It has been reported by several sources that the NHS is advertising for a Reiki healer.

The NHS stated that “the responsibilities of a reiki healer include treating clients using energy principles … and activating the healing process.” The post is paid for by the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust (SBSHT) which states on its website:

The SBSHT healing therapists, who work within the NHS and other health areas, are proud to be part of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to provide vital support cancer patients, their relatives and staff. Since 2006, the SBSHT has funded healers to work in NHS, and other health related areas to support cancer patients and their families. A key role of the SBSHT is to increase awareness within the UK of the importance of providing healing support to cancer patients and families. Another vital role is to generate the crucial funds needed to place more healers in NHS, and other health related areas, throughout the country. Complementary therapy (CT) is increasingly demanded and expected by patients undergoing cancer treatments. An increasing amount of research clearly demonstrates that CT is important to support patients through their conventional treatments. SBSHT is committed to providing funds to NHS hospitals and cancer centers to engage the services of a Reiki practitioner or Healer for cancer patients and their families

As a charity we are or have funded healer posts within the centres below.

  • University College Hospital, London
  • Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Epping
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Welwyn Garden City
  • Derriford Hospital, Plymouth
  • Wigan NHS Trust, Wigan
  • St Josephs Hospice, London
  • Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw Children’s Hospice, Carlisle
  • St Mary’s Hospice, Ulverston and Barrow in Furness NHS Trust
  • St Johns Hospice, Lancaster
  • Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury
  • Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, Bristol
  • Rowcroft Hospice, Torquay
  • The Lister Hospital, Stevenage
  • Barnstaple NHS Trust
  • Treliske Hospital, Cornwall
  • Poole NHS Trust
  • St Michaels Hospice, Herefordshire

The SBSHT was co-founded by Angie Buxton-King in memory of her son Sam, who died of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 1998 aged 10. She is a member of the ‘College of Psychic Studies’ which is “committed to serving the evolution of consciousness”. The College website states this:

We were founded in 1884 to support and encourage empirical research into the esoteric. Our programme has since broadened and diversified to meet rising demand and increasingly global interests.

However, our core values remain the same. We continue to shine a light on key themes including consciousness, intuition, self-development and meditation. Our courses, workshops, talks and special events provide a safe and inclusive space in which to explore the full spectrum of human potential under the careful guidance of our expert tutors.

The College offers all sorts of courses; I was particularly fascinated by this one: “Alchemise Your Energy Through Dowsing“.


Now, one could easily claim that there is nothing wrong with reiki healers invading the NHS; after all, they are funded by a charitable trust at no cost to the taxpayer.

Yet, I disagree!

Reiki healing is implausible and ineffective nonsense. As such it is by no means harmless. Employing such healers in the NHS sends out a strong signal that undermines the principles of rational thinking and evidence-based medicine. If the NHS truly does not value these principles, I suggest they also fill the chronic gaps in ambulance services by flying carpets.

43 Responses to The NHS is looking for a Reiki healer to treat clients “using energy principles … and activating the healing process”

  • Yesterday I sent this to the comms office of the NHS trust concerned:

    On what evidence for clinical cost-effectiveness was this position created?

    How does this position comply with official guidance on the effectiveness of reiki? I am sure you can look up the NICE and NHS guidance.

    What do you consider is the message that patients will receive about reiki? I should point out that the provider charity uses the web domain The general public normally expects a therapy to be supported by evidence that it works. In this case the “therapies” are associated with cancer, and to most people “healing” means cure. The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust uses throughout its website the word “healing”, in relation both to reiki and to “spiritual healing”.

    How does this position support the efforts by the NHS to embed evidence based clinical practice?

  • Is this charity covering all of the employer on-costs and admin associated with such a post? If not it costs the NHS money which could be spent on something else.

    Is the charity paying for the day to day management and supervision of this post (the job ad mentions 2 “modern matrons”, which will be Band 7 minimum, more likely 8A)? They don’t come cheap (oooops, I’m a former Band 7 nurse…). That will cost the NHS money and someone’s time which could be better used.

    Is the charity in anyway covering the cost of premises and utility bills? What about secretarial costs? Surely clinic letters will still be produced? And what about all other admin costs, such as reception, sending out appointments and the rest?

    This post in Manchester is at a Band 4, money which could be more usefully be spent on a healthcare assistant or a psychology assistant. Actually probably better spent on another secretary.

    No clinical post, or reiki practitioner for that matter, exists in a vacuum.

  • Reiki practitioners produce powerful energies.
    So powerful that they can heal.

    But might they not worsen the health of patients and staff in the vicinity and even healthy passers by?

    What steps has the NHS Trust (“Trust” note!) taken to ensure no harmful energies are released?
    What evidence is there that the energies are focused only on pathological tissue?

    I endorse Murmur’s concern that whilst the salary of the practitioner might be paid for by the Sun Flower Charity, there are significant on-costs which will fall to the public purse.

    The claims made about the post being “funded by Sam Buxton Trust” are false and misleading – the NHS is paying for nonsense.

    This is a further insidious insinuation of an unethical practice – particulary as patients will not give fully informed consent – including the fact that no one has ever demonstrated the presence of any such ‘energy’ and the whole firago is a figment of imagination and heightened placebo responses.

    What has the NHS Trust’s ethical committee said about the proposed treatment. Being ‘novel’, ethical approval must have been sought, and obtained. The Medical Director of the Trust is accountable to the GMC.

    The local MP should be asked to call for a parliamentary inquiry into this “Healing Trust”.
    If it does provide a benefit – we must be properly informed as we might all want to take advantage.

    “Suppport for cancer patients” – certainly, but no need for a false prophet, or reiki practitioner.

    I will be raising this with the Chair of the BMA’s Board of Science. All further relevant information welcome.

    • This charity is a repeat offender, and it’s time for a complaint to the Charity Commission. Reiki is not the only quackery they are plugging.

    • I am really pushed for time today but will do the best I can today and tomorrow

      From the charity website;

      Reiki research articles

      Alandydy P, Alandydy K. Using Reiki to support surgical patients. J Nurs Care Qual. 1999 Apr;13(4):89-91.

      Assefi N, Bogart A, Goldberg J, Buchwald D. Reiki for the treatment of fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2008Nov;14(9):1115-22.

      Bossi LM, Ott MJ, DeCristofaro S. Reiki as a clinical intervention in oncology nursing practice. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2008 Jun;12(3):489-94.

      Bowden D, Goddard L, Gruzelier J. A randomised controlled single-blind trial of the effects of Reiki and positive imagery on well-being and salivary cortisol.Brain Res Bull. 2010 Jan 15;81(1):66-72.

      Brathovde A. A pilot study: Reiki for self-care of nurses and healthcare providers. Holist Nurs Pract. 2006 Mar-Apr;20(2):95-101.

      Burden B, Herron-Marx S, Clifford C. The increasing use of reiki as a complementary therapy in specialist palliative care. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2005May;11(5):248-53.

      Crawford SE, Leaver VW, Mahoney SD. Using Reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease. J
      Altern Complement Med. 2006 Nov;12(9):911-3.

      Cuneo CL, Cooper MR, Drew CS, Naoum-Heffernan C, Sherman T, Walz K, Weinberg J. The Effect of Reiki on Work-Related Stress of the Registered Nurse. J Holist Nurs. 2010 Aug 10. [Epub ahead of print]

      Friedman RS, Burg MM, Miles P, Lee F, Lampert R. Effects of Reiki on autonomic activity early after acute coronary syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010Sep 14;56(12):995-6.

      Kennedy P. Working with survivors of torture in Sarajevo with Reiki. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2001 Feb;7(1):4-7.

      Mackay N, Hansen S, McFarlane O. Autonomic nervous system changes during Reiki treatment: a preliminary study. J Altern Complement Med. 2004Dec;10(6):1077-81.

      Meland B. Effects of Reiki on pain and anxiety in the elderly diagnosed with dementia: a series of case reports. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009 Jul-Aug;15(4):56-7.

      Nield-Anderson L, Ameling A. The empowering nature of Reiki as a complementary therapy. Holist Nurs Pract. 2000 Apr;14(3):21-9.

      Olson K, Hanson J, Michaud M. A phase II trial of Reiki for the management of pain in advanced cancer patients. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2003Nov;26(5):990-7.

      Olson K, Hanson J. Using Reiki to manage pain: a preliminary report. Cancer Prev Control. 1997 Jun;1(2):108-13.

      Pocotte SL, Salvador D. Reiki as a rehabilitative nursing intervention for pain management: a case study. Rehabil Nurs. 2008 Nov-Dec;33(6):231-2.

      Rakestraw T. Reiki: the energy doula. Midwifery Today Int Midwife. 2009-2010 Winter;(92):16-7.

      Richeson NE, Spross JA, Lutz K, Peng C. Effects of Reiki on anxiety, depression, pain, and physiological factors in community-dwelling older adults. Res Gerontol Nurs. 2010 Jul;3(3):187-99.

      Schmehr R. Enhancing the treatment of HIV/AIDS with Reiki training and treatment. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Mar-Apr;9(2):120, 118.

      Shore AG. Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress. Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 May-Jun;10(3):42-8.

      VanderVaart S, Gijsen VM, de Wildt SN, Koren G. A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Nov;15(11):1157-69.

      Wardell DW, Engebretson J. Biological correlates of Reiki Touch(sm) healing. J Adv Nurs. 2001 Feb;33(4):439-45.

      more via this link

      More power to you Richard and thank you for your important work!

      this may also be helpful

      The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on the use of Complementary and Alternative Therapies (CAM) stated the following in relation to therapies within Group 2 – which includes Reiki & Spiritual Healing;

      “We are satisfied that many therapies listed in our Group 2 give help and comfort to many patients when used in a complementary sense to support conventional medical care”

      “In relieving stress, in alleviating side effects (for example of various forms of anti-cancer therapy) and in giving succour to the elderly and in palliative care they often fulfil an important role”.

      more here;

    • Apologies, I should have C&P’d the entire text on my earlier post as the rest of the page is important, it reads as follows;

      “New research shows Reiki aids the wellbeing of cancer sufferers

      A research project conducted by Dr Serena McCluskey concludes that “Reiki could be a beneficial tool in the self-management of quality of life issues for women with cancer”.

      Following a pilot study in Huddersfield, researchers feel that Reiki, as a complementary therapy, should be available to cancer sufferers on the NHS

      ‌AS a new study shows that at least half of the population will get cancer at some point in their lives, a University of Huddersfield research project claims that the complementary therapy named Reiki can improve the quality of life for cancer patients by lowering their levels of anxiety, depression and fatigue. The findings are to be presented at a major conference and larger-scale research could follow.

      ‌The project was named An exploratory study of Reiki experiences in women living with cancer and it was conducted by Dr Serena McCluskey who is a Senior Research Fellow in the University’s Centre for Applied Psychological and Health Research and Professor Marilynne Kirshbaum. They were joined by Dr Maxine Stead, who has an academic background in psychosocial oncology research and is now the owner of a holistic health spa in Huddersfield.

      She is herself a practitioner of Reiki, a Japanese technique in which the hands of a healer are said to release positive energy. There is scientific controversy over Reiki, but the University of Huddersfield researchers were purely concerned with its potential to bring about improvements in wellbeing.

      They have concluded that “Reiki could be a beneficial tool in the self-management of quality of life issues for women with cancer”. The team now believes that there is a case for Reiki being added to the roster of complementary therapies that are available via the NHS.

      “Acupuncture and other techniques that were regarded as quite unorthodox are prescribed on the NHS, so we just thought that more research on Reiki was needed,” said Dr McCluskey. “We are not suggesting that we can establish scientific effectiveness, but we are adding to the body of evidence for the quality of life benefits it has for women with cancer.”

      Detailed interviews

      ‌Over the course of a year, the researchers conducted detailed interviews with ten women who had received Reiki therapy at two hospices in the local area. They discovered benefits such as a release of emotional strain, “a clearing of the mind from cancer” and feelings of inner peace and relaxation.

      ‌The benefits could last for as long as a fortnight, said Dr Stead. “It really gave them an escape from what they were going through. They were often undergoing a lot of treatment, and the Reiki was a respite and seemed to help them cope. It got them out of their blackness.”

      Dr McCluskey and Dr Stead, who is now a Reiki Master, were colleagues at the University of Leeds in the Psychosocial Oncology Research and Clinical Trials Unit – largely funded by Cancer Research UK – where they researched quality of life issues.

      “Due to more effective methods of diagnosis and treatment, people are living longer with cancer and it is now often classed as a long-term condition. “Patients don’t go into the hospital or see consultants as frequently, so they often look at things outside of normal medical treatment to help them cope with the effects of living with the disease, such as depression, anxiety, fatigue and pain,” said Dr McCluskey.

      Pilot project

      ‌The findings of the pilot project are to be presented in a paper at the 2015 conference of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society, taking place in Leeds (March 19th-20th). The researchers plan to publish their findings and also hope to expand their work.

      ‌In addition to the fact that Dr Stead is a practitioner of Reiki at the Alexandra House Health Spa in Huddersfield, her fellow researchers have also experienced the therapy and report the benefits, although not on a scientific basis.

      “We are aware of criticism from the empirical evidence about the validity and credibility of Reiki and so we did a scientific literature review on the subject. We will publish the findings of that,” said Dr McCluskey.

      Dr Stead added: “We don’t know exactly how and why birds migrate to the other side of the world and come back to the same place every year. But one day we might be able to – and the same goes for Reiki.””

      The above is important as it demonstrates the endorsement of woo woo by various NHS researchers and doctors (some if not all appear in the charitiy’s promotional videos) and promotes this, er, fascinating piece of “research” as an endorsement of the charity’s work

      • Louise sagatiously notes: “Acupuncture and other techniques that were regarded as quite unorthodox are prescribed on the NHS, so we just thought that more research on Reiki was needed,” said Dr McCluskey. “We are not suggesting that we can establish scientific effectiveness, but we are adding to the body of evidence for the quality of life benefits it has for women with cancer.”

        So, no evidence of any benefit beyond the placebo.
        No evidence any ‘energy’ is produced or has any effect on the cancer.
        But here is evidence that these practitioners are misleading patients, failing to obtain properly informed consent, and gaining ‘quality of life benefits’ by care and compassion – not by ‘Reiki energy’.

        So why employ Reiki therapists and not use available funds to employ qualified counsellors?
        Why mislead patients?
        Is employment of ‘Reiki therapists’ not quackery – and to be deprecated?
        Just what are these NHS managers, including Medical Directors, up to?

    • Some more concerning material here via the charity’s webpage with endorsments for Angie Buxton King’s (It appears that Angie Buxton is married to Garham King) book The NHS Healer and the charity’s recommended reading list

      The recommended reading list is, as one would expect, a roll call of woo woo merchants, however of special note in this recommendation

      Northrup Dr. Christiana Mother-Daughter Wisdom Hay House 2006 ISBN 0-553-38012-5

      Northrup has been widely reported in the media as being one of the 12 most influential anti-vaccine activists in the world. This represents an extremely serious safeguarding concern.

      Vulnerable patients should not be referred to woo woo merchants who recommend anti-vaccination influencers to people who may be in the greatest need of vaccines.

      • Louise

        Do you want to work with me on a Charity Commission complaint about this outfit? I have 10 years of experience.

        • Les, I am honoured that you would ask me. I have dozens of safeguarding reports half-written as I am seriously over-committed and am a compulsive researcher and collector of data.

          I also contacted another poster here (in fact 2) , also extremely experienced, but have not had time to email them back.

          I will contact the people I initially contacted first and maybe we can do something as a team if they are in agreement?

          I am not an academic, however I am very experienced and committed to the cause of protecting vulnerable people and I recognise that I need to work with others for the best outcome and most efficient use of skills and abilities.

          I am now running very late so will be away for a while

    • The “modern matrons” mentioned in the job ad are nurses; I counted 3 breaches of the nursing Code of Conduct (especially the section about evidence-based practice), but am waiting until I calm down (I first heard bout this one on Sunday) before I consider making a complaint to the NMC about this.

  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is looking to employ a Spiritual Healer / Reiki Therapist

    “The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust supports cancer patients and their families by providing funds to employ Complementary Therapists (Healers) in the NHS and Hospices. And Angie Buxton-King is a Reiki Master/Teacher, Spiritual Healer, Author and Public Speaker.”

    • I engagesd with ULH on their appointment of a Reiki therapist in 2020.
      I submit that the CEO Mr Morgan misled the Trust Board as did the Medical Director, Dr Hepburn.

      The issue is not whether patients benefit from ‘support’ – of course they do.
      The issue is whether any healthcare practioner can generate energies which have any effect on any pathological process, or even psychological processes other than by placebo responses.

      Reiki developed from a figment of a Japanese imagination and is now a commercial operation to promote courses, books and even employment for its believers.

      I do not know whether any Reiki practitioner actually does believe they can transmit energies over intercontinental distances (as a grade II therapist is trained to do) – but if they can, these energies could be extreemly dangerous and the NHS should ensure precautions are taken to contain them.
      Research is needed to clarify whether use of these energies actually hastens the onset of terminal pathology.

      Here I copy my question to the Board of ULH in September 2020:

      Answer to question: In ULH Board Minutes:
      Minutes of the Trust Board Meeting
      Held on 1 September 2020 via MS Teams Live Stream

      1162/20 The Chair moved to questions from members of the public.
      Item 2 Public Questions
      Q1 from Richard Rawlins

      ‘Given ULHNHST’s declaration in respect of clinical effectiveness that: “All care needs
      to reflect clinical best practice and meet national guidelines to ensure that patients get the right treatment at the right time, every time” – please may I have sight of any and all evidence that is in the hands of ULH NHST’s CEO; the Medical Director and/or the Trust’s Ethics Committee, and in any patient consent literature – as to any benefit or harm caused by energies generated by Reiki therapists, and which are expected to
      benefit patients if applied at ULH NHST by an appointee to this advertised post?’

      The Medical Director responded on behalf of the ULH Board:
      [Dr. Neil Hepburn’s reply is below in quotes. My commentary with no quote, but square bracket.]

      Note: Neither Dr. Hepburn nor the ULH Board have answered the question, and the information sought has not been provided. A Freedom of Information request follows.

      “This was a complimentary therapy which does not sit comfortably in the evidence based
      medicine paradigm. The British Medical Association definition of complementary medicine is those therapies that can work alongside and in conjunction with conventional medicines, BMA 1993.”

      [That is false and misleading.
      The BMA accepted as a fact that CAMs may be used alongside conventional therapies – that is, there is a possibility some practitioners of conventional therapies tolerate use of CAMs.
      But the BMA did not endorse such tolerance nor opined that any CAM can ‘work’ to affect any pathology or psychopathology (the aim of conventional, regulated, medicines).]

      “The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on the use of
      complementary and alternative therapies in 2000, categorised therapies in to three core
      groups, Reiki was listed in group 2.

      The report states, as quoted that the Select Committee were ‘satisfied that many therapies listed in our Group 2 give help and comfort to many patients when used in a complementary sense to support conventional medical care’ and goes on to say ‘in relieving stress, in alleviating side effects (for example of various forms of anti-cancer therapy) and in giving succour to the elderly and in palliative care they often fulfil an important role’.”

      [Dr. Hepburn is wrong and misleading:
      (i) That is not the questioned I asked.
      I did not question the degree of patients’ satisfaction with reiki therapy.
      I asked what evidence ULH has that the energies generated by reiki therapists benefit, or harm, patients.
      That question remains unanswered.
      (ii) The House of Lords Report makes no mention of reiki whatsoever and reiki is not in any category, let alone Group 2.
      Is it not unconscionable for Dr. Hepburn to drag in a straw man and to mislead the Board in this way?]

      “There are many papers that agree there are mixed benefits to Reiki on patients, for example in addition to patients’ voices used to inform services and decision making, a study of 168 patients at the University College Hospital in 2010, showed that Reiki as the most popular complementary therapy.”

      [This is totally irrelevant, another straw man, ignoratio elenchi and argumentum ad populum. Logical fallacies all.]

      “In United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, there is a range of services offered to patients that sit alongside our normal view of clinical based practice.
      These include hairdressers, music, craft and massage for example.”

      [Irrelevant, but for the avoidance of misunderstanding: is hairdressing funded by the NHS?]

      “The aim of the interventions is to provide patients with a better environment and wider life experience whilst at the Trust, for what are often extremely difficult times and where patients are undergoing life-changing treatment.”

      [A worthy aim, but irrelevant in respect of the question posed.
      Reiki therapists claim they can not only generate energies by the hand positions they adopt, in conjunction with charms and symbols supplied to patients, but that these energies can be sent on intercontinental distances.
      What is the evidence they can do this?

      This claim is made by Mrs. Angi Buxton-King in respect of Reiki therapists she has trained to grade II – which is what ULH has advertised for.
      Why does ULH want a therapist who can send energies international distances?
      Why not a therapist at grade I?

      And patients will not be “at the Trust.” Will they not be under the care of St. Barnabas Hospice? See below.]

      “The Trust plan for Reiki to sit alongside treatments, not to alter the normal medical plan for treatments. The normal consent process for treatment and paper work would apply in this case.”

      [Why not?
      Who decided to set aside normal consent procedures for ULH patients?
      I have requested copies of the relevant consent forms – none have yet to be provided.
      Any patients treated at ULH by reiki have done so without giving properly informed consent, contrary to medical ethics and ULH policies.]

      “The Chief Executive added that to put this in to context, this would be a part time post that
      was funded by a charity, employed by the Trust.”

      [Mr. Morgan is wrong and is misleading the Board and the public by his postings:
      I have asked Mr. Morgan about his claim that the post would be “fully funded by a charity”.
      I have asked him to clarify whether the fixed costs of buildings, semi-variable costs, the costs of associated staff, utilities, are funded by the charity.
      He has not answered.
      Self-evidently, these costs have not been budgeted for and are not paid for by the Sam Buxton Trust.
      Does the ULH Trust Board consider the its CEO has sought to mislead patients, the public, politicians and the press to claim the charity is fully funding the post when that is not the case?]

      “The charity has funded such posts in a number of other Trusts across the country. When the post was advertised, as expected, there was considerable social media commentary both for and against the post.

      The Trust were not stating that a Reiki Therapist would be a replacement for conventional clinical care for patients who have cancer and conventional clinical care would continue.

      Neither however were the Trust saying that a Reiki Therapist could prevent, treat or cure cancer.”

      The Sam Buxton Trust claims it supports patients by “providing funds to support therapists” and ‘therapy’ means “to give medical care or attention to; try to heal or cure.”

      The Sam Buxton Trust also cite the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology and its report on CAM. It claims that reiki is included in Group 2. That is a false claim. The HoL report makes no mention of reiki.

      No one has claimed the Trust was seeking to prevent or cure cancer – but reiki does claim to treat it. This comment is another straw man.

      The Sam Buxton Trust claims “The Reiki Therapist uses simple hands-on or non-touch techniques to channel healing to the patient. This allows their energy field to rebalance, which in turn may ease symptoms physically, mentally and emotionally.”
      This is a claim that, by balancing energy fields, pathological symptoms resulting from cancer are relieved. Use of the word ‘may’ is cavil.]

      “It is important to place these points on the record, it is clear from the evidence presented by the Medical Director that some patients receive psychological benefit and support from such posts.”

      [Yet another straw man and logical fallacy.
      That is not entirely what the Reiki therapists and the charity claim.
      They claim that ‘benefit and support’ is due to the generation of energies which they can transmit from their hands to the patient, and over international distances.
      And, as stated previously, the SB Trust claim that by balancing energy fields, pathological symptoms resulting from cancer are relieved.]

      “The decision was that in some cases patients see a benefit and as the post was funded by a
      charity why would the Trust want to prevent offering psychological support to patients.”

      [Yet again a logical fallacy (“No true Scotsman”).
      My question asked about the energies which the charity claims its therapists can generate.

      If the ULH want to offer “psychological support to patients”, they can do so – but patients must give informed consent and ULH should explain and justify why they wish to associate with ‘energy therapists’ who have made false claims.]

      “The media commentary to this had been interesting as a number of people had made the point that if the Trust were against providing such support then they presumed that the Trust would revisit the funding of chaplaincy services and anything else of that sort.”

      [On no! Not another logical fallacy?!
      That is a false presumption.
      In this matter, no one has suggested that ULH were “against providing psychological support”.

      My question is about the energies applied to patients, not psychological support. Such support should be provided by psychologists or counsellors.

      I have worked extensively with hospital chaplaincy services, and much appreciated them. They are however honest in declaring their raison d’être is a belief (or beliefs) and that any benefit they provide for patients is in the realm of counselling in a spiritual domain.

      I reiterate – reiki is not a religion. Its proponents claim they can generate beneficial energies by ‘attuning’ patients by the position of their hands together with charms and secret symbols given to the patient.
      I am questioning what evidence ULH has that such energies can be generated as claimed.

      I am also questioning why the proposal for this innovative treatment has not been placed before the Trust’s Ethics Committee, and what evidence ULH has that patients receiving reiki do not have a worse outcome than those who do not have reiki.

      Does reiki cause harm or hasten death?
      Whatever your answer – how do you know?]

      Dr. Hepburn has subsequently replied to me on 15.11.20:
      “Essentially, the Reiki therapist post will not be a ULHT post, but a St Barnabas hospice post where they operate under a different paradigm.”
      [Wrong and misleading.
      The post is clearly advertised as being for employment at ULHT – specifically at the Waddington Unit of Lincoln County Hospital.
      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      St Barnabas Hospice is nowhere mentioned in any ULH documents currently available. Any therapist employed at St. Barnabas Hospice is not employed by ULH.]

      “There is no question of Mr Morgan misleading the Trust Board.”
      [Given Mr. Morgan has stated that the post is “fully funded by a charity” and yet fixed and semi-variable costs are funded by ULH, it is self-evident that Mr. Morgan has misled the ULH Board, and the public.
      Dr. Hepburn has clearly been misled, or is in denial.]

      “I do not think further correspondence on this matter will be helpful.”
      [Presumably, not helpful to Dr. Hepburn.
      But the public and patients do need to be helpfully and properly informed on these matters do they not?]

      These claims about Reiki and the benefit of the energies its practitioners can produce must be subject to thorough review before being used, in any way, by the NHS.

      The NHS institutions which have gone along with the Sam Buxton Trust’s offer to ‘support patients’ have been suckered into supporting false claims about the nature of ‘energy.’

      Either MUFNHST is serious about its wesite claim that its values are that it “Excels in quality, safety, patient experience, research, innovation and teaching…our values are…open and honest…’I feel I can speak out if standards are not being maintained or patient safety is compromised.'” – in which case this post should be ditched and any available facilities used to support patients in the conventional way. Perhaps the Sam Buxton Trust would care to donate for a counsellor/support worker?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      • Richard

        What media outlets can we interest in this appalling saga? This charity is on a mission to embed quackery in the NHS. I don’t care what their motives are, the effect is to undermine EBM. Senior NHS managers are behaving as suckers and idiots.

      • Many thanks indeed, Richard, for your work and your feedback to us.

  • According to this 2007 news report;

    “Spiritual healing involves touching the patient. Healer Isobel Salisbury said: “We lay on our hands and channel energy into the patient. We are imparting love and light into them.”

    Healers then write up their notes, detailing what they have done with each patient.

    The 10-strong team costs the hospital about £80,000 a year. Other funding comes from charitable donations.

    Ms Buxton said: “We are looking at people who have had chemotherapy. We want to know if white blood cells are increasing after giving patients healing.”

    The trial needs 50 volunteers to make the results valid. The study will look at patients suffering from any kind of cancer that leaves them neutropenic – meaning they have virtually no white blood cells.

    Ms Buxton added: “We don’t think healing is a placebo effect, and this trial will help show the effects.”

    Readers may also find the charity’s video here of interst as it names some of the “healers” and the NHS doctors promoting the charity and seeking to expand its reach to other hospitals.

  • One of the “healers” featured in the charity’s video, Isobel Salisbury, runs events like this;

    Thursday 11 November; Sound and Song in Shamanic Healing. Free workshop and seminar at University Centre, Folkestone, from 6pm – 8pm. For more details and to book a place, contact Isobel Salisbury on 01303 220870 or email [email protected]

    For me this represents a serious safeguarding concern for vulnerable people as there are so many ruthless grifters operating as plastic shamans. I cannot comment on the motivations or character of Ms Salisbury, of course, she may be a well meaning person who genuinely believes she is helping people. Unfortunately however, should vulnerable patients become interested in “shamanism” or “sound healing” via their sessions with Ms Salisbury they risk being exploited by any one of the countless sinister persons operating within an extensive network of new age grifters and very serious criminals. These grifters love seriously ill and vulnerable people in the same way that lions love limping zebra. They are predators of the worst kind.

    Don’t get me started on the College of Psychic Studies. I may post some more about this fascinating organisation later if I can find a moment.

  • another of the healers, Saima D’Adam, is the author of this interesting piece, in which the author advises that healers can work in exhibitions where the healing sessions can be used to recruit new people to their practice but concludes that hospitals are the best places to work.

    The Doctor Healer website that published the above article looked interesting and I found some fascinating archived pages that readers will, I think, find alarming yet informative

    archived (I always archive pages and download videos before sharing – you never know when things will be removed).

    I do not have time to research this organisation properly right now but I hope someone else will take the time to check it out. The CPD issue is, I think, extremely important and worhty of further research

    This video is also of interest

  • Angie Buxton is a “healer” according to this 2003 report in The Independent that states;

    “Angie Buxton is the only paid healer within the NHS. She works three days a week at UCH’s haematology unit, channelling what she describes as “healing energy” into willing patients via her hands, which she places both on and off the body.”

    This 2005 news report in the Indepent, about Graham King, a “healer” and also a trust of the same charty, is interesting to me.

    it says;

    “Graham King stood last week at a hospital bed and placed his hands gently on the head of a 12-year-old boy suffering from leukaemia. He slowly moved his hands to the boy’s chest. Using the power of cosmic energy, Mr King was helping to heal him.

    In a ground-breaking move to complement conventional cancer treatments, Mr King, who has no medical qualifications, has been appointed the first paid National Health Service healer to help Britain’s sick children. With the blessing of the hospital’s senior consultants, Mr King was laying his hands on the body of Martin Johnson, who in 2003 was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia that can prove fatal.”

    The Independent can’t seem to get its facts right. Was Ms Buxton or Mr King the first paid healer working within the NHS? I am confused.

    Also why would the Independent newspaper publish such an uncritical advertisement for the charity when it is supposed to be a qualitiy newspaper?

    • why would the Independent newspaper publish such an uncritical….?

      Tim Caulfield writes about this in one of his books, I don’t have it to hand, but from what I recall he says that even the most reputable papers will publish “light” or “entertainment” pieces that don’t have the same level of fact checking or evidencing which more serious investigative journalism would, and that sadly, much health reporting falls into this category.

      I notice that the article you linked to is categorized as “Lifestyle>Health & Families>Health News”, so its “lifestyle”, on a par with what color shoes to wear this season.

      • zebra

        Your valuable comment got me thinking

        The wellness industry, a big bucks industry promoting an assortment of woo woo and quackery, is promoted via lifestyle pages on websites and in printed publications.

        The whole concept of lifestyle is highly relevant to identity politics and to democracy (or lack thereof). Much has already been written about this as I am sure you are aware.

        I may have posted this video before but it is relevant to this issue I think.

        How Marlboro Changed Advertising Forever

        The advertising creatives who invented the Marlboro man invented lifestyle advertising. Humans are complicated, highly emotional beings who often act in illogical ways, driven by unconscious forces rather than by logic.

        I believe that we have to learn from the opponent here. While it is of course important for properly qualified and experienced academics to confront and debunk academic fraud, poor quality research and quackery, we have to think outside of the box and extend our repetoire of skills beyond the use of logic alone.

        The above video shows how appealing to emotion and uconscious forces is more persuasive than using statistics and facts (of course the facts and statistics in the old cigarette adverts are dubious but this is not the point).

        As we should avoid lying we will always be at a disadvantage against quacks and grifters who promise things they cannot deliver. Vulnerable people tend to believe good news over bad, even if the good news is a lie.

        I do not have “the answer” just thinking aloud.

        I do believe that there are anough good minds here to be able to think creatively about how to develop novel approaches to debunking the quacks.

        • @Lousie

          I wonder what your thoughts about the pharma industry medication advertising are …. Louise. Is it ethical ? Evidently it is successful.

          $30B …. that’s a 2016 statistic. The number is surely much larger today. Tobacco spends about $5B per year on marketing…. not that I’m defending it, just a comparison. Certainly, there are more profits in meds than tobacco.

          Is that pharma industry part of the “wellness industry” ?

          • why do you want to go off topic as soon as the message does not suit you?
            why not just shut up?

          • And out comes the traditional RG one-eyed straw man.

            A reminder as ever, RG. What happens in the USA does not represent what happens in the rest of the world.

          • What happens in the USA does not represent what happens in the rest of the world.

            This reminds me of a story, of a frog that grew up in a well all his life. Little froggy (let’s call him Real Genius or RG for short) thought that sun rises at 11:50 AM and sets at 12:10 PM, because that is how long the sun is visible to him from inside the well. One day there was a huge storm and the well overflowed letting RG out into the real world. However, RG even after experiencing firsthand that average time from sunrise to sunset lasts a lot longer than 20 mins, is unable to wrap his little froggy head around that basic fact. Frogs that grew up outside the well try to convince RG that he is wrong. However, RG is having none of it. Soon, he starts making things up to fit his world well view. He asserts (without a shred of evidence) that the act of him exiting the well somehow caused a quantum anomaly that slowed space-time continuum, therefore sun takes longer to set. Other frogs had it with RG and threw him back into the well where he still lives to this day. If one goes by that well you can hear RG scream, “Quantum anomaly has been fixed and I was right all along. Everyone else is wrong”. THE END.

          • What is this pharmaceutical advertising of which you speak?

            Never seen it, not even when I was still working and regularly reading the nursing press.

            “Wellness” advertising, I see that all the time (‘cept on the ‘net as I use ad blockers).

          • I didn’t make any claim that this pharma med advertising occurs worldwide. The fact remains that it exists…. in a big way.
            Do you deny it ?

            The key is they spend on adds where it counts the most…. USA.
            Countries With The Biggest Global Pharmaceutical Markets In The World
            Rank Country Value of Pharmaceutical Market (in millions of $)
            1 USA 339,694
            2 Japan 94,025
            3 China 86,774
            4 Germany 45,828
            5 France 37,156
            6 Brazil 30,670
            7 Italy 27,930
            8 UK 24,513
            9 Canada 21,353
            10 Spain 20,741

          • explain to me what this has to do with the subject of my post, please.

          • RG,

            I am not sure what you are trying to prove by bringing up pharmaceutical industry’s ad spending. By the way “add” is not short for advertisement, its “ad”. Moreover, you can’t directly compare ad spending from different countries without taking into account some basic confounding factors such as population, number of pharma companies in those countries, laws specific to those countries if any that may encourage/discourage direct marketing to patients etc. Again, it is lost on me as to why you bring up pharma ad spending in a totally off topic conversation, but you do a risibly bad job at presenting your “analysis”.

          • That makes the USA market as large as #2-#8

  • Richard

    I have read your exchange with Dr Hepburn several times and each time my emotional response fluctuates betwen elation and extreme disturbance.

    It is as if you are an Errol Flynn style swashbuckling hero, repeatedly injuring your opponent with your sword of logic and reason, but like some hideous undead zombie he rises again and again, his corrupted flesh spawning countless zombie straw men. It is like something out of a Hammer Horror film.

    I am sad to say that this kind of evasive, disingenuous response is very familiar to me, including the inevitable, “I do not think further correspondence on this matter will be helpful.”, which is up there with “I feel it is right to draw a line under this matter” both statements appearing in the first page of Gaslighting for Idiots.

    I find it fascinating that Dr Hepburn is a dermatologist, a consultant working with the tissue that contains and protects our bodies and that functions as the boundary between what is us and not us. This interests me because in other respects, as demonstrated in your exchange, Dr Hepburn seems to possess a poor grasp of boundaries when it comes to, for example, understanding the difference between truth and deception.

    I am very pushed for time today but I have discovered a lot more of interest about this charity and will do my best to post later. I also have something of interest about the College of Psychic Studies.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work and if any other posters here wish to take any information from my posts to send to the Charity Commission or any other organisation please do feel free to do so.

    The actors involved in diverting valuable funds and resources from the NHS have been at this for a long time and are playing a long game. We have to also play a long game, use each adversarial encounter to think about strategy and to never give up.

  • It is so disappointing. Nobody would deny that emotional support can be of immense benefit to people facing severe health conditions, but introducing (and paying for, and legitimising) a load of hand waving nonsense is surely not the best way to go about it.

    • Very true.

      My sister was a senior nurse in palliative care until last year; she had to take some extra training in counselling as she found herself having to do things she’d spent years mocking her MH nurse brother (me) for doing, namely talking to people about emotional issues…

      Employing someone to do reiki is not doing that…

  • The ad has disappeared from NHS Jobs. Have they filled the position?

    No reply or even acknowledgement from trust’s comms office, to my email sent on 15th.

    • Odd that it has been removed (I double checked via a couple of different links) when the closing date for applications is 25/8…

      Even after then it would normally take a few weeks to shortlist, interview, DBS check and all the rest.

      Makes you wonder if they have been taking some heat on this.

      Fortunately, my search history still has the names of the “modern matrons” and I am making a general inquiry to the NMC to ascertain whether they think promoting stuff like reiki, which breaches the Code of Conduct, is something they would investigate.

    • The ad has disappeared from NHS Jobs.

      Drat. I was about to apply for the job. I’m pretty sure that I could have scammed them into believing that I was a (haha) certified Reiki SCAM artist.

      • Richard

        This is exactly the type of lateral thinking we need when considering strategy


        I am having some problems with my computer and I am concerend about it.

        I will be in touch again once I have a new computer, which should be very soon. I have needed a new computer and other equipment for some time and recently had some good news re resources.

        I will not be accessing my emails until I have replaced my computer and not be spending money online until I can do so safely

        Stay safe everyone

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