Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Reiki: Spirituality or Superstition?

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, Catholicism, Reiki, religion, superstition, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,

Catholic nuns are using an Eastern healing technique known as Reiki to help people with spiritual and physical healing. The practice involves placing hands on people’s bodies to balance energies and restore vitality. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, however, have labeled Reiki as a superstition incompatible with Catholicism. Religion and Ethics Newsweekly delves into the conflict inside the Catholic Church, interviewing nuns who have embraced the technique and bishops who are fighting against it. You can watch a video of that below:

Source: Religion and Ethics Newsweekly 

mary rettig_5
2/25/2010 1:22:35 PM

It is ashamed that the Barhops ruled without experiencing reiki for them self. Self reiki has help me a lot. I am being trained as a master/reiki this weekend. I am going focus on distant healing.


bob bennett
2/19/2010 9:51:26 PM

Reiki is a form of vibrational medicine. According to physics, every electrical current produces an electromagentic field. Electrical currents exist in the human body, therefore an electromagnetic field exists. Some believe this field is the soul, and that science shouldn't touch it, that it lies entirely within the province of religion. Other believe, and have some evidence to support this, that illness can first appear in this magnetic field prior to it manifesting in the body. There is also evidence that a "healing presence", typically the hands of an individual can aid an individual reach some form of recovery. It is a facinating field which should be investigated more. For more info on various forms of vibrational medicine, including Reiki, see Vibrational Medicine for the 21St Century, by Richard Gerber, M.D.


rain city paul
2/16/2010 6:58:01 PM

As an atheist, the question, "spirituality or superstition?" is like asking, "house pet or domesticated animal?" Both spirituality and superstition are magic thinking. Most of the universe is unknown to us, but we do have a handle on growing our knowledge. Taking irrational shortcuts like faith just delay our attainment of real understanding. If there is anything valid about Reiki, it will be observable and verifiable, like all things that are real.


pamela miles
2/16/2010 7:48:19 AM

The bishops have put themselves in a very difficult position, pitting themselves not only against the many Catholics who practice Reiki (lay people, nuns and priests), but also the NIH which currently has 5 research studies looking at Reiki's usefulness in various settings, and the growing number of hospitals who are already offering Reiki treatment to patients, family members, and staff. This list of hospitals includes such respected institutions as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dana Farber/Harvard, Yale-New Haven, NY-Presbyterian/Columbia, and M. D. Anderson. It seems the bishops hardly made it past Wikipedia in doing their research. Reiki is an unregulated practice, and information on it can be sketchy, but there is credible information available, such as on the info page of the NIH/NCCAM. What's ironic is that Reiki practitioners experience their practice in much the same way Weinandy describes prayer--that placing Reiki hands is a petition; the practitioner is in no way able to manipulate the outcome. Some people have dramatic responses, while for others, it is more subtle, more of an inner shift toward greater peace, meaning, comfort. The bishop's statement reads like the knee jerk reaction of a hierarchical elite frightened by a practice that empowers the flock in their well-being. I am a Reiki master practicing since 1986 who has worked with many Catholic lay and clergy, all of whom have expressed that Reiki deepened their relationship with their religion.