Greetings Reiki Communities,
Please check out this wonderful article from Thirdage.com (www.http://www.thirdage.com/news/articles/ALT02/04/07/29/ALT02040729-01.html)
By Jenny Hontz
Southern California real estate broker Joan Gardner was suffering such
excruciating pain with a swollen knee, months after a fall, that she was
homebound, depressed and unable to work. Her doctor and orthopedic physical
therapist encouraged her to have surgery, but Gardner declined because,
"I'm stubborn and vain." Instead, she decided to try something
Digging up a number her grocery clerk had given her, Gardner dialed Ken
Klee, a UCLA law professor and prominent corporate bankruptcy lawyer who
practices energy healing on the side. A seven-year student of more than
half a dozen healing methods, including reiki's radiance technique, pranic
healing and Theta Healing, Klee practices eight hours a week out of his
home office, stacked high with stones and crystals, massage table at the
center. Without touching her body or charging her a fee, Klee waved his
hands over Gardner for three hours last December, channeling divine healing
energy and helping her clear out anger and other blocks. The next day
the swelling in Gardner's knee was gone.
"I was in shock. It sounds probably crazy, but it's the truth,"
she said. "I feel like a million dollars, and I have since that day."
Stories like Gardner's raise eyebrows among those in the medical establishment
and Klee's academic colleagues. Once the province of faith healers, shamans,
ancient and New Age mystics, however, energy healing is increasingly going
Hospitals around the country are using energy healers in integrative medical
centers as a complement to Western medicine. Many doctors and nurses are
getting trained, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding
clinical trials and academic centers to study energy medicine in cancer
and cardiac patients.
UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital employs two energy healers in its pediatric
pain program. "We get kids nobody else is able to treat," said
director Lonnie Zeltzer, who has trained in reiki herself. "Some
of these kids do really well with energy healers." Although energy
healing has been around for thousands of years, results of the first government-funded
scientific studies are just beginning to emerge.
In February, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine became
the first scientific journal to dedicate an entire issue to energy healing.
The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy
Medicine recently had its first conference in Colorado to discuss the
latest scientific findings.
The research is too new to be conclusive, but findings suggest that energy
healing produces results in certain cases. Scientists don't know why or
What exactly is energy healing? Methods vary, but principles generally
stem from ancient concepts of a life force -- called chi or qi in traditional
Chinese medicine (prana in Indian medicine) -- that moves through pathways
called meridians. Acupuncture, qigong, tai chi, yoga and shiatsu massage
are all based on the idea that free-flowing energy throughout the body
leads to optimal health.
Energy healers contend that people have an etheric, or energy, body, often
called an aura, surrounding and penetrating the physical body, and energy
fuel centers inside the body called chakras.
Because bodies are made up of subatomic particles in constant motion,
many physical ailments manifest first in this energy body, like a blueprint,
healers say. Stress and painful emotions, for instance, can cause energy
to get stuck or depleted, inhibiting the body's natural healing processes.
Healers claim to be able to detect and repair these problems with or without
touching the body, sometimes from great distances. "All we are at
our essence is vibration, and all disease is dissonance in vibration,"
Klee says. "If we alter the vibration through crystals, color, sound,
prayer or bringing energy through the hands, it all has to do with vibration."
By harnessing the power of the mind-body connection, many energy healers
say they are simply promoting the innate ability to heal oneself, meaning
receptivity can affect whether it works, as can the intent and state of
mind of the healer.
The line between energy healing and faith healing can get blurry. Some
practitioners invoke a higher power, while others align cosmic healing
symbols or gather and project healing energy from nature. Some tout extraordinary
gifts; others say they are simply conduits, and anyone can learn to heal
himself or herself and others with a little practice.
Words such as auras and chakras might lead many people to scoff, but researchers
are starting to take these concepts seriously, translating them into scientific
terms by measuring the body's bioelectromagnetic fields and the effects
of healing energy on plants, animals and people. To detect these fields
and subtle changes, researchers are turning to high-tech instruments,
some that are normally used to detect distant galaxies.
Gary Schwartz, a professor of psychology, surgery, medicine and neurology
at the University of Arizona, is the principal investigator at the $1.8-million
NIH-funded Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science.
The center is a collaboration of the university's departments of psychology
and surgery, the integrative medical program and the Institute for Frontier
Science in Oakland, Calif. It was created in 2002 to study energy medicine
and spiritual healing.
"The body is generating a huge symphony of frequencies," Schwartz
said. "We can use state-of-the-art biodetectors to study how a healer
emits these frequencies." Schwartz recently published the results
of several experiments, including one that tested the ability of 27 healthcare
providers to detect human biofields after receiving five days of training
from prominent energy healer Rosalyn L. Bruyere. Before and after the
training, participants guessed whether an experimenter was holding a hand
over their left or right hand.
After 24 trials, the study found an increase in accuracy from 50.8 percent
(50 percent is chance) to 55.5 percent after the training. Notably, those
who were more open and absorbed in learning the task scored 58.3 percent
accuracy, compared with 52.7 percent for people who scored low on an absorption
Another study looked at the effects of music and energy healing on the
germination of 4,600 seeds, finding significantly more sprouted when exposed
to music and healing energy compared with control groups.
At a research symposium in June, Schwartz presented a paper showing a
possible correlation between the emotional well-being of reiki healers
and their ability to make E. coli bacteria grow in a petri dish.
"The emotional state of the healer potentially has an effect in terms
of the magnitude of the healing response," Schwartz said.
Schwartz is also establishing the Extraordinary Healing Research Program
at the Center for Frontier Medicine to study "superstars" of
healing who sometimes produce "supercures" that many call miracles.
He said he witnessed one such case in his own clinic of a woman sending
healing energy long distance to a paraplegic. The man recently regained
bladder control, took his first steps, and his MRI showed nerves had regenerated,
something that Schwartz had considered "virtually impossible."
By studying these rare "supercures," Schwartz hopes to demystify
them by discovering the mechanisms at work. Depending on your point of
view, this research is either cutting-edge science that could revolutionize
our understanding of human healing, sheer quackery and a waste of tax
dollars -- or simply inconclusive.
Joan Fox, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland
Clinic Foundation, which is starting an NIH-funded clinical trial on energy
healing and prostate cancer, recently experimented with qigong and reiki
practitioners who projected energy into cultured cancer cells.
"We gave that exercise up," she said. "We just really couldn't
see anything. There's a real problem in this field of literature being
un-reproducible. We need to step back and look at why."
In pilot studies, energy healing has been shown to reduce biological stress
markers such as cortisone in volunteers. But Fox said, "We don't
know if it's due to an energy exchange or lying on a table for an hour
or the expectation of change." As a control for the placebo effect,
the clinic is conducting a study using sham reiki practitioners who employ
hand movements identical to real practitioners but count backward from
1,000 rather than focusing on the intent to heal. The clinic is also looking
at stress markers in animals that receive energy healing.
"There is no good evidence there is an energetic exchange through
these healers, but I will keep an open mind," Fox said. "It
is possible. That's why we're doing these experiments." Stephen Barrett,
a retired psychiatrist and founder of the health fraud guide Quackwatch,
holds the "sheer quackery" point of view. He dismisses such
research, saying, "There is nothing there." Barrett is coauthor
of an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. in
1998 debunking the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch, an energy healing
method often used by nurses.
"They claim they can, by concentrating, feel a person's energy field
and go through certain maneuvers to modify it and create a healing force,"
"We feel that's preposterous. It's a figment of their imagination."
Barrett's JAMA article publicized the results of a science fair project
of a 9-year-old girl named Emily who tested Therapeutic Touch practitioners'
ability to detect her energy field. The experiment was similar to Schwartz's,
but the practitioners correctly guessed which of their hands the girl's
hand was hovering over only 44 percent of the time, less than chance would
Barrett, one of the nation's most outspoken critics of alternative medicine,
said energy healers and those who bolster them through studies are delusional
But, said Schwartz: "That's what they said about Copernicus, Newton
and Galileo." He adds that he would never risk his reputation by
lying, and the team of psychologists working at his center routinely verify
"When you look at the totality of the data with an open mind,
you come to the conclusion that something real is going on. What is that
something? We don't know." With or without conclusive data,
people that turn to energy healers say they don't need proof to know they
feel better. Shelley Adler, 68, recently had an attack of diverticulitis
as she was recovering from breast cancer surgery and preparing to begin
radiation and chemotherapy at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif.
"Because I was in such bad shape, I felt I needed to do more,"
"Things were not looking good." Adler began seeing a reiki master
and acupuncturist through an integrative health program affiliated with
the hospital while undergoing standard cancer treatment. Lying on a massage
table with soothing music playing, the reiki master would place her hand
above Adler's forehead and then move to other parts of her body. Adler
could feel intense heat coming from the healer's hand, and the experience
relaxed her deeply.
"I was really surprised by what happened to me and the sensations
I got," Adler said. "I would get a virtual light show under
my eyelids." Even more important were the feelings she didn't have
during chemo. "I wasn't feeling nauseous, and I wasn't feeling ill,"
she said. "Considering what I experienced, I was feeling remarkably
well." Urologist Eric Robins, who co-wrote the book Your Hands Can
Heal You (Simon & Schuster, 2003) with pranic healing master Stephen
Co, uses energy healing in his clinic to treat people with "functional"
problems, such as colitis and chronic pain, that create symptoms without
any detectable physiological cause.
Robins became a believer after his first attempt at pranic healing on
a patient near death after several months in the hospital for gallbladder
surgery, yeast sepsis, a blood clot in his lung, leaking intestinal fluids,
a 104-degree fever and vomiting. Defying odds, the patient recovered right
after Robins began pranic healing.
Soon thereafter, 130 doctors and nurses at Kaiser Permanente Hospital
in Harbor City, Calif. took Co's course, learning how to scan the energy
body, cleanse dirty energy from the aura and send healthy energy to depleted
areas of the body.
An engineer by trade, Co emphasizes that people should keep their Western
doctors and use energy healing as an adjunct. He says to avoid a practitioner
who tries to diagnose, prescribe, guarantee a cure or charge an outrageous
amount. Most energy healers charge $50 to a few hundred dollars a session,
although many practice for free or for donations.
People should ask for credentials and references, and integrative medical
centers affiliated with hospitals are a good place to get the names of
reputable practitioners. Most states have no standards for energy healers,
and while some schools require rigorous training and study, others certify
new healers after a weekend course.
The idea that someone can learn healing so quickly makes grandmaster Tenzan
Hirakawa, founder of the martial art Tenshin-Kai shake his head. Hirakawa
often heals his students and loved ones by projecting his energy into
their bodies. "His chi works faster than Pepto-Bismol," said
student Akemi Mayeda, who has relied on him to relieve stomachaches.
Although some people have a "special gift" for healing, Hirakawa
believes it takes a trained eye to spot the real thing, and most people
need "at least 30 years" of study and practice with a master
to correctly use chi for healing.
But Klee says, "If I can do it, anybody can do it. I'm a conservative
guy, a lawyer, a skeptic. I believe in verifying things. Seven years ago,
I would have thought this was completely nuts. Now I'm convinced science
is going to validate this. It's going to happen.
Pranic healing is a form of nontouch energy healing that
emphasizes the ability to heal oneself and others using simple techniques.
It was created by Chinese Filipino grandmaster Choa Kok Sui and brought
to the United States by master Stephen Co. In it healers use their hands
to scan for disturbances in the energy body, cleanse the aura of dirty
energy, and replenish it with fresh energy from nature. For more information,
go to www.pranichealing.com or call (888) 470-5656.
Reiki, which translates to "universal life energy,"
is a Japanese form of energy healing performed by lightly placing hands
on or directly above the body of a person who is lying on a massage table.
By focusing on an intent to heal and drawing on cosmic healing symbols,
the healer activates a person's healing energy. For more information,
go to the Web site of St. John's Hospital Center for Health Enhancement
at www.healthenhancement.org. Or go to the Agape Well-Being Center's Web
site at www.agapelive.com/wellbeingcenter/index.
Medical qigong is an ancient Chinese form of energy medicine
that underpins acupuncture, shiatsu and acupressure. Qigong teaches that
a life force called qi, or chi, flows through all living things and along
meridians in human bodies. Through body postures, breathing exercises
and meditation, people can create a strong flow of chi. For more information,
go to the National Qigong Assn.'s Web site at www.nqa.org.
Theta Healing, created by medical intuitive Vianna Stibal,
involves going into a theta brain-wave state by visualizing a ball of
light in the heart area moving up to the crown of the head. After asking
permission to enter a client's space, a healer evokes a higher power,
commands and then witnesses a specific healing. To find practitioners,
go to www.thetahealing.com/practitioners.html.
Power Healing, created by Chinese doctor and qigong master
Zhi Gang Sha, involves redirecting energy from disturbed areas of the
body to the navel area. Power healing also uses sound vibration from mantra
chanting to shake energy loose, visualization of a golden light flowing
from the head to a diseased area, and health affirmations that command
diseased areas to heal. To find a healer, go to www.drsha.com.
Pulsor Energy Balancing encourages the use of devices
containing microcrystals that balance and correct the polarity of the
charkas negatively affected by pollution from electromagnetic radiation.
Pulsors are placed around the body, while a healer spins a pulsor device
over each area. For more information, go to www.subtleenergy1984.com.
Therapeutic Touch is used primarily by nurses who become
centered through a brief meditation, assess a patient's energy field with
their hands, sweep away stagnant energy, and transmit energy to the patient.
For more information, go to www.therapeutic-touch.org.
Johrei is a Japanese form of spiritual energy healing
meaning "to purify spirit," in which healers send divine healing
energy and love from one body to another to dispel clouds of negativity,
release toxins, relieve pain and raise a person's spiritual vibration.
A healer thanks the divine source and directs energy to the forehead,
upper chest and abdomen of the patient. For more information, go to www.johrei-institute.org.
Other prominent energy-based healers include Rosalyn L. Bruyere (www.rosalynlbruyere.org),
Barbara Brennan (www.barbarabrennan.com) and Dr. Judith Orloff www.drjudithorloff.com).
For additional information on energy medicine research, go to:
• The Center for Frontier Medicine in Biofield Science at www.biofield.arizona.edu.
• The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and
Energy Medicine at www.issseem.org.