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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Three years and counting!

Dear readers,

Today, The Reiki Digest celebrates three years of service to the global Reiki community, and we hope to celebrate many more such anniversaries. We now have readers joining us from more than 150 countries: Reiki practitioners of assorted lineages, styles, and levels, as well as anyone who wants to know more about this gentle, powerful healing practice. And hundreds of new readers have discovered us just in the past few months. As our community grows, more and more voices are joining our ongoing discussions. 

This publication comes to you at no charge, and we hope to keep it that way for our online edition, thanks to a combination of reader donations and advertising. And the same goes for our new Reiki Digest Radio feature.

Several readers have suggested we make our donations button a bit more prominent, so beginning with this issue, we're doing just that. If you find The Reiki Digest of value and you'd like to help ensure we'll make it to our fourth anniversary, click below to contribute any amount via PayPal to help cover some of our costs:

Thanks for supporting The Reiki Digest!

We're also gearing up to expand our advertising, so if you're interested in supporting this publication and getting the word out about your own Reiki-related business, email for more information.

Study finds Reiki effective on cells in test tubes

A three-year study at the University of Connecticut Health Center has shown that cells in test tubes treated by Reiki practitioners grew better than those treated by untrained assistants or an untreated control group

Gloria A. Gronowicz, the researcher who led the study, found the results so exciting that she told a reporter "I would like to spend the rest of my career working on this."

The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, and was published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research.

Gronowicz, a professor of surgery at the University of Connecticut with a doctorate in molecular biology, said the results were "astonishing." 

Presumably, the discarded bone chips and skin and tendon cells were not subject to the placebo effect and had no expectations of the treatment.

Celeb-Reiki Roulston to ride in Tour de France

About the time we founded this publication in 2006, a promising young cyclist from New Zealand was forced to retire at the age of 25 due to a heart ailment. But Hayden Roulston, now 28, discovered Reiki, recovered his health, and went on to win Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Olympics

Last week it was announced that Roulston will be riding in this year's Tour de France, beginning July 4. In other good news, Roulston and his partner are expecting a son at about the time the tour finishes in late July. 

This week's other Celeb-Reiki, Tess Ghilaga, earns the distinction by having her first Reiki session and writing about it for The Huffington Post. Her practitioner was another Celeb-Reiki, Pamela Miles.

Our discussion continues. . .

In response to the transcript of our interview with a Reiki practitioner whose programs in Catholic institutions were discontinued after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced Reiki, Rev. Lynn DeLellis wrote:

I had heard about the Catholic Church decison previously and was saddened to hear it. But then all will come to their own truth in their own time.

In response to Beth Lowell's question about attunements, Janet Dobbs wrote:

Great article as well as topic. Thanks Beth.
The Attunement.
I too was taught my level one through level III Reiki in Western Reiki traditions. My level one attunement was very beautiful as well. We were led into a different room that was filled with crystals, incense and other things. The experience was interesting and mystical I guess you would say. I can't remember details because it took place in the 1990's. Level two was the same experience as was level three. I too was told what you were, level one to begin practicing on others (we were not taught a self treatment until level two.) Level two we were given the symbols and were 'allowed' to do distant treatments. My level three was called Master level and we were only given the master symbol. It was not the teacher training. That was yet another class.

I had also heard NEVER to attune an animal. That made no sense to me. What difference would it make? I did go on to the teacher training. I was practicing the attunement process (which by the way was so complicated) on an empty chair because I could not find anyone that was willing to allow me to practice on them. I did call one friend who had just become level I or II and she said she would have to 'ask her teacher'. What? Well her Teacher said NO! It would un-do her attunements! What? Are you kidding me?

So there I was walking around the empty chair when my amazing kitty Sam came in the room and hopped up on the chair. He turned and faced me and sat up very straight and said, "go ahead now. I will help you get this right!" So I did. I practiced two times. He sat perfectly still making sure that I did it "right" and then jumped down when HE felt I was ready for the class. The animals teach us if we just open to them.

The following day was the class. We were in our family room. Students were sitting on a couch and chairs and I was over near the Reiki table facing them. Suddenly Sam ran in the room and jumped up on the Reiki table facing the students. He said, "Meow, meow, meow, meow! Maaaa, ma, ma, ma, ma!" looking each student in the eye. I said, "what are you doing Sam?" and then stopped and realized that HE was teaching the class. He told each student to pay attention because "this" is important work. When he was done speaking his mind he jumped down and did not return.

Back to the attunement. Two and a half years ago I attended Frans Stiene's Shinpiden training. I didn't know why I was attending. I just knew that something was missing from my Reiki practice, that there had to be more than what I had been taught all those years ago. Well there is!
I learned that the attunement in Japanese is called a Reiju and that the translation of Reiju is Spiritual Blessing. I learned that it is like a healing session where I the student have the choice to take the energy/healing that is offered by the teacher during the Reiju process or not. I learned that a Reiju can be done any time and often and that it lasts forever. I learned so much more but this alone changed everything for me and my Reiki practice and teachings.

Back to the animals and Reiki... I began working with Reiki right after I learned Reiki one and the only ones to work with were animals. No humans would allow me to offer a Reiki session for them. I found that Reiki was natural for me to use when doing and animal communication session and if an animal had a physical or emotional issue I would offer them distant Reiki. In doing this the animals taught me how to work with Reiki and it was very different than when working with humans. The animals are natural healers and sometimes think that we are so silly to have to go to a class to learn how to do it.
When I was in the Shinpiden class with Frans, every time he would show us something new I would think to myself, "that is how I work with the animals".
- Janet Dobbs

And Beth Lowell responded:

HI Janet - that's one of the best Reiki stories I've ever heard!

Laurél Kimpton wrote:

One more question about attunements...

I have been asked, "Who or what is the ultimate 'source' of the attunement?"

I have had touble finding the words to explain this to others with confidence and would like to know before I complete the Master/Teacher level and train others. (I too was trained to Master Practitioner, and teacher is another level)

I believe this is where religion comes this attunement/Spiritual Blessing from God the same as Universal Life it the "Teachers faith?"...I believe this is where Christian's find Reiki hard to swallow, if this can be explained maybe we all can relax a bit more.

Laurél Kimpton

And Dan replied:

Hi Laurél,

This is a question that touches on more than one thing. First, there is the question on who God is, which is I think, a personal question. That is, you need to answer that yourself and your answer is good for you (as it is YOUR answer - even if that answer should be "God doesn't exist").

Second, there is the question of where the attunements come from. The attunement is a blessing. It is a "statement" to the universe/to "that which is" (so to speak) made by a reiki master while they are in contact with reiki.

This is a powerfull creative process and a blessing at the same time. While you do an attunement you are in a state of trance, a state of reverence/gratitude to Reiki, previous Reiki masters and the student (among other things). In this state it is difficult for me to realize all that happens, everything that participates in the attunement.

My teacher said that Reiki is love, pure and simple (and it definitely feels that way).

Maybe it's the Reiki master, in touch with their own capacity to love that does the attunement.

My own answer is that it is the Reiki energy itself that does the attunement, and you (as the master) are simply the channel.


And in response to Michael Swerdloff's article "That's not part of Reiki," Beth Lowell wrote:

This was a thought-provoking article on many levels. Of course, for me, it brought up more questions.

I’ve been thinking more about Reiki by-products myself and I think that any kind meditative practice is going to result in heightened awareness, intuition and other phenomena, so it’s practically impossible to separate the two.

It was really interesting to hear about practices like Reiki house clearing and Reiki counseling, neither of which I’d heard of before. I’d like to find out more about them. I also wondered what it is that you do that is so off the beaten path of Reiki.

I’m interested in practicing Reiki for animals. For me, it’s extremely important to have credibility, even for non-paying, volunteer work, for instance, with people like the police K-9 unit, or the Seeing Eye, which trains service dogs.

I once heard a Reiki practitioner speak about a practice I’d never heard of. When I asked about it, she was only too happy to send me reams of information about it, including its history. This practice could be performed only be Reiki Masters, and was affiliated with a Reiki association with a very official sounding name. The history of the practice involved a sighting of little green men. Gnomes, in fact. I stopped reading the material at this point. I have nothing against anyone who believes in gnomes. But, if I plan to approach my local county police department, or an organization like the Seeing Eye, I’d prefer it, I admit, for purely selfish reasons, if their first perception of Reiki did not include gnomes.

Maybe for those who do not seek to practice Reiki in the public sector there’s a lot less at stake when it comes to credibility.

There’s no such thing as the Reiki police, and I don’t think that people are going to stop doing what they’re doing, and I think people are going to be attracted to what they’re going to be attracted to.

So, my next question is, do gnomes exist and how do people handle them in their practice?

Beth, I hope you're kidding!

And thanks to all our commenters!

To join our ongoing conversations, just add a comment to any post on our web site, or email

The weekly waka


An endless snowfall —
The path grown slick and icy —
Till tired temptation
Whispers: relax, lie down!
Yet the wise old soul hikes on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reiki Digest Radio transcript: 'I should write them a thank-you letter'

Editor's note: Last week we introduced Reiki Digest Radio, yet another service of The Reiki Digest. Our first guest was Reiki Master Teacher Debbie Griseuk, whose Reiki clinics at Catholic medical facilities in New Hampshire were discontinued after the US Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced Reiki on March 25. You can download the audio here and listen to it on your computer or iPod, or if you prefer, you can read the transcript below. We can't promise to transcribe every Reiki Digest Radio podcast, but we thought it was important for this interview to be accessible to as many people as possible. 

Here's the transcript:

RD: Hi, this is Janet Dagley Dagley, editor of The Reiki Digest. And I have on the line Debbie Griseuk of the New England Reiki Center. Hi Debbie!

DG: Hello!

RD: How are you?

DG: I’m very good, thank you.

RD: And the reason we’re talking to you today is you have been personally affected by the guidelines that were issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on March 25 concerning Reiki. Could you tell us a little bit about your situation and about what happened?

DG: Sure. For the last, I don’t know, maybe, 7 or so years, I have been running a clinic over at Millett Manor, which is St. Joe’s Hospital Wellness Center, and it’s in Nashua, New Hampshire, and I also recently, within the last two years, was asked to take on yet another clinic on behalf of St. Joe’s, and it was an affiliated agency situation where the Greater Agency of Nashua, Home Health & Hospice….and Southern New Hampshire Hospital and St. Joe’s did a collaborative. So on their behalf they asked me to run the Reiki clinic over there at so-called Mission Point in Hudson, NH. So when the bishops’ statement came out, I was asked to leave both clinics. Actually, they did not say it was because of the bishops’ statement. They said it was because of a change in programming. And they have every right to do a change in programming. And I also want to state, too, for the record that St. Joe’s Hospital really has been very good to me for many years, and I have a lot of friends over there, you know, people that I really care about, and I think they felt actually worse than I did for this thing coming up, this situation. So that’s kind of what happened. So I was asked to leave both clinics.

RD: And you had your office in one of these places and you’ve now had to find a new home for your office, is that right?

DG: Not really. That was a little bit misquoted from the paper. I was not really operating a private business on their facility. I honestly was doing the clinic and doing keep-in-touch classes and those kinds of things. So I’ve always had a private office.

RD: I see. OK. Thanks for clearing that up.

DG: Sure. They also didn’t charge me for the space – it was community service. In an exchange, we have a small fee for the clinic, $20 for a half hour, and if somebody just couldn’t afford to pay, or if it was kind of a medical, or a favor or a friend of a friend or whatever, there was no question. It was just, OK, come on in.

RD: So do you still have the clinic, but have it elsewhere?

DG: I do. I just recently had my first clinic, another clinic that we started, in Nashua again, at a friend’s office, so I did that the first of June, and the next, this Friday, the senior center, the Nashua Senior Center, the executive director called me and asked me to come in and talk to her because they would love to host us, they felt that it’s a really good activity for baby boomers and, to start incorporating more mind, body, and spirit techniques and programs into what they call the senior center but it’s for people over 50. So, unfortunately I do qualify.

RD: And so do I.

DG: So they’ve been fabulous. Not only did they invite me over, but they have a newsletter that they print out and they have something like 2,000 members or something, they put a full-page flyer in there announcing the Reiki clinic would be there, at no cost to me, just to be supportive of the program. And that’s how much the executive director believes in it.

RD: Was the executive director familiar with the work that you were doing at the Catholic facilities? Or how did they find out about you?

DG: Well, actually, yes. One of her staff members is a friend of a friend, one of the clients that come constantly, and I guess she’s been hearing about it for years, and when they saw the situation in the paper, which was a giant photograph on the front page of the paper, it was almost embarrassing. It was great, it was so big! I guess it was a slow news day or something in New Hampshire. So when they did see the article on the front, they recognized my name as a friend of a friend and she went to the executive director and said, you want to talk to her and give her a call. So she did, and she was wonderful, and I think she’s going to be a long-term friend.

RD: Wow, that’s great! So you’ve gone through shifts, but the community has recognized that there is a need for what you do and they’ve come up with a way to let you keep doing it?

DG: Right. Not only that, Janet, but I literally have so many other opportunities that have come across from that situation, that people wanted to help me find a space, they’ve invited me to come over and submit a proposal, and it got to the point where, I mean, two clinics is all I can possibly handle. Cause I still have to staff them with practitioners and so on.

RD: You’re a full-time Reiki practitioner, right?

DG: Right.

RD: And this is, you don’t have a day job, this is your day job.

DG: This is my day job.

RD: And you practice Reiki and you teach. Is that right?

DG: Correct.

RD: So, overall, has your practice been helped or harmed by the bishops’ decision?

DG: Well, I’m sorry to say this, but some of my friends are telling me I should write them a thank-you letter. My practice has increased tremendously from their decision to get everybody talking about Reiki. And making it so well-known. Just as a small example, I was moving the tables, the massage tables, into the senior center and a lady came over and started talking to us as we were kind of moving them in, and she said, “You’re the one in the paper. I sent a copy of that to my friend in Canada and we’re never going to church again. That was the last straw – we’ve had it with that. So I tried to tell her that, you know, don’t let it take away from what you feel or believe in. It was only a small group of eight bishops and I don’t think they really understood Reiki, and, quite honestly I mean, they have nothing to fear from us. I kind of tried to defuse the situation, but she was so angry at the Catholic church, it was like her last straw.

RD: There are a lot of really, really strong emotions involved with this.

DG: Right. I have, honestly, believe it or not, it has been very beneficial to me. And the fact that so many people have been talking about it and offering different things that will be helpful to the community to continue Reiki.

RD: So has anyone suffered because of it? Are there people who used to have Reiki available to them that don’t now?

DG: I’m sure there are some, Janet. I’m definitely sure there are some. In the building that’s called Millett Manor, or the parish nursing center, that’s where the clinic was, there were people that came in often, actually, just about every clinic, that, they live upstairs in the building and they probably couldn’t get out very much. So they would come and receive Reiki. So I’m sure those kinds of people are not able to travel, so they don’t have the Reiki available to them directly. It is still, I still offer it to them, as with my original deal, that anybody with St. Joe’s, if they need Reiki, regardless of their situation they’re welcome to come to my clinic at any time. But I can’t provide transportation. And the people over at Mission Point, some of those people could just walk over and get their Reiki, and now it’s a whole different thing, they have to get in the car, and go 5 or 6 miles.

RD: So it’s not nearly as convenient as it was before.

DG: Correct.

RD: So this has actually brought more attention to Reiki in general, and to your practice – it’s been good for business.

DG: Honestly, it has. I’ve heard from clients that I saw years ago who sent letters to the bishops and called me and said, you know what, this is the one thing that helped me when I was going through my surgery or whatever, and this is crazy that they’re doing that. So how about if I make an appointment at the new clinic. So people that I haven’t heard from in years have kind of called in. So I do have to say that it really has been honestly very helpful that so many people are now talking about Reiki.

RD: Yeah, a lot of people say that. And there’s the old line of, you know, it doesn’t matter what you say about me as long as you spell my name right, any publicity is good publicity….

DG: I think they’re right. My 15 minutes of fame. This has been a good situation.

RD: And now you have 15 minutes more, maybe more than that, to share your story with other Reiki practitioners. Because most of the people who read The Reiki Digest or will be listening to this are also Reiki practitioners. Was it a shock to you when you were told you program was being discontinued?

DG: Totally. I was so caught off guard. I remember, actually, reading it in The Reiki Digest, if I’m not mistaken, at the end of March, and I just thought to myself, wow, I’m a recovering Catholic, and these people are off the wall. I don’t know where they’re coming from. But I just didn’t kind of pay it any mind, Janet. I just thought, whatever. And it wasn’t until it directly affected me – I was like, aah! Oh, I see now. So I really was quite surprised. I really didn’t know it was coming. I didn’t think the hospital – I don’t know, the hospital’s supposed to be a little bit of every flavor, not just Catholic.

RD: So how long had you been working with these Catholic facilities? It had been some years, right?

DG: Sure. About 7 or 8 years. I actually started the St. Joe’s Hospital in-room service program, where they could receive Reiki in their room or pre-op or post-op surgery. So I started that as a way to get more practice.

RD: And have you been back to these facilities since that happened?

DG: Actually, that’s a good question. You know, I can go in and out of there anytime, people hire me personally or privately. My first call back to the hospital since my departure was from a chaplain, who had a surgery. My second call back to the hospital was from a pharmacist who also had to have a surgery. So that was kind of, more than ironic.

RD: It’s good to know that you do still go there and you do still provide your services, just not under more of the auspices of the facility – you’re just going in and seeing individual patients, some of whom happen to work there. Individual clients, I should say. They are patients of the hospital but to you they’re clients.

DG: Correct.

RD: Well, having been through this yourself, what advice would you have for other Reiki practitioners who may be in similar circumstances, maybe getting kicked out of facilities that they’ve worked in or have clients that have decided not to come to them anymore because of this. You’re the voice of experience, so let’s benefit from it.

DG: Sure. What would I say? Well, I hate to be corny, but I’m thinking that with every door or window that closes, there will be a new one that’s opening up. And it’s kind of fascinating that we’re in the same company as Galileo or Dr. Lister, you know? Dr. Lister tried for 50 years to tell the medical community that there was a germ theory, and it took them 50 years to accept that. I think that you have to be true to your beliefs and whoever you are supposed to work with, you will work with. You can lose somebody maybe because of a belief system, then that’s not Reiki. Reiki is about honoring everybody’s beliefs, and not being judgmental, so I think you have to be true to Reiki and the fact that it’s about honoring any and all belief systems and, I would not want to impose my beliefs on someone else. Just because I’m a recovering Catholic doesn’t mean that I would put down somebody that’s a devout Catholic or whatever. It’s not about my opinion. It’s about, be quiet and deliver the Reiki. And I would say to expand their horizons. Find a different rock and turn it over. And ask the community for some help.

RD: Have you been tempted yourself to try to get in touch with the bishops to offer any rebuttal to their guidelines or anything like that?

DG: I’m going to send them a thank-you note!

RD: You actually are going to do that, or

DG: No. But my friends were kidding me about it. No, I don’t see why I would rebut ignorance. To me it’s just ignorance. They don’t tell me what to do. I don’t need a religion between me and the source or my creator. I don’t need a middleman, basically. I know a lot about the Catholics just from being brought up a Catholic, and I just don’t agree with a lot of their philosophies, but I certainly don’t want to interfere with whatever they believe. So I have no intention, actually, of sharing an ounce of my time with them.

RD: They certainly haven’t asked for you to, so I guess that makes perfect sense.

DG: I guess it’s a slow day in the Vatican when they have to worry about Reiki.

RD: I guess so. It seems to me from what you’re saying that your personal Reiki practice has helped you deal with this, too. Following the precepts, remembering to stay in the moment, not indulging in fear or anger. Am I guessing right?

DG: Very much. And not only that, Janet, but I seem to be drawn very very much to doing animal Reiki, and people that work with animals. I just recently had a class up the road at my groomer’s facility, so people could bring their dogs in with us. I also teach regularly at Canine Country, a big training facility in Amherst, New Hampshire, and we have fabulous classes, and it’s all about having the animals in the class with us, so I think that’s very important to me, to go to those with a nonjudgmental situation, and not to align ourselves too much with any kind of institution, I guess.

RD: Yeah. Reiki, as a practice, and as an industry, if you call it that, doesn’t really have much in the way of comprehensive institutions.

DG: Right.

RD: There are a lot of individual lineages and individual practitioners and schools doing their kind of thing but there’s no real overall Reiki institutions.

DG: Right. No standards. So when I’m working with the animals, I’m not feeling any kind of religious tension from it whatsoever.

RD: And they’re probably not subject to the placebo effect, either.

DG: Not even a little. Not even a little. I recently, just two weeks ago, had a fabulous class with two people that came in from Colorado. And they were horse people. And they just felt very strongly that they needed to receive their second-degree training from somebody who has experience with animals. They also came in for a wedding: they didn’t just fly in for me. But it was fascinating because they’re from such a different world in Colorado, that bringing Reiki to them and the animals is something that isn’t done out there, for whatever reason. So, having five cats and a crazy toy poodle, it gives me daily experience. One of the reasons I got into Reiki, actually, was, one of my cats, my 15-year-old cat, has a hole in her heart, and she was never supposed to live. So here she is 15 years later, receiving daily Reiki that she actually demands. It’s not a question: she demands it. And for whatever reason – I’m not saying this is the only thing she ever needed in life, but for whatever reason she’s still alive and happy and healthy.

RD: That’s great. 15 years!

DG: 15 years. And I love her as a case study because she has documentation. She has a cardiologist from Tufts University. She has ultrasound. All the things, the backup medical documentation, and all she receives now is just Reiki and she’s fine.

RD: Of course, she still has the hole in her heart: that’s something she was born with.

DG: Correct. But shows no signs of fading. Which is bizarre. I don’t even care why. She’s one of the reasons I kept going at Reiki, because it was too good to be true.

RD: Yeah. I wanted to ask you how you got into Reiki, and when. Tell me a little about your own Reiki story.

DG: OK, I’ll try to keep it short. My mother was dying of a brain tumor, an inoperable brain tumor, and I felt absolutely helpless. Then she made me go get a present for myself, for a birthday, and as much as I didn’t want to do that, I thought, oh, what is that over there, and I saw my little cat Patina Serina, as a symbol of new life. And she was a present to myself, from my mom, who ended up with a hole in her heart, again, not expected to live, so again I felt helpless. And then I just screamed to the universe and I vowed I would find a way to never feel helpless again. I would find a way. And a friend suggested that I go and listen to a Reiki talk, and when I did, it was like a lightning bolt. It was like, oh my God, this is why I’m on the planet. I’m going to find a way to never feel helpless again. I could share that with other people. So that’s when I started Reiki, and that’s when I started trying to prove it wrong, because I was such a skeptic.

RD: Yeah, it does seem too good to be true at first, doesn’t it?

DG: It does! It does. And the more I tried to prove it wrong, the more people I needed to work on that weren’t family and friends, because I thought they were being too kind. That’s when I started, in 2003, the St. Joseph’s Hospital Reiki program. I started it because I wanted more subjects to work on and try this out.

RD: And 2003, that’s six years ago. You must have quite a few case studies by now.

DG: Oh, I have so many. I was very fortunate to be the first one in the hospital to do it. So I was able to write the “what not to” manual, and work very closely with the management. And understand what’s the best thing to do in a hospital and how to do what I now call clinical Reiki. So they actually taught me as much as I taught them. I learned what not to do.

RD: That would probably be helpful, not that you could do it in a quick interview, but give us a tip or two of what not to do.

DG: What not to do, in any kind of a public setting, is waving your hands in any way. You know when you do sweeping at the end of a private Reiki treatment? You don’t want to do sweeping in the hospital. Another thing not to do is you don’t want to ever start doing symbols in a hospital. Because once again that includes waving your hands. Also, you don’t want to really be talking in the hospital. There are a lot of people, you know, a lot of medical professionals around, and you want to respect the person’s rights, and with the HIPAA laws and so on, you really don’t want any information from the client.

RD: Right.

DG: So those are a few up front things that you want to not do.

RD: And that is the voice of years of experience, I can tell.

DG: Correct.

RD: Are there other hospitals that you go into now, other than the Catholic ones?

DG: The Catholic ones! We actually have two or three other hospitals in the area. One of them is Southern New Hampshire hospital, it used to be called Memorial Hospital, but it’s Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. I go there when a client goes into the hospital for something, and they hire me to go in and do Reiki, either in the room or pre-op or post-op surgery. They also have a Catholic, actually I think we’re surrounded with Catholics, a Catholic medical center in Manchester. I never thought of that. And again, people hire me to go to their hospital rooms or pre-op and post-op. So I guess we’re mostly surrounded with Catholics in this area.

RD: Well, the Catholic health-care system is huge, and

DG: I didn’t know that!

RD: In a lot of communities it’s the only thing available.

DG: I didn’t know that!

RD: If the institution isn’t really putting that out there so much, you know, they’re not leading with their beliefs, if they’re just, we’re here to provide medical services or nursing homes or hospice care, or whatever, then you don’t really think necessarily about what’s behind it. Most people don’t look to see, is this a nonprofit, is it a for-profit, is it part of a chain, is it run by a religious institution, you know, it’s just their local hospital.

DG: Well, you know the other thing we have here locally, Janet, that I go to quite often, is the Merrimack Hospice House. It is a fabulous, fabulous, unbelievably wonderful situation for anybody to be in. They’re so open about everything. And I’ve had so many families hire me to go in and work with their loved ones. And it’s such a wonderful experience. There’s no judgmental anything over there. You know, I think I want to back up for one second, if I may. I just remembered something. One of the things in a hospital or any kind of facility that you don’t want to do is get too exhausting describing Reiki. You want to keep your explanation very, very simple, to, it’s a stress-reduction technique, and it stimulates the body’s own self-healing. You want to keep it very simple. You don’t want to go into any universal life force energy, you don’t even want to use those words. So I just wanted to kind of get that out there.

RD: That is an important thing to bring up, that I wish people wouldn’t say publicly, like – there’s a book that says, if you’ve reached Reiki level 2 and you haven’t found your spirit guides yet – and it’s, you know, if you have a belief in that kind of thing, that’s fine, I respect everybody’s religious beliefs. And that is a religious belief. But that’s not part of the system of Reiki.

DG: Correct. And it puts people off. And I have to tell you, once again, with experience, I have to tell you, in the beginning, I scared so many people by my enthusiasm. I think back now and I have to laugh and I hope they’ll try it again, because I tried to overexplain things, and I remember even in the talks from Pam Miles, she said you can really scare people with your enthusiasm, you’ve got to keep it down. So I really did do that in the beginning and I wrote an internship program, for people working in institutional type settings, of all the things not to do based on my own experience of what I wish had been done better.

RD: You should put that in a book or something.

DG: You know, I really should. I actually, I have it all written down, and I have it in a notebook and it’s really what you want from people working in an institution. The internship was, well, St. Joe’s was good enough to give me 100 percent unprecedented access, so I would just say, oh, today I think I’ll go into ICU, today I think I’ll go into room 324, so with that I learned all the things that needed to be done, and I also had to explain Reiki for the first time 20 times a day. So that was interesting.

RD: I imagine you got that down after awhile.

DG: I really did, yeah. Keep it simple. And just, less is better. And again, working with risk management, and never having been in a hospital myself overnight, I didn’t even know how to use a hospital bed. I was uninstitutionalized. So I had to kind of train myself on those things.

RD: So, before March, when the guidelines were issued, did you ever get anyone who said, no, I don’t want that, no, that’s in conflict with my belief system – did you ever get any resistance, and if so, how did you deal with it?

DG: I think I had a few of those, and they might have been in more of a public setting. They might have been at a health fair – I do a lot of health fairs, some of them for corporations and some of them for medical people, hospitals, different things. So some people have said, you know, that conflicts with my belief system. And I would say, you know, I’m so sorry, that is never my intention, and I hope sometime you’ll consider trying it. So I basically just honor whatever they say, never force my beliefs on them. And in the back of my mind, I already know people in pain get very open-minded.

RD: Right. Especially if the medical system has given you everything it has to offer and you still have the problem. Then I think it’s a natural human inclination to start looking elsewhere.

DG: Correct. And if it isn’t you it might be a relative that calls me. You know, Reiki is also good old-fashioned first aid. And I wish more people would understand that. It’s part of our original equipment. I don’t know if I told you this but I teach Reiki at night right up the road at the Merrimack High School, the adult education program. I have had such unbelievable people come in in the middle of the winter after working all day feeding the kids or doing whatever they do to learn Reiki. The groups that have come in have either been administrators from the school, guidance teachers, special-needs teachers – I had a whole group of scientists one time, government investigators, computer people, different, engineers, I mean, the quality of people at night that are there to learn something is outstanding. And some of these groups have stayed together 4, 5, 6 years. They stay together as a group and we do keep-in-touch classes every month and they decide if they want to stay together and if they want to pursue their Reiki.

RD: And usually they do?

DG: I would say, I don’t have exact numbers, but I would say between a third and a half of them will pursue their Reiki.

RD: That’s pretty good results anywhere. A lot of people will take a class and then never do anything with it after that.

DG: Well, once they learn, it’s so basic and it’s something they can do that you never feel helpless again, back to my original reason for getting into Reiki. That is one thing Reiki offers all of us, Janet, is the ability to not feel helpless again.

RD: Oh, absolutely.

DG: There’s something we can always do with Reiki no matter what.

RD: Right. Even if – and most importantly – we just do it for ourselves.

DG: Correct.

RD: Well, I really appreciate your taking the time to talk to us about this and about your experience with it. I’m glad that your practice has not suffered as a result of the bishops’ decision. And I hope that things continue to prosper for you and that you are able to bring Reiki to even more people.

DG: Thank you, I do appreciate that. And there’s one other thing that I wanted to bring to light if I may – do you have another moment?

RD: Yeah, sure.

DG: OK. I was trying to figure out why the Catholics, I would love to have the answer, if somebody could tell me, why did this even come up as an issue? I’d be very curious about that. But the other thing that occurred to me is, if you remember back in your history, Rene Descartes? The father of modern medicine? He was the one who went and made a deal with the Pope back in the 1500s, so he could cut open cadavers. And the Pope said to him, you can cut open cadavers but under one condition, because he wanted to study what was under the skin, and he said well, with one condition: you can only work with the body. The mind and the spirit belong to the church. So back then is when we had our separation of mind, body, and spirit. So it just seems to me the church is still pursuing the separation of mind, body, and spirit.

RD: I really enjoyed talking to you, I appreciate what you’ve done for the greater Reiki community by talking about your own experience with this. I think it’s going to be helpful to other people who are facing similar situations.

DG: Thank you. Thank you. And anyone is free to call me or contact me in any way, and anything that comes out of your thing I’ll forward it to you, so that you’ll at least get to see whatever feedback there is or isn’t.

RD: Thank you!

DG: Well, because it’s only fair. I imagine you’d like to know.

RD: Yes, I definitely would. And this would be a good time to tell us about your web site. Where can we find out more about you?

DG: Actually, you can find my whole biography and my whole how I got into Reiki story on

RD: All right: Debbie, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, and I’m going to post this audio on The Reiki Digest web site as soon as I can.

DG: OK, and if I can be of any help to anybody out there, I’d be very happy to share any information that would be helpful to them.

RD: Thank you, Debbie!

DG: OK, and feel free to call me anytime, Janet. Thank you so much!

'That's not part of Reiki'

I recently read Beth Lowell’s article on Reiki By-Products. It was an interesting and well-written piece from a writer and Reiki Practitioner I respect, and appreciate her commitment to Reiki. It got me thinking about Reiki and how things have changed since I was first introduced to Reiki in the early nineties. I remember that Reiki was then considered occult, then it was New Age, then healing, then came the period when some folks wanted to get a copyright and trademark on Reiki, then we were all introduced to a more accurate history of Reiki and its beginnings. During this time Reiki has spread from continent to continent and now is labeled complimentary and alternative medicine. It is interesting how quickly it shifted from “faith healing” to “faith-free healing” (no judgment attached on my part). Reiki does what it does and where we are at today will be discussed in fifty years the way we do with Takata’s reinvention of the Usui story today.

Before I reflect on my experiences with what is and isn’t part of Reiki, I would like to step back and actually take a look at what is Reiki literally. I have been told by several Japanese friends that the word Reiki is and has been part of Japanese culture for thousands of years before Sensei Usui and is a general term for something similar to ‘spiritually-guided Universal life force energy”. This term includes what we typically refer to as Reiki but also hundreds of other practices that have nothing to do what we call Reiki. Sensei Usui called what he practiced and taught The Usui System of Natural Healing but we seem to like the name Reiki, so it has stuck throughout the Western world. So, saying something is not part of Reiki would be a mistake unless one has studied all of those other methods and systems that are separate from the Usui system. Meaning, Reiki is a somewhat generic term for many systems of energetic arts, The Usui System Of Natural Healing just being one of them. Of course, I am not an idiot and know that is not what Beth was referring to, but feel the need to share that for clarity.

One of the things I have appreciated most about the Usui System is its adaptability to the situation, time, people, animals or culture. It finds a way to meet the needs of those receiving and sharing the system regardless of anything else. It frightens me to think that there are people may have a desire to make Reiki ‘an exact thing’. How sad that would be. I am not completely certain about the next set of statement as factual claims but I will do so knowing I may be working with some incorrect information. If I remember, at one point they did not want Takata to receive the teaching since she was female, living in Japan and not pure Japanese. I am glad that what they thought “may not be part if Reiki” was transformed into her being the lineage carrier to the West. I am so grateful they did not let their small vision of what Reiki is or isn’t get in the way of Reiki. I may be wrong, but I think Usui did not let animals or plants in his clinic to receive treatments. I am glad that we have evolved to include others besides humans and Japanese natives. Otherwise I would not be writing this and there would be no Reiki Digest for me to have read Beth’s article because we would not yet have heard of Reiki.

I have heard that Takata often would bring a fresh made batch of vegetable juice to the folks she worked with to support the healing process. I would have trouble including this as part of Reiki but why not? I remember that receiving Reiki Teaching Master Training in the nineties cost about $10,000, now you can become a Reiki Master from your home for free online. Is this not part of Reiki? Are the Reiki police coming to ban all those who include practices that do not fit into the medical model for fear of creating barriers from the medical community? Has marketing, politics, economy and personal ambition infiltrated the Reiki community to the point that we are a just a few years away from being like the medical profession that has one-size-fits-all remedies that have no room for intuition, common sense and willingness to accept we are not experts and should not be? I hope that I will never be labeled a Reiki expert, or anybody else for that matter.

I have watched the medical profession become homogenized in my lifetime. I remember when I was a kid in the sixties and my family doctor came to visit me bedside when I was sick and hold my hand while he took my temperature. He was such a kind man and everybody always talked about Dr. Ralston’s “Golden Touch”. Now we are fortunate if a doctor actually makes eye contact with their patients, forget about home visits and Golden Touches. I have seen the mental health and social work communities that I am a participant change in the last fifteen years to become almost as homogenized as the medical profession. Is Reiki next? Since Usui didn’t blog, are blogs not part of Reiki? Is accepting payment not part if Reiki? Is advertising not part of Reiki? Is public speaking not part of Reiki?

If so, is it time that I change the name of what I practice to something else to avoid being part of a homogenized system? I am not looking to offend or push anybody’s buttons. I have watched and read much lately in the Reiki community and I am concerned, very concerned. I thought we avoided making Reiki ‘a thing’ back in the late nineties; do we need to go through this again? Is this part of the growing process? What would Usui, Hayashi and Takata think of what we do and how we do it today?

I am certain what I practice most folks would not consider part of Reiki. I am OK with that since I have been guided to walk a somewhat different path with Reiki than most. I trust the Usui lineage to guide each one of us how we can best serve. I accepted that then and still do today. None of this affects my practice in any way, shape or form. I have no stake in any of this but personally since I have experienced and witnessed stuff that is unimaginable through Reiki, I am scared and concerned, deeply. If Reiki is starting to be a system that has ‘a way’; I feel for those who practice Reiki Counseling, Distance Reiki, House Clearings, Creative Arts Therapy through Reiki, Intuitive Bodywork, Spiritual Teaching and all the varied and amazing ways Reiki expresses itself though each Practitioner, culture, situation and time in history. I want to say that I understand the need to make Reiki information truthful and accurate but at what cost to those of us who do not choose to work in the public sector and have no desire to make ‘them’ think we are credible and legit? I practice Reiki for service and Karmic reasons only, I have no personal, financial and social ambitions through Reiki.

I hope that those of you who read this accept this in the sprit it was written in, that of a genuine concern about the social and political implications of the need to make Reiki something specific and placing all else as ‘not part of Reiki’. This may seem like an attack or criticism of Beth’s piece but is not in any way. She is what facilitated me getting the courage to write what I have felt for a while and just didn’t want to come out of the closet. I try to stay neutral within the Reiki community since we are a diverse group and do not like to make anybody with a sincere commitment to practicing Reiki feel excluded or separate. If I have done that to anyone, please accept my apology. Reiki has been such an incredible gift, teacher, friend and source of love and inspiration for me I am not able to accurately express my gratitude. Thank you for letting me share my experiences and concerns with the community through The Reiki Digest.


Readers: To contribute your thoughts on this topic, click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email

Thoughts on attunements

What does ‘Attunement’ mean to you?

When I attended my first Reiki class, I was overwhelmed by the attunement experience. During my attunement, I saw visions and colors and felt like I was being squashed from above. Afterwards I felt as if I were floating on a cloud and everything about life seemed a bit clearer than it had before. It was so exciting but I had such a hard time explaining it to people.

In my Reiki class, I learned that getting the Reiki level 1 attunement meant that I could practice Reiki on others and myself. With the Reiki 2 attunement, I could do Reiki from a distance. With Reiki level 3, I’d be able to teach others. I’m not sure exactly what words my teacher used – perhaps she did not explain things quite that way, but it’s how I made sense of it.

During my level 2 attunement, I felt nothing, except perhaps a bit of disappointment that I did not experience the same phenomena that I had the first time. My teacher had told me that it was important not to place meaning or expectations on physical sensations, but I couldn’t help it. Afterwards though, I was pleased that I could now do Reiki from a distance.

My teacher encouraged students to call her with any questions we had. Although my teacher had provided easy to understand, bulleted information points in her handouts, I knew there was something missing. I knew I didn’t quite understand everything but I didn’t have enough information to figure out what to ask.

I’ve been practicing Reiki for a little more than two years now, but I still consider myself a newbie. Since my first two classes I reached out to other teachers and practitioners and read as much as I could about Reiki and in the process I’ve managed to get a few things straight. One was what an attunement actually is. I also found out that many practitioners I spoke to were under the same impression that I was – that you get attuned to a level of Reiki.

This led to much confusion when I heard about people attuning animals. How crazy was that? I couldn’t see how my dog would understand that when I attuned her to level 2 that she could do a distant treatment. I was afraid to ask.

The problem about the conversation surrounding attuning animals was that people were all talking about the word, ‘attunement’, as if everyone used it to mean the exact same thing. And the problem with learning things the wrong way the first time around is that it’s not as easy to unlearn them.

I’m wondering how others experienced the attunement process and how their perception of it has (or perhaps not) changed over time.

Thanks, Beth!

Readers: To contribute your comments on this topic, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email your thoughts to

The Celeb-Reiki Report: from scandal headlines to milk cartons

Reiki -- the word, not the practice -- made headlines this week as reports surfaced that the father of a former American Idol contestant was caught by police with a lacy-lingerie-clad "masseuse" at a Salt Lake City establishment called "Queens of Reiki." We can assure you that the "masseuse" and her similarly dressed colleagues are neither real Reiki practitioners nor real queens. Reiki practitioners and their clients remain fully clothed during a Reiki treatment and there is nothing sexual involved. Nonetheless, Jeff Archuleta, father of contestant David Archuleta, is now a Celeb-Reiki.

The weekly waka

It will not happen
Hug the hate and fire will cease
Fire is an old friend
Hugs last longer than hate
Truth lives in The Soul’s pure water

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Introducing Reiki Digest Radio!

Dear Readers,

Today we offer you a new way to enjoy The Reiki Digest: Reiki Digest Radio!

Our first program is an interview with a Reiki practitioner whose clinics at a Catholic hospital were discontinued after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued guidelines denouncing Reiki a few months ago. Reiki Master/Teacher Debbie Griseuk of Nashua, New Hampshire, tells us how the bishops' statement affected her practice and her clients. And that makes her this week's Celeb-Reiki

Inteviewer: Reiki Digest Editor Janet Dagley Dagley
Length: 35:15

Click here to download the mp3 -- you can listen to it on iTunes or any other mp3 player.

Thanks, Debbie, for being our first guest!

Reiki pioneer Paul Mitchell responds to Catholic bishops' guidelines on Reiki

(Editor's note: Before he met Hawayo Takata in 1978, Paul Mitchell had spent 10 years studying for the Catholic priesthood and later taught religion in a Catholic high school. He was one of the 22 masters trained by Takata. Mitchell and his wife Susan have practiced Reiki for more than three decades. He sent this response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as to The Reiki Digest.)

Response to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy

By Paul D. Mitchell

I received my Reiki training from Mrs. Hawayo Takata, the woman who brought Reiki out of Japan to Hawaii about 1934. As I am one of the 22 masters that she trained, I can speak with some authority about how she understood Reiki and what she taught. I have been practicing Reiki for 31 years and am also a practicing Catholic.

Hawayo Takata defined the Japanese word “Reiki” as universal life energy or God-power. It was clear to her that this energy came from the Source of all life and being. The bishops analysis of the practice of Reiki came from purely academic research without one interview with anyone who practiced Reiki whether Catholic or otherwise. Academic research without the benefit of human experience is simply…academic research. In any case, the bishop’s evaluation focused on two fronts: Healing by Divine grace and Healing by Natural Powers.

Reiki as a natural means of healing

The bishops attest that “universal life energy” is unknown to natural science. Is this really true? Can we say that life energy is unknown to human experience? What makes a seed special? Is it not that it contains a spark of life? What is the difference between a living and a dead plant, animal, human being, or a living or dead cell? There is an energy of life. It is universal to all living things. Does natural science know much about the energy of life? No. Does that make it not real? Not at all. Universal life energy is simply a name for the energy of life, which all living things have an intimate relationship with, or they would not be alive.

Western science has very little to say about life energy. Why is that? Possibly because our scientific method is limited by its tools of measurement. Plato posited the existence of atoms and it took centuries for science to develop the technology to verify their existence. What tools have been developed to measure the energy of life?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, under the National Institutes of Health has funded 5 studies on Reiki. There have been other studies. The difficulty remains that we do not have the mechanisms to measure subtle energies.

The placebo effect is known to medical science and it is unexplainable. Research subjects know that they may receive a treatment that will help them. Of those that are given the placebo, approximately 1/3 will show a benefit. We do not know how this happens. What this tells us is that there are huge gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of healing. Why is it that the placebo effect is not the target of massive research?

Assign a hundred million dollars to researching life energy and we will know much more about it. Why would the bishops ask us to avoid something that science hasn’t researched although millions have found it helpful and useful? While it is now known how aspirin works, it was prescribed and used for 70 years before the mechanism of action was understood scientifically.

While we often assume that the essence of scientific research is to understand that which is unknown, it is more accurate to say that scientific research is about measuring. True science is much more impressed by what it doesn’t know than by what it does know. Why refer to this area of unknown as “no man’s land” as the bishops did? The spirit of scientific inquiry is to endeavor to understand our natural world as experienced by humanity. For all of our advances in medicine, there is a huge area of the unknown and unexplored in the realm of health and healing. Where a given scientific community chooses to focus its research at any given time in history is not the measure of reality, simply a choice affected by many factors. In our country, one of the major factors in medical and health care research is the drug company lobby.

I cannot accept the bishop’s conclusion that Reiki has no support from natural science. First, because the existence of the energy of life cannot be denied even though our tools for such measurement are understandably limited. Further because there have been and will continue to be studies on the effect of Reiki treatment. We must be fair in our assessment of studies being inconclusive. Just because we cannot measure something at this time does not mean it does not exist or is not beneficial.

Reiki and the healing power of Christ

Hawayo Takata identified Reiki as coming from God. The bishops assert that for Christians, the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior. Is this the only access to divine healing available to Christians? Jesus taught us to pray to the Father for whatever we need. Was he excluding healing in this teaching? The gift of healing is listed by St. Paul as one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit grant the gift of healing to Catholics and Christians alone?

There are some basic misunderstandings about Reiki that the bishops concluded from their academic research. Mikao Usui did not invent Reiki, he received it. He was a gifted healer, but more important, he was able to pass on this gift. It is a blessing to mankind. Do all human beings have the potential to be healers? The fact proves the possibility. Throughout human history there have been people blessed with a special touch. This is simply true.

The gift of healing touch can be passed on. Reiki is one form of this passing on. Can we explain it? Not really. It is not necessary to fear or exclude what we cannot explain adequately. One of the bishop’s main arguments against Reiki as divine healing is that the practitioner has healing power at their human disposal. In truth it is paradoxical, it is and it isn’t. Life energy does flow through the touch of the Reiki practitioner but the outcome is not predictable. Sometimes an obvious health benefit is seen, sometimes not. What does seem predictable is that the individual feels better. In this way it is very similar to prayer. We may not get what we want, but if we pray, we always feel better. Feeling better is a significant part of healing.

For some people who have experience with prayer, doing Reiki is prayerful. I have been studying and practicing Centered Prayer as taught by Fr. Thomas Keating. Resting in God is how he describes this form of prayer. Often people doing Reiki feel that they are resting in God and in that resting and allowing, well-being is enhanced for the one receiving treatment.

If one looks on the Internet, the information about Reiki can be very confusing. Reiki is very simple and very profound. The simplicity and the profundity can be difficult to comprehend and explain, and each person with experience of Reiki does the best to explain their experience in the terms that they are familiar with given their particular worldview. The explanation is not the experience.

To do justice to an investigation of Reiki in relationship to the Catholic faith, one must begin by asking questions of Catholics who have had experience with Reiki. Perhaps the first question might be: “How has Reiki affected your faith as a Christian and a Catholic?” This is the starting point. There are other questions that can follow. But without this research grounded in real human experience, everything else is simply…academic.

Reiki authors Bronwen and Frans Stiene respond to controversial Catholic guidelines on Reiki

A few weeks ago, Reiki authors Bronwen and Frans Stiene, founders of the International House of Reiki in Sydney, Australia, promised a lengthy article in response to their students' concerns about the March 25 guidelines from the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops denouncing Reiki, and this week they delivered with more than 4,000 words on the subject, just before their Australian National Reiki Retreat began. The Stienes ask why the bishops took on the topic of Reiki.

Click here to continue reading the article.

What to do about fraudulent Reiki certification?

Kudos to Phylameana lila Desy,'s guide to holistic healing, on her great response to a reader asking what can be done about fraudulent Reiki certifications. What do you think: should Reiki practitioners be registered, and if so, by whom?

Add your thoughts on the subject as a comment on our (or Phylameana's) web site, or email them to

Our readers comment...

Responses to last week's article, "Associated (bad) Press: Reiki makes the newswires" --

Michael wrote:

I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Let's be careful though to hold the vibration of Reiki healing this world needs, and not continue to worry about people's perception of Reiki, given the recent news.

The Spirit has a way of continuing to flow as long as we allow it. And we do that by being in the flow, not fighting what we don't like, and being living examples of love, healing, compassion, and Divine Light.

May the world be totally healed! :-)

And I replied:

Michael, I appreciate what you're saying, but. . .

The Reiki Digest's purpose is to serve the global Reiki community just as an old-fashioned community newspaper would, and that means covering the news about Reiki without regard to whether it is bad or good. When I see sloppy reporting, and the effect it can have, I will continue to challenge it, just as I will continue challenging misrepresentations of Reiki, whether by the media or by practitioners themselves. That's not worrying about it, or fighting it -- it's just covering it.

Thanks for contributing your thoughts on this.

Rose at wrote:

Kudos Ms. Dagley on coming out, as I did, on that horrific article misrepresenting reiki. It is unfortunate that there are so many people out there practicing God knows what and giving it the term reiki, not to mention the ego driven who add this and that to make it appear they are far more knowledgeable than anyone else. It’s very hard to just practice reiki for what it is, reiki, and hear more nonsense about it than truth and fact. You Reiki Update Training Class is brilliant!

I feel that as responsible, ethical masters and practitioners it is our duty to be diligent in setting the record straight. It’s a very positive thing that the Reiki Digest has Pamela Miles on board. Keep up the great work and doing what you do.

(Thanks, Rose! Actually, Pamela isn't part of The Reiki Digest -- she's welcome to write for us, though. -- Janet)

Camelia A. Wright wrote:


This is my first time responding and contributing to an article.

Let me state immediately I am not in the least bit surprised at what is occurring. First and foremost the REIKI ENERGY is working,and it seems to me that the medical community is over re-acting.

We do not state that we cure,what we may say is that it alleviates. For me as a REIKI ENERGY practioner it helps me tremendously with arthritic aches and pain.

When the mind is calm the body follows. REIKI ASSISTS IN RELAXING THE BODY.

It is most unfortunate that it is now receiving negative press. My hope has been that we might possibly be able to help and assist some of our service people coming home with such horrific injuries and emotional upsets. It could possibly help keep them from needing to many prescription drugs. Is it possible that is the problem REIKI may help keep people from needing prescription drugs? That is a thought.


Thanks, Cam!

Another Reiki myth corrected

Did Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki from Japan to the rest of the world, teach that Reiki was an oral tradition? Did she allow students to take notes?

That story has been repeated for decades, but in the Summer 2009 issue of Reiki News Magazine, we find copies of Takata's class handouts from a 1975 first-level class in which students were allowed to take notes. Alice Picking, a student in that 1975 class, sent copies of the handout Takata gave her in that class along with her class notes and other documentation. In the same issue, there is an article by another student in that same class.

So while Takata might have changed her teaching methods later on, she did use handouts and allow note-taking at one point. 

We hope to hear from some of Takata's other students about this topic.

Reiki Update Training rescheduled for August

To accommodate students who haven't have time to send us their registration forms and certifications, we've rescheduled our Reiki Update Training for August. More details available soon.

Rest in Peace

Reiki practitioner Christine Mergozzi, 56, Cupertino, California, May 2, 2009. 

Reiki Master Linda Kaye Wandfluh, 65, Central City, Nebraska, May 16, 2009.

Reiki Master Teacher Kenneth Manley, 81, Waltham, Massachusetts, May 18, 2009

Reiki practitioner Irma Becker, 82, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, May 22, 2009. 

Reiki practitioner Blanche Crain, 76, Tucson, Arizona, May 31, 2009.

Reiki Master Claudine Vaughn Fresia, 70, Drury, Massachusetts, June 2, 2009.

Reiki Master Jane Dewey Robison, 64, Wilmette, Illinois, June 5, 2009.

Reiki practitioner Yvonne Walters, 83, Sacramento, California, June 7, 2009.

The weekly waka


Great exposed tree roots
Hold the wet trail together
As they grip the earth,
Trapping water in crannies,
Reflecting the world above.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Associated (bad) Press: Reiki makes the newswires

Do you think of Reiki as "humming and waving [your] arms as if shooing evil spirits" or "rubbing a quartz bowl with a wand"? 

I don't, and I'm a Reiki Master in three lineages. But now hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers, radio listeners and television viewers may have that unfortunate false impression, because this week the Associated Press described Reiki that way in a story that got picked up all over the place and prompted several of our readers to let us know.

The story was the first installment in a series "examining the use and potential risks" of alternative medicine," and it's clear from the introduction that this is not neutral or balanced reporting. Just look at how it's introduced:

"Ten years and $2.5 billion in research have found no cures from alternative medicine. Yet these mostly unproven treatments are now mainstream and used by more than a third of all Americans."

That is to say, let's start with an unreasonable premise -- that the only way a treatment can have any value is if it provides a cure -- and then attack natural healing modalities, which do not promise cures, for not meeting that false standard. Wow, what investigative journalism! 

Although a few local editors changed a word or two here and there, the story has remained the same everywhere it ran. Only the headlines have changed: 

And so on and so on, ad nauseum.

The report was distributed by the news service along with a file photo of two Reiki practitioners working in the trauma unit at the University of Maryland hospital, identified as being from October, 2008. We suspect it may actually be from October, 2007, when it (or a very similar photo) was used to illustrate a Baltimore Sun article headlined "From a Curiosity to a Cure" (the article is no longer available on the Sun's web site) Here's what we wrote about it at the time:

"The otherwise excellent article is not well served by the headline, "From a Curiosity to a Cure," which attributes more power to Reiki than its practitioners do -- Reiki is not a cure."

Here's how medical Reiki expert Pamela Miles addressed the issue at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium earlier this year:

"It’s a healing practice, so healing, we’re not talking about cure. We’re talking about healing. Cure requires an outside authority to let us know if that’s happening. Healing is something that we have to decide for ourselves, right? It’s not dependent on tests. It’s subjective. And it’s ongoing. . . Reiki balances people, and that can help your bodies address whatever symptoms or conditions, or support the conventional approach to cure."

One of the Reiki-endorsing medical professionals interviewed for the report even says, on camera, that "We don't tell them that it's going to cure them. . . ."

In fact, the distinguishing characteristics common to all so-called "alternative" healing modalities -- from acupuncture to Reiki to chiropractic to aromatherapy to herbal remedies to massage -- specifically rule out any mention of "cures." Ethical, law-abiding alternative, complementary, or integrative medicine practitioners do not diagnose, they do not prescribe, and they don't promise to cure anything.

And there are many medical conditions that doctors treat but cannot cure: my mother-in-law's congestive heart failure, for example. She's on a dozen prescription medications and now has a pacemaker, but nobody's claiming that any of those treatments will restore her heart to full health. Yet the Associated Press isn't investigating any of that.

A generation ago, women with breast cancer were routinely subjected to the mutilation of radical mastectomy, which was considered necessary to cure them. It didn't. Children underwent tonsillectomies and women got hysterectomies as a routine rite of passage, with the promise that they'd be healthier as a result. That practice is no longer so common. On doctors' orders, patients took prescription drugs that are now considered so dangerous they're no longer on the market -- and more likely than not, many of the drugs now being prescribed will meet the same fate. And the AP wants us to wonder whether Reiki is "safe."

For the record, Reiki is completely consistent with the Hippocratic oath: it does no harm. The news reports suggesting it might not be safe never specify what the danger might be, except the false premise that it might somehow keep someone from seeking medical care. But Reiki is not a substitute for medical care, and I've never met or heard of a Reiki practitioner who claimed it was. 

So why the attack on Reiki and other natural modalities? Having spent decades of my life as a reporter, I know that, for one thing, journalists love to play not only the skeptic, but the cynic. It makes them feel like they're better than other people, and it makes them feel more like the classic caricature of the trenchcoat-wearing, cigar-chomping, hard-bitten reporter. And they get subtle but persistent reinforcement to play that role, especially when dealing with something that competes with their advertisers. Look at the advertising in any magazine, newspaper, or television newscast: prescription drug ads are what keeps the news organizations going. There will always be more money in pills and procedures than in prevention or in natural remedies, so these investigations based on false premises help everyone in the news business feel like they're doing their jobs, without threatening (or even questioning) the hand that feeds them.

A more important question is, what can we as Reiki practitioners do about it? We need to get our story straight, and we need to be clear about what is Reiki and what isn't. Sound healing, whether with crystal bowls or other means, is a recognized modality and it may be helpful: it's just not Reiki. Some Reiki practitioners also use aromatherapy -- but aromatherapy isn't Reiki. The AP didn't force the practitioners in Baltimore to wave their arms or hum -- that's how they represented Reiki. So we have to accept our own responsibility for these unfortunate misconceptions.

Welcome, new readers!

So many new readers have subscribed to The Reiki Digest in the past few weeks that we've decided to take a moment to welcome the newcomers. Whether you're a new reader or you've been with us for years, we invite you to add your voice to our ongoing discussions by adding a comment to this or any other post on our web site, or email your thoughts on any Reiki-related topic to 

Got news about Reiki? Share it with us!

If you run across news about Reiki near you, or anywhere in the world for that matter, don't keep it to yourself: share it with our global community of readers.

Just email a link to the news items you find to -- and be sure to tell us whether or not we can credit you by name (and a link to your web site, if you have one).

And many thanks to the readers who've helped us stay informed by doing just that!


Last week's Reiki Roundup included a news item from the Wilmington (North Carolina) Star-News, but we linked to the wrong item. Here is the correct link. Apologies for any inconvenience to our readers. 

Reiki by-products: our readers respond

Last week, regular Reiki Digest contributor Beth Lowell brought up a great topic for discussion: as she put it, Reiki by-products, and what to do with them. I know it was a great topic because the first response came in less than 10 minutes after publication. 

Lori-lyn wrote:

This is so fascinating—great topic for conversation! I’m aware of things that are a part of my practice that aren’t “pure Reiki.” I do receive intuitive information via “visions” during Reiki sessions and I do, generally, share this information with my clients. The key is that they know beforehand that this may or may not happen and have consented to it. I’m always careful to tell people that it’s not a part of Reiki. (Although I have to say, Reiki III amplified my intuitive abilities significantly.) I also give readings and most people who come to me want both. I think healing and intuitive modalities blend in to one another – there’s going to be cross over and no two practitioners are going to create a practice that looks the same. I’m practicing Reiki because I’m attuned with the Reiki symbols and my training comes out of that tradition – but I’m also practicing stuff that’s not Reiki. Because of the way my practice is constructed, people who come to me also know that I do the intuitive work, so the door is open there for conversation about it. If I were giving Reiki treatments in a spa situation, I probably wouldn’t mention it.

The question about whether or not sharing this information limits healing is an interesting one.

And Andi wrote:

Although I have been attuned with Reiki I, II and III, I consider myself a neophyte. The style of Reiki I am taught is definitely not classical, although the attunement process and some of the teachings seem similar....

I say that as a preface that during my classes (I'm in the next "level" right now), my teacher will consistently share her intuitions. The first time this happened to me by her, it was odd. I'd been struggling with a particular emotion I was dealing with that didn't make sense, but once she said what she was receiving, it became very clear which allowed me to process things much more quickly and fully.

On one or two occasions, these "intuitions" have come to me, but more often than not they don't. I did share them because they were with my mother (could that have been why I received them so easily?). Since I don't practice on anyone other than myself and my family, it's hard to tell if this would become stronger.

I think you do what comes naturally and comfortably to you. And then use the information in whatever way enhances your practice. Whether it's guiding you with hand placement, discussing with your client/receiver or whatever. But I think shutting it down completely goes against the way that I was taught.

Just as everyone feels the energy in a different way, everyone receives information in different ways...

Thanks, Lori-lyn and Andi, and thanks again, Beth! 

To add your voice to this discussion, add a comment to this post on our web site, or email your thoughts to

Hello, Australia!

We didn't mean to neglect Australia in last week's Reiki Roundup --we even did a specific Google news search to look for Reiki-related items there. But one of our readers felt left out. Gweneth Baker wrote:

I enjoy reading the digest but would like to ask isn't Australia part of the world? I look forward to some info about Reiki in Australia. In fact Google news doesn't know about Australia. Even worse I live in Tasmania so I expect that's not even an option.

Love and best wishes

This week we do have one Reiki news item from Australia -- but not from Tasmania. The International House of Reiki's National Reiki Retreat starts June 13.

Gweneth, we hope you'll help keep us informed about Australian Reiki news -- if you find any, drop us an email at

Jennifer and Norman Aniston, re-Celeb-Reikies

She's been a Celeb-Reiki before, but Jennifer Aniston has earned the distinction once more by virtue of being named the celebrity respondents would most like to take care of their pets in a Pawnation poll. Aniston got 70 percent of the votes, and that makes her Reiki-aficionado dog, Norman, a re-Celeb-Reiki as well.

Update your training and pass the Reiki test!

We still have a few spaces available in our Reiki Update Training teleclass beginning June 15. The class will be five one-hour sessions at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesdays. 

Why update your Reiki training? If you were trained back in the 20th Century, or studied with a teacher who was, it's likely that some of what you learned has since been supplanted by more recently discovered information. Were you taught that Reiki founder Mikao Usui was a Christian medical doctor and university president? It turns out that wasn't the case after all. Or did you learn that Reiki was an ancient Tibetan Buddhist technique that Usui "rediscovered"? That, too, is misinformation (for one thing, Tibetan Buddhism isn't ancient).

But there's an even more important reason to update your training: to prove that you've met standards over and above you original certification. All you have to do is pass the final exam at the conclusion of the course, and you'll qualify for listing in our new directory as well as referrals from The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Dojo. And you'll get a certificate of updated training to attest to your achievement.

Updating your training will also help you better represent Reiki to your clients, students, and community. 

You'll learn ways to bring new life into your personal Reiki self-care practice, and you'll find out what makes a person a Reiki practitioner (hint: it's not the certificate).

The class will be taught by multi-certified Reiki Master Teacher Janet Dagley Dagley, editor of The Reiki Digest and founder of The Reiki Dojo in New York City. For those who are unable to participate live, recordings will be available on-demand. 

The Reiki Update Training is open to Level 2 and above in all lineages. We will need to see a copy of your certificate to enroll you. 

For more information, email or call 917-512-1330 or
toll-free: (888) 316-5853.

. . . and we're back!

If you've been trying to reach us during the past couple of weeks by phone, email, or postal mail, our apologies: we've been on vacation, and we neglected to put an "out of office" message on either phone or email. We'll get back to you soon, and thanks for your patience! If it's urgent, call us at (917) 5i2-1330 or (toll-free in the US) (888) 316-5853. We'll be back at The Reiki Dojo tomorrow (June 10) for our weekly meditation group, open to the public at 8 p.m. (admission: $15)

The weekly waka

Early start

Flash! Boom! 3 a.m.
A wake-up call from the sky
Rain pelts the windows
The day already begun
Ready or not, here it comes
(By Janet Dagley Dagley)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Reiki on the road

We've been on the road for the past week or so, traveling by car from our home in New Jersey to Tennessee, where my mother-in-law lives, and then on to Ohio to visit my mother and other family members. We had a bit more excitement than we'd expected in Tennessee when my mother-in-law had to have emergency heart surgery, so that (along with limited Internet access) forced us to delay publication of the latest edition of The Reiki Digest by a few days. I hope that wasn't an inconvenience to any of our readers, but if so, my apologies. Because of that delay and other schedule changes, The Reiki Digest will henceforth be published on Tuesdays. 

Fortunately Reiki is quite portable, and I take my personal practice with me wherever I go. I was able to give my mother-in-law a brief but very helpful treatment shortly before her surgery, my first time giving Reiki in a hospital. The result was instantaneous: she was begging for pain medication before the treatment, but as soon as the session began, her face relaxed as the pain diminished, and afterward she was able to get some much needed rest just in time for the surgery. She made it through just fine and is now recovering at home. I was reminded of something I'd heard a few months ago from medical Reiki specialist Pamela Miles: "If I can only give somebody one Reiki treatment," she said, "I’d do it before surgery." 

Here in Ohio, I've had a chance to give treatments to a couple of other family members, as well as my brother's adorable but ailing family dog. All of them seemed to appreciate and benefit from the experience. Giving Reiki to the dog was a new experience for me as well, since my only pets are fish and I'm not an animal Reiki practitioner. Offering him Reiki was as simple as extending my hand while I sat outside at the picnic table. He's having some hip problems, and as soon as I offered my hand he came over and stood with his hindquarters right under it. After a few minutes, he shifted position so that my hand touched the base of his neck, and then when he'd had enough there he moved again, and again, until he'd had enough. Before the Reiki, one of his hind legs shook when he stood on it. Afterward, the shaking stopped, and he settled under the table for a long nap. 

My portable Reiki practice also comes in handy in helping me get to sleep in unfamiliar locations, dealing with foods I'm not accustomed to, slogging through traffic jams along the way, and adapting to the schedule disruptions that are inevitable when traveling. Thinking about portability brought to mind something I heard from another of my Reiki teachers, Hyakuten Inamoto, a Buddhist monk. When people ask him if he lives in a temple, he tells them yes. "It is a portable temple," he says, indicating his own body. I'm not a Buddhist, or a monk, but I, too, live in a portable temple.

I brought the Reiki precepts along with me, also: they didn't take up any room at all in my suitcase. Even if I hadn't, however, I found some of them posted prominently along our route. 

My favorites:

(In a Holiday Inn in Virginia) "Remember that half the things we worry about never happen, and the other half are going to happen anyway, so why worry?"

(Outside a church in Tennessee) "He who angers me controls me."

By the time you receive the next edition of The Reiki Digest, we'll be back in more familiar territory. See you next Tuesday!