Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reiki on ReachMD

Reach MD is cable Radio reaching out to mainstream physicians. Their website is currently featuring a radio interview I did on Reiki hosted by Dr Eric Tangalos of the Mayo Clinic. The following link should take you to my Reach MD guest site - the show is "A Compassionate Presence: Reiki as alternative pain management." It is necessary to register an email address to hear the program.

Today, Seasons Hospice of Maryland had special guests!! Pamela Miles and Ellen Sosinski stopped to visit our Team on their way back to NYC from a meeting at NIH.

The visit was on short notice, but quite a few of our Team members were able to attend, Jean Jordan drove in from Elkton, Maryland almost 70 miles away (Hello to Opal Team in Elkton!!)

Pamela and Ellen arrived around noon for a "brief visit" but before we knew it, we had talked for 3 hrs. It is so important in doing Reiki, and especially in integrating Reiki and Conventional Medicine, to share experiences and to continue to learn and grow.

The take home message that everyone agreed on was "do self Reiki every day."

Our Reiki share will meet Tuesday, May 4, at 5:30 pm and will be hosted by our friends at Karme.

I hope some of you have the opportunity to hear the Reach MD interview. And thank you to all my Team members and our guests who shared this afternoon, dedicated to exchanging toughts on Hospice and on Reiki.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Where Reiki is going from here Part 3

The monthly AARP magazine came out this past week, and on the cover was Dr Oz, and complementary medicine in general and Reiki in particular received yet another boost. Dr Oz' support of complementary methods such as Reiki is important not just because he appeared with Opra, nor simply because he has a successful TV show himself, nor that he is articulate and photogenic, but as well for 15 years he hs been considered, and still is viewed, as one of the top cardio-thoracic surgeons in the New York/New Jersey area and in fact in America.

Pamela Miles, the NYC Reiki Master who has worked with Dr Oz also has done studies with NIH and with Ivy League Medical Schools. Collectively, the scientific work done on Reiki has exceeded the point where one can refer to "evidence based medicine" and "complementary medicine" because many complementary methods such as Reiki now have signficant evidence based support.

The abundance of work that has built up facilitates physicians like myself, who are both "conventional" and "complementary" - to step up and discuss our own personal "integration" of techniques.

There are far more "conventional" physicians currently doing Reiki than anyone has any idea - this became obvious to me when my partner and I presented a session at Long Term Care Medicine 2010, and we received feedback from many people that we were "brave."

The article about Dr Oz was reflective for me though, because it discussed his background growing up in Delaware, and going to the Tower Hill School. My wife and I lived in Delaware for two years, 1972-1974 while I was in a training program at the Wilmington Medical Center, and Delaware at the time was a magical place.

I cannot remember having many deja vue phenomenon prior to living there, and cannot remember not having them since. It is interesting that in the private discussion area of students of Rick Rivard there has been a discussion on energy in places. Rick wrote an innocent email that he was going to "purge" email addresses from the list who were no longer contributing, and people started coming out of the woodwork (or internet) with stories that touched powerful connected chords for other people. And comments and sharing started flying literally around the world. Many of the comments focused on visits to special places that had significant energies, and to stories of people who had incureable illnesses and had recovered using self-Reiki. People were touching each other at a distance - people who in physical terms did not know what each other looked like, and who geographically were far away, but quite simply, people whose experiences touched chords.

There is a river flowing through the portion of Pennsylvania and Delaware called the Brandywine, it is hard to keep straight the geography of where Delaware and Pennsylvania begin and end, flowing water is not constrained by boundaries. My wife and I and friends would canoe this river, small and not famous for rapids or excitement, really tranquil and a spiritual place. I had grown up near the Niagara River and the sense of a river as always changing and always "the same" had left an impact on me, water is important.

At that time - when Dr Oz was growing up in Delaware, Longwood Gardens, one of the most elegant gardens in world had no entry charge and no entry building, it was simply free, unencombered and ordinarily free of a significant number of people. The Brandywine River museum, dedicated to the work of the Wyeth family had just recently been begun alongside the river. And parks were outside the growing urban sprawl that are now within them.

Our best friends were a core family at Tower Hill School, and even after we moved away, we visited for birthdays and family events - for years we believed we would all have more time to spend together, when only work slowed down (but it never did). Our friends were taken in a tragic accident, and for years after we donated to the Tower Hill School in their memory, and continue to receive mailings about the school. (this private school is so "American' with family names from the American Revolution, and names like Spruance, the family name of the Admiral who led the fleet at Midway - the turning point of WWII, and Dr Oz, a child of an immigrant family who had wonderful talent, and worked hard and enriched America)

One of the most important values in Reiki is that it complements conventional medicine. Skilled Reiki masters work with physicians - Reiki does not cannot and should not replace technical and scientific skill. At the same time, balancing subtle energy and giving people a sense of connectedness can help us come through difficult times, retain hope, and heal from surgery.

Dr Oz did not need to come forward, he was talented aand would be successful as one of most skilled thoracic surgeons in the country - but he did - and more "conventional" physicians will take an interest in Reiki as a result.

For someone who went to medical school when CT scans and MRI's did not exist, it is indeed a magical time, and reminiscent of quiet days along the Brandywine River.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is Reiki a Noun or a Verb (Where - Part 2)

When we use the term, Reiki, we refer to both method (verb) and also to the spiritual energy or life force that connects us all.

There is no question that life experience impacts how we view Reiki. For some, Reiki may be a path to personal healing and growth; for others it may be a full time endeavor, providing full Reiki treatments; for me, my experiences are impacted by being a Hospice doctor and having worked in end-of-life situations for over 30 years.

What is important to understand is that when I can save a person's life, i will fight as hard as I can to do that. Whether we call physicians skills "traditional medicine" (as most of us who practice in hospitals day by day think of ourselves), or "conventional medicine" (as some complementary folks label us, connecting our wisdom skills to deeper and more ancient human roots) - we use scientific based skills to help people whenever we can.

For those of us who are "truly integrated" - we may also use Reiki energy at the same time to augment subtle energy changes and create balance within our patients. Interestingly, in talking with physicians who are completely integrated - this does not "exhaust them" as some have suggested, connection to Reiki energy is a source of strength and prevention of burn out.

The other day, I visited an "old friend" in the ICU. I think of many of many patients in this way - of course - we honor the professional boundaries of our professions, but, in a spiritual way, we know we are all connected. It is not that it is too time consuming or exhausting to do a full Reiki treatment in situations of transition, rather, it is that it is inappropriate and unnecessary in these moments.

My goals in end-of-life are not to balance all the chakras or clear meridians, and certainly note to create attachments, but simply to assist in a spiritual way with the transition of the "consciousness" of the person.

In this way, transition becomes for patients, and families, not always a moment to be feared, but rather a part of living. And we continue to care in an integrated way for those we cannot cure.

In bringing Reiki Masters and Reiki students into my program, however much Reiki training and experience they have had, they need to complete a nationally certified volunteer course to be able to volunteer in Hospice.

There is some confusion, since, in some of the most funded prestigious academic hospital centers in the country, "Palliative" programs appear that are similar to Hospice. In fact, within organized medicine, the training for young physicians in Hospice and Palliative Medicine would be the same. But the organization and funding of these programs are different outside of hospitals, and even more so outside of hospitals that are not academic and funded through grant processes. Palliative programs or hospital based programs are not driven by exactly the same rules that are exacted upon Hospices. Hiring full time Reiki professionals is feasable within academic or grant funded programs, but for the time being, volunteers are often needed in Hospices or non academic centers.

Physicians and Nurses who are fully integrated and what I call "bi-lingual" have a special potential role to serve as "bridges" between Reiki professionals and physicians who know nothing about Reiki (but may trust us as colleagues).

I had an interesting lesson recently, having a Reiki Master wanting to work in my program. As I watched the person work, it was obvious to me that there was caring and talent and superb training. There was some difference in how we had been taught, and as well, because for me, the connection to the Reiki is more important than the specific method, some of what appeared to be my short cuts troubled this person. We talked and the bottom line for me was that I really wanted the skill and experience and talent to be facilitated in helping patients. Those of us who connect to the same energy, the same life force, need to avoid all elements of conflict in asserting one tradition as having more accuracy and integrity than another. A physician who works in Hospice must live and work within a spirit of humility.

It is hard to discuss what current tradition is closest to Usui Sensei. We know the importance of the Five basic precepts or admonitions, we know these are basic and common to us all; and we know the importance of our hands; and we know the importance of commitment to self-treatment. But if Reiki is a verb, if the specific method or lineage is most important, which one is correct?

It has been my goal to share energy and learn and read continuously about Reiki, and I cannot see any evidence that either the Gakkai or Hayashi Sensei used exactly the same techniques as Usui Sensei. Certainly Takata Sensei for good reason modified what she was taught, and many of her students modified what they were taught.

So for me - what I seem to seek, is to be Open and Grounded, and allow the energy to come to me. And when I discern other Reiki students (for all Reiki practitioners are Reiki students forever at heart) connecting to the energy or spirit, then I can know that whatever path they took is valid, I will know this on feeling the energy.

So then if the essential element of Reiki is the spirit and the energy, is it a noun? Two wise colleagues weighed in on this for me recently, one a very esteemed religious leader, and one a Reiki Master of many years experience. My RM friend pointed out that the energy is active in the world, spiritual energy is a verb was the point this friend made. And my friend who is a "conventional" spiritual leader reminded me of the meeting of Moses and the burning bush. Faced with this great light Moses asked for a name, and God responded in the Hebrew "Eh-Yeh Asher Eh-Yeh" - or roughly "I Shall Be that which I shall Be." The spirit that connects the world, exists, and is active. Reiki is a verb. And we are at our best when we are most humble, most open, and most grounded.

For all those who choose to share the journey, and help others in end-of-life, whatever method you have learned, thank you for helping. There is truly only so much those of us who are integrated into both methods can do - we, those physicians and nurses who are integrated, need your help, and need to offer to serve as your bridges when you want to volunteer.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reiki - Where is it going - part 1

I have been focused over the past few weeks on "where to go from here." Some time back, some goals had been established for me in Reiki, and having past these points - well - "where from here."

First of all it is important to express that when I was attuned as a Reiki Master for the first time, I felt more of a "beginning" than a sense of being much of a Master of anything.

Being a Master means in a broader sense that one continues to practice and study, and has the knowledge to teach.

Reiki from one origin has followed many paths, and it is important to respect differences of lineage and tradition. What are some of the facets that help one grow?

First - as regards where Reiki may go from here - I want to quote Hiroshi Doi Sensei, in predictions laid out in 1999:

"1) Unity of the eastern and the western Reiki-ho as well as the original systems based on Reiki will progress

2) The number of incomplete seminars will decrease and the number of regular gatherings by masters (teachers) will increase

3) Interchange between spreading groups of Reiki-ho as well as between teachers will be accelerated

4) The number of Reiki healing centers will increase

5) The number of "true users of Reiki energy" who develop Reiki healing ability and spend their daily life following the wave of love will increase"

There seems to be a lot of truth in these statements. The following comments are my own:

a) Reiki will increasingly be engaged by mainstream physicians. There has been a steady increase in Reiki presence in major hospitals and academic institutions, but CAM in general and Reiki in particular will be learned and studied.

b) It will be increasingly important to "leave ego at the door" and to "respect all traditions" - because Reiki within Traditional Medicine will be subject to forces of accountability, credentialing, and "evidence basis." (it may surprise some readers that certain elements of Reiki - specifically Simple Touch and Compassionate Presence and the Calming focus of breathing exercises are largely non-controversial - other spiritual aspects of Reiki are and will be more controversial)

c) It will be increasingly important for new Reiki Masters to have ongoing support from their Teachers, and it will be increasingly important for Reiki Masters to "share."

d) We must recognize with respect many of us will have different approaches within Reiki depending on our spiritual experiences and life experiences prior to learning Reiki.

e) It is important to recognize the importance of how "warm" Reiki hands can become, even when performing Reiki without "touch."

f) It is important as a Master to read as much as one can to truly discern what we are doing. Reiki is not simply as intuitive art (though it has intuitive components) and it not simply a healing art (though it is a healing art) and it is not simply a spiritual endeavor (though - while not a religion, it is a spiritual endeavor)

Here are some sources that I have read, and have found invaluable, in my own understanding of Reiki.

1) Biographies of Mrs Takata

Living Reiki Takata's teachings by Fran Brown
Reiki: Hawayo Takata's Story by Helen J. Haberly

2) Light brought upon the origins of Reiki and the Life of Mikao Usui

Reiki Fire and Reiki The Legacy of Dr Usui - both by Frank Arjava Petter

3) The Reiki Factor by Barbara Ray - some may have differences with the author, but her 1983 book was a significant contribution in bringing understanding and respect to Reiki

4) The collected work of William Lee Rand - I have obtained all the back issues of Reiki News and find his effort on behalf of Reiki incredible to even attempt to calculate. William Lee Rand's efforts to educate about Reiki, and cause Reiki to be an engine toward world peace, are an inspiration. His book with Walter Lubeck and Frank Arjava Petter "The Spirit of Reiki" is a wonderful reference.

5) The web site of Rick Rivard - // - Rick Rivard along with Tom Rigler and Andrew Bowling founded URRI - Usui Reiki Ryoho International that brought international masters together from 1999-2003. It is hard to comprehend being a Master and not having an awareness of the importance of this effort.

6) The Hayashi Manual by Frank Arjava Petter, Tadao Yamaguchi, and Chujiro Hayashi - it is fascinating in attempting to merge Gakkai Reiki and Takata based Reiki to have this perspective reflecting on Takata's teacher.

7) The works of Hiroshi Doi, especially "Iyashi no Gendai Reiki-ho" or "Modern Reiki Method for Healing" - Doi Sensei's efforts to merge aspects of Reiki does not completely overshadow the wisdom that is clearly coming directly from Doi Sensei - a beacon of Reiki light.

8) For my own personal path in Reiki Amy Z. Rowland's three books, "Traditional Reiki for our Time" and "Intuitive Reiki for our times" and "Reiki for the Heart and Soul" have had a profound impact, and had it not been for the encouragement of my first Reiki Teacher, Robin Hannon, and the encouragement of Amy Rowland, I would not have begun or continued this Blog.

9) My email friend Lorinda Weatherall has a wonderful website -
Lorinda was a partipant in URRI and her sharing experiences and asking and answering questions has been very much appreciated.

10) Pamela Miles at //
Pamela has worked for 20 years at bringing credibility for Reiki in Traditional Medical Academic institutions. She has worked with Dr Oz, and brought Reiki increasing credibility by her work with NIH - those of us bringing Reiki into traditional medicine find her efforts and experiences valuable and important.

For those of you who have read this far - I am working on a Blog on Boysen scanning. How do we describe this as we blend Reiki into traditional medicine.

Byosen scanning was all but left out of Takata Reiki - William Lee Rand describes himself as having discovered scanning, and then with humility acknowledges he found out it had been an Usui technique. (but it came to him independly before he was taught it)

It certainly is not diagnostic if what we mean by diagnosis, is "medical diagnosis" in the licensed and legal definition, but if we apply an academic broader definition as "to learn and to discern" - is it really not?

How important was Boysen scanning - Quoting Doi Sensei "In the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, this technique is taught once a person has begun their Reiki training. Usually the average person at this point has an energy rating of 6 (on a scale of 6 to 1, 1 being the highest). Once this technique is taught, your energy rating is at 5.

Usui-sensei rated himself as a 2 in the hopes that one of his students would surpass his abilities. To this day, out of respect for Sensei, no one is ever rated higher than 3.

Once this technique is mastered, you are taught Reiji-ho and your rating increases to a 4. Upon mastering Reiji-ho, you are rated a 3 and are allowed to have Okuden training."

There is so much to learn. There is so much need for respect and humility. Amy Rowland challenged me that - my students students to the 10th degree should still recognize each other as coming from the Usui tradition.

If we can merge this wisdom with traditional medicine, it seems a wonderful future. In the meantime, work hard and do your best - just for today.