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Thursday, July 30, 2009

In defense of our critic: On Reiki, science, and free speech


The Reiki Digest hereby announces our official support of one of the most vocal critics of our practice: British science writer Sir Simon Singh.

Singh is an outspoken -- to say the least -- critic of all complementary and alternative healing modalities. As far as he's concerned, it's all quackery. We've reported on his criticism of Reiki a couple of times here in this publication, and we've even named him a Celeb-Reiki for the headlines he's made calling us Reiki practitioners "wacky" and even dangerous (while presenting absolutely no scientific evidence to support those claims, of course).

Last year, representatives of one the modalities he's criticized -- chiropractic -- not only returned his fire but went far beyond simple public criticism by suing Singh for libel. A year and more than £100,000 in legal expenses later, he lost the suit filed by the British Chiropractic Association and is now appealing the case. And this week, publications everywhere are republishing the article that led to the lawsuit in protest of the decision and the dangerous precedent it sets. We aren't republishing the article, "Beware the Spinal Trap," here as it has nothing specifically to do with Reiki, but we're happy to link to it so that our readers can see the evidence for themselves.

There's been quite a backlash against the BCA and against the notion that a libel suit is the appropriate way to respond to such criticism. Not only scientists, but journalists and natural health practitioners have pointed out that in order to have a healthy public debate over any subject, people must be free to express their opinions. Censorship, they say, is not the answer, and we agree emphatically.

The suit against Singh has already begun having an impact, as Australian journalist Nick Miller described earlier this month in a blog post titled "Watered down news" in The Age. He had a recent article edited by the newspaper's lawyers, who were concerned that his references to homeopathy might invite the same kind of lawsuit.

The legal action and initial ruling against Singh threaten those of us who practice Reiki and other complementary and alternative healing modalities every bit as much as it does the people who criticize us. Just as The Age did in letting the lawyers do the editing, more and more publications, organizations, and individuals will see the Singh case as a cautionary tale. As a result, they will be more likely to self-censor, even if they believe they're right, in order to avoid spending years and fortunes defending themselves from lawsuits. And that kind of fear is not conducive to productive discussion about anything.

If Singh and other critics are not allowed to speak their minds about our practice, then before you know it, we may not be able to speak freely about it, either -- not necessarily because of legislation or regulation, but simply out of self-preservation instinct.

Besides, recent experience has confirmed that criticism isn't necessarily harmful: just look at how many people have discovered Reiki in the wake of the U.S. Catholic bishops' denunciation of our practice. So go ahead, Dr. Singh: give us your best shot. Just be sure to spell the name right: R-E-I-K-I. Oh, and if the stress of dealing with all this has got you feeling a bit out of sorts, we'd be glad to cover the cost of a Reiki treatment for you.

Congrats! And congrats -- to Reiki rider Hayden Roulston!

Reiki sports report (and birth announcement)

Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, the world's best-known Reiki-practicing athlete, finished his first Tour de France last Sunday with a respectable 79th place (out of 180 who began the race). Roulston came in third in the 14th stage after leading most of the race, and he was in the lead group most of the way up the dreaded Mont Ventoux as well on the tour's penultimate stage. That's a fantastic showing for any Tour participant, not to mention a first-timer. And when you consider that it happened three years after he was forced to retire from all sports due to a heart condition, it's even more amazing. The New York Times has called the Tour de France the most physically demanding athletic event in the world, the equivalent of three Mt. Everests and 21 marathons in 24 days.

But that's NOT the best thing that happened to him this week.

The best thing that happened to Roulston this week was the birth of his first child, Moses Roulston, the day after the Tour ended, in Italy, where Roulston and his partner Ange make their home (at least for now.)

For more on Roulston's tour ride, and the family's new arrival, check out his new blog.

Brutus Redux: An animal Reiki story

By Beth Lowell

One of my favorite animal Reiki stories was one that I shared in the Animal Reiki Source newsletter two years ago.

I had gone through a rough patch with a dog-walking client, Brutus, who out of the blue bared his teeth at me when I tried to put on his head halter before going on our walk.

This surprise came at a hectic time. I was in the midst of the summer rush, feeling over-extended and under pressure. I became unnerved by this unusual display and I had sort of a meltdown, which resulted in a full-blown panic attack. Brutus had always been one of my favorite dogs, but now even just the sight of him terrified me. I imagined him lunging at me and tearing off my face. Though I understood that this was an irrational thought, and that his body language was not communicating anything other than confusion over my sudden fearful behavior, I couldn’t get a grip. I knew there was only one thing to do, and that was to offer Reiki.

But now, not only did I have the embarrassment of explaining to Brutus’ human parents, Jennifer and Eric, that I had a panic attack while trying to take their dog for a walk, but I also had to explain what Reiki was and tell them that I needed to use it to try to resolve the problem. This was not the way I’d envisioned beginning my animal Reiki career.

Jennifer was open-minded when I told her about Reiki, (as it turned out her mother had heard about it while she was receiving cancer treatments in the hospital) and I returned the following week to offer it to Brutus from the deck outside. I was still not confident, but with the help of Reiki, I found the inspiration from within to get into the house the next time without being overcome by terror, and offered Brutus hands-on Reiki. Jennifer watched in amazement as he lay down, more quiet and relaxed than she had ever seen him. I often return to this story’s happy ending because it had such an impact on me.

I continued to offer Brutus Reiki every Friday morning through the fall along with resuming our walks together. Brutus and I were better friends than ever – so much so that as time passed, I started to have a nagging feeling that maybe I had imagined the whole thing. On one hand, I knew I’d seen his teeth, but on the other, I wondered if in my stressed state I had somehow conjured the whole thing up in my mind.

Last Wednesday, I arrived at Brutus’ house to go for our walk. It was just mid summer. I was supposed to see him at noon and dinnertime for two days in a row. When he bared his teeth at me this time, I realized that this was the exact same time of year and schedule we had been following two years ago when it first happened. This time, though, when I saw those very large white teeth, I didn’t come unglued. I heeded the warning and dropped the head halter. I offered him my hands, which I admit I had not done lately with him. My distraction this year has come from not from too much work, but too little.

Brutus enjoyed his Reiki treatment and I could feel within me how far I had come since our misunderstanding two years ago. Then I put on his head halter, grateful for Brutus’ reminder about the importance of daily practice, and off we went for our walk. This is one of my new favorite animal Reiki stories.

If you’d like to read the story as it originally appeared, click here.

New Jersey-based Animal Reiki practitioner Beth Lowell is a frequent contributor to The Reiki Digest.

The Reiki Roundup

Johannesburg, South Africa: Johannesburg Orchestra Company CEO Laurie Wapenaar, a Reiki practitioner, discusses the health benefits of playing music with BusinessDay.

Santa Barbara, California: Massage therapist and Reiki practitioner Kathy Gruver helps office workers deal with stress and avoid injuries.

From our readers

A.V. Rajan wrote:

Dear Sir,

I am a Reiki healer from Mumbai,India. Sometimes we have to make our activity interesting, because it becomes monotonous type of work.

I am planning a make to small booklet, where each Reiki healing centre will present at least Two cases sucessful healing through healing.

I request you to give Two such cases of patients healed through Reiki.This is of my own interest to keep record of such things, it helps us sometimes.

Thanks and best Regards,
A.V. Rajan

Thanks for your letter, A.V. While we all want to be careful not to make any irresponsible claims about cures, we look forward to seeing your collection of cases. Readers, since A.V. didn't give us permission to publish his/her email address, if you'd like to contribute to A.V.'s booklet, add a comment to this post on our web site or email your case reports to editor @

Jackie Rose wrote:


Thought you'd like to see this article. Some scientists in Japan are proving that Humans Glow, something we as Reiki Practictioners are aware of, the energy glow of "us humans".


Jackie Rose

Thanks, Jackie! And we note that the article was published in a scientific journal, no less!

Vanessa Calderon, RN, wrote:

I am writing to share a special moment with you, a moment that I experienced today courtesy of my beautiful little three-year-old, Katie... This warmed my heart so much and I think it might warm your heart as well...

Today I passed Reiki to Katie. As I held up my hands and she played in the water, she went about her business as usual. Then I asked her, "Kate, do you feel the Reiki?" She looked at both of my hands and chirped, "Yeah!"

Then I asked her, "What does the Reiki feel like?"

She looked at my hands again, first one and then the other, she smiled, and then looked into my eyes and said in the sweetest little voice, (almost in a tone that said, "well, of course...") ..."Reiki feels like Love."

Out of the mouths of babes.


Thanks, Vanessa! What a lovely story!

To join our ongoing discussion or to comment on any Reiki-related subject, add a comment to this or any other post on our web site, or email editor @ We look forward to hearing from you, as does our global Reiki community.

Reiki Update Training teleclass begins Sept. 8

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.

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.

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 editor @ or call 917-512-1330 or
toll-free (in the USA): (888) 316-5853.

Early bird discount: Complete your registration by August 15 and save $20!

Spaces are limited.

The weekly waka

trees start dropping leaves
and July, just half over –
night comes creeping in
cicadas raise their voices
fireflies blink and disappear

(Waka wanted: If you'd like to contribute a waka to our regular series, check out these guidelines, write your waka, and email it to editor @

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roulston (and Reiki) make headlines worldwide with Tour de France success

Reiki has made far more headlines than usual this past week, thanks to the success of first-time Tour de France rider and Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston of New Zealand.

Roulston placed third in Stage 14 of the grueling three-week race, after breaking out of the peleton and leading most of the way, winning two intermediate sprints in the process. And in pulling out of the pack, Roulston brought world media attention not only to himself and his team, but to Reiki as well.

Here's Roulston in the lead during Stage 14:

(snapshot of television image from Versus HD)

The Reiki Digest has been following this story for three years now (click here to see all our posts on the subject), but for those just joining us, Roulston was forced to retire from cycling and all other sports in 2006 at age 25 after he was diagnosed with an incurable, life-threatening heart condition. But with the help of Reiki, he recovered and came back to even greater success. Now he's not only surviving but excelling in what many call the world's most physically demanding sporting event, competing against another headline-making comeback specialist: Lance Armstrong.

Just a sampling of the coverage he's received in the past few days:

Agence France-Presse: Alternative Therapy Sets Cyclist Back on Tour Track

Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and elsewhere: Healthy Route Back a Winner for Cyclist Roulston

Here he is being interviewed for New Zealand television, (or you can read about it here). He didn't mention Reiki in that interview, but when he won Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Olympics, he made a point of crediting Reiki with not only his recovery, not only his sports success, but turning his life around. (Video of that interview available here.)

All that publicity means that Roulston is not only a Celeb-Reiki yet again, he was also the subject of this week's Reiki Roundup because most of the news about Reiki worldwide was about him.

In his interviews in recent weeks, Roulston revealed that when he was examined for the Tour of California earlier this year, doctors confirmed that his heart is now healthy. ""It's like a second life and I have got my dream back as a cyclist," he told Agence France-Presse.

Roulston got so much out of receiving Reiki that he went on to study it himself. Now, especially after his success in the past few days, he is currently the world's most high-profile Reiki-practicing athlete. How wonderful that he doesn't seem the least bit shy about discussing Reiki.

We understand that some of our readers may not be interested in cycling, or sports in general, but Roulston's success has enormous implications for Reiki practitioners everywhere, so even if you're not at all interested in sports, keep reading, at least until you get to the paragraph in bold type. To help us understand that impact, we're fortunate to have a new commentator who is an avid fan of both cycling and Reiki: Jeremy Allen of Toronto, Canada, whose wife, Julia, is a Reiki practitioner. "I myself do not race but ride and have been an avid cycling fan for many years now. I'm very pleased that Reiki has offered Hayden the opportunity to continue his career and be part of such a magnificent team," Jeremy says. "I believe a good place to start would be to relate the physical and mental demands of such an intense race at the top level of the sport. Additionally, it would be helpful to understand the logistics of a team framework - aside from riders and managers - what is necessary to participate in such an event. Soigneurs are team support staff who provide the team with all of their daily needs such as food, transportation, medical attention and of course, massage.

"As a rider in the Tour, selection for your team implies you have a remarkable capacity of endurance and fortitude. To merely be selected to participate is an honour and to finish the race in Paris is a monumental accomplishment. Hayden's number is 9, which suggests he was the last domestique to be selected for the team, yet his presence is crucial to the success of the team and their leaders.

"A domestique's duty is to collect sustenance from the team car, then catch up to their team mates to distribute food and drink. Anyone who believes this is a subservient or demeaning role might want to consider what exertion must be produced to fall back, add weight to your body, then speed ahead to the world's most demanding athletes over a three week period in the sport's most prestigious race. Arguably the greatest cyclist who ever lived - Eddy Merckx, was so powerful and aggressive, that his domestiques burned out in a matter of 2 seasons and could not continue their careers.

"As you may have noticed, Hayden Roulston was in another breakaway on Tuesday and has displayed potency as time progresses. Part of this has to do with evolving team tactics and the fact that his team leader has adjusted his objectives, thereby leaving domestiques such as Hayden to ride ahead and hunt a stage win, or be ahead on the road to support [defending Tour de France winner] Carlos Sastre at a more demanding point in the day's stage.

"Hayden Roulston is primarily a sprinter and was likely selected for the Tour team to support their premiere sprinter, Norwegian Thor Hushovd. Hushovd won stage 6 in Barcelona and is currently the leader in the points (sprint) competition, which is denoted by a special green jersey. Typically the lead team sprinter (Hushovd) is led by other powerful team mates like Hayden, who create a wind barrier and high pace in the final kilometers so that the lead sprinter has enough energy for an intense effort near the finish line.

"Finally I'd also like to relate the magnitude of the Tour de France.It has a long and prestigious heritage steeped in legend and history. Le Tour was founded as a publicity stunt in 1903 in order to boost newspaper sales. As you may have noticed, the tradition continues. It is broadcast in 16 languages and is represented by a truly international field of competitors, media outlets and sponsors.

"I've become a firm believer in the benefits of Reiki," Jeremy says. "I feel thankful to have a wife who has discovered its wonder and am grateful that she has become part of an insightful and relevant community. I hope you will consider networking with soigneur services and spread the benefits of Reiki further into the sporting endeavour I love so much."

Thanks, Jeremy!

But what are soigneur services, and why are they important to Reiki practitioners?

Jeremy explains: "A soigneur (a French word) is a team support member who provides treatment and care for an individual. Cyclists often produce tremendous amounts of lactic acid and require daily massage to revitalize their muscles." To understand more about what soigneurs do, check out this brief video report from The Guardian (UK). You can also see some soigneurs, as well as Roulston and his teammates in this Washington Post photo feature, Behind the Scenes of the Tour de France.

Once I understood what Jeremy was talking about, the light bulbs started going on in my head. I may never be able to ride in the Tour de France or any other race, but considering how much Reiki has helped Roulston, there may be other riders, as well as athletes in other sports, who could benefit from Reiki treatments after an event just as they do from massage. Or even before -- or during -- an event. After all, if a cyclist can pull up alongside the team car and get a little work done on his brakes, or a spritz of antiseptic on a cut in the heat of a race, why couldn't he get a little Reiki the same way?

Jeremy suggests that Reiki practitioners might want to contact our local, state or national cycling organizations to see if they might be interested in our services, especially now that Roulston's Reiki story has made all those headlines. Great idea, Jeremy!

One practitioner who might be interested in providing some soigneur services is Pamela Miles, author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide. In a recent post headlined "Tour de Reiki," Pamela mentioned Roulston's story and confessed that she dreams of becoming the Reiki master for the New York Yankees -- or "even the Mets." Roulston has achieved his dream, and I hope Pamela does as well.

We'll be trying to get an interview with Roulston himself once he finishes the three-week Tour and another important event expected a few days after the finish: the birth of his first child. Meanwhile, we'd love to hear from Reiki practitioners who work with athletes -- as well as athletes who practice Reiki. Tell us about your sports Reiki experiences by clicking on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email them to

Please note: While Reiki can be helpful with many conditions and situations, it is not a substitute for medical care.

Our readers comment on Reiki for dementia patients

Last week we told you about an encouraging report on Reiki for dementia patients, and this week, we hear from our readers on the subject.

Joan Learmann wrote:

I worked in lockdown dementia units in Florida for seven years and used Reiki on a daily basis. I have had nurses witness behavior changes, physical changes and it allowed a male resident with "sun-downers" who walked up to eighteen miles per day get a good nights rest. Although this man did not communicate verbally he would physically try to push the energy away with his hands as so he would beable to continue his walking. Not only did it help residents, it was common to have requests for Reiki from the staff including administrators down to the CNA's [certified nursing assistants].

Thanks, Joan.

And nurse Lilia V. Marquez wrote:

I agree that scientific studies are needed to prove that Reiki works for those who are skeptical about the beneficial effects of Reiki.

Thanks, Lilia.

We hope more studies will be done with larger groups of test subjects so that the results will be considered more scientific than anecdotal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

In this week's issue. . .

This week we'll have more on Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston's impressive performance so far in his first Tour de France, and what his success might mean for Reiki practitioners -- and athletes -- all over the world.

Plus: Answers from our readers about Reiki for dementia patients, the Weekly Waka, and more.

Look for it here, and in your inbox (if you're a subscriber) on Thursday.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The weekly waka


The prime of one's life
Seems to stretch out lazily
Like a panting dog
On a summer afternoon;
Autumn winds blow all too soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Breaking (away) news: Reiki practitioner Roulston places third, wins two sprints in Tour de France Stage 14!

Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, perhaps the world's most high-profile Reiki-practicing athlete, has just won the second intermediate sprint in Stage 14 of the Tour de France! He's been in the lead group for most of the race, so we may have more good news to report later in the day. Congratulations, Hayden! Allez-allez-allez!

Update: Roulston won the third intermediate sprint as well, and he came in third place for the stage overall!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reiki for dementia patients: case studies encouraging, more research needed

Elderly dementia patients experienced less anxiety and pain after receiving Reiki treatments, according to a series of case reports just published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. There were only six patients involved in the research, so the results don't involve enough people to be considered statistically significant, but the findings may lead to larger studies.

Reiki Master Pamela Miles, who is on the editorial board of Alternative Therapies, said that,
"It's not really a study; it's a series of documented case reports with some statistical analysis of the data collected, but the stats are not meaningful because of the very small number. The 'study' is descriptive and anecdotal and although the data are encouraging, it shouldn't be cited as proving anything." Miles has arranged to make the article available on her web site, where she has a growing collection of medical papers about Reiki.

The research was conducted by Reiki Master Teacher Beverly Meland at an adult day care facility in Skokie, Illinois.

In addition to the effects on the patients, the article states that staff members were secondary beneficiaries because patients were more relaxed, more social, and more willing to participate in group activities, and caregivers "found their loved ones less anxious, less depressed, and less irritable."

Reiki rider briefly leads pack in Tour de France Stage 11

Reiki moves to the front:

Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston in the peloton (he's number 9 there in white). . .

and in the lead. . .

(screen shots from Versus HD TV)

The Tour de France is now going into Stage 13, and for most of the time since the world's most grueling sporting event began July 4, Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston of New Zealand has been riding amid the crowded peloton, or on mountain stages, the grupetto trailing the peloton. He's now in 89th place out of 166 riders still on the tour, and rather than trying to win any stages himself, Roulston has concentrated on being helpful to his Cervelo teammates. But yesterday, as he was pushing forward to make way for his teammate Thor Hushovd (wearing the green jersey as leader in overall points), Roulston made it all the way to the front of the pack and stayed there for about half a kilometer. Unfortunately Hushovd got caught in traffic and wasn't able to take advantage of Roulston's slipstream, but Roulston got mentioned by name by the commentators on Versus HD's coverage. Roulston also made news when he weighed in against the tour's experimental radio-free days, and Cycling News featured a photo of his custom-made Australian shoes. He even got interviewed by Agence-France Press about what he eats on the tour. After a couple of pleasant days cycling past chateaux and sunflower fields, the riders will make their way back into the mountains, going on through the Alps and eventually into Paris.

It's our rookie season covering the event (via cable TV), and we've made some rookie mistakes. since last week's report we've learned that the yellow jersey is for the overall lead, not the stage win as we wrote last week. We also want to correct an incomplete sentence from last week's article: Wheels did exist in Japan before the 1850s, but their use was prohibited for all but the ruling class.

For those just joining our coverage, Roulston was forced to retire from cycling in 2006 after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, but after he discovered Reiki he was able to return to the sport. He won Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Reiki Roundup

Time again for another Reiki Roundup:

Milton Keynes, United Kingdom: Regular readers may recall that a year ago, we told you about an ailing oak tree that sprouted some new leaves after a Reiki treatment. We haven't found any news about it online since then, but we noticed that it recently got its own Facebook page, so we assume it has continued to recover. If you're in that area, please check it out and let us know.

Ireland (nationwide): Retreat centers offering Reiki and other natural healing modalities are becoming increasingly popular all over the Emerald Isle, The Independent reports.

Lincolnshire, United Kingdom: A singer who has been hiccupping for more than two years and has tried everything, including Reiki, to stop has finally been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Northamptonshire, United Kingdom: Under the heartbreaking headline, "Who should we save first?" The Daily Mail tells us about two young cousins with neuroblastoma and the people trying desperately to raise the money to get them the experimental treatment that might save their lives. Meanwhile, one of the young cousins gets regular Reiki treatments to help her deal with the painful symptoms.

Poynton, United Kingdom: They're calling her "Miracle mum" because she's made it through 18 years even though she's been given six months to live (twice) by doctors and last rites seven times. She's been a day patient at the local hospice for years, and Reiki is one of the services she gets there.

Lafayette, Louisiana: A cancer survivor, Reiki master and traiteur who went into healing work at the suggestion of a Reiki-practicing nun suggests that Reiki, Healing Touch, and the traditional Cajun folk healing tradition of traiteurs (who use Catholic prayers in their work) aren't all that different from each other.

Tucson, Arizona: Integrative medicine advocate Dr. Andrew Weil has been recommending Reiki for years, and this week he recommends it again in his regular "Ask Dr. Weil" column. In this case, he recommends it as a post-surgery treatment. "Scientific evidence for the effectiveness of these methods is contradictory, but the techniques are gentle and harmless and, in my experience, can be a powerful way to enhance the healing process," Dr. Weil says.

Ft. Wayne, Indiana: A local newspaper series on complementary and alternative medicine includes a feature on how Reiki and massage help cancer patients deal with the side effects of chemotherapy as well as fear.

Rockford, Illinois: A health-care administrator who once scoffed at Reiki decided to become more open-minded "when she heard what patients said after they had received the treatments," GateHouse News Service reports. Now she makes Reiki available to patients at SwedishAmerican Hospital’s Holistic Health Services.

Our readers comment on 'sending' Reiki to a list

Last week, frequent contributor Beth Lowell asked about 'sending' Reiki to a list, and quite a few readers responded.

Jeremy wrote:

I have come to realize that it is your intention from the heart that will help guide and facilitate Reiki. When you pray, you may pray for a situation, person, animal, etc, and you blindly trust it. Reiki is no different.

Thanks, Jeremy.

John wrote:

I think part of the confusion involves the concept of "sending" Reiki as opposed to "offering" it. The word "sending" implies that we can actively influence where Reiki goes and what it does when it gets there. That, of course, is counter to the basic tenet of Reiki which is to simply allow it to flow and trust that it will serve the highest good.

Many healers, not just Reiki practitioners, are under the misguided impression that they can in fact heal another. If that were true, we could simply go around "zapping" beings with Reiki and causing them to heal. The reality is that we can offer healing and perhaps facilitate healing, but it cannot happen without the consent of the recipient.

We are not responsible for the healing (or lack thereof) of anyone else. Even if we could assume that responsibility, I don't know that any sane person would want to! The only being over which we have any control is our own.

If we offer healing and healing happens, we can be joyful for that, but we can't take credit or responsibility for it. The universe (or Reiki, if you prefer) brought us together with the recipient at a time when the recipient was ready for the healing we could offer.

By the same token, the universe brings us together with those who don't heal because they're not ready for it. We learn from these that it's not our fault or responsibility that they don't heal. I think of it as Reiki's way of keeping us humble. :-)

The point is that the only thing we can do is to offer Reiki and trust it. We're taught from the beginning that Reiki always heals on some level and not to expect physical healing in all cases. I think it takes most of us a long time to fully accept that because we really want to be agents of healing which is why we got involved with Reiki in the first place.

Thanks, John.

And Beth responded:

Trust and intent are fine, but no one really talks about personal practice. I think Reiki is more than stating an intention trusting that Reiki will do the job. To do a distant treatment, I think, one needs to establish a meaningful connection with the recipient. I think it takes a lot of practice to be able to do a distant treatment, and to encourage newbies to just set their intent and let Reiki figure out the list is kind of negligent.

Of course people want to good. Many of them are so anxious to do good that they can hardly wait to receive that coveted level 2 attunement. Often, they’re told the attunement is not what matters; rather it is the intent that counts. So why not go ahead and send Reiki anyway?

Well I agree that attunements are not what matter because I daresay that many people who receive the level 2 attunement really can’t do an effective distant treatment despite their best intentions. They have simply not had the experience of enough practice. I can safely say that I was one of those people.

I understand the importance of language when talking about Reiki. I know we really don’t “send” anything, however I chose that language specifically because it’s the lingo of the group. People ask other practitioners to send Reiki, and when the practitioners have done so, they acknowledge that Reiki has been sent. But lets change the language. Assuming we know it’s an offering, let’s say we are going to do a distant treatment.

When I offer to do a distant treatment for someone, I need to establish that connection. I know that for myself it’s not possible to make a connection with someone who remains a nameless, faceless entity on some Internet list. In fact, I no longer offer distant treatments for those I do not know. I don’t think we can just set an intention and let Reiki do all the work. I think personal practice is what counts, only part of which is setting an intention.

It’s for these reasons that I don’t think I’ll ever send Reiki to, offer Reiki to or do a distant Reiki treatment for a “list.”

Thanks, Beth, and thanks for the question that started the discussion.

An anonymous reader wrote:

I have a pine needle basket that I have made and imbued with Reiki. I put
all the people and circumstances that I want to send Reiki to and hold the
basket in my hands and send Reiki to everyone at once.

Thanks, anonymous.

And Kelley Brown wrote:

Hi Beth:

Several month's ago I joined an online Reiki group. I became overwhelmed by the number of requests for Reiki and started experimenting with different ways of sending it to multiple people. Most of the time I do not know who these people are and often don't even know what they are needing the Reiki for. I started writing their names down on a list and putting my hands over the names and asking the Reiki to go to these people where it was needed. I feel that it works and have gotten feedback from the people I know who's names I have put on the list and it has been positive.

Hope this helps.

Thanks, Kelley.

If you'd like to join this discussion, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email your comments to

'The Energetic Blessings of Reiki' July 30 at East West Books in NYC

If you're in the New York City area, we invite you to drop by East West Books on July 30 for a free cafe talk by Reiki Digest editor Janet Dagley Dagley and JeMaja Selas on 'The Energetic Blessings of Reiki.' We look forward to seeing you there!

The weekly waka


It does not matter
That athletes should spend their lives
Seeking perfection,
Striving to become the best,
Yet failing ever to win.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In this week's issue. . .

In this week's edition of The Reiki Digest, we'll update you on Kiwi Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston's rookie ride in the Tour de France. And we'll tell you about a just-published study on Reiki for elderly dementia patients. Plus a great big Reiki Roundup, the Celeb-Reiki Report, and an upcoming public appearance by our editor. If you're a subscriber, watch for it in your inbox tomorrow. And if you're not a subscriber, why not? It's free -- just click here to sign up today.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Reiki on wheels!

Reiki practitioner competes in 2009 Tour de France

The Cervelo Test Team speeds through the French countryside in the 2009 Tour de France team time trials. One team member, Olympic medalist Hayden Roulston, is a Reiki practitioner.

"You're always afraid you're going to fall off" -- Lance Armstrong

It's time once again for another Reiki sports report. We'd be the first to admit that our sports coverage is sporadic and hardly comprehensive, because we only turn our attention to sporting news when it involves Reiki. We've been following the story of cyclist Hayden Roulston of New Zealand for years now, because he discovered Reiki about the time this publication began back in 2006.

Roulston, now 28, was forced to retire from the sport three years ago due to a rare, life-threatening heart condition that can be particularly lethal to young athletes. Shortly after he gave up his career, however, he discovered Reiki, and he now credits it with helping him recover as well as turning his life around. "Reiki is the the be-all and end-all for me ... it's pretty amazing stuff," he told a reporter last year as he headed for the Beijing Olympics. (Disclaimer: while Reiki has apparently helped Roulston, Reiki is not a substitute for professional medical care and responsible Reiki practitioners make no claims that it can cure anything.) 

He won Silver and Bronze medals in the 2008 Olympics, and after a stopover back home in New Zealand (where airline employees greeted him in the traditional Maori manner by performing a haka), Roulston traveled on to Europe to join the Cervelo Test Team. He's now riding with them in the 2009 Tour de France -- his first time on the tour.

Since the tour is being shown on television here, we've finally had a chance to watch Roulston in action. He finished the first stage in 111th place, a performance he found less than satisfactory. But he began moving up in the standings and is now in 41st place -- with most of France as well as parts of Spain and Andorra to go over the next few weeks. 

Although the staff of The Reiki Digest does know how to ride a bicycle in a more leisurely manner, we didn't know much about competitive cycling before this week, except that Lance Armstrong had a habit of winning the Tour de France, and that the winner of each stage gets to wear the coveted yellow jersey on the next stage. So we've had a crash course in cycling-watching over the past few days, and since it was Reiki that got us interested in the sport, we've also been thinking of how Reiki might be helpful not only to cyclists with heart conditions, but anyone working toward a goal, especially in competitive circumstances. Or in other words: any of us dealing with plain old everyday life, whether or not we're on wheels.

Speaking of wheels, we all know that bicycles have two of them, plus a bunch of other wheels (gears) that allow the cyclist to control those wheels. And a wheel may seem like the most ordinary of things -- until we remember that until about the time Usui was born in 1865, wheels were not common in Japan. Travel was allowed only by foot, horseback, or palanquin. So our lesson from that simple fact is that even if something is so ubiquitous it might seem like part of the background, we can't take it for granted.

Bicycle riding, professional or not, requires two important things: balance, and forward motion. That's not just our observation, it's Albert Einstein's: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Riders race in teams in the Tour de France, so even as individuals compete, they also have to function as part of a community. And the larger community made up of all those teams requires cooperation as well, because for most of every stage of every race, all but a few riders are all together in that large pack called the peloton, like birds flying in formation. They have to cooperate or they would all crash in a heap -- and some of them do crash in a heap anyway, which is one of the biggest dangers of the sport. We've seen a few relatively minor crashes so far, and heard from the commentators that riders are taught to keep going and looking forward (NOT down!) when another cyclist falls, lest they get drawn into the crash themselves.

The Tour de France lasts 21 days, and while there can be only one overall winner, there are many other victories. As they strive toward the big goal, the riders must remain in the moment. Today the winner of the fifth stage doesn't appear to have a chance of winning the Tour itself, but he got to stand on a podium and be recognized, and tomorrow he'll wear the yellow jersey as a reward. Most riders spend their whole careers just hoping to win one stage sometime, and even then they focus more on helping their teammates (as any coach can tell you, there is no "I" in teamwork). And most of the participants never make it to the winners' podium even once, but they feel lucky just to be in the race.

The Cervelo team is led by last year's Tour de France winner, Carlos Sastre, who may have learned some of the Reiki precepts from Roulston, as he told reporters the team would be taking a "happy, relaxed approach" to the race. We love the headline on that story: "Sastre Mellow about the Yellow."

And as if we needed any reminders about the importance of daily personal practice, these pro cyclists demonstrate that, too. They ride on stationary bikes for hours to warm up for riding on the road -- they even keep pedaling while being interviewed. We imagine that Roulston is keeping up with his personal Reiki practice, too. Sure, we've all heard the old saying that once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget how, and that's true of Reiki to some extent as well. But without practice, riding a bike can get pretty wobbly, and so can our Reiki practice. 

Someday, we hope to talk with Roulston about Reiki, but for now, we'll keep following his progress on the Tour de France. 

How smart is Reiki?

Regular contributor Beth Lowell has another question for the global Reiki community:

How smart is Reiki?

I’ve been taught since the start of my training that Reiki has its own wisdom. We can’t direct it, and shouldn’t try. I’ve been thinking about how much faith we put in Reiki and wondering what the line is between letting Reiki do the work and personal responsibility.

Reiki practitioners gather from around the world in cyberspace to talk about Reiki, share stories, and to respond to requests. One thing that I’ve not embraced is the concept of “sending Reiki to the list.” Practitioners in an online forum explained to newcomers wondering who had time to do distant Reiki treatments for so many requests, that of course, few people would realistically have the time to spend on each. The solution was to send Reiki to the list. Reiki would figure it out.

It didn’t sit well with me. Of course, then I got thinking. If I happened on an accident on the highway and wanted to do a distant treatment for whomever was involved, even if I could not see them, or even know how many people were involved, what exactly made that different from sending Reiki to a list?

Is it the same? Do you send Reiki to a list?

To respond to Beth's question, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email

Stay tuned...

Having some trouble with our Internet connection today -- this week's edition of The Reiki Digest will be published as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and apologies for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The weekly waka


Playful summer breeze
Dances in through the window
Tickling the curtain
Carrying distant laughter
And music into our dreams
By Janet Dagley Dagley

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reiki mentioned in New York Times: 'US Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny'

It's in the last few paragraphs: