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The Atlantic magazine published a controversial article titled “Reiki Can’t Possibly Work. So Why Does It?” in the April 2020 issue, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/reiki-cant-possibly-work-so-why-does-it/606808/?utm_campaign=the-atlantic&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2jO6ZG3BDqrRmLDHV-eWMHQ0diCuJUobF3DpL_tWo7Zmlyt4JuEiT8vgg. Author Jordan Kisner signed up for several Reiki lessons and interweaves her experiences with historical information, anecdotes, research data, and the skepticism Reiki faces. It’s worth a read.

After reading the article, I became interested in how modern Reiki came to be. My mom had an elderly dog, Bentley (female), who was suffering from joint pain. A couple of friends who are Reiki practitioners laid hands on Bentley and remotely sent healing energy. My mom swears it helped ease the small dog’s pain. My mom is not the only believer.

There are over 6,000 Reiki Masters worldwide, with 4 million practitioners who are at least Level 1. According to Kisner, over 1.2 million adults have tried Reiki, with 60 plus hospitals offering the alternative medicine as a compliment—not replacement—to traditional medical treatment. In addition, over 800 hospitals provide Reiki education.

No historical document exists showing how Reiki originated. It is believed to have come from Japan. Modern-day Reiki is attributed to Mikao Usui Sensei (1865-1926), a Japanese Buddhist who popularized the practice in Japan in 1922. During Usui’s short life, he taught over 700 people, although his memorial monument claims 2,000. One of Usui’s students, Chujiro Hayashi, taught Mrs. Hawayo Takata (1900-1980), a Japanese American who resided in Hawaii. Takata brought Reiki to America in 1960.

Reiki is a spiritual practice whereby the healer radiates heat. The heat is channeled to a person or animal for healing. It is sometimes called energy healing. Takata Sensei believed Reiki was an oral tradition. Takata modified Usui’s practices, making students memorize the symbols. Prior to her death, she initiated 22 Reiki Masters. Her teachings continue today.

There are various forms of Reiki. Instruction varies by price and location.

Reiki is not without its critics. Some Christian organizations ban Reiki, along with yoga. They claim that Reiki does not conform with the teachings of Christ. Their opinions are not based on the Bible. In fact, Reiki does not contradict the Bible of Jesus’ teachings; it enhances it.

Moreover, Reiki is not a religion, and several Christian groups are touting the benefits of Reiki in their pastoral routines.

Medical researchers highlight the lack of quantifiable evidence supporting the benefits of Reiki. Kisner’s article does a good job discussing how that argument fails. (Again, I highly recommend you read it.)

I’m not interested in becoming a Reiki practitioner. However, I’m always open to new alternative practices that offset the effects of pain. And there are loads of people who would benefit from such healing.