The Dangers of Reiki
The Truth about Reiki & Energy Medicine from a Catholic Perspective…
There has been an explosion of popularity in the field of holistic health today. This includes Reiki and other forms of energy medicine; such as, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Hands of Light, Qigong, etc. It is rapidly gaining acceptance in hospitals, clinics, and personal alternative practices. Even many Catholic hospitals are buying into this Eastern Oriental practice, and a number of Catholic lay people and religious orders practice it devoutly.
Yet, Reiki is spiritually incompatible with Catholic faith. The following will briefly outline the problems with Reiki and show why it is incompatible for Catholics (or for any Christian) to practice or even participate in.
Who Started Reiki?
It is generally accepted that Dr. Mikao Usui founded Reiki on Mount Kurama in Japan. Dr. Usui was on a 21-day Buddhist retreat at a Buddhist temple. It was here that the great “Reiki Energy” was said to have entered into his crown chakra (the energy center in his head) bestowing on him a new gift – the ability to heal people without diminishing his own energy (www.Reiki.org).
What is Reiki?
Reiki comes from the Chinese word Chi, or the Japanese word Ki, also known as prana, which is a universal life-force energy that everyone and everything in the universe supposedly possesses. Proponents of Reiki claim that everything in the universe is made up of (and is permeated by) this life-force energy – even human beings. Thus, when someone is feeling sick, depressed, or unhealthy in any way, it is an indication that their energy is “out of balance.” Consequently, it is the function of the Reiki practitioner to channel positive energy into the person, bringing them back to balance and wholeness.
The Problems with Reiki and Energy Medicine
There are two problems with Reiki and energy medicine. First, there is little to no scientific evidence for Reiki in the medical field. Secondly, and more importantly, the beliefs and practice of Reiki contradict those of Christianity. Since the spiritual problems are more problematic, we will be spending more time on those. If the scientific aspect of this article doesn’t interest you, just skip down to the spiritual below.
Scientific Problems of Reiki:
Many Reiki practitioners assert that energy medicine has the full backing of science, that it is scientifically and medically proven. However, this is an unprovable claim and entirely untrue. With that being said, there are many other practitioners who understand that the energy of Reiki is a spiritual energy which cannot be verified or demonstrated by science. Moreover, the Eastern Oriental religions from which this practice originates also considers it a spiritual energy, and therefore could never be measured empirically by science.
Many Reiki and Healing Touch practitioners do not understand the energy of Reiki. I personally interviewed a number of Reiki masters and energy healers. I asked them all the same questions regarding what the energy is, how it works, and other similar questions. Yet, every practitioner gave me a completely different answer demonstrating that no one really understood and the energy they claimed to be a conduit for. Some said it was a spiritual energy. Others said it was only a physical energy. Others said it was both.
How can something be seen as sound “medicine” when all it’s adherents contradict each other? The fact of the matter is that Reiki, according to Usui and the earliest Reiki beleifs, is a spiritual energy coming from the universe. This is something that science could never empirically prove.
Even the Foundation for the Advancement of Energy Medicine, Inc. states regarding putative energy [the unseen, unprovable energy]; “Due to the lack of unquantifiable evidence of these purported energies, therapies based on putative energy are more controversial. The postulated energies are claimed to be of a more subtle nature and have not been directly measured by reproducible methods.”
Even national health care groups working against fraud warn that energy is not scientifically proven, and many times it can be a complete sham. Recent tests have been performed by major institutions including the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They set up a major study on fibromyalgia and found that Reiki had no effect (http://nccam.nih.gov/). The more scientific the studies are, the less evidence there is. For those who still accept that Reiki can be demonstrated scientifically, they could win a lot of money.
“In 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation offered $742,000 to anyone who could demonstrate an ability to detect a ‘human energy field’ under conditions similar to those of our study. Although more than 80,000 American practitioners claim to have such an ability, only one person attempted to demonstrate it. She failed, and the offer, now at $1,000,000, has led to no further takers despite recruiting efforts, including a direct appeal to Dr. Krieger” [Founder of Therapeutic Touch]. (Article: Why Therapeutic Touch Should be Considered Quackery).
Even if energy medicine could be demonstrated someday through scome scientific means, from a Christian point of view, the spiritual problems of Reiki pose a much greater concern. Thus, we will now examine the spiritual problems of Reiki.
One of Reiki’s many problems, spiritually and theologically, is that God is seen as energy. God is said to be an impersonal energy force, or even a “loving” energy. Energy emanates and proceeds from God (or the universe) who are often seen as one and the same.
The problem is that God is not energy in any way. It does not emanate from Him or come from Him. God is not the universe or part of the universe. Therefore, channeling energy is not a Christian practice and finds no foundation in Jesus Christ or the Catholic faith. Unfortunately, many priests and religious have fallen prey to this false Eastern Oriental belief.
The Bible clearly states that God created everything, and nothing exists without Him (John 1:2-3; Col. 1:15-17). God created all things and this absolutely includes energy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms this in paragraph 296 where it states that God created everything from nothing, and creation itself is not an emanation from his divine substance (emphasis added). Moreover, Scripture states multiple times that God is spirit (John 4:24; 2 Cor. 3:17), and spirit is not energy. As we have stated, the concept of energy is not a Christian one, but an Eastern Oriental one which finds no place in the Bible or 2000+ years of Christian teaching.
There is another problem. While Reiki teaches that mankind is alive because of life-force energy, Catholic doctrine states that we are made up of body and soul, and that it is the soul which gives man life. (Catechism #355-368). The Bible mentions the soul over and over again (Matt. 10:28; Mark. 8:36-37; Mark. 12:30), yet not a single word regarding a supposed life-force energy.
Jesus did NOT Practice Reiki:
Many Reiki masters, including Catholic practitioners, falsely assert that Jesus was a Reiki Master. The claim is that when Reiki Masters lay hands on people to heal, they are only imitating Jesus who laid hands on people. Of course, this is a false comparison. While Jesus did lay hands on people for healing, and while the approaches may appear similar at first, the two are incompatibly worlds apart.
First, whereas Reiki claims that healing comes from energy and ultimately the universe, the Bible states that the healing of Jesus’ was by the power of God. Jesus merely touched people and they were healed on the spot forever with no regression (Matt. 8:1-3; Matt. 8:14-16). In stark contrast, the energy healer stands over a person for 45-90 minutes channeling an unseen energy and without the results of Jesus. The healings are usually “emotional” or “mental.”
How often has it been said that a person came in with some sickness, and even though the sickness was not healed, the person left “feeling more relaxed.” Making someone “feel more relaxed” isn’t miraculous in any way and can’t be compared to the miracles of Jesus or the Bible.
Moreover, there were many times Jesus did not touch the sick but merely uttered a few words, and the people were cured instantly and permanently (i.e. Matt. 8:5-13; Matt. 9:2-8; John 5:5-9). Our Lord even raised people from the dead in this way (John 4:47-53). Can Reiki raise people from the dead, make legs grow out on crippled people, or cure tuberculosis instantly? On occasion, people who touched Jesus were healed instantly to demonstrate His divine power (Matt. 8:20-22). The above Biblical verses are unambiguous, and the reader will find no mention of energy healing anywhere.
Now some people still won’t give up on their practice just yet. They seek to still find support for it in the Bible. However, an honest examination and study of Scripture will demonstrate that Reiki is not taught or even hinted at anywhere in the Bible. Since most Christian practitioners resist examining the evidence too deeply or don’t study it from an authentically Christian position, here are some questions to show that Reiki is NOT Biblical. Answer the following:
- Where does the Bible (or where does any Catholic teaching) mention energy, a universal life-force energy, an energy aura, energy centers (i.e. charkas) or energy medicine?
- Where does the Bible state or even hint that healing comes through channeling energy?
- Jesus and His apostles may have “touched” or “laid hands on” people, but where does the Bible show Jesus or His Apostles standing over them for 45 or 90 minutes channeling energy, or letting the unseen energy force “direct itself”?
- Where does the Bible mention attunements? (An attunement is the formal process needed to become a Reiki master where energy is passed on from master to student. It is said that an attunement is akin to turning a radio dial to a station that comes in that comes in more clearly. In like manner, this process opens up the practitioner to higher frequencies of Reiki energy”). So, where does Scripture teach attunements, or show that attunements are necessary in order to heal?
- Where is evidence in Scripture that demonstrates people going to school, taking courses, and paying money to learn how to heal?
- Where does the Bible mention the use of Reiki symbols to heal people – symbols such as the Power Symbol or the Distance Symbol, for example?
- Not everyone in Reiki uses spirit guides or crystals, and not all talk about past life regression, psychic experiences, or the Higher Self, but many practitioners do. Even a Catholic nun states, “I ask permission from unconscious patients on the mental level, knowing that their Higher Self will respond.” Higher Self? Where does the Bible or the Church say a word about any of these aspects except for the condemnation of them?
The fact is that Reiki and energy medicine are of Buddhist and Eastern Oriental origin with many additions from the New Age Movement and sometimes occult practices. Reiki is unbiblical and is not found anywhere in Christian history. The healings that Jesus performed, and what He Himself claimed to do, are light years removed from what Reiki purports to be.
No Christian Reiki
The Bishops of the Catholic Church state in no unclear terms in their document on Reiki;
“Without justification from faith or natural Science, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-mans-land that is neither faith, nor Science… [Therefore], it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the church, such as chaplains, to promote or provide support for Reiki Therapy” (Emphasis added).
So, naturally, now that the Bishops have spoken, this settles the question right? For many, yes. For many others, the document does not answer their questions sufficiently and so they choose to ignore the people God put in charge. They have even changed the name Reiki to something like, “Relaxation Message,” or some analogous title. Their document is clear though. Summed up, there is no Christian Reiki, and the Catholic Church does not adhere to nor allow any participation in this practice.
I have expanded the bishops thoughts in this article and shown why Reiki is incompatible with Christianity. The full information on this subject will be released in a book I’m writing on the New Age Movement. As a side note, everyone should be aware that Reiki is done on people in hospitals with and without their permission. This information is important to know, please share it with others and may God set people free!