MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Many people suffering from depression or anxiety are tempted to try alternative therapies. One of those is Reiki, a 2500 year old treatment described as a vibrational or subtle energy therapy, and is most commonly facilitated by light touch on or above the body. On this blog, we have repeatedly discussed Reiki and the fact that there is no good evidence for this utterly implausible approach (e.g. here, here and here). Yet, there have been reports of Reiki alleviating anxiety and depression – but what does the totality of the available evidence show when it is submitted to an impartial assessment?

This Cochrane review was aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of Reiki for treating anxiety and depression in people aged 16 and over.

Literature searches were conducted in the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL – all years), the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Review Group’s Specialised Register (CCDANCTR – all years), EMBASE, (1974 to November 2014), MEDLINE (1950 to November 2014), PsycINFO (1967 to November 2014) and AMED (1985 to November 2014). Additional searches were carried out on the World Health Organization Trials Portal (ICTRP) together with ClinicalTrials.gov to identify any ongoing or unpublished studies. All searches were up to date as of 4 November 2014.

Randomised trials were considered in adults with anxiety or depression or both, with at least one arm treated with Reiki delivered by a trained Reiki practitioner. The two authors independently decided on inclusion/exclusion of studies and extracted data. A prior analysis plan had been specified.

The researchers found three studies for inclusion in the review. One recruited males with a biopsy-proven diagnosis of non-metastatic prostate cancer who were not receiving chemotherapy and had elected to receive external-beam radiation therapy; the second study recruited community-living participants who were aged 55 years and older; the third study recruited university students.These studies included subgroups with anxiety and depression as defined by symptom scores and provided data separately for those subgroups. As this included only 25 people with anxiety and 17 with depression and 20 more with either anxiety or depression, but which was not specified, the results could only be reported narratively.

The findings did not show any evidence that Reiki is either beneficial or harmful in this population. The risk of bias for the included studies was generally rated as unclear or high for most domains, which reduced the certainty of the evidence.

The authors of this Cochrane review concluded that there is insufficient evidence to say whether or not Reiki is useful for people over 16 years of age with anxiety or depression or both.

This is a very diplomatic way of expressing the truth, I think. A more forceful conclusion might have been that THERE IS NO GOOD EVIDENCE THAT REIKI IS EFFECTIVE. GIVEN THE TOTAL LACK OF BIOLOGICAL PLAUSIBILITY, THIS FINDING IS NOT SURPRISING. FUTURE RESEARCH INTO THIS AREA DOES NOT SEEM WARRANTED.

80 Responses to Reiki is nonsense and further research should be discouraged

  • “… Reiki, a 2500 year old treatment…”

    Really? I thought it was invented (by Mikao Usui) in 1922.

    • Well, it’s always Argument from Antiquity or Argument from Authority with quackery, It’s a toss-up which you’ll get, really.

    • @ Stephen Tonkin

      I think you’re both wrong 😀
      People have been waving their hands since Homo Sapiens evolved. And our predecessors before that I guess. It was simply commercialised by Mikao and his disciples using a catchy brand name and efficient marketing strategy involving the classic mixture of make-believe-magic, candlelight relaxation, soothing sounds and a little body to body touch to play on the most basic of our needs i.e. human closeness and even a hint of eroticism.

  • Mikao Usui (1865-1926) was a Japanese businessman – a Buddhist who also practised Shintoism. This spiritual system recognises kami – the spirits and deities of animals, trees and mountains. With historical records dating from the seventh century, Shinto folklore and mythology has led to a range of religious practices associated with nature and today is often combined with Buddhist ancestor worship (Japanese: Shinto; Way of the Gods from Chinese: shin, kami, spirits or deities; dō (Tao), philosophical path, way, or study).

    The details of the origin of Reiki are shrouded in mystery and have resulted in some dispute. In 1922 Usui encountered financial problems with his businesses, stepped back, and took a twenty one day Buddhist training course at a mountain retreat involving prayer, fasting and meditation. Usui had a mystical revelation which empowered him with energy and enabled him to develop his Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Spiritual Energy Therapy Society). He then taught others how to transmit ‘spiritual energy’ to patients.

    The principles are ancient, but the commercial invention of Usui’s SETS (marketed as Reiki) is new and novel.

    Hawaiian born Madam Hawayo Takata (1990-1980) trained with Usui and then developed a different set of hand positions and a system which better suited Western patients and practitioners. Usui Reiki Shiki Ryoho, Usui’s Spiritual Energy Style of Medical Treatment, was initially set up by Takata in the 1970’s. Her fee for a course of study leading to the degree of Master and to ‘call out a student’s commitment and lead the student into a deeper understanding of the energy of money’ was $10,000.

    That is the system used today in the UK as ‘Reiki’.

    May the Wu be with you all.

    (Wu: Chinese for ‘nothingness’)

  • You don’t have any idea as to what you are missing out on. I don’t protect Reiki as it is something that cannot be described.

    • aaaah len,
      You’ve popped up again, to defend your precious, wacky witchcraft. Will we get the same-old, same-old nonsense you spout every time?

      One poster, on another thread, calculated the “energy” you think you feel and it is real. It is called “heat”, something all warm-blooded organisms radiate into their environment. It isn’t magic, just plain old vanilla physics; something about which you know nothing, sadly.

      • haha you’re the physics expert right? Cold blooded animal don’t radiate heat.
        Reiki is NOT heat. It’s the entrainment of a particle that is oscillating and radiating in a healthy manner onto another particle that is struggling, dying or decaying, by channelling love energy into disease. That’s the bottom line.

        Entrainment…have you heard of that term and if you have, what does it mean to you?

        I could quote you some great scientists on this if you like.

        • @ jane summers on Monday 15 February 2016 at 13:05,

          “haha you’re the physics expert right? Cold blooded animal don’t radiate heat.”

          “Cold-blooded” animals do not have “cold blood”; it is a term used to differentiate them from “warm-blooded” animals. The latter have a temperature regulatory mechanism, while the former doesn’t. All animals are exothermic, that is, the processes of life within the animal generate heat in both groups, only that one has a means of controlling heat loss to the environment. So called “cold-blooded” animals both dissipate and absorb heat from the environment, depending on the relative temperatures.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold-blooded
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warm-blooded

          “Reiki is NOT heat. It’s the entrainment of a particle that is oscillating and radiating in a healthy manner onto another particle that is struggling, dying or decaying, by channelling love energy into disease. That’s the bottom line.”

          “channelling love energy into disease”? Isn’t that how Oscar Wilde caught syphilis?

          A nine year old girl disproved Reiki a few years ago. She made practioners of this strange idea look like the fools they are. Fancy that, a NINE year old could not only devise an experiment, but she PROVED it is nonsense. The implications are clear.

          “Entrainment…have you heard of that term and if you have, what does it mean to you?”

          Which entrainment; that in physics, engineering, hydrodynamics, meteorology or concrete work, or do you mean that nebulous airy-fairy term alt-meds use but don’t understand?

          “I could quote you some great scientists on this if you like.”

          Please, go ahead, but make them real scientists and not the likes of noted loons, such as Lipton et al.

  • My employer/university set up a “Center for Spirituality and Healing” that keeps trying to sneak woo onto the campus. They originally offered homeopathy services but dropped the use of that word on their website after an activist university doctor went after them. They’re vague about how much they teach/refer people to any of these “natural” treatments, and pretty much highlight uncontroversial practices like meditation. However, they do promote Reiki–I think that’s because most people have no idea what it is. Here’s a link to what they have to say about the research on Reiki:

    http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reiki/what-does-research-say-about-reiki

  • “The authors of this Cochrane review concluded that there is insufficient evidence to say whether or not Reiki is useful for people over 16 years of age with anxiety or depression or both.” How does this become “Reiki is baloney”? That sounds like the same kind of ideologically-driven foolishness that you’d hear from Reiki practitioners: “It’s my belief. Don’t bother me with studies.”

    I was trained to practice Reiki some 20 years ago (don’t ask). I don’t know if I ever bought in to the energy field thing, but I do know that it was extremely effective for putting my kids to sleep. I don’t know as it ever cured me of anything, even headaches, but a Reiki technique was invaluable for putting me to sleep when I was having trouble. From this I conclude that it may operate as some form of meditation, focusing our attention in a mindful way.

    If you were being truly scientific about this subject, you’d detail carefully exactly what it is about Reiki that you find indefensible, and accept “we don’t know” as a valid answer. From a scientific point of view, it seems like it’s the only honest answer you can come up with on this subject.

    • “The authors of this Cochrane review concluded that there is insufficient evidence to say whether or not Reiki is useful for people over 16 years of age with anxiety or depression or both.” How does this become “Reiki is baloney”?

      You have invented the “Reiki is baloney” quote: it does not exist in Edzard’s blog post or in any of the comments.

      If, as the Cochrane review authors concluded, there is insufficient evidence that Reiki is useful for the stated purposes, then, from a logical perspective, the evidence for the efficacy of Reiki for those purposes is lacking or absent. The burden of proof falls upon those who wish to assert that there is evidence for its efficacy. What I find indefensible about Reiki is that, contrary to what its touts pretend, there is no robust evidence that it is more effective than placebo treatments.

      Your anecdotes may be of interest to some, but they are unverifiable and hence, to any objective neutral observer, irrelevant.

    • Wendy,
      No doubt time spent with an empathic practitioner can be beneficial – but that is not ‘Reiki’.
      We know what Reiki is:

      “Reiki” (ray-key) is Japanese for ‘universal life energy, and is also a word used to describe a system of natural healing, This tradition was founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century and evolved as a result of his research, experience and dedication.
      We live in a world of energy that nourishes and maintains all living things. When this energy flows uninterrupted there is balance and harmony within and around us, and we experience a sense of well being.” (The Reiki Association).

      From the International Center for Reiki Training:
      “How Does Reiki Work?
      We are alive because life force is flowing through us. Life force flows within the physical body though pathways called chakras, meridians and nadis. It also flows around us in a field of energy called the aura. Life force nourishes the organs and cells of the body, supporting them in their vital functions. When this flow of life force is disrupted, it causes diminished function in one or more of the organs and tissues of the physical body.
      Q. I have heard that Reiki can be sent to others at a distance. How does this work?
      A. Yes, in Reiki II, you are given three Reiki symbols. These symbols are empowered by the Reiki II attunement. One of these symbols is for distant healing. By using a picture of the person you would like to send Reiki to or by writing the person’s name on a piece of paper or simply by thinking of the person and also activating the distant symbol, you can send Reiki to them no matter where they are. They could be hundreds of miles away, but it makes no difference. The Reiki energy will go to them and treat them. You can also send Reiki to crisis situations or world leaders and the Reiki energy will help them too.”

      Frankly this is all hogwash. This ‘Reiki energy’ does not exist. So, neither can ‘Reiki’, except in the imagination.
      Reiki energy is fictitious, like fairies and unicorns. It cannot be transmitted. The charms have no effect save to initiate auto-hypnosis. Which is fine if you understand the issues.
      End of.
      I am sorry to hear you have been taken in.

    • @WendyBH,
      “If you were being truly scientific about this subject, you’d detail carefully exactly what it is about Reiki that you find indefensible, and accept “we don’t know” as a valid answer. From a scientific point of view, it seems like it’s the only honest answer you can come up with on this subject.”

      You talk about “science” as though it has a meaning other than this;
      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/science
      http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/science-definition.html
      http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/science
      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/science
      http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/science

      Through “science”, we do know that there aren’t special “energy” fields alt-med people like to talk about. The warmth you feel in your hands or by the victim can be explained by, and calculated with, the science we know (and it all works, unsurprisingly). It is called “heat” and conforms to the normal principles of radiation.

      • No energy fields of vibration? Tell that to Dr Hans Jenny who vibrated sand and water and created patterns. The patterns were different with each vibration….oh yes! Don’t tell me! That’s GRAVITY isn’t it? hahahaha

        • No mysterious energy fields, just acoustic standing waves and harmonics, depending on vibration frequency. Basic physics in an entertaining and instructional package.

        • “Don’t tell me! That’s GRAVITY isn’t it?”

          No. Do you have any idea about any basic science at all? It isn’t magic, despite what you appear to think. It is all qualifiable and quantifiable, just that you have no idea about it or the words I just used. So sad.

          • Actually 20 years from now, if you’re still with us, you will not only believe that science is magic, you will know that it is. Magic, witchcraft, spells, rituals are all focus intent energy. I presume you don’t believe in voodoo either? Tell that to the witch doctors who can kill with just a thought. Or the yogis who can cure tumours just by meditating and focusing on them.

            Basic physics, I’m afraid doesn’t hack life. If it did, it would start with plasma physics. That explains everything we’re discussing, literally everything.

          • I am impressed!
            can I nominate you for a Nobel Prize?

          • “Actually 20 years from now, if you’re still with us, you will not only believe that science is magic, you will know that it is. Magic, witchcraft, spells, rituals are all focus intent energy. I presume you don’t believe in voodoo either? Tell that to the witch doctors who can kill with just a thought. Or the yogis who can cure tumours just by meditating and focusing on them.”

            As none of this happens now, it won’t happen in the future. Certainly not while my arse points to the ground, nor ever after that.

            “Basic physics, I’m afraid doesn’t hack life. If it did, it would start with plasma physics. That explains everything we’re discussing, literally everything.”

            LOL, you have no idea what plasma physics is, nor that it is simply a division of “normal” physics. You can be very funny, unintentionally, I’m sure.

      • Do you believe in Gamma Rays? And if so, what is the scientific evidence to support their existence?

        Do you believe that the colour blue oscillates at a slightly different frequency to orange? If so, how can you explain that scientifically?

        When you see ripples in a pond, how do you explain that scientifically?

        Do you believe that we all see the spectrum slightly differently? And if you do, who told you that and why do you believe them?

        • I think you are in need of some basic physics lessons.

        • @ jane summers on Monday 15 February 2016 at 13:08,

          “Do you believe in Gamma Rays? And if so, what is the scientific evidence to support their existence?”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_ray
          Used for this, for one; “Gamma-induced molecular changes can also be used to alter the properties of semi-precious stones, and is often used to change white topaz into blue topaz.”.

          “Do you believe that the colour blue oscillates at a slightly different frequency to orange? If so, how can you explain that scientifically?”

          No, I don’t believe “colour blue oscillates at a slightly different frequency to orange”, blue and orange occupy a different range of frequencies in the visible light spectrum. There is not one orange, nor is there one specific blue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(colour) Do you understand the formula, Speed = frequency * wavelength? It is the same for sound as electromagnetic radiation, including visible light.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light

          “When you see ripples in a pond, how do you explain that scientifically?”

          http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/wavplt.html

          “Do you believe that we all see the spectrum slightly differently? And if you do, who told you that and why do you believe them?”

          Simply because we are organic and our perceptions differ in every respect. However, the range of differences is fairly limited. There are exceptions, such as colour blindness.

          I would like to be nice about this, but you are spectactularly ignorant. It is acceptable if you are incapable of understanding or mental illness, though I suspect it is wilful ignorance.

  • Hilarious thread – OMG what a terrible world when basic human touch creates a healing phenomenon. It puts a different light on what is fundamentally missing in our modern lives. Dismissing Reiki is bigoted as clearly it’s much better to poison, radiate and chop people up instead

    • Que?

      You may understand it but I don’t.

      • Frank.Take a chill pill and just think about how clever our bodies and mind are.Surely it makes you think how does all this come about and the logic that our molicules need energy,resusitating , revibing to survive

        • Surely it makes you think how does all this come about and the logic that our molicules need energy,resusitating , revibing to survive

          Any mayo for that word salad?

        • @Annie,
          “Take a chill pill and just think about how clever our bodies and mind are.
          Complex, yes; clever, no. That is what a couple of billion years of evolution does. No secret there.

          “Surely it makes you think how does all this come about”
          Yep, see above.

          “the logic that our molicules need energy,resusitating , revibing to survive”
          No, our molecules receive and reject energy all the time. No secret there either. Some reactions are exothermic, some endothermic. Again, no secret or surprise. As for the terms “resusitating” and “revibing”, I have no idea what you are talking about. I suspect they are alt-med terms, used by people who have no idea about, even basic, science, so they make up ridiculous terms which other people can readily explain in both qualified and quantified terms.

          I have some simple advice for you; just because you don’t understand the basic principles of existence, it doesn’t mean everyone else suffers from the same ignorance. (Many other people also know how to write basic English, seemingly a skill you are yet to master.)

          • You may not understand that life needs nurturing and replenishing (usually by the Sun and the aether surrounding every living thing) but do you understand that ALL matter is wave-form? There is no matter…it’s only waves and squiggles. There are no atoms or molecules, there are only waves?

            If you do, then you will understand that waves entrain upon each other (copy/emulate)…take that further, the universal energy being channeled by Reiki practitioners is entraining on the waves on which it focuses. Get it yet?

          • Who needs CERN when we have reiki masters, eh?

            Or are all the scientists there reiki masters, but they just don’t know it?

          • “There are no atoms or molecules, there are only waves?”

            Bloody Einstein, wrong again.

          • Jane obviously missed the school science lesson on growing crystals. I have a question for you, Jane: please explain, using only the wave model of matter, why we use diamond-tipped cutters to cut through tough materials, and why we use a diamond stylus to play vinyl records.

    • False dichotomy is a logical fallacy and has no place on this thread (except to expose ignorance).

      • Sorry Pete, missed your question. The general principle is explained here:

        https://str.llnl.gov/str/Stuart.html

        Femto lasers

        May I ask you a question? Do you believe that matter is simply slowed-down electrons?

        • Neither chirped-pulse amplification nor lasers have anything to do with my two simple questions. Comically, the link that you provided more than adequately refutes your previous claim: “…but do you understand that ALL matter is wave-form? There is no matter…it’s only waves and squiggles. There are no atoms or molecules, there are only waves?”

          You asked me: “Do you believe that matter is simply slowed-down electrons?” Unfortunately, I’ve never had the hilarity from personally meeting someone who holds such a belief. If I do, I shall ask them some simple chemistry questions.

        • @ jane summers on Monday 15 February 2016 at 15:56

          Pete Atkins said;
          “Jane obviously missed the school science lesson on growing crystals. I have a question for you, Jane: please explain, using only the wave model of matter, why we use diamond-tipped cutters to cut through tough materials, and why we use a diamond stylus to play vinyl records.”

          Jane responded with this (don’t laugh……..yet);
          “Sorry Pete, missed your question. The general principle is explained here:

          https://str.llnl.gov/str/Stuart.html

          Femto lasers”

          How are these related, unless you have no understanding of any science? Pete talked of physically cutting a hard material and the use of a hard material to avoid fast wear in an abrasive situation. Your post is about using a different cutting principle, involving an ultra-high intensity beam of electromagnetic radiation. Is the real world so hard to comprehend you have to resort to fantasy?

          jane (who is oblivious of the practice of capitalisation) said;
          “May I ask you a question? Do you believe that matter is simply slowed-down electrons?”

          Errr, no. Matter is more like congealed energy (in a simplistic way), not slowed-down anything. When fission (A bomb) or fusion (H bomb) occurs, matter is converted to energy and this is quantified by E = mc2. As c equals 299,792,458 m/s (rounded to 3 x 10 8), a small amount of matter equals a lot of energy released instantaneously, hence the big BOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

          See, it wasn’t that hard, or was it?

  • So why is it then that if Einstein believed there was an invisible universal energy field and Tesla knew there was (his inventions were based on the energy contained in the ‘air’) that physicists and doctors still pursue problems singularly, ie not holistically?

    Actually there are different kinds of physics…the Electric Universe theory and the Aether Physics theory are totally ignored in favour of gravity and a mechanical universe; liimited, cold, clockwork. Consciousness (warm, intelligent, expansive) is never explored but by a handful of physicists and yet Dr Hans Jenny proved that the universe functions through vibration. I expect you buy into string theory don’t you?

    There are many kinds of physics…the fundamental difference between them is that some theories are holistic and some are only looking at disparate elements.

    Mary Somerville, Gregg Braden, Jonathon Goldman, Bruce Lipton, and many others are emerging with the very ancient theory that underlying the material world there is an infinite energy field of aether. And if Einstein isn’t good enough for you, then please continue to watch Brian Cox and the BBC.

    • Well, i’ll give you a hint : One physics is about real world the other one is about unicorns.

      You sound high as f**** sis’

    • Face palm!
       
      I’m sorry Jane Summers. What you’ve posted today demonstrates beyond all doubt that you don’t understand the first thing about science in general, or physics in particular. Please take a decent course in physics so you can put all this stuff you have cherry-picked and totally misunderstood into a rational perspective.
       
      Above all, make the intellectual effort required to comprehend that just because science embraces something like invisible matter and invisible energy this is not evidence for reiki or any other spiritual, holistic claptrap. The non-existence of any ‘Human energy field’ was amply demonstrated by a nine-year-old years ago.

      • OK Frank, I am ignoring your attitude and superior remarks because I refute them. Why do science embrace invisible things? Two reasons I can see:

        a. they’re making up hypotheses to suit their existing beliefs, or
        b. they can see the effects of those invisible things

        The second one is the more important of course…as you might know, no-one has actually seen a hydrogen atom but they know what it does. No-one can see Reiki but we know what it does because we use it.

        Kirlian and Thermal photographers have demonstrated the existence of a human energy field. Do you deny the existence of Earth’s electro-magnetic fields – Van Allen belts?

        • The word “refute” does not mean what you seem to think it does. You have refuted precisely nothing.

          Whilst it is true that nobody has actually seen an atom, instruments have detected them (by x-ray diffraction) in a replicable manner, for over half a century. Look up “crystallography”.

          Kirlian and thermal photographers who claim to detect auras, etc. have not demonstrated the existence of anything other than a talent for fraudulently misrepresenting prosaic physical phenomena.

          The Van Allen belts are not Earth’s electromagnetic field; they are regions where charged particles are trapped by that field.

          Any other scientific or linguistic misunderstanding I can help you with?

        • @jane summers

          You are ignoring so much more than Franks attitude 🙂
          Your questions throughout this thread are quite amusing, seeing that each and every one of them is clearly and truthfully answered wide and far in books and in lectures and information sites online.
          Seeing that you seem to believe you can communicate telepathically with animals and believe in the healing power of hand-waving such information will probably not get through your cognitive dissonance, but why not try?

          Why don’t you take all your different questions and enter the pertinent keywords, e.g. “Kirlian photography” or “Gamma Ray” into Wikipedia and you will find simple, logic and rational explanations of them all and infomration on what they are and how and why. Usually also the history of its discovery.
          You will find out that Kirlian photography does not confirm the existence of a “life force or general energy or whatever you choose to call it. You will learn that Gamma Rays are very real and deadly. You will learn how and why waves are what they are, and so forth.
          If you are, as is so common with purveyors of the paranormal, of the mistaken belief that Wikipedia is lying to suppress extrascientific phenomena, then you can find many other sources of the same information on the net.
          An example of a good starting place for those interested in learning how physical science explains our world in detail and how Reiki and telepathic communication are figments of your imagination, is here.

        • @Jane
           
          Dark energy is indeed still speculative, but is predicted from more than one experimental observation. Detectors for dark matter operate in several sites around the planet. The existence of dark matter is inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter.
           
          The evidence for hydrogen atoms is unequivocal, as is the evidence for electricity — something else no-one has ever seen directly. In any case, direct visualization of hydrogen atoms is far from an impossibility: http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-first-image-ever-of-a-hydrogen-atoms-orbital-struc-509684901.
           
          Now show me where there is similarly reproducible objective evidence (not anecdotes and beliefs) that Reiki does anything for any definable disease.

        • @ jane summers on Monday 15 February 2016 at 16:03,

          “The second one is the more important of course…as you might know, no-one has actually seen a hydrogen atom but they know what it does.”

          Einstein proved the existence of atoms, mathematically, in one of his 1905 papers and the last vestige of that group, plus the General Theory of Relativity, fell into place recently. No secret there.

          If you want to find hydrogen atoms (molecules because hydrogen atoms are seldom unpaired), do electrolysis of water, and BINGO, hydrogen and oxygen in exact proportions. How is that for magic? Actually, simple chemistry; something with which you are totally ignorant.

          “No-one can see Reiki but we know what it does because we use it.”

          Actually, someone on this blog calculated the energy involved in Reiki (a proprietary form of witchcraft, cunningly sold as a form of education). Yes, infrared radiation (heat to you) can be calculated. No secret there either, except to you and alt-med loonies.

    • “Hans Jenny”

      Hahahahahahahaha!

      Notorious exponent of SteinerBollox-inspired pseudoscience, main claim to fame is the invention of “cymatics”, which is anthroposophobabble for “spectacularly misunderstanding the physics behind Chladni (& similar) patterns and hence attributing far more meaning to them than the actual evidence allows.”

      Next?

      • HOW does high vibration break glass?

        • pure magic – and it only happens, if you believe in it!

        • HOW does high vibration break glass?

          Forced resonance.

          Next?

        • Oh god. This is embarrassing.

        • Good question, Jane! How come high sound vibrations break glass but high electromagnetic vibrations don’t? Vibrations are just vibrations, after all: there’s one to toss at the stupid scientists.

        • @ jane summers on Monday 15 February 2016 at 16:05

          “HOW does high vibration break glass?”

          It is not “high vibration”, the frequency (the real word for it) that may break a glass object is the resonant frequency of the object. This is the frequency at which the object naturally vibrates. Forcing this frequency at the object may break the internal bonds holding it together, and it breaks.

          Seriously, this is like talking to a six year old.

          • “Seriously, this is like talking to a six year old.” To which I’ll add: A six-year-old who has never been, or who will never be, allowed to ping a ruler on the edge of a desk and make it produce both ascending and descending exponential chirp responses; let alone be allowed to explore and properly understand its structural shatter response to input from either a single large differential pressure or large pressure waves matching one of its structural modes of resonance.

            I very much doubt that Jane can begin to understand the meaning of the word “quartz” as it is used in watches, clocks, and the many other timing applications of this particular crystal. I just hope that Jane and her ilk never become designers of bridges, housing, aircraft, and spacecraft.

      • Hans Jenny just did develop methods to visualise music and creating aestheitic 2d -patterns from Chladni Sound figures. No mystizism involved – just admiration of natures beauty – well?
        And Reiki – why do you even bother with that crap ?
        It is there for money making – what else.
        Spirituality, including “serious – aka wiccan” witchcraft doesn’t cost anything – because it is a belief like christian faith etc. a form of nature religion, like in american native tribes.
        Reiki isn’t witchcraft – it is mumbo jumbo for money.
        As you said – the enticing thing is human touch – just a bit attention and a soothing feeling. It is very sad, a thing so simple and basic generates a mystic healing method – indicating what is missing in modern “scientific” medicine. And as a physicist I very much doubt the science in a lot of so called medical research, too. Modern medicine is also a kind of techno-shamanism, and for that too expensive in many ways.

  • ‘Who needs CERN when we have Reiki Masters, eh?’ Mm good question. Possibly some of the Scientists are also Reiki trained, but in all honesty I don’t know. However, I do know that a few years ago a sizeable group of medical doctors and surgeons from a large UK Teaching Hospital asked to be, and subsequently were, trained in Reiki. They had witnessed how beneficial Reiki was in supporting patients’ recovery, and felt if they were attuned, they may expedite patients’ recovery, too: how thoughtful.

    There are the usual derogatory posters in this thread. Proponents of anything CAM are propelled into the box of witchcraft, snake oil,etc : nothing unexpected there. However, for the purpose of accuracy Usui Sensei did not train Takata who brought Reiki to the West, but Hayashi. Should anyone be interested in learning about this effective form of healing, one should avail themselves of any of Frank Ajarva Petter’s books : he is one of the leading experts, having resided for many years in Japan researching the origins of Reiki; he has met Usui’s descendants, and is the fiirst person to admit, there is more to learn regarding the history of Reiki. As he said, when I had the privilege to meet him recently, nothing is set in stone: what we thought was fact is often turned on its head, we are learning all the time. A refreshing and humble man (no snake oil to be seen)with a passion for Reiki as it is taken into hospitals, hospices, support centres in hospitals, alongside other CAM.

    There seems to be ongoing discussions about energy, physics etc which goes around in circles. Authentic science is a process, isn’t it?….. ……. doesn’t Science move forward? Well, yes, judging by the media’s coverage of Einstein and gravitational waves. Anyway, should anyone want to learn about energy, in a forward thinking way, Bruce Lipton’s books are very enlightening………another good man I had the privilege to meet, and no snake oil in sight. I rest my case as the regular posters are champing at the bit to do what they do best and tear this post to shreds – feel free – the very few CAM supporters who bother to post on this blog, expect nothing less.

    • Please cite the evidence for your anecdote about reiki in “a large UK Teaching Hospital”

      As for Bruce Lipton:
      https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-bruce-lipton-and-the-biology-of-belief.t1003/

      • Thank you Steve Tonkin for requesting evidence for my “anecdote”. Sorry I can’t comply: your anecdote is my experience therefore, I can’t break confidentiality. Those involved in Reiki are governed by a Code of Ethics. I posted this experience in the blog as a response to the CERN comment. No names, no pack drill, but I can assure you the group in question expected complete confidentiality, and of course I comply, Of course whilst they were in one hospital at that time as a group, professionals do move on……….. You guys set such store by evidence but unfortunately you will have to take my word that it happened, or not, either way it isn’t a problem for me….I thought I would write the post to add to the rich tapestry, as it were.

        Regarding Bruce, yes one expects that response : he thinks differently, so he must be wrong. There is plenty of this rubbishing on the Internet; I for one ignore it, instead using my discernment to conclude, having heard him speak alongside Rupert Sheldrake over a weekend, that he was a decent man with some interesting research to deliver. My view, but last time I looked I am still resident in a fairly democratic environment, so am able to to make my own mind up, first hand, without resorting to the all encompassing Internet.

        • @A
           
          “No names, no pack drill, but I can assure you the group in question expected complete confidentiality, and of course I comply.”
           
          “last time I looked I am still resident in a fairly democratic environment, so am able to to make my own mind up, first hand…”
           
          Sense of irony failure somewhere here, it seems.

        • Thank you Steve Tonkin for requesting evidence for my “anecdote”. Sorry I can’t comply

          So it’s just another of those unverified claims that the touts of pseudomedicine try to pass off as evidence. Hitchens’s Razor applies.

          Those involved in Reiki are governed by a Code of Ethics.

          In what bizarre world does a code of ethics proscribe the provision of evidence for claims made by those to whom it applies? Also, I wonder if it includes an ethical requirement to refuse to take money for discredited “therapies”.

          Regarding Bruce, yes one expects that response : he thinks differently, so he must be wrong.

          I don’t think anyone here has made that response, so I presume your code of ethics doesn’t proscribe the positing of disingenuous straw-man/non-sequitur attempts to divert from the simple fact that you have not refuted a single assertion made about Lipton in the links that Pete Atkins and I cited. Curious, that…

          • Steve Tonkin – “so it’s just another of those.unverified claims……..” – I read a post connecting CERN with Reiki and I responded with an experience which I thought may be relevant in that I knew medical professionals had been trained in Reiki to enhance their role. I didn’t promise, because I knew I couldn’t deliver, provision of evidence or verification. You are the one who has an issue; perhaps this blog is not the platform for commentary other than that which endorses your narrow view.

            In what bizarre world does Code of Ethics proscribe …..” IARP Code of Ethics – “Abide by vow of confidentiality. Any discussion within the context of a Reiki Session is confidential between client and Practitioner.” Now, granted teaching is not strictly a session, but when those being trained specifically request confidentiality, the Master Teacher complies as in “abide by the vow of confidentiality”. I have been teaching for a long time, and that has been the only time confidentiality has been requested; proscription of evidence of having been trained in Reiki has not been requested before or since: It is unusual. As for the old chestnut of taking money for – your words “discredited therapies” – none was received. The medical professionals were not going into private practice – as I said before, it was for the benefit of their patients whilst doing what they do. Admirable. Pro Bono happens even in your “discredited” therapies.

            “Links that Pete Attkins and I cited. Curious that”. I fail to see what is curious? Why would I follow any links : I heard him speak first hand, met him, respected his theories, so do I need to watch YouTube ? Seriously? I have no idea where Code of Ethics applies to Bruce Lipton ( conflation?); however, as a courtesy I did check out your “meta bunk ” link and surprisingly somebody I have never heard of calls him a Snake Oil Salesman. Maybe I don’t refute Bruce Lipton because I don’t……

        • “Rupert Sheldrake over a weekend, that he was a decent man with some interesting research to deliver”

          He may be a nice man to meet but he is, nonetheless, unhinged if he believes any of the drivel he spouts.

    • ” I rest my case as the regular posters are champing at the bit to do what they do best and tear this post to shreds – feel free – the very few CAM supporters who bother to post on this blog, expect nothing less.”

      I, for one, won’t be tearing your post to shreds. Anyone who believes in this nonsense is past the point of attempting any rational discourse, and the presumption of idiocy must be taken.

      I do, however, find it amusing for you to mention Einstein in this context, in a vain attempt for Argument from Authority and some credit by association. The difference is Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves through the formulae in the General Theory of Relativity. He didn’t wave his hands in the air and talk about energy this or waves that in some nebulous fashion; his prediction was mathematical, that is, the energy of the waves was predicted about 100 years ago. Everything else in the theory has found to be true and the last bit fell into place. (When you next use some electronic communications device, remember Einstein was right because he “proved” his assertion.)

      When you have a rational, logical, tested, and reproducible form of evidence, please return with it? In that case, we won’t hear from you again.

      • Frank Collins – in response to my comment “champing at the bit…….tear this post to shreds “etc you say “I, for one,won’t be tearing your post to shreds. Anyone who believes in this nonsense is past the point of attempting any rational discourse, and the presumption of idiocy must be taken” and finally ” When you have a rational, logical, tested and reproducible form of evidence, please return with it? In that case we won’t hear from you again.”

        Well here I am, without said evidence: please see previous post. Of course you are entitled to your presumptions, but that is all they are. Personally, I try very hard to be non-presumptive/assumptive as it can lead to wrong conclusions – it is much more realistic and respectful to hear others’ views even if they are in opposition to your own, and in an adult fashion accept that the world is full of polarised opinions.

        You are amused I mention Einstein; you comment on Argument from Authority ( you refrained from mentioning The Dunning-Kruger Effect) and credit by association. You have lost me on this one. I think you are accusing me of connecting Reiki to the Gravitational waves item I mentioned because you say Einstein didn’t wave his hands in the air and talk about energy. Thank you for the little unwarranted science lesson (which incidentally means nothing to me). You are wide of the mark, I am afraid, I merely mentioned it in the context of an example of science moving forward as presented in the media. I won’t presume you got the wrong end of the stick, so apologies if I didn’t make it clear and inadvertently misled you.

        It is your perogative whether you continue exhorting in this debate…………but truthfully, I wouldn’t waste your energy.

        • @A,
          You understand prose as much as you understand science and logic.

          “I wouldn’t waste your energy”. You’re right because I was right; ” the presumption of idiocy must be taken”.

          • The only language this group seems to understand is “quantifiable scientific evidence” which in itself is the biggest load of baloney out because so far, mainstream science (your science, not mine – and in all due respect, you have already told me I need to attend a basic physics course) has FAILED to provide evidence for:

            The Big Bang
            Black Holes
            Redshift
            Quarks,quasars and other names they make up for phenomena they do not understand…..etc!
            The point of formaldehyde in child vaccinations vs promoting a fanastically healthy immune system, etc!

            You decry Tesla, the greatest scientific and natural mind of our time, Sheldrake, Lipton, Jenny and Braden because you will not bother to understand what they’re telling us, NOT because they’re wrong but because your group is stuck..it’s stuck in the last century and will not move on. You are separatists – we are unifiers. You see a mechanical, cold, clockwork universe; we see a unified field of continuous energy and intelligence which we constantly tap into…it’s the old “consciousness doesn’t exist” arguement.

            CERN? Who needs CERN? As a Reiki Master, I don’t, do you? You’re right though, for the cost of CERN we could have trained a million Reiki Masters. It’s healing that’s needed for the world, not the God particle that is going to be discovered by smashing atoms together. Nature doesn’t work that way.

            The evidence is already here. The universe is alive and intelligent and it knows what it’s doing. It doesn’t need a study to prove it. However, by belittling the people who post alternative views to yourselves doesn’t make you cleverer, it makes you sad and narrow-minded or as the old school is often referred to: dinosaurs.

          • “The universe is alive and intelligent and it knows what it’s doing.”

            Then tell us, where is this intelligence and what is it doing? How do you know it knows what it is doing?

            “It doesn’t need a study to prove it.”

            “However, by belittling the people who post alternative views to yourselves doesn’t make you cleverer, it makes you sad and narrow-minded or as the old school is often referred to: dinosaurs.”

            Do you mean the same old-school dinosaurs who have created all of the modern facilities with which you live? Planes, cars, modern building materials, microwaves, phones, mobile phones, x_ray machines, MRIs, TVs, heating, cooling, bridges, medicines, cures for diseases that killed millions, computers, printers, elevators, lighting, communications, Facebook (no, forget Facebook), washing machines, and the rest. Do you mean that narrow-minded science?

            No one wanted to belittle you, however, your stupidity, ignorance, bloody-mindedness, lack of willingness to learn, and total lack of comprehension of basic knowledge wore me down,

      • Thank you Peter Attkins for pointing me in the direction of these links ; as said in a previous post I prefer to use my discernment, do my own research; and just for the record I made a decision several years ago to avoid Wikipedia and Wiki: in my view they can sometimes be inaccurate. So thank you but no thank you.

  • jane summers, you claimed:

    because so far, mainstream science […] has FAILED to provide evidence for:

    The Big Bang
    Black Holes
    Redshift
    Quarks,quasars

    Unless this is some curious new use of the words”FAILED” or “evidence” of which I was previously unaware, the technical term for your assertions is “wrong”

    Big Bang: the CMBR

    Black holes: the work of the Ghez group, e.g. http://www.galacticcenter.astro.ucla.edu/blackhole.html

    Redshift: if the patterns of spectral lines are shifted in the direction of the red end of the observed spectrum, they are, by definition, redshifted. The evidence is the spectrum.

    Quarks: you almost (but not quite) have a point here. Quarks are part of the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The clue is in the word “model” – you may need to look it up. GIYF.

    Quasars: The word is an abbreviation of “Quasi stellar radio sources”. The spectra of the objects concerned show broad emission lines (unlike stars) – hence they are, by definition “quasi-stellar”.They emit energy in (inter alia) radio frequencies so they are, by definition, radio sources. How is that not evidence of their existence?

    Incidentally, quasars are now known to be active galactic nuclei, so they are also evidence for the existence of black holes.

    You’re welcome.

    The point of formaldehyde in child vaccinations vs promoting a fanastically healthy immune system, etc

    You are, I assume, blissfully unaware that the natural concentration of formaldehyde in human blood is far greater than that which a few ml of vaccine causes?

  • “A”, after a few paragraphs of waffling about your inability to substantiate any substantive assertions you have made here, you wrote:

    As for the old chestnut of taking money for – your words “discredited therapies” – none was received.

    You will note that I didn’t assert anywhere that you had taken money for this particular act. I was referring to reiki practitioners in general, many (most?) of whom do take money for administering their discredited hand-waving.

    I find that conversations tend to be a tad more productive when the participants respond to what was actually written. YMMV.

    I have no idea where Code of Ethics applies to Bruce Lipton ( conflation?);

    It is clear from what I actually wrote that I was asking about your code of ethics in regard to “…the positing of disingenuous straw-man/non-sequitur attempts…” not in regard to the person of Lipton. But then, you probably already knew that.

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