.- The U.S. bishops have published a new evaluation of the Reiki therapy. Calling the Japanese form of alternative medicine comparable to âsuperstition,â the evaluation describes its practice as being without support in Christian belief, unscientific and inappropriate for Catholic institutions.
The document âGuidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapyâ contains guidelines developed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishopsâ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, which is chaired by Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
According to a USCCB press release, the guidelines describe Reiki as a healing technique âinvented in Japan in the late 1800s by Mikao Usui, who was studying Buddhist texts.â
It characterizes Reiki therapy as teaching that illness is caused by âsome kind of disruption or imbalance in oneâs âlife energy.ââ
A Reiki practitioner is believed to be able to effect healing by placing his or her hands in certain positions on a patientâs body to âfacilitate the flow of Reiki, the âuniversal life energy,â from the Reiki practitioner to the patient.â
âReiki lacks scientific credibility,â the U.S. bishopsâ guidelines state, adding that scientific and medical communities have not accepted it as âan effective therapy.â
âReputable scientific studies attesting to the efficacy of Reiki are lacking, as is a plausible scientific explanation as to how it could possibly be efficacious,â the bishopsâ guidelines add.
Examining descriptions of Reiki as a âspiritualâ kind of healing, the guidelines say there is a radical difference between Reiki therapy and healing by divine power.
âFor Christians the access to divine healing is by prayer to Christ as Lord and Savior, while the essence of Reiki is not a 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.â
âFor a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problemsâ the guidelines continue, saying that employing a technique that has no scientific support or plausibility is âgenerally not prudent.â
âSince Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy," the guidelines add.
The guidelines also warn of âimportant dangersâ in Reiki practice because it implicitly accepts âcentral elements of a worldview that undergirds Reiki theory, elements that belong neither to Christian faith nor to natural science.â
A Catholic who trusts in Reiki âwould be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man's-land that is neither faith nor science.â
Superstition, the bishopsâ guidelines say, âcorrupts oneâs worship of God by turning oneâs religious feeling and practice in a false direction.â
âWhile 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.â
The guidelines may be viewed at http://www.usccb.org/dpp/doctrine.htm