This question on our website this week is a good one:
Q: Is a Reiki Treatment a placebo?
A: To begin with it would seem that placebo is definitely underrated.
A placebo is inert, a non-treatment – it is not meant to do anything. At the same time it is also accepted that between 30% to 60% of patients receiving placebos respond to them. Placebos may be inert (a sugar pill for example) but their affect can be meaningful to the user and therefore affect the user.
Excerpt Your Reiki Treatment
The system of Reiki however is an energetic practice. We practice meditation techniques to strengthen our inner energy to enable us to become clearer channels for energy to move through.
This Japanese practice requires practitioners to develop skill and comprehension of energetic work. In this way the system of Reiki is very different to a placebo; the practitioner’s own self-development is the key to the success of the practitioner’s work on others.
It would be true to say that a Reiki treatment supports a client’s sense of wellbeing. Placebos too can affect a patient’s sense of wellbeing. This does not mean that the two are the same.
It would be correct, however, to think that the placebo process affects the success of a practitioner/client or doctor/patient experience.
To take this further let us look at a Reiki treatment and first remove from the equation the fact that the Reiki practitioner is working consciously at an energetic level.
In such a scenario the client who experiences Reiki may enjoy a number of non-energetic experiences that support his/her wellbeing. This could include being treated at a physical level in a gentle, non-invasive fashion. The client may also take pleasure in the environment of the treatment room in contrast to that of a hospital room. All of these positive benefits may support healing in a way that is meaningful to the user and therefore affect the user (our earlier definition of placebo).
Now let us bring the energetic side of the Reiki treatment back into this equation. As the practitioner begins to strengthens the connection energetically with the client, the client is already relaxed and open and willing to take part in the healing process due to the pleasure and enjoyment of the environment and the process etc… A perfect state of mind to accept Reiki in.
So, no, the system of Reiki is not a placebo.
Reiki practitioners are aware that “to heal” means “to become whole”. To support a client’s state of health and wellbeing the entire environment and process must be considered. We must not forget that everything is connected.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.