Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reiki Treatment and a new evidence based article

An important event has occurred for those having an interest in Reiki treatment, and that event was the recent publication of an article by a team that included Reiki Master Pamela Miles, and a group of Yale researchers.

I urge Reiki practitioners - especially those attempting to integrate Conventional Medicine and Complementary techniques - to be aware of this new contribution.

Pamela Miles web site is and the discussion of this specific article is at

There have been prior preliminary studies suggesting possible interaction between Reiki treatment and the autonomic nervous system, but this study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is a significant randomized controlled study carried out at one of the most prestigious academic institutions and published as Pamela notes "by one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed conventional medical journals."

The article is "Effects of Reiki on Autonomkic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome," Rachel SC Friedman, Matthew M. Burg, Pamela Miles, Forrester Lee, and Rachel Lampert J Am Coll Cardiol 2010; 56; 995-996

This article leaves us much to ponder on - but just for today, consider the reasons for doing Reiki treatment on yourself.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reiki Shares

In the last month I have been blogging less and learning more, my own perception both as a Hospice physician and as a Reiki practitioner is that continuing to learn, grow, evolve is an important part of living.

This month our own share had 9 masters and one new practitioner - since we are not teaching as a class within our share I will not say "student" - though I believe in fact we are all "students" learning from each other.

It is an incredible experience to "exchange" or "share" with many Reiki practitioners from different traditions. There are commonalities: - sharing a philosophy that flows from the five basic Usui principles - the fact that doing Reiki causes hands to heat up - and a sense that connecting to "energy" changes one's life for the better.

For some of us, having a very defined curriculum or method is very important - and for others of us, the energy that flows and the way we interact with it varies with the history and nature of the person, and what that person needs.

I think it is important to recognize the commonalities and to respect the differences.

We had a very special treat in our September 7 share as Hazel Numsen, who learned with both Dr John Upledger (cranio-sacral therapy) and Dr Fritz Smith (zero balancing) gave a demonstration. It seemed when I visited Japan that many people viewed a broad spectrum of spiritual approaches to energy as "Reiki" - but here in the United States it seems to follow a more defined approach - yet - there are many other approaches to what we call "energy."

Dr Upledger describes his own approach, SomatoEmotional Release, as follows in his book, "Your Inner Physician and You:" In SomatoEmotional Release , the approach is quite different. Here we simply place our hands on the patient. We then give silent permission for the patient's body to do whatever it deems appropriate at the time. We offer to put energy into the patient."

Now one may come to conclude that Dr. Upledger's approach is not Reiki, (or -perhaps one may conclude that it is - end of day not so important to me) he is an Osteopath, and comes from a traditional that does not include Usui, or Hayashi, or Takata. And yet reading his book, it seems fairly clear that his intention is to work on the same "energy" that Reiki works on - and that we can all learn from each other.

Last week I went to learn Reiki from a distinguished Reiki Master - notwithstanding that I have received the Master symbol four separate times now, formally, I still feel a benefit from continuing to learn. Seeing patient every day with incureable illnesses is simply a humbling experience for me. I use conventional medicine when ever it has a reasonable answer, but I simply cannot cease trying to "heal" because I am unable to "cure."

And this person pointed out that the energy he was working on with me "was different from Reiki." The intention is to grow and "be who you are." Or perhaps more "who you can be."

It is - perhaps naively - my hope that we can remain inclusive, and consider healing energies as being in synergy, when their intentions are to heal, and their techniques are not invasive, but rather gentle encouragements to what Dr Upledger would call "your Inner Physician."

My own sense - if this led one to avoid anger, just for today, to avoid worry just for today, to work hard, and to be grateful, and to offer a kindness today; if this caused your hands to heat up, if this had an intention to heal by gentle touch (or perhaps by energy not even transmitted by actual physical contact) - then the great masters would see it as their own.

If not, then we can still be grateful for the opportunity to assist others, and or the opportunity to continue to grow. My appreciation remains for all those who share this journey.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just for Today

Patients often come to my Hospice unit, with a prediction of imminent death. "If you remove the ventilator they will die," but they not always do so; "if you stop dialysis they will die," but they do not always do so.

It does not mean that doctors' training is faulty, it simply means that we are trained to make decision based on statistical probabilities, and life does not always proceed as expected. I tend to answer questions as to prognosis as honestly as I can, but try to add, that in my job, I "hope to be wrong more often." If the Creator tosses a proverbial "pie in my face," I need to have joy for my patients good fortune.

Recently we received two patients coming to our unit with aggressive life support, their blood pressures maintained by articial intravenous medications. In both cases, excellent specialists spelled out correctly what the numbers meant, and what the expectations were. If the medications were stopped, they "would die." And there is no question how the numbers looked. In both cases though, as in so many of these cases, continuing aggressive medication was not a panacea; first of all such modalities only work for so long - they are not ongoing answers or cures. And secondly, the patient in such a situation is "hooked up" - loses all sense of freedom.

In some cases, such as being on a respirator, the patient is unable to talk, and often needs to be heavily sedated to keep the machinery in place.

In both of these cases this week, the patients decided to withdraw the "life sustaining medication." Our intention is never to "end their life," but to affirm their right to choice and empowerment over their own existence, and to give them a chance, a hope, an opportunity, to live free of being "connected" or "hooked up." Being "open" to Spirituality, helps us turn a certain death into a chance for life. Even if that living is only for a short time, sharing love and memories with loved ones can be precious and important.

Usually - the docs are right, but not always. And fortunately, everyone was wrong in our recent "dobutamine" cases. Slowly we weaned the patients off the medication, and one of them actually began to improve. He became more alert, he started eating, he got up, and started walking around our unit. He decided it is "time to go home."

Our other patient who stopped his aggressive medication is still with us. He is surrounded by family with love pouring into him. When we cannot cure, we can join a family in caring, and in prayer.

This is a part of the nature of Hospice; accepting that we use our scientific skills as best we can, but that human life is more than lab tests and numbers. Sometimes we can do nothing more than make someone comfortable. But sometimes, we can do something more, we can have someone prove us "wrong," even if "just for today."