Bill Nye Saves the World, But What Does Reiki Do?

Bill Nye, the famed Science Guy, has a new show released on Netflix and being a fan of this science educator I decided to dive in and watch a few episodes the other day. The second episode caught my attention because it was on debunking claims from alternative medicine. Although it didn’t bring up Reiki specifically, it reminded me of some of the opposing views that I as a Reiki Practitioner have to face in the world. Someone even said that I was doing “the work of the devil” a few years ago when referring to my Reiki practice, and these types of thoughts and beliefs about what I and other practitioners do can get me down. I’ll even admit that there are times when I think of myself as a “snake oil salesman” and charlatan when comparing what I do to doctors and other medical professionals because I don’t know nor can I explain scientifically what, if anything, is actually happening during a Reiki treatment.

The practice of medicine uses scientifically based methodologies that have shown to produce consistent and repeatable results time and time again, and Reiki has yet to be consistent in its results nor has enough research been done to refute the claims that is no better than a placebo. With articles such as “Reiki is Nonsense” (2015), “Reiki: Fraudulent Misrepresentation” (2014), and “Giving placebos such as reiki to cancer patients does more harm than good” (2011), it makes it hard to share openly in public what I do for a living, and even harder to talk about it some family members. 

These critiques of the use of Reiki helps drive me to find out what research has been done and to look at what the results say, and surprisingly there are a lot of studies that have been done. Not all research has followed the strict guidelines of being a double-blind study, but more and more of them are starting to show up. I’d like to share some of the research and articles that I have found with you, and let you come to your own conclusions and conduct your own research.

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