pretty much avoid conflict like the plague. I do completely understand that the admin woman was only able to see this from her (as skewed as it seems to me) perspective. One with certain beliefs that dictate how she acts. I can respect her desire to follow her beliefs. I am not ok however, with her expecting me to change my beliefs because they do not match hers. This is where the situation changed from one of ignorance to one of intolerance.

I have contacted a couple of attorneys, and I also spoke to someone from the Department of Human Rights in our state. The attorneys stated that I could pursue the business issue of "breech of contract", but that it could get drawn out, and may cost more than the current awards are being given. The man from the Department of Human Rights could not help me either. Although religion is a protected class, there are 7 categories it could fall under. In this case, it would be business as I was not an employee of the Chiropractor. Wouldn't you know that religion is NOT covered in only one I asked the man from the department why this was, he did not know and suggested I contact my local representative or senator's office. I did. The local representative's aid blew me off and told me to get an attorney. The senator's office aid was much more responsive, and said although they could not help me currently, that they could look into this in the next session. He wanted to know more about Reiki.

I am torn on this issue. I have not been able to locate a new location to practice from that is "clinical" as of yet. Many of my current clients do not feel comfortable coming to my second location (my cousin is a Massage Therapist and has one location from her home that she has aloud me to utilize if I need) they prefer the "clinical feel". I can understand that.

What do you think??

Laurél Kimpton

Thanks, Laurél, for sharing your story.

Paul Prakash Dennis writes:

A bit of a better story about the Catholic Church and Reiki.

Wanja Twan, one of Takata's 22 Masters, taught several Catholic nuns and priests in Poland in the early 1990s; some up to Master level. I met some of them in Canada at the Reiki Alliance conference in 1993.

They had all asked for the Polish Pope John Paul's blessing to learn and teach Reiki and had received it.

Wanja said that she saw a framed letter on the wall of one of the Priests' office from the Pope himself giving his blessing to the priests.

Now she wished she had had a camera or photocopier handy!

Later in his life, while suffereing from Parkinson's disease and other ailments of old age, the Pope received Reiki regularly; some say even daily.

When some of our Irish colleagues met opposition from Catholic diehards, they told them about the Pope's support for Reiki. The opponents of Reiki checked it out and shut up!

Sadly the new German Pope is not so broad minded and some French Reiki Masters have felt the effect of this new chiller square headed wind in the church.

Thought you and others would want to know this.

Love and all the best for the Reiki Digest,


Thanks, Paul!

Julie Romanko in Ohio writes:

Hi Janet,

The latest news about the Pope denouncing Reiki is not surprising. I was raised Catholic and had so many unanswered questions about their practices and beliefs. I actually challenged some of the priests and nuns to try to make sense of some of the things they believe to only receive an answer like, "it's wrong to question the church".

To me, spirituality is so much more expanded than religion. Who wants to be contracted, limited, small, or close minded? With Jesus himself being a Master Healer and many references to healing in the Bible, it really makes no sense to me. But the main reason I am writing is because of my own feelings about Reiki over the last few years. I have encountered much criticism from 'religious' individuals. The name Reiki is a Japanese name for what is generally considered "energy healing" or even "spiritual healing". If spiritual healing or energy healing is going on in the Catholic institutions, and forgo the Japanese reference of Reiki, would it still be denied?

My understanding is that every culture in the world has a form of energy healing but by different names. Even Reiki itself is a Japanese version of healing that has ancient Tibetan roots. The symbols are Japanese because they were taught to Japanese students. The concept is Universal though.

Maybe we would be more accepted if we just called it "Energy Healing". What do you think?

Julie Romanko

Thanks, Julie. Actually, that bit about ancient Tibetan roots is one of the common myths about Reiki, but I know a lot of people were taught that. (Those myths are one reason for my Reiki Update Training on May 9.) 

Maria Doglio writes:

People usually ridicule what they don't understand and it is usually out of fear. As a former Catholic I know first hand that the Catholic leadership controls through fear tactics to keep you in the club and here is just another example. Today we have a Pope who preaches the misinformation that condoms spread aids. Have they proven what they are stating and with what scientific methods? (smile)We could all send the unenlightented Bishops Reiki to help them rise to a higher consciousness and retract their statement. If we all hold that intention, then change will occur. Maria

Thanks, Maria.

And finally, an anonymous reader writes:

This was my first experience with Reiki the other night. I had never heard of it before this lady came over while in the restaurant the other night and put her hands on my brother-in-law. He is very feeble because of lung cancer that left him without a voice box a few years back. His health is failing but my sister trys to take him out if he wants to go. The lady said she was a Reiki student and after she did that to him he seemed to liven up and smile. even though he is very fragile he did seem happy. We are Catholic and I didn't see anything different then the laying of hands they used to practice.

Thanks, Anonymous!

To join in this ongoing discussion or tell us how the bishops' statement is affecting your Reiki practice, add a comment to this post on our web site or email

Cherry contemplations

We had a little gathering last Saturday under the blossoming cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, definitely one of the highlights of our first annual Cherry Blossom Festival to mark the third anniversary of The Reiki Digest, the second anniversary of The Reiki Dojo, and what turned out to be the most beautiful spring day we've had so far this year in the New York City area. 

Our goal was simple: to pause for a moment in our busy lives and simply take notice of the ephemeral beauty of the moment, if not exactly as cherry blossom viewing is practiced in Japan, then at least in the same spirit.

This was our first such gathering, so there were a few logistics to work out. Fortunately, most everyone travels with a mobile phone these days, so I figured that even if some participants were lost or late, we could find each other in the garden. I brought my trusty iPhone along, and gave it a workout on the way there. On the subway, I listened to music, played games, and read books using the iPhone's Kindle app, and when I emerged into the sunshine at the garden, I quickly pulled out the iPhone to check for any last-minute calls, emails, or text messages. And then I kept it out to take photos of the garden in bloom. I was the first to arrive at our designated meeting point, so I took some more photos. I clicked and clicked and tapped and tapped and otherwise kept busy multitasking away. Until -- just moments before the appointed time for the event, the iPhone notified me that its battery was too low and promptly shut itself off. 

I couldn't believe it: The battery was full when I left home that morning! I went through all the emotions the Reiki precepts warn us against: angry at myself for using up my battery playing games, worried that some participants would get to the Garden and call and get nothing but my voicemail, and otherwise wrapped up in my own self-induced problem. 

As it turned out, everyone attending the gathering was able to find the meeting spot, and we had a wonderful afternoon. We walked around the pond in the Japanese garden, visited the kuramayama cherry tree, and walked past the double rows of trees called "Cherry Lane" several times, each time noticing that the buds were getting closer to opening. By the time we walked through Cherry Lane again on our way out that afternoon, several trees had open blossoms, so we literally got to see the trees in the process of blossoming.

And it wasn't until I was on the way home, with no music to listen to, no games to play, no ebooks to read or web to surf or other modern electronic conveniences, that I began to comprehend the lessons I learned among the cherry blossoms that day.

For one thing, you get what you ask for. My goal was to stop and enjoy the moment, and my iPhone shut down just at the time I'd planned to do that. For another thing, multitasking and focusing can't be done simultaneously. Stopping to watch the cherries bloom means doing just that: stopping. 

You might think that as a trained and experienced Reiki practitioner, I would have learned that lesson, once and for all, long ago. But it doesn't work that way. There are some lessons that can't just be filed away once we learn them. They have to be learned again and again, moment by moment. That's what practice is all about.

Not a Reiki Master, but still a Celeb-Reiki

Our apologies to Matthew Broderick, one of our first Celeb-Reikies nearly three years ago. We cited multiple sources that reported he was a Reiki Master, but it turns out those sources were all mistaken. That's according to Broderick himself, who told a reporter that he isn't: 

Q: OK. But is anything on your Wikipedia page actually correct?
Broderick may not be a Reiki Master, or even a Reiki practitioner, but he's still a Celeb-Reiki just for mentioning Reiki in that interview.

In other Celeb-Reiki news, celebrity DJ Mark Ronson (son of Reiki Master Ann Dexter-Jones) was among the famous names attending the opening of the new W Hotel down the street from Reiki Digest world headquarters here in Hoboken, New Jersey, last week.

Half a waka . . . now a whole

Welcome back to Waka Fest, part of our first annual Cherry Blossom Festival. For those just joining us, you can find waka from the past few weeks here and here.

Last week, I wrote the first two lines of a waka:

pink blossoms rain down
gently guided by the breeze . . .

Beth Lowell finished it off:

pink blossoms rain down
gently guided by the breeze
ten thousand farewells
the silence of the morning
blooming softly in my heart

Thanks, Beth!

To contribute your waka, or even part of one, add it as a comment to this post on our web site, or email it to