Welcome, my fellow travellers. Peace be with you. I’m delighted to see you here. I know, your journey is far from over, so let me guide you for a while on your path of enlightenment. Since I am the true, one eternal master of wisdom and spirituality, I grant you access to my knowledge. I will show you the many wonders of Reiki.
The Old Man and The Truth
My dear readers, I need to confess something. Every week you come to my humble place in order to seek truth and knowledge. Tirelessly I fought against ill-beliefs, bad science and all the evil in the world. But during the last week, something happened to me. I experienced a life-changing transformation and I emerged from it as…something different. Something better.
During my frequent travels to the most distant of places I encountered a creature displaying an incredible amount of wisdom. It presented itself to me as an old, almost blind man, but was obvious far beyond the realm of us mere mortal human beings. As I approached him after an exhausting journey, starving and thirsting for minutes, he smiled benevolently at me.
”Come and sit, young spirit. We have a lot to talk about.”
With trembling legs, I came closer, allowed myself to relax a bit and sit down. He continued smiling and I could not resist the thought of seeing him like some kind of enlightened guru, who is about to teach me the inner-most secrets of life itself. If I only know HOW much he would be able to teach me – I might have turned away, frightened of so much knowledge.
As he spoke, his voice was calm and gentle, but firm at the same time.
”I know, you have many questions. I can feel your eager spirit and there is much I will have to show you. And even more for you to understand. But first, take my hand.”
I was not sure what to expect, but certainly not this. Was I trapped in some kind of weird Brokeback Mountain-like story? A slight amount of paranoia occurred inside my head and I carefully looked around to spot any signs of hidden cameras or so. Nothing there. Ok. Calm down. Breathe. Everything will be alright. I focused my eyes upon the old man in front of me once more. He seemed to…radiate some kind of immense energy, some would call it aura. I never felt something like that before. My curious and usually extremely rational mind was confused. How was this possible?
He smiled and nodded understandingly, as if he could read my doubts and confusion. But that was clearly not possible. No way, he could do that. He stretched out his hand and waited.
I looked at it intensely. What’s the worst that could happen, I asked myself? I might as well give it a try, hence I grabbed.
My eyes were closed, but I…was able to see. For the first time of my life, everything made sense. I could FEEL the whole world, the universe pulsing around me – all connected through this incredibly powerful, intense life-force. For a short moment, I knew: Star Wars was right. I became one with the force.
Beyond the Realm of Science
From this moment on: my life should never be the same. I felt…awaken. Whatever I may have believe up until that moment was null and void. Now, my way of understanding and seeing things had increased way beyond the realm of ignorant mortals.
The old man still smiled.
Even with closed eyes I was able to “see” him smiling. The intensity of his life-force, his aura, was so immense making it hard to even breathe.
”What did you feel?”, was the first thing I heard from him for what seemed like a small eternity.
I was not sure how to reply. I felt…everything. As if I was connected to every living being in the entire universe.
”Good. Then you have completed the first step of your journey.”
So, he could read my thoughts after all.
”What was that?” I muttered more to myself than him.
”You just began to live for the first time of your life. I made you aware of the all-connecting, universal life-force. We call it Qi. It connects everyone and everything. Therefore, mastering it will grant you the power over mind and matter. Let me show you something. Come closer.”
I sat already almost toe-to-toe with him, but alright, I moved as close to him as possible – trying not to think of anything weird or provocative. Which was quite a challenge to do so.
Oh, jeez. I forgot about his mindreading. Damn.
”Close your eyes and just feel.”
I closed my eyes and waited.
Suddenly, he placed his palm upon my chest and I felt a warmth and power I had never experienced before. And suddenly, my body started to change. The pain in my left shoulder, which I had for years now? Gone. My constant feeling of being tired? Vanished. The numbness in one of my toes, which had been there for years? No trace left behind.
This was astonishing, to put it mildly.
I opened my eyes, trying to grasp the craziness I just experienced.
He looked at me amused.
”What you just felt, is just the tip of the iceberg. Mastering your Qi will provide you with the power of the healing hands. You will never need any kind of medicine anymore. We call this Reiki.1”
I frowned. My still sceptical mind immediately told me, there could be no such thing. No matter, what I just experienced. There had to be some other kind of explanation. I remembered something I read a while ago about the concept of Qi and how odd it actually was.
He saw my insecurities and I told him, despite what I just experienced, I was not sure about this whole thing. Maybe he was just an incredibly talented con-artist?
I knew my fair share about Reiki and the issues connected to it. Could it be true? I told the old man about a review study regarding Reiki practitioners in clinical trials. According to the authors of that particular study, most of the trials had methodological flaws (e.g. small sample size or bad design in general), so it was hard to gather any useful data at all. Therefore, the authors concluded, currently there is just not enough evidence to support the claims of Reiki practitioners to effectively treat whatever condition one can think of2.
The old man nodded supportively. I was confused. He did not seem to bother. Quite the contrary. So, I continued to explain my scepticism.
I told him, another study which evaluated the usefulness of Reiki in dialysis treatments came to quite a similar conclusion. Although there are no obvious negative side-effects of a Reiki treatment, it does not show significant relevance as soon as it’s applied in a medicinal context.
Similar discouraging effects were found in another study regarding the treatment of patients who suffered from a stroke. The double-blind study aimed, among other things, to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment itself as well as whether the Reiki or the sham practitioners could tell, without any further knowledge, which category they belonged to.
Sadly, none of these goals had been accomplished by the practitioners, so the study’s authors concluded, there was no evidence for Reiki being an effective treatment at all.
But that was not enough. In 1995, a young girl called Emily conducted an experiment to evaluate whether Reiki practitioners could actually feel her human energy field. They should, otherwise their claims would make no sense. So, Emily convinced 21 Reiki masters to be part of her experiment. Both, the practitioner and Emily were each separated by a screen, the girl would then toss a coin to determine whether her hand would hover over the right or the left hand of the healer. If the guy was able to detect human energy fields, he should easily be able to determine the right hand. Only in 44% of all cases the practitioners got the hand right. Statistically spoken, that’s even worse than mere random guessing.
Over and over there were studies and articles which resulted in devastating conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the Reiki treatment.
It just seemed, whatever I just experienced as the old man touched me, it had to be something else. The scientific literature was quite clear: Reiki was of no use beyond a mere placebo treatment.
The old man focused me intensely. He was still smiling. Maybe he just died during my explanation and his face suddenly became a frozen, ever-smiling mask of death? That would have been really odd.
”No, I am very much alive, thanks a lot for your concerns, my sceptical friend.”
He displayed a toothless grin.
Yes, he did it again.
But I was still confused. What was the meaning of all of this?
”You just had an experience beyond your limits of understanding. It’s only natural to be confused, worry not. Eventually, all your doubts will fade, and the enlightenment begins. I just opened a door for you, but it’s yours to go through. If you choose to do so, a whole new world with endless possibilities awaits you.”
The old man really believed what he just said. He seemed so convinced and my recent experience was indeed real, after all. But still, it was a lot to process. On the other hand – what’s there to lose?
Nothing, but so much more to gain.
I had the feeling, my time with the old man was coming to an end, hence I got up. My head felt somewhat dizzy. For a short moment, I closed my eyes, trying to establish some order in the chaos of what my thoughts and feelings had become. As I opened my eyes again in order to wish my farewell to the old man – but he was gone. It seemed as if he had vanished into thin air, with no sign that he had ever been there.
Obviously, it was about time to leave this place.
The Longest Journey
As I travelled back home, there were a lot of things going on in my mind. Did I really experience all of that? Was there really some kind of universal, all-connecting life force? Could it be?
I guess, there was much to think about during the next days. Which I did.
My dear followers, I told you, I was going through a life-changing experience. The things the old man taught me, made it impossible for me to just continue my life like nothing had happened.
It feels, I finally ascended to the next evolutionary level. Now I was able to feel all life around me, my perception of the universe itself changed beyond normal human understanding. I was provided with insights and knowledge, even the smartest scientists were not able to grasp.
My journey is far from over, but apparently, I just took the next big step and I am incredibly excited about the things to come. I hope, you all will accompany me throughout this amazing experience and maybe I will even be able to teach you a thing or two.
I am forever grateful this opportunity had been granted to me and I will honour every second of it.
May everlasting peace be with you.
I am, of course, still a relatively sane human being. Therefore, I know Reiki is useless as fuck and can be ignored.
Thanks @derbesserwisser for this week’s idea.
Feel always free to discuss my ideas and share your own thoughts about the things I’m writing about. Nobody is omniscient and if we all walk away a bit smarter than before, we’ll have achieved a lot.
Thanks for reading and stay sceptical.
Make sure, to check out #steemstem for more science related content.
(2) M. S. Lee, M. H. Pittler, E. Ernst. Effects of reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. The International Journal of Clinical Practice. Volume 62, Issue 6. 2008
(4) Samuel C. Shiflett, Sangeetha Nayak, Champa Bid, Pamela Miles, Sandra Agostinelli. Effect of Reiki Treatments on Functional Recovery in Patients in Poststroke Rehabilitation: A Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineVol. 8, No. 6. 2002
(6) David H. Gorski, Steven P. Novella. Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works?. Trends in Molecular Medicine. Volume 20, Issue 9, p473–476, September 2014