--body + mind + spirit--
One of the greatest services Hospice of Frederick County offered for Mary Rice's terminally ill husband was Reiki therapy provided by volunteers.
"The morphine, the anti-anxiety drugs, the painkillers -- nothing provided the peacefulness, inwardly and outwardly, that Reiki did," Rice said. "It's such a soothing experience, and the difference in my husband before and after was absolutely incredible. He was able to transition peacefully."
But, the Japanese healing practice may now be unavailable to anyone whose health care provider has a relationship with a Catholic institution.
Late last month, U.S. Catholic bishops renounced Reiki, a decision that could have an effect on Catholic patients and health care providers. The Rev. Thomas G. Weinandy, executive director secretariat of doctrine for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the church now considers it inappropriate for clergy and lay members to practice or receive Reiki therapy.
The conference does not have an implementation arm, so each archdiocese will determine to what extent it enforces the guidelines, Weinandy said.
The report, released March 26, called Reiki unscientific and inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as hospitals, nursing homes, universities and retreat centers, and also for nuns and chaplains.
Developed in the early 20th century, Reiki has grown in acceptance among hospitals and hospice providers. Frederick Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Therapy Center and Hospice of Frederick offer Reiki through volunteer practitioners.
Miriam Klements, a Frederick Reiki master, said medical institutions across the country offer complementary Reiki therapy, including the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
"It is a natural stress reduction technique that evokes a relaxation response and induces a feeling of well-being," Klements said. "It changes the chemicals and hormones that are flowing É and helps the body rest and heal."
The bishops wrote that Reiki is frequently described as a spiritual healing as opposed to healing that uses physical means.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institute of Health describes Reiki as based "on the idea that there is a universal (or source) energy that supports the body's innate healing abilities."
In Reiki sessions, a fully clothed client lies down or sits comfortably. The practitioner's hands are placed lightly on or just above the client's body, using a dozen or so hand positions to harness energy and move it through the body to promote healing.
The Catholic bishops assert a radical difference between Reiki therapy and the healing by divine power in which Christians believe.
"For Christians, the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior," their report states. "While the essence of Reiki is not a prayer but a technique that is passed down from the 'Reiki master' to the pupil, a technique that once mastered will reliably produce the anticipated results."
For Catholics to believe in Reiki therapy presents problems, the report states. "Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief." The guidelines furthermore warn that using Reiki for spiritual health poses "important dangers." The bishops then went on to state that no scientific evidence supports Reiki's efficacy, although published studies show Reiki can be effective in lowering heart rates, blood pressure levels and stress.
A study of 45 patients at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital, found that "heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the Reiki group compared to both placebo and control group." A study at the University of Arizona found Reiki is effective in modulating heart rates in stressed and unstressed rats, "supporting its use as a stress-reducer in humans."
The battle of Catholic Church -vs- Reiki has just begun...stay tuned, as all "religious wars," this too can get ugly.
(via Frederick Post)