Reiki incompatable with Christian teaching      



Oriental alternative medicine

Reiki is a spiritual practice that uses a technique commonly called hands-on-healing.Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (i.e., reiki) in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which they believe allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium


Reiki incompatable with Christian teaching

Declare American Bishops 

In March of 2009, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document declaring the practice of Reiki  incompatible with Christian teaching and scientific evidence and therefore inappropriate for Catholic institutions or people  to promote or support.

Click Here ! ( Full pdf document)


Reiki Report

Fr Pat Collins CM summarizes  Reiki report by the American bishops.

Over the years a number of people have asked me what I think about Reiki. To tell the truth, more often than not, I have had to admit that I do not know much about the subject, but that it sounds a bit like a New Age form of healing to me. Recently, I was delighted to find that, in March 2009, the doctrinal committee of the American hierarchy, consisting of eight archbishops and bishops, had published a lucid and helpful document entitled Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy

It begins by echoing the teaching of Sirach 38:1-15, when it says there are two kinds of healing, natural and divine. On the one hand, we can be healed by human means such as surgery, psychotherapy and medicine, while on the other hand God can heal us by means of such things as the anointing of the sick and the charism of healing. In this connection the bishops refer to the Instruction on Prayers for Healing which was published by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2000, and to par. 1508 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The bishops point out that charity demands that we should not neglect natural means of healing people because even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses.


The Origins of Reiki

A Zen Buddhist monk, Mikao Usui, discovered Reiki in the mid nineteenth century in Japan. At the end of a 21-day meditation on Mount Kurama he achieved a spiritual awakening and received the knowledge of Reiki, i.e., how to attune to the universal lifeforce or energy. According to Reiki, sickness is ultimately due to an imbalance of the universal life force in the human body. So a Reiki practitioner brings about healing by placing his or her hands in certain key positions on the patient's body in order to facilitate the flow of Reiki or universal energy.

Rather than being the ultimate source of this healing energy, the healer is merely a channel for something that exists everywhere and in everything, including the healer. To become a practitioner of Reiki healing a person must receive an "initiation," or "attunement" from a Reiki master, i.e. someone who has reached a high level of attunement as a result of completing an advanced stage of training.

Is Reiki a Natural Means of Healing? When one reads books and articles on Reiki it becomes clear that its beliefs are mainly expressed in spiritual and religious terms of a pantheistic kind. Such literature is filled with references to God, the Goddess, the "divine healing power," and the "divine mind." The life force is described as being directed by the "Higher intelligence," or the "divine consciousness." Furthermore Reiki healers make use of Japanese sacred symbols and engage in religious type ceremonies. Reiki is often referred to as a way of living governed by five ethical precepts. As the bishops point out, in some respects Reiki is similar to a religion.

That said, many practitioners such as nurses, use Reiki as a purely natural form of healing. However, there is no empirical evidence to show that this form of alternative medicine has any good effects. In fact it lacks credibility in so far as the universal life energy that Reiki talks about is unknown to modern science. As the bishops observe, the justification for this form of therapy must necessarily come from something other than science.


Reiki and the Healing Power of Christ

As I know from personal experience, some modern day Christians such as priests, nuns and charismatics, try to harmonise Reiki with Christian healing. To do so they have to accept, at least in an implicit way, the central tenets of the worldview that underpins Reiki healing. Many of these tenets are incompatible with Christian thinking. This is so, for instance, because Christians see divine healing as a free gift of God's grace, which is not within human control, whereas Reiki practitioners believe, in a Pelagian way, that healing can be reliably experienced as a result of human insight and effort.

The American document points out, "the fact remains that for Christians access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Saviour, while the essence of Reiki is not prayer but a technique that is passed down from the 'Reiki Master' to the pupil, a technique that once mastered will reliably produce the anticipated results." Apparently, some practitioners of Reiki, who are influenced by New Age thinking, consult with angelic beings and spirit guides when they are ministering healing to others.

The American bishops point out that this practice can open a channel to sinister demonic influences. They observe, "This introduces the further danger of exposure to malevolent forces or powers." This point may explain why I have heard quite a number of people say that, having received Reiki healing, they developed all kinds of problems ranging from depression to headaches and physical ailments. Indeed, a man who had been a Reiki master rang me up one day to say that he had heard me warning about the dangers of this form of therapy in one of my recorded talks. He told me that he had come to see the truth of my words from his own personal experience and that of his clients. I was pleasantly surprised when he revealed that he was giving up Reiki because he had discovered that it sometimes had a very dark side.

While some practitioners attempt to Christianise Reiki, in a syncretistic way, by adding a prayer to Christ and using Christian symbols, the American bishops point out that these cosmetic changes do not alter the essentially pagan nature of this form of therapy. For these reasons, Reiki cannot be identified with what Christians call healing by divine grace.

"Reiki is operating in the realm of superstition, the no man's land that is neither faith nor science"

The bishops conclude by observing that "for a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems." They say that a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki ends up "operating in the realm of superstition, the noman's land that is neither faith nor science." The bishops warn that superstition corrupts the person's worship of God by turning religious feeling and practice in a false direction. They explain that while "sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church, to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible." That was the main reason why I wrote this short article.

The document ends with these salutary words, "Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health facilities and retreat centres, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or provide support for Reiki therapy."

Fr Pat Collins CM is a prolific writer and retreat leader. He is based in Phibsboro,Dublin, Ireland.


Reiki and Healing Touch

by Susan Brinkmann(EWTN Women of Grace)

Everyone wants to be healed. Anyone who has ever attended a healing Mass can attest to the crowds that flock to the altar of the Lord to receive his healing touch. Unfortunately, there are plenty of imitations available in the so-called "New Age" movement. One of the most popular is Reiki, with a variety of close cousins such as "healing touch," "therapeutic touch" and "hands of light." Those alternative therapies are among practices that Catholics are cautioned about in a Vatican document, "Jesus Christ: The Bearer of the Water of Life — A Christian reflection on the 'New Age,'" issued in 2003 by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. In their warning, the councils note that in such New Age therapies, "the source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy."

According to Moira Noonan, a former Reiki Master and author of a memoir, "Ransomed from Darkness," that is, indeed, what Reiki teaches. "Reiki is a method of healing through the transmission and activation of a person's spiritual energy," she writes. "This therapy looks somewhat like the Christian laying-on of hands, but this is deceptive. The symbolism of Reiki is deeply influenced by Buddhist traditions and invisible spirit guides. These spirit guides are specifically invoked by name to confer their healing powers."

There is discrepancy in what is said to be the true history of Reiki. For instance, organizations that are involved in selling the concept to the largely Christian West either downplay or deny its association with Buddhism. However, disinterested parties, such as academic centers for religious studies, seem to agree on certain key facts about Reiki: First, it was said to be rediscovered in the 19th century by a medical doctor named Mikao Usui.

Second, Usui rediscovered Reiki during a 21-day retreat devoted to studying Buddhist Tantric texts. Tantric Buddhism involves the use of spells, incantations, complicated rituals and magical powers to achieve enlightenment.

Third, Reiki energy supposedly entered Usui during his retreat. From that time on, Usui had healing power, and he initiated thers into the secrets of that power through what he called "attunements." In that procedure, "attunement energies" are channeled into students through Reiki masters, who are guided by the Rei or God-consciousness, and by other Reiki "guides" and other spiritual entities that help the process along.

Like other forms of New Age healing, Reiki is promoted as a technique that is obtainable through weekend workshops. Becoming a Reiki master can be expensive: Workshop fees range from $175 to $500.

Healing practices that are based on using energy-channeling to heal have morphed into a variety of techniques known as "healing touch" or "therapeutic touch." One of the most popular is promoted by Barbara Brennan, a former NASA research scientist turned New Age healer. The author of "Hands of Light," Brennan is regarded as one of the most widely recognized teachers of New Age healing that uses spirit guides. The former New-Ager Noonan attended Brennan's institute: "As Brennan herself admits, her ideas are drawn from direct communication with a spirit guide named Heyoan," Noonan writes in her memoir. "(Brennan's) channelings from this entity are regularly published word-for-word by her institute, and offered to the world as expressions of divine wisdom. "This is what I mean when I talk about the role of demons in the practice of Reiki," Noonan writes.

Another former New Age practitioner, Clare McGrath Merkle, had similar experiences with energy healers, which caused her to return to the Catholic faith. Merkle is an accomplished author and speaker who has appeared on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and various national radio programs. She now devotes her life to warning people about the dangers of the New Age. Merkle says one popular, so-called energy healing technique is being promoted by a company called Healing Touch International (HTI). HTI was founded in 1993 by two nurses who wanted to bring the influence of New Age "energy channeling" techniques to hospitals, schools and parishes. Merkle writes in the article, "Is Healing Touch at your parish?" that "The HTI web site describes the techniques as 'energy based healing therapies from a Judeo-Christian perspective.'

They (say they) teach ways to 'integrate Healing Touch into church/parish healing ministry.'" But, she says, beneath its Christian veneer, the principles underlying "Healing Touch" are not compatible with Catholicism. "If you go to their Web site and look at their recommended resources and books, it's a mile long of occult texts," Merkle said. That is not how it appears to the public however: "They work in teams at hospitals, and come around to your bed and ask, 'Would you like us to pray over you?' Of course people who are sick are going to say yes. Then they start doing their 'energy' work."

Is this deliberate deception on the part of Healing Touch practitioners? Probably not, Merkle says. The problem is that most practitioners have done little more than read a few books or take a few weekend workshops in their training. Very few can correctly identify the source of the "energy" they're trying to manipulate.

According to Merkle, many experts say that although such "energy" techniques are known by different names, they have the same root: "The root is in Kundalini yoga and the raising of the 'serpent power' up the spine, opening the chakras and giving people magical occult powers. She says New Age "energy techniques" and "healing modalities," as they are called, are forms of this magic. The fact that these practices borrow from other religions is not the problem, then-Cardinal skmwmeph Ratzinger said in the 1989 document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Some Aspects of Christian Meditation." Speaking about various forms of Eastern meditation, he assures us that we can adopt what is good from other religions, "as long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured."

The problem with Reiki and healing touch is that it is based on beliefs peculiar to various forms of Hinduism and Buddhism which "posit the existence of a life energy (ki or kundalini) and interpret that energy as spiritual," which is not a Christian belief. Christians believe that man is a union of body and soul, and that the soul is an essential form of the body — not an energy force. "From a spiritual perspective, we believe the soul is the life-principle of the body, not something else," wrote the editors at Catholic Answers. "Consequently, there is no spiritual 'life energy' animating the body. Any energy used as part of the body's operations — such as the electricity in our nervous system — is material in nature, not spiritual. . . . Since this (belief) is contrary to Christian theology, it is inappropriate for Christians to participate in activities based on this belief."

Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, an internationally known biblical scholar and popular television and radio host, raises another question about practitioners of those and other healing fads that are being practiced, in some cases, on a church's property. "Are these people practicing medicine without a license?" he asks. "And if so, who is going to be liable if there's a malpractice suit?"

Although many practitioners sincerely believe they are helping people, there is no scientific study associated with any of these methods, Father Pacwa says. Even more troubling is the fact that their practitioners disguise them as a form of the Christian laying-on of hands, according to Father Pacwa. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the laying on of hands as a "sign" (CCC, No. 699) not a means of channeling "energy." "Reiki is an attempt to make a 'technique' out of praying for the sick," Father Pacwa said. "Praying for the sick has to be understood as an aspect of God's grace operative in our lives. It's not a 'technique.' That's where it becomes 'magical,' and Christianity is not about using magic."

(This article originally appeared in The Catholic Standard and Times, the Philadalphia archdiocesan newspaper.)





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