September 22, 2009

Reiki banned at U.S. Catholic hospitals

The Catholic Church has banned promotion of reiki from its U.S. hospitals, with bishops saying it has no scientific or religious backing.

Debbie Griseuk learned about the Japanese healing technique at St. Joseph's Hospital in Manchester, N.H. She had to close her volunteer clinic there after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made its decision in the spring.

The hospital says patients who request reiki will get it but there will be no more classes.

The bishops did not do their research,'' Griseuk told the Boston Globe. Reiki is not a belief system, not a cult, not a weirdo thing.''

Reiki practitioners place their hands just above energy points on patients' bodies to transfer positive energy. The practice, developed by a Japanese doctor about a century ago, is supposed to stimulate the immune system.

Researchers who have done studies of reiki suggest its benefits come from the placebo effect.

Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man's-land that is neither faith nor science,'' the bishops said in guidelines. Superstition corrupts one's worship of God by turning one's religious feeling and practice in a false direction.''