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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yale research shows that Reiki helps heart attack patients

editor's note: This article originally appeared on Pamela Miles' blog, Reiki Central, On September 18, 2010. We are re-publishing it here with Pamela Miles' permission.

Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome. Rachel S.C. Friedman, Matthew M. Burg, Pamela Miles, Forrester Lee, and Rachel Lampert J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2010;56;995-996.

In the above study, published in one of the most prestitigious peer-reviewed conventional medical journals, patients who received a 20-minute Reiki treatment within three days after suffering a heart attack showed improved mood and heart rate variability (HRV). Let’s take a look at what this means in nontechnical language.

Reiki treatment given in an acute cardiac care setting significantly improved mood and HRV within 72 hours after a heart attack.

A heart attack is a stressful event which, like other stressful events, also causes a stress response. A stressed body is less resilient, less able to cope with more stress. This means a patient who has just had a heart attack has a higher risk of having another one. Doctors are well aware of this dangerous cycle, and helping the body recover its resilience is a primary goal in cardiac care.

That’s why standard hospital care after a heart attack includes beta blockers, drugs that help the body recover its resilience. But beta blockers work slowly, and some patients cannot tolerate them.

The Yale researchers wondered if a non-pharmacologic intervention might be just as effective, work faster, safe for all patients–and even help patients feel better?

In the high-tech acute cardiac care setting, why would doctors be interested in patients feeling better? Because subjectively feeling better is known to have objective effects on health. It is well documented that emotional stress negatively affects autonomic nervous system (ANS) function, and therefore heart disease (ANS controls heart rate).

This randomized, controlled study looked at non-invasive, nondrug interventions to help patients recover faster from a heart attack. The study had three arms:

Group 1 (12 patients) rested quietly without interruption.

Group 2 (13 patients) listened to slow tempo, meditative, classical music.

Group 3 (12 patients) received 20-minute Reiki treatment from Reiki-trained staff nurses.

Patients were measured initially for baseline, and again after the intervention, and the two sets of measurements were compared. The measurements from all groups were then compared to the others.

The impact of the intervention (rest, music, or Reiki) was measured in two ways, emotional state and heart rate variability (HRV), a physiologic measure that indicates if the patient’s body is recovering from the stress response.

The patients rated themselves on both positive states (happy, relaxed, calm) and negative states (stressed, angry, sad, frustrated, worried, scared, anxious).

Reiki treatment improved all positive emotional states and reduced all negative states. Comparing the three groups, the Reiki group had the most positive changes in emotional state, and the resting control had the least.

Reiki treatment also improved HRV. The benefit shown was comparable to that seen in a study of beta blockers.

Additionally, the study showed that Reiki treatment can be offered in an acute-care setting. This is important. Sometimes interventions are found to be helpful but they are not feasible in a real life care setting. None of the patients experienced any adverse events.

In this study, Reiki treatment significantly improved mood and HRV compared to the resting and music control conditions. Many questions remain unanswered, such as how long does the benefit of a Reiki treatment last?

Much more research is needed. But this is a good start.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The weekly waka

Sleepy, the sun
struggles up the sky
the screech owl is trilling
and sorrow fills my heart

by beth lowell

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Your Reiki rooms - and the winner is....

Annette's Reiki room
Annette Kohn-Lau!  Congratulations, Annette!  ...and thanks to all who entered and voted. The choice wasn't an easy one. All of the rooms were wonderful and reflected the love and care that went into creating them. The Reiki room feature will be ongoing here at The Reiki Digest, so if you missed the chance to enter your room in the contest, you can still share it with your fellow Reiki practitioners from around the world.

To submit your Reiki room, the place where you practice Reiki or do Reiki meditations, whether its professional or personal, part time or shared, attach a photo of it to an email and send it to

Monday, September 27, 2010

Personal practice poll results!

On August 23 we asked readers to respond to a poll that asked which aspect of personal practice you felt was most important. The results are in!

56% responded that hands-on treatment is most important, while precepts and meditations followed, each with 22% of the vote.

Thanks and stay tuned for our next poll!

Personal practice Monday: Just a second!

By Beth Lowell, Senior Editor

Everything can change in an instant. Accidents happen, babies are born and people die. Some translations of the precepts begin with the words, “just for today”, but in reality, we have an opportunity to change our reality from within each and every second. A bad start in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. Or not. So just for this day, this hour, this minute, this second:

Do not anger
Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be kind to every living thing.

To submit an article about personal practice, please send it in an email to and include the words "personal practice" in the subject line.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday: Part two of a series - Common Sense, Animal Sense, Reiki Sense

By Beth Lowell, Senior Editor

Editor's note: If you missed part one of this series and want to read it, click here.

Expectations, Reiki’s effectiveness on animal issues, and when not to anthropomorphize

Releasing Expectations for Outcomes

It’s human nature for animal lovers to want to do all we can for animals. We as caretakers rightly or wrongly often assume responsibility for every aspect of the lives of creatures, whether they are pets, livestock, or wildlife. Sometimes, our efforts to do the right thing by animals end in disaster, not because of our own bad intentions, but because of a misunderstanding of what animals really need. Only recently have studies taken into account not only the effect of an animal’s happiness on his or her health, but also what it is that animals really need to be happy.

Because of the differences between us, humans can tend to think of animals as we would babies, creatures that live in a kind of Neverland, who surprise us when they grow up, and grow old, and eventually die, long before it seems they should. We so fiercely want to protect them that during a Reiki treatment we may find ourselves subconsciously rooting for an outcome, because, we’re human, and we want to fix everything, especially when we feel most helpless. And our helplessness can be compounded by the fact that we are so different from animals. We can’t talk to them in the same language in which we talk to other humans. We can’t ask them what’s wrong or where it hurts.

 Releasing expectations for an outcome of any Reiki treatment, including acceptance of a treatment, period, is of the utmost importance. This holds true for animals as well as humans. If we are too attached to an outcome, then we can’t really offer Reiki honestly. We are not all-knowing. We can’t answer for the wants and needs of another individual.

Animals, like people, are complex. Just because they soak up Reiki one day doesn’t mean that they will the next (although in my experience, many do). And if they refuse a treatment the first time, it doesn’t mean that they will never accept one. Being open minded and flexible helps you overcome negative feelings that may come up if an animal is uninterested in a Reiki treatment. And while Reiki can do no harm, a Reiki practitioner can do damage to an animal’s trust in human beings by trying to restrain him or force him into a situation in which he is uncomfortable.

Will Reiki help…..

Animal behavior can be puzzling. A dog might be loving to family members and other dogs at the park when playing, but “suddenly turns vicious” when approaching dogs or humans while on leash. The previously happy pair of pets in a household starts fighting out of the blue. The family cat may be perfectly well adjusted, until the pet sitter comes, and she suddenly starts to refuse her favorite food. After years of health, the ferret develops a case of inflammatory bowel disease. Sometimes training can help. Sometimes veterinary intervention can help. But what about Reiki?

Sometimes people, even Reiki practitioners, wonder if Reiki can possibly help what their animals are going through. Reiki is a safe, natural method. It addresses matters of the physical body, the mind and spirit. That’s what you tell your human friends and clients, right? There’s no difference when it comes to animals. As long as the animal agrees to a Reiki treatment, it can be beneficial through every life stage, from delivery to the spay/neuter process (before and after to help the body better prepare for and recover from this or any other surgery), during training, rebellious adolescence, the mysterious cropping up of troublesome behaviors and health issues throughout life, and even at end of life, often allowing an animal to die without veterinary intervention. Will Reiki solve the problem? Just as with human conditions, nobody knows.

When not to anthropomorphize

Despite the fact that animals, like people, are sentient beings whose overall health is impacted by their emotional well being, their behavior is often very different from ours. They have their own ways of resolving hierarchical issues among the pack or family – even if the pack or family is mostly human. Should the balance of power be distributed in an unhealthy way, for instance, in the case of the dog who guards the couch while the family sits on the floor to watch TV, Reiki may help but of course it would be wise to consult with an animal behavior expert as a first resort to try to solve the problem.

Human intervention is not always necessary though, and sometimes as a Reiki practitioner in a multi-pet household, you have to respect the hierarchy among the animals and act accordingly. For instance, you may be called upon to treat one animal in a multi-pet household. Often, the other animals sensing the calm energy will gather around. Is it okay to include them in the treatment? Absolutely.

But sometimes one animal won’t feel like sharing. He or she may run the other animal(s) off. Depending on who you are supposed to be treating, you may choose to isolate animals who are not being treated. In this way, you allow the animal you are treating to have freedom to choose where they receive Reiki, as well as giving him or her the ability to retreat if necessary. You can then feel free to treat the others later, in the same way. Attempts to scold the animals or keep the peace during a Reiki treatment are not productive either to achieving a successful Reiki treatment or to changing behavior that you may find disturbing but that is natural.

Stay tuned for the last installment in this series: Reiki in Wildlife and First Aid Reiki

If you have an animal Reiki story you'd like to share, please send it in an email to and be sure to include the words, "animal Reiki Friday" in the subject line. If you have comments or questions about Reiki for animals, please post them in the comments box of any animal Reiki Friday article. Likewise, if you have an answer to a question, please share it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

La Embajadora de Reiki En Medicina

Por: Janet Dagley Dagley, Editor, The Reiki Digest.

Simposio Integrado de Salud, New York, City, 2009.

En una sala de conferencias de hotel oscurecida y totalmente llena de médicos, enfermeras, quiroprácticos, nutricionistas, psicólogos y otros profesionales de salud, una mujer se para cerca de una pantalla de proyector hablando rápido, lanzando fuego polisilábico: intervención, terapéuticamente, protocolo, anticipación de ansiedad, parasimpático, pasando con cada “click” por su presentación. Algunos tratan de seguirla, tomando apuntes frenéticamente para mantener el caudal de información. La sala está quieta: no hay conversación, ni siquiera una errante llamada de celular.

Yo he visto antes a esta presentadora, pero no como esta vez. La he visto dar presentaciones mucho menos técnicas a los practicantes de Reiki sobre por qué necesitan conocer el trabajo del ambiente médico. Ahora, este es un ambiente médico profesional, y aunque ella no sea un profesional médico, lo maneja perfectamente, usando el formato, el lenguaje, las herramientas de presentación, los estándares, incluso la calma y la cadencia de la cultura médica cuando habla de su campo de experiencia: el REIKI. Y ella tiene la atención de todos los que están en la sala. De hecho, ya obtuvo esta atención cuando ella y algunos de sus estudiantes le ofrecieron a cada participante una demostración de 30 segundos de Reiki con imposición de manos para comenzar su presentación. Después de esta pequeña oportunidad para descubrir cómo se siente el Reiki, se le pregunta a los participantes como sienten ellos el Reiki:

Relajación profunda.


Ondas de energía.

Mi dolor de cabeza desapareció.

Esta es Pamela Miles, Maestra de Reiki, Embajadora de Reiki en Medicina.

Esto no es lo que ella iba a ser, ni cuando era una mujer joven intrigada con yoga y meditación, cuando era una mujer joven viviendo y estudiando en India, o al recibir su primer tratamiento de Reiki para ayudarle con las nauseas y malestares de embarazo en 1986. Sin embargo, quedó conectada con Reiki desde ese momento, comenzando casi inmediatamente su entrenamiento para posteriormente transformarse en una Maestra de Reiki. La conexión médica vino poco tiempo después. Había una nueva enfermedad ocupando los titulares, considerada como una sentencia de muerte porque hasta ese momento, nadie había sobrevivido. A las personas que la sufrían se les llamaba víctimas de SIDA, y mucha gente sentía temor de tocarlos e incluso de ocupar una misma habitación con ellos, ya que el pánico estaba en el aire y ciertamente no se sabía cómo se trasmitía el virus. Como la medicina tradicional le ofrecía muy pocas esperanzas a las víctimas, muchas de ellas buscaron terapias alternativas.

La organización Gay Men´s Health Crisis (GHMC) de Nueva York, que se abrió en respuesta a la epidemia, le pidió a Miles un programa con Reiki. No solo llegó a esos enfermos con SIDA para ofrecerles los beneficios de Reiki sino que les enseñó la práctica de Reiki para que la realizaran ellos mismos aunque algunos estudiantes “estaban tan enfermos que prácticamente estaban dormidos durante toda la clase. Pero estaban capacitados para ofrecerse Reiki a si mismos.” Así lo contó en el Simposio.

Y después lanzó una bomba: “No tengo credenciales médicas. Lo repitió, como para estar segura: No tengo credenciales médicas. Pero muchos doctores que estaban haciendo tratamientos médicos de VIH vieron que sus pacientes estaban mejorando más de lo que ellos esperaban, que se mantuvieron diciendo Reiki, Reiki, Reiki, Pamela Miles, GMHC. Y desde esta conexión, Beth Israel comenzó su programa de terapias complementarias con pacientes ambulatorios de SIDA, se me pidió mi participación.”�

Desde entonces, sin credenciales médicas, Miles ha dado Reiki en quirófano con el Dr. Mehmet Oz y otros, incluso durante trasplantes de corazón, y ha publicado numerosos artículos sobre Reiki en revistas científicas. Escribió el único libro de Reiki publicado por una importante editora de USA, y es llamada una y otra vez para presentarse y participar en audiencias médicas incluso en el Instituto Nacional de Salud. No tan solo ha llevado el Reiki a muchísimos profesionales de la salud, sino que le ha enseñado a los practicantes de Reiki de todos los linajes, como comunicarse con los profesionales médicos y trabajar con ellos.

Muchos consideran que debe ser acompañado por una credencial médica, Miles sabe más. Ella puede trabajar codo a codo con los profesionales de la salud, incluso hablar su propio idioma, pero ella no se presenta como uno de ellos. Y aclara que aunque Reiki pueda practicarse en espacios médicos, Reiki no es medicina. Reiki es una práctica espiritual o vibracional de sanación, es lo que dice en su presentación. Y en seguida señala:� No estoy hablando de religión. La religión involucra un dogma, un sistema de creencias. Reiki no.� Y explica que una práctica de sanación es un proceso continuo. A menudo le digo a mis estudiantes que no es suficiente tener un estilo de vida sano. Necesitamos un estilo de vida de curación. Nosotros tenemos que encontrar, crear momentos de sanación en nuestro día a día.�

Interesante la noción de crear y encontrar momentos de sanación en el día a día. Sarah Nowlin una enfermera que asistió a la presentación de Miles y se anotó para recibir entrenamiento de Reiki opinó que como dice Pamela, el cuidado del paciente comienza con el cuidado del que lo atiende. “Después de la presentación de Pamela, me sentí segura acerca de los efectos poderosos de Reiki. Con solo 30 segundos de tratamiento Reiki dado a los miembros del público y la presencia tranquila y al mismo tiempo apasionada de Pamela, me sentí inspirada para tomar la clase de Primer Nivel. Estoy haciendo mi parte y practico Reiki todos los días para aumentar mis habilidades,” dijo Nowlin, “Eventualmente espero usar Reiki como una terapia coadyuvante en mis pacientes.”

“Puedo decir, honestamente, que con cada colega que hablo acerca de Reiki, está tan emocionado como yo,” dice Nowlin. “No obstante, todavía hay un poco de conocimiento falso flotando alrededor de donde y cuando comenzó el Reiki y lo que es ahora. Me gustaría ver más practicantes integrando el uso de Reiki en atencion primaria y en cuidados intensivos. Las comunidades de médicos y enfermeras están conscientes de los efectos sanadores de Reiki, pero con las comunidades de cuidado de la salud enfocadas en prácticas basadas en la evidencia, se necesita más investigación para que Reiki sea incorporado a la práctica.”

Miles sabe que clase de evidencia necesita la medicina para darle al Reiki una legitimidad científica, pero también sabe que necesitamos volver a examinar las normas para la prueba. “La prueba controlada aleatoria no es apropiada para la clase de acciones complejas y de multinivel de la medicina alternativa y complementaria” dijo en su presentación. “Un enfoque de sistemas se ajusta mejor a la investigación: Demos Reiki a un grupo personas que hayan tenido cierta cirugía y no demos Reiki a otro grupo equiparable de pacientes y veamos…¿Quién sale primero del hospital? ¿Quién toma menos medicación? etc. El reto en la investigación de Reiki en particular es que no tenemos evidencias científicas de que Reiki existe! Así que si comenzamos a pensar de esta forma no iremos muy lejos.”

El Dr. James Dillard, médico, quiropráctico, acupunturista y practicante de Reiki, especializado en dolor crónico, estudió Reiki con Miles y fue su presentador en el simposio.

“Si alguien me dice, como practicante de Reiki, Usted cree en esto? Le digo que no estoy seguro,”� dice Dillard. “Yo lo uso. Lo practico. Parece que mis pacientes se sienten mejor. Creo en esto en la forma en que alguien tiene una creencia religiosa? No, yo no.”

Dillard dice que “si tengo a alguien con mucho dolor y ansiedad, Reiki es una herramienta inestimable, porque no solo permite que me mantenga calmado, tranquilo en presencia de un problema tan fuerte- con una persona totalmente estresada – sino que le permite a la persona que se mantenga calmada, tranquila.”� Miles hizo una lista de cantidad de situaciones en las cuales Reiki puede ser de gran ayuda, haciendo notar- con gran cuidado- que no está citando estudios sino que parte de su propia experiencia.

“El mecanismo de acción de Reiki todavía es desconocido,” dice Miles. “La ciencia no sabe cómo trabaja el Reiki. Recuerden que la aspirina se usó durante 70 años sin que la ciencia comprendiera su mecanismo de acción. Yo pienso en Reiki como la cura latente. Y hay investigaciones documentadas en tratamientos de Reiki que parecen llevar suavemente al sistema a un balance. Un efecto secundario de ese balance es la reducción del stress. Hace 100 años a la gente la enviaban a las montañas. Aire fresco, quizás agua corriente. Ellos descansaban. En nuestros días, si fuésemos enviados a las montañas, y no hubiese allí un casino, probablemente nos estresaríamos más. Correcto? Porque no sabemos cómo descansar. Perdimos la capacidad de cambiar de nuevo al control del sistema nervioso parasimpático. Así que propongo, y es una teoría de mis observaciones clínicas, que Reiki acondiciona el cuerpo para cambiar al control del sistema nervioso parasimpático a través de la estimulación del nervio vago. Y de esta manera el cuerpo restablece sus propios mecanismos de regulación.”

Miles y Dillard coinciden en que se necesita mucha más investigación y dan algunas sugerencias de cómo debe hacerse: “Incluyan un Maestro de Reiki experimentado en todas las fases de la investigación, desde el diseño hasta la interpretación,” dice Miles. Tiene la esperanza de que los investigadores estudien Reiki como Richard Davidson en el Madison está estudiando meditación.�

Miles ha dado Reiki a muchos clientes con diferentes situaciones de salud, pero deja claro que un practicante de Reiki no trata a la enfermedad en sí. Cuando la gente me llama y dice:� “Ha tratado usted cáncer antes? Qué cree usted que le respondo? No. Yo no trato el cáncer. Reiki no trata el cáncer. Reiki balancea a la gente, y eso puede ayudar a sus cuerpos a dirigir cualquier síntoma o condición, o apoyar cualquiera aproximación a la curación.”

*Mi sincero agradecimiento a América Zamora, Reiki Master, y Paula Llavallol por la tradución y edición de este artículo.

The original article, Reiki's ambassador to medicine, appeared in the April 2, 2009 edition of The Reiki Digest. Special thanks to Pamela Miles who gave us permission to republish this Spanish version that was featured on her Reiki Central blog.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The weekly waka

A sugar white moon
in a silver blue sky -
despite so many layers,
words often have no meaning 

by Beth Lowell

The Reiki Digest is always looking for waka writers! To submit yours, send it in an email to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have you voted for your favorite Reiki room?

The poll is still open! Get your vote in soon! The winner will be anounced right here, next Tuesday.

If you'd like to send a photo of your Reiki room, please attach it to an email and send it to Be sure to include the words, "Reiki room" in the subject line.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Personal practice Monday: Practice makes present

Today's Personal practice article comes from Pamela Miles' blog, Reiki Central.  The original post appeared August 29, 2009.

Do you approach Reiki as a technique to perfect or a practice to explore?

Maybe you’re wondering, What’s the difference?

If you approach your Reiki self-treatment as a technique, then you likely have some concern–anxiety even–about doing it correctly, or well, or even–perfectly.

Then on any day that your Reiki self-treatment doesn’t meet your expectations, you struggle with that internal yardstick of praise&blame, looking so hard for evidence that you’re doing it right and so sure that you’re doing it wrong–that you miss the big picture: the all important fact that you’re doing it, you are giving yourself a treatment.

This approach leads many students to stop self-treatment, because in their minds, they can’t do it “good enough” to make it worth doing.

If, however, you approach Reiki self-treatment as a practice, then the goal is simply to do it. On days when your experience doesn’t match your expectations (these days happen), instead of assuming some variation of failure, you recognize your expectations as just that–expectations–and direct your awareness to exploring your current experience, or to simply being with it.

In Reikiville, instead of practice makes perfect, practice makes present.

Welcome to Reikiville.

Any of this sound familiar? If so, please tell us how you’re discovering your present, or ask a question in the comment box below.

Thanks, Pamela! You can comment on this post both on Pamela's blog, and here, in the comments box below. If you would like to submit an article about personal practice, please send it in an email to and include the words "personal practice" in the subject line.

Pamela Miles is The Reiki Digest's editor-at-large.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday:Part One of a series - Common Sense, Animal Sense, Reiki Sense

By Beth Lowell, Senior Editor

I’ve been talking to a lot of Reiki practitioners lately and the subject of animals always seems to pop up. Hearing about the variety of experiences and questions among practitioners is always fascinating. Working with animals is vastly rewarding but it can pose particular challenges, too, for those accustomed to working only with humans. The reason is simple – animals are different from humans.

Anyone who’s gone to obedience training with a dog has probably been told not to anthropomorphize – that is, to attribute human qualities to dogs. We’re told things like “treat a dog like a human and he’ll treat you like a dog”, or that our precious little pooch is not really using the carpet for a bathroom out of spite. (While I agree with the bathroom issue, intriguing studies are coming out every day that confirm what some already intuitively know - that animals are far more like humans when it comes to cognitive thinking and emotions than science has ever admitted in the past, but that’s another topic altogether.)

While it’s true that animals have their own codes of behavior and justice that are very different from our own, and that we need to try to understand and take them into consideration in order to live harmoniously with them, it doesn’t really change how we approach Reiki with them in many ways. Here’s where it helps to anthropomorphize when treating animals with Reiki.


You always need to have permission from a person before offering Reiki – the same is true for animals. But how do you get permission?

Well, first, ask. You can ask out loud, or silently, with the intention that your animal will understand what you are asking. I like to ask out loud. Since animals can understand human language, they can learn what you’re asking if you happen to be working with them over an extended period of time. Most dogs and more than a few cats I know understand the words “sit” and “treats”, so why not “Reiki”? But even without using the word, animals you’ve treated before quickly realize why you have come to see them, and if they enjoy receiving a Reiki treatment will often automatically go to the place they like to receive it, whether that be on a favorite chair, mat, or wherever you happen to be standing. You can think of asking permission as a ritual, whether you think the animals can understand you or not. It's a good reminder that the decision is not up to you.

Recently a student worried that the animal would not know what Reiki is. “Do I need to explain it?” she asked. Many people who come for treatment don’t know exactly what Reiki is either, so no, you don’t need to explain it to them. They will understand what it is by feeling it, and if they choose to accept the treatment it will become apparent pretty quickly through the animal’s behavior.

If you’re offering a Reiki treatment to a person for the first time, you usually ask them if they are familiar with Reiki, or if they’ve had a treatment before. If they haven’t experienced a treatment before, you usually explain what the treatment will entail so they know what to expect. Since you can’t really do that with an animal, you start as you would if you were trying to communicate with someone who speaks a different language – human, or otherwise. To parallel dog training, you start by showing what you’re doing.

When you begin a treatment, start by offering Reiki in the purest sense – as an offering. Animals may feel threatened or unsure if you place your hands directly on them too quickly, or at all. Simply open your hands.

If you are standing this may mean you simply turn your palms outward. If you’re sitting, you can place them face up, on your knees. If hand motion disturbs the animal, don’t worry about using your hands at all – after all you don’t need to rely on your hands to practice Reiki.

Watch closely to see if the animal is receptive. Animal body language is usually very clear.

Hands-on Reiki is possible, if the animal is comfortable. Some schools of Reiki incorporate the chakra system. I’ve read that the chakra system of animals closely resembles that of humans, with the exception of an additional one that animals possess because of their tails. Chakras notwithstanding, the anatomy of animals does not allow them to lie on a table in the same way that humans do very easily. And because most animals will not lie still and in the position that humans do, it would be silly to try to replicate a human Reiki treatment on an animal, therefore, the ritual of hand placements is much less rigid when you work with animals than it usually is when you are working on people.

One Reiki practitioner I spoke to told me that a friend asked her to treat her cat, who seemed unwell. “I didn’t understand it,” she related, “The cat was squirming and wouldn’t keep still. I’d never seen anything like it. I held her and just kept going. The next morning, the cat passed away. I guess it was just her time.”

Indeed, it was probably the cat’s time. But clearly, the cat was not happy to receive a Reiki treatment. In this instance, it would have been best to stop the treatment, or allow the cat to find a comfortable position of her own choice instead of restraining the cat.

Offering Reiki to an animal, like offering it to a person, can often be done in a more casual environment than in a formal Reiki session, for instance, while watching TV in the evening. But just because the conditions are more casual doesn’t mean that you can bend the rules. One rainy day when I had some unexpected downtime I decided it would be a good time to offer Reiki to my own dog, Dasher. I settled on the floor next to her and placed my hands on her, as usual. I was startled when she turned and snarled at me. It was a not so gentle reminder that the practitioner is never really in charge and that Reiki cannot be imposed on anyone.

Next in this series: Expectations, Reiki’s effectiveness on animal issues, and when not to anthropomorphize

If you have an animal Reiki article you'd like to share, please email it to and include the words, "Animal Reiki Friday" in the subject line.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vote for your favorite Reiki room!

This summer we asked readers to send in pictures of their Reiki rooms - rooms where they practice Reiki or do Reiki meditations. These could be personal or professional spaces, full time, part time or shared. It's been fun seeing the different submissions which reflect not only each practitioner's personality but also the loving care that went into designing them. Now it's time to cast your vote! Simply select the room you think should win "Best in Show" by using the poll below. 

But that's not all - if you missed getting your entry in on time, fear not. The Reiki rooms proved so popular that we plan on making it a regular feature here at The Reiki Digest.  

Good Luck to all our entrants!

Anne Boerritger's Reiki room

Cindy's Reiki room

Colin Powell's Reiki room

Marci's Reiki room

Marianne Streich's Reiki room

Eric Labelle's Reiki room

Annette Kohn-Lau's Reiki room

Adela Alvarez's Reiki room

To submit your Reiki room to The Reiki Digest, attach a photo to an email and address it

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The weekly waka

The fall clematis,
difficult to establish
has finally caught on -
like white fire it spreads, dancing 
atop the forsythia

by Beth Lowell

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Updating the Reiki Dictionary

By Beth Lowell, Senior Editor

Does the Reiki dictionary need an update?

Each year the dictionary gets an overhaul to be current with the times – I think the Reiki language dictionary could use an overhaul, too. If I were updating the Reiki language dictionary, I’d eliminate/update these major offenders – absolutes, propaganda, esoterica, and just plain confusing terms.


The problem with absolutes is they usually don’t exist in life. How can they, when things are in a constant state of flux? “Always” and “Never” exclude the possibility of nuance and render the shades of grey that exist between black and white invisible. How many times have you made a decision based on your absolute belief in its rightness, only to find that later, you’ve come to a different conclusion and then waffled again because things had changed and you just weren’t sure anymore?

Reiki always works. Really? Even when someone doesn’t want it? In the case of a well meaning practitioner who struggles to hold a pet still while “offering” Reiki, did the Reiki work? I don’t think it can work when someone is not willing to receive it.

Animals love Reiki. You know the old saying, “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Not all animals love Reiki all of the time. Some don’t seem to like it ever. This Reiki myth falls into two categories: absolutes and propaganda. Woohoo!


Propaganda sounds evil. But it’s simply the telling of partial truths or slanting information to convince someone that your point of view is right. Some say another word for propaganda could be “marketing.”

Animals don’t judge Reiki, but merely bask in its light. Propaganda? (Yes, again, the telling of partial truths in order to sell your point.) Animals do not judge Reiki and do bask in its light – when they choose to or if they like it. They may not judge Reiki, but they often do judge human beings, and they may not care for the Reiki practitioner who’s offering it that day.

The implication of this statement is that because animals who like Reiki treatments don’t judge it, Reiki must be “true.” How do you explain it, though, when someone’s animal you’ve come to treat refuses a Reiki treatment, loudly and clearly through body language and/or vocalizations, (or for some mysterious reason takes a dislike to you) when you show up to treat them? Now you’ve got some back pedaling to do.

Jargon (or just plain confusing terms):

Reiki goes wherever it’s needed (usually spoken in a dreamy tone with a knowing half smile). Reiki practitioners understand what this statement means, but to someone unfamiliar with the concept of Reiki, it can sound confusing, rather fantastic (in the fantasy sense of the word,) or just plain nuts.

To use an example from religion, try this. Someone presents this statement as fact to a group of people: “Ask and you shall receive.”

A sampling of responses might be—

1. I believe this! It happens to me all the time!

2. I’d really like to believe this, but I don’t think it can happen for me.

3. Really?

4. That’s bunk.

5. This is so out of my range of reality that I think I’d really like to get out of here as fast as possible. What excuse can I make without appearing totally rude?

Okay, so Reiki goes where it’s needed. I think Reiki is better served by a different interpretation of this fact so it’s meaningful to those who hear it. People are not all the same so no “one size fits all” sound byte is appropriate.

Channel, Channeling I find this concept troublesome. I understand that as practitioners we are a channel or conduit for Reiki. But too easily we can fall into talking about “channeling”. Being a channel is passive. Channeling is active. As Reiki practitioners, we are present in the moment, but not actively directing anything. To me, the word “channeling” implies action, and also connotes a more esoteric aspect, for example, one common in mediumship. A Reiki Master may be a medium, but mediumship is distinctly its own thing – separate from and not to be confused with Reiki.


I don’t know what your experience with Reiki is, but I’ll tell you mine. I’m a relative newcomer. My interest was in learning a method to help animals resolve issues that were not directly addressed through veterinary or training protocols. Of course, I quickly learned that it was impossible to effectively help others without first helping myself.

I’m not devoid of spirituality by any means, but I have to confess when it comes to chakras, I never know quite where mine all are. Similarly, I’m lost when practitioners assume that I’m well versed in any topic of esoteric study in which they are involved. Recently a friend confided that although she had taken a Reiki class and enjoyed it, she didn’t like how some Reiki practitioners spoke because it made her feel excluded. She had no idea what they were talking about. Neither do I.

I’ve heard a lot about angels recently. From what I gather, there’s a whole practice (or perhaps a few) that revolve around them. I kind of like the idea of an angel sitting on my shoulder or being my guardian. But I don’t see the connection with Reiki. If “Reiki goes where it’s needed,” I’m not sure why I need an angel looking out for me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike angels or anyone who relies on them. But I’d like them out of the Reiki dictionary because angels belong to religion, and Reiki is not a religion. Angels have a home and that’s in the bible. They may live in your heart as well, but they don’t live in Reiki.

Okay, so since I’m coming out of the closet here, I might as well admit the whole truth. Um, I don’t have a clue as to who the ascended masters are. I’m going out on a limb here. If they’re ascended, I guess they are in heaven. That means they’re dead. If they are masters, perhaps they are people like Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Abraham Lincoln (or just plain old Biblical Abraham who I think has found a modern day channeler from what I read on Facebook) and any other person that history regards as an example for humanity. I love history. I love the masters. Their legacy endures. But they have a home too, which is in history books, or on PBS, not in the Reiki dictionary.

I’m on the fence about cutting the cords when it comes to auras. I want to make it perfectly clear, if I haven’t done so already, that it’s not that I don’t believe in any of these things or judge those who do stuff with them, but when I hear casual mention of fending off some kind of negative assault on the etheric aura in connection with Reiki, as if the concept is as commonly known as the one about the earth being round, I get confused. Are we talking about a natural healing method or magical self defense? I think I’m a decent Reiki practitioner – even though I don’t seem to know anything much about what people are talking about when they refer to “Reiki.”

That’s why I think the Reiki dictionary should be updated.

Editor’s note: The writer fully admits to having been guilty of using the mentioned examples of Absolutes, Jargon, Propaganda and Confusing Terms in the past herself, mostly, because, well – that’s how she first learned Reiki. She has since started thinking for herself, a wise idea in any pursuit. Being esoterically challenged, she stays away from talking about things of which she has limited or no knowledge.

It is her sole and well meaning intention that Reiki practitioners might start to think twice about using longstanding catchphrases and terminology that may have outlasted their value and/or that may be just plain confusing to people.

Language is a living, changing thing and just like updates to the regular dictionary, a revision of language in the Reiki dictionary might well just be the breath of fresh air that Reiki could use right about now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Personal practice Monday: Reiki connection

Today's Personal practice article comes from Pamela Miles' blog, Reiki Central. The original post appeared July 10, 2009.

Reiki connects us to that which connects us.

All the changes that occur with Reiki practice—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual—come from connecting and reconnecting with the largest context, our immediate and ultimate connectedness to everyone, and to all that is.

As our hands lightly connect with our bodies in daily practice, the limits of our awareness touch infinity. We become more accepting and honoring of individuality, both our own and one anothers’, and more grateful for the world we inhabit.

This ability to enjoy ourselves, each another, and the world around us unfolds gracefully through daily Reiki self-treatment, as we repeatedly connect to that which connects us.

Thanks, Pamela! If you would like to submit an article about personal practice, please send it in an email to and include the words "personal practice" in the subject line.

Pamela Miles is The Reiki Digest's editor-at-large.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Please welcome guest editor Deborah Flanagan!

September Guest Editor Deborah Flanagan

Deborah Flanagan is our guest editor for September. Deborah has a private Reiki and reflexology practice in New York City. She also works with patients at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities, part of NYU Langone Medical Center, and previously offered Reiki in the hospice ward at Beth Israel Medical Center. Her poetry has been published in various journals, including The Gettysburg Review, FIELD, and DIAGRAM.

Reiki and creativity

Photo by Piotrus, some rights reserved
By Deborah Flanagan

As a Reiki practitioner, I’ve noticed many subtle yet powerful changes in my life since I took my first Reiki class. However, one of the shifts I noticed a little more concretely, and which especially intrigued me, was the effect it had on my creativity. Funny to use the words creativity and concretely all tied up together with Reiki, but that’s what made it interesting and made me want to examine the effect of Reiki on creativity in this article. I explore types of creativity, how letting go and sacred play can aid your efforts, and how Reiki ties in with all of this.

“I’m not particularly creative, what does this have to do with me?”

I would make a case that how you live your life is a creative pursuit and practicing the system of Reiki is, too. One of my all-time favorite quotes expresses this perfectly:

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. –Rumi

So whether you refer to yourself as an artist, or you’re a Reiki student or practitioner, or you strive to live your life with imagination and an openness to new ideas, I would argue that Reiki and creativity can apply to just about everyone.

Reiki and the creative process
I dwell in possibility. –Emily Dickinson

Back to the concrete shift I noticed several years ago. As a poet, I would experience deep dread whenever it came time to sit in front of the computer and write a poem. Part of me really felt drawn to this activity, of course, but the other part was dragged, kicking and screaming. I was brilliant at procrastinating and would get tons of other things done on my “To Do” list (at least I was productive), anything to avoid writing.

As I began practicing the system of Reiki I stopped trying to force the poems to come; I’d tell my “Monkey Mind” to hold off and I’d sort it out later. And I would. I’d write without thinking and then let the poem marinate for a day or so, only then allowing my thinking mind to finally be involved. And usually the draft wouldn’t be as crazy and bad as I thought it would be.

Reiki helped soften my resistance to letting go and letting something higher than me shine through. Over time I noticed I worried less about making the right or wrong choices, my “Monkey Mind” quieted down so I could simply explore and wonder/wander as I connected with my intuition. Overall, there was much less dread, procrastination, and self-sabotage, and the poems started to flow more easily. This isn’t to say, of course, that I don’t need to edit and rewrite and sometimes ditch a draft entirely, but it was remarkably less painful and I began to really focus on that beautiful feeling of being in the flow and being connected to something greater and larger than myself, which is the whole reason I write in the first place.

I asked one of my long-time clients, a visual artist, if she noticed anything different in her creative process since she started receiving Reiki sessions:

photo by Adrian van Leen
“For the next couple of weeks following each session, I would find that ideas would float into my consciousness more regularly and effortlessly, which is not typical. It was a very subtle and inexplicable shift. Everyone’s creative process is different—just like some people need to work in front of the TV while others need the complete silence of a library—for me, it’s unusual to have this level of creative openness when immersed in my day-to-day life. In fact, it usually only happens when I’m away at a residency.

Once I started getting Reiki sessions I noticed that during the quiet times of my day, new ideas would often come to mind. They weren't Eureka moments for fully-conceived works, more like grains that I’d end up pursuing in more depth later.”

Bronwen Stiene, co-founder with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, put it this way: "By bringing about balance through the practice of the system of Reiki, creativity is no longer hampered by self-doubt or a “monkey” mind. The artist becomes free to explore the universe from a grounded and unlimited standpoint."

Creativity as letting go
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. —Lao Tzu

As a result of this and other experiences, I always explain Reiki to my first-time clients this way: “You know when there’s something you really want—a goal, or a challenge to overcome, etc.? And even though you want it, even though it’s a positive thing, you can sometimes feel in your body where you hold some resistance to it? Maybe because change can be a little scary, maybe because it stretches you to expand, but from whatever place that this resistance is coming from, Reiki can be very effective at softening and helping you let go of it and connect to your true, best self.” Reiki can help you feel comfortable with risk, by softening resistance and allowing you to be open to possibility.

Mark Silver, founder of Heart of Business, and a business consultant and healer, talks about this idea of getting out of your own way—the idea that when someone does their best work it’s often as if they’re absent, “they kind of open their heart and things come through.” He’s experienced it himself: “you know it’s like somebody asks me a question or I’m in front of a group or client and I’m able to absent myself and whoosh….something comes through and I’m taking notes as fast as anybody. It’s like I got out of the way and I just became the vessel.”

This getting out of your own way and letting go also happens whenever you give a Reiki session—since we’re not sure exactly how it works and you don’t consciously decide where the energy should go—so in and of itself practicing Reiki can be a first step to helping us let go in other areas of our lives.

Creativity as sacred play

Frans and Bronwen Stiene interviewed Siobhan McLeod, an Australian artist who discovered her own levels of creativity broadened and deepened after she began studying Reiki. Her work went in several new directions—instead of written journals she started creating visual journals of things that excited and inspired her, and she started doing fabric art and making jewelry. Siobhan found using the Reiki meditations and mantras became a process for her to use to clear her head, “The Reiki exercises calmed me down enough to allow new things to come through….and creativity became a form of sacred play.”

Reiki can be a vehicle that opens you to possibilities in art and all areas of your life. And exploring and working with the other components of the system of Reiki—the precepts, meditations, doing daily self-care, and giving and receiving sessions is a way to express that commitment to being open.

Similar to Siobhan, I found chanting the Reiki mantras/symbols (a meditation which I initially couldn’t stand, surprisingly) connected me incredibly quickly to my ideal creative head space in only 5 or 10 minutes. We both found we’re able to use the visual arts and writing poetry respectively, as a meditative practice.

In his interview with Siobhan, Frans takes it a step further, making the observation that she is able to integrate the system of Reiki into her daily life and her art in a way that goes beyond only using it for hands-on-healing and suggests that individuals might “feel a kick start of healing through viewing her artwork.”

Siobhan offers some great ideas to cultivate your inner creativity through Reiki and art (here’s the link to the full interview as well as a Creative Suggestions page on her website.)

Your creative input

Photo: Stephan Uhlman Some rights reserved
I have found over and over through my personal experience, as well as those of my clients and fellow practitioners, that the system of Reiki can help us get out of our own way and let our unique light shine through in whatever creative way we personally express it.

Reiki can help you gain clarity, tap into your intuition, and discover your inner wisdom. It enables us to open up to the possibilities and potential in our lives, and isn’t this what creativity is at heart? Reiki can help us think about our lives in a totally different way, from a broader perspective, and connect with our core essence.

I’d love to hear if other people have had similar or different experiences, as well as to hear your ideas on how we can enhance our lives with Reiki and thinking creatively.

Deborah Flanagan has a private Reiki and reflexology practice in New York City. She also works with patients at the Initiative for Women with Disabilities, part of NYU Langone Medical Center, and previously offered Reiki in the hospice ward at Beth Israel Medical Center. Her poetry has been published in various journals, including The Gettysburg Review, FIELD, and DIAGRAM.

The Reiki Roundup

New York, NY, USA: Larry Malbera, a blogger for The Huffington Post, writes about the Green Medicine Revolution, and includes Reiki among the modalities available.

Dublin, Ireland:
Nearly a third of patients have visited a complementary and alternative medicine practitioner in the past 12 months according to a recent study in Dublin. The popularity of Reiki was found to be higher than in other international studies.

South Shields, UK:
Reiki in a care home.

Milwaukee, WI, USA: Using Reiki with cancer and surgery.

Baltimore, MD, USA: One woman’s horrific battle with flesh-eating bacteria. She found comfort from Reiki and other integrative modalities.

Newburyport, MA, USA: Dr. Jennah Dieter is a chiropractor, nutritionist, and owner of Healthcare Complete — a wellness venue that hosts all kinds of holistic care including chiropractic, Yoga, therapeutic massage, holistic psychotherapy, Reiki, and reflexology. The article discusses her use of Nutrition Response Testing.

Phoenixville, PA, USA: A former member of the Air Force and a Reiki Master, Wendy Kauff, opens New Visions Massage, which includes Reiki and massage.

Orlando, FL, USA: Men’s spas in Orlando, FL--one of them includes Reiki among their offerings.

Beloit, WI, USA: “I Love My Pet Day” includes Reiki among the offerings.

Ardmore, PA, USA: Lianda Swain is traveling to Cuzco, Peru, as a volunteer teaching children and families about hygiene and wellness, as well as teaching small children basic English. Swain also offers Reiki at Care Alternatives, a local hospice program.

The Celeb-Reiki Report: Matilda the cat

Photo of Matilda by yourFAVORITEmartian  Some rights reserved

The Algonquin Hotel's resident cat, Matilda, celebrated her 15th birthday with cake, a cat fashion show, performances, and Reiki. Proceeds benefited New York's North Shore Animal League America.

Music we love to practice Reiki by: Marcey Hamm

Marcey Hamm's Inward Harmony cd is one of my all-time favorites to use in sessions. It sounds otherworldly and is deeply soothing. I find it complements the Reiki session in a powerful way. Her personal story is quite amazing as well.

Click the Marcey button to listen and find out more.

The weekly waka

Don't leave your language
alone. It's the words that hold
a real cow in an
imaginary meadow,
three bears in a tiny house.

By Deborah Flanagan

September specials

The Reiki Digest is brought to you at no charge thanks to the support of our advertisers. And such nice advertisers they are, because they're offering these special deals just for our readers. This month, we're welcoming two new sponsors: Prevention magazine and GEICO insurance. Please keep the energy flowing and support them by shopping via these links!

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Personal practice Monday: Poll fixed!

Looks like our personal practice poll is to help us test it? Click here!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Animal Reiki Friday: a poll for animal Reiki practitioners

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The weekly waka


Two hungry kittens
Perched beneath a waning moon
One growling, hissing
The other purring nearby,
Reaching out with playful paws

by budo adana

by Colin Powell

Reiki Kanji

Heaven, high above
And the Earth beneath our feet.
Mankind is praying.
The rain falls down from Heaven
And the rice grows from the Earth.

by Colin Powell