Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 6, 2009
Reiki use is superstition, says bishops' doctrine committee
BY CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON — Reiki therapy, an alternative medicine originating in Japan, is unscientific and inappropriate for use by Catholic hospitals, clinics and retreat centres and people representing the Church, said the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.
“For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems,” the committee said in guidelines released March 26.
“In terms of caring for one’s physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent.”
The bishops said the technique — which involves a Reiki practitioner laying hands on a client — also is encouraged as a “spiritual” kind of healing, but that for Christians “access to divine healing” comes through prayer to God.
A Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki “would be operating in the realm of superstition,” they said.
The U.S. bishops outlined their position in Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy.
The guidelines, available online at www.usccb.org/dpp/doctrine.htm, were developed by the doctrine committee.
They were approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ administrative committee March 24.
The guidelines stated that “according to Reiki teaching, illness is caused by some kind of disruption or imbalance in one’s ‘life energy.’
‘UNIVERSAL LIFE ENERGY’
“A Reiki practitioner effects healing by placing his or her hands in certain positions on the patient’s body in order to facilitate the flow of Reiki, the ‘universal life energy,’ from the Reiki practitioner to the patient.”
The bishops’ guidelines said Reiki “has not been accepted by the scientific and medical communities as an effective therapy.”
“Reputable scientific studies attesting to the efficacy of Reiki are lacking, as is a plausible scientific explanation as to how it could possibly be efficacious,” the guidelines said.
The bishops warned that “there are important dangers” in using Reiki for one’s spiritual health.
Use of Reiki is superstitious, they said.
One’s worship of God is corrupted by superstition, because it turns “one’s religious feeling and practice in a false direction,” the guidelines stated.
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