Reiki invades an operating room

I'm a scientist, but I'm also a surgeon, which means I've spent quite a bit of time in operating rooms. In the OR, teamwork is critical, and each member of the team should be using science- and evidence-based medicine to inform their judgment regarding what to do. If there's one kind of practitioner in the OR that relies heavily on SBM, it should be the anesthesiologist. Surgery is a combination of science and technical skill, and sometimes deciding what to do in the operating room is more a matter of judgment based on experience than science. For instance, if I encounter bleeding, what I do next is less a matter of science and more a matter of skill in finding what's bleeding and fixing it. That's not to say that science isn't very important in surgery and during surgery. Science tells us what operation to do, and science helps us as surgeons refine our technique and determine which operation works the best. However, there is still an "art" to actually carrying out the operations. Anesthesia, on the other hand, is pretty much pure pharmacology.

That's why I was very disturbed to find a blog called Doctors with Reiki, which is written by someone who goes under the pseudonym Reiki Doc. Reiki Doc, you see, is apparently an anesthesiologist and describes himself thusly:

I am a medical doctor who works in a hospital. I do anesthesia. While I do anesthesia, I also give Reiki Healing to my resting patients. They do not know, nor does anybody else in the room. I have quite a following at work. Many request my services. Recovery room RN's love me. All of my patient report the same thing: they felt no pain. One friend's spouse actually made her take two of her pain pills at home because he absolutely could not believe she felt no pain after gallbladder surgery!

No wonder this guy blogs under a pseudonym. Reading his profile, I'm torn between thinking that Reiki Doc is about as unethical as can be. He is, after all, doing something to patients for which he does not have informed consent. On the other hand, what he is doing is basically nothing. That's because reiki is basically faith healing. Let's just put it this way. The idea behind reiki is to channel "healing energy" from what reiki masters call the "universal source." Substitute "God" for the "universal source," and it becomes apparent that there really isn't any difference between reiki and faith healing other than the belief system undergirding each one: Eastern mysticism versus Christianity. It's actually an interesting question in medical ethics. Is is ethical to do reiki on a patient without informed consent, given that reiki is nothing more than magical thinking and does nothing? Reiki masters like Reiki Doc do not shoot "healing energy" from their hand into patients, as much as they might like to believe that they can channel energy from the "universal source" and use it to heal. They just don't. On the other hand, clearly Reiki Doc intends to do something that he thinks is having an effect on patients even without the patient's informed consent. Does it matter that reiki doesn't actually do anything if the practitioner thinks it does?

Questions, questions. It's enough to make one's brain explode. I wonder if reiki can help that?

But back to Reiki Doc. What first caught my attention from him was a post entitled Lightwork in the O.R.: a Case Study. Yes, it's a "case study" of Reiki Doc's use of reiki in the OR. He begins by noting that the patient who would be his first case of the day had passed out when her IV had been inserted. We see this from time to time. Some people have a real aversion to needles and are so keyed up because she's about to undergo surgery. Sometimes patients have a vasovagal reaction to being stuck. It happens. Amusingly, as Reiki Doc went out to see the patient to make sure he was OK and that the case could proceed, he mentioned putting on his "reiki game face," which rather amused me. What is a "reiki game face"? Does the universal source help? Inquiring minds want to know! My questions aside, Reiki Doc recounted looking at the patient's EKG and reassuring him that he had simply had a vasovagal reaction, and then he noticed something:

Anesthesia, technically, was uneventful. It was a short case, and everything went well.

Reiki-wise, this was one of the most unusual cases in my career. I gave Reiki, lots of Reiki, way more than usual. It was like water in a desert. It just kept going in. The solar plexus, or yellow chakra, sucked it in. So I gave it. I felt the spirit of this individual wanting to heal, very much so, and I allowed the energy to 'connect' to him in the process. I gave Diksha, balanced chakras, and gave Reiki complete with symbols while pretending to fix the Bair hugger warming blanket and do anesthesia-related activities. (I can do anesthesia and teach, I can do anesthesia and tell jokes with the surgeon; anesthesia is a lot like driving a car, yes?) I actually was guided to attune him to Reiki 1, as I do sometimes, smiling inwardly with my guides at the thought he is going to wake up psychic!

Oh, great. Reiki Doc was directing reiki energy to the surgeon too. Let me just say this right here. If you're the anesthesiologist doing the anesthesia for one of my cases, keep your damned reiki energy to yourself. I don't need it. I'm perfectly capable of doing the case without your magical thinking or your fantasies that you are sending me some sort of mystical energy from your fantasy god/universal source.

It turns out that Reiki Doc thought he perceived something in his patient's girlfriend, who told him that she saw something in his "energy." Yes, she was a bit of a kindred spirit, it would seem:

I took that as a go. I shared with her my findings on the Intraoperative Reiki. They were spot-on. (She had just graduated from a local Energy Healing program, and had her Tarot Bible with her things!)

Her surprised relief from being able to share her perceptions about her boyfriend gave me joy as a healer--when everything 'works right' it is a beautiful thing to watch. I was doing way more than giving anesthesia at this point. I was being a doctor, a specialist in Energy Medicine, at this time.

She asked me for my contact information, exchanged hers, and asked me to find out what his past life trauma was, and fix it.

Ah, the beauty when two woos meet and their energies connect! The patient's girlfriend was so thrilled to meet Reiki Doc, and Reiki Doc ended up texting her what her past life trauma was and how to fix it, "from an energy healing perspective," of course! So grateful was she that she texted him back and pointed out how she had asked God to send her a spiritual teacher.

Reiki Doc concluded from this particular anecdote:

Impression: Intraoperative Reiki is a powerful tool. It helps to establish rapport. It helps to address the underlying conditions, both on an energetic level and a deeper soul level, that result in the manifestation of physical disease. It is non-toxic, safe, and does not need to be documented or charted or even discussed with the patient at the time it is given. People come to us for healing, in the hospital. It would be remiss to leave something clearly in need of treatment, untreated, when we have the ability to treat it at the same time that other work is being done. Anesthesiologists and CRNA's are the perfect providers for this purpose because we are at the head of the bed in surgery, and our anesthesia weakens the aura in the first place. Why not take the opportunity to shore it up and strengthen the aura at the time patients are most vulnerable?

Yes, just what I want in an anesthesiologist: Someone so prone to magical thinking that he thinks that he can "address the underlying conditions, both on an energetic level and a deeper soul level"! Nor do I particularly want an anesthesiologist who thinks he can communicate with Michael Jackson after he died, who believes in reiki, and thinks that reiki can help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Sadly, magical thinking is alive and well in the medical profession, and Reiki Doc is slam dunk evidence of that.

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As a medically qualified anaesthetist (or anesthesiologist as I would be called in North America), I agree that Reiki Doc sounds completely flaky. I was initially tempted to believe that his blog was a parody but it seems too sustained. If he worked in my department, I would want him watched very closely. People this bonkers may not be safe near patients.

One small niggle with your post though. The practice of anaesthesia is more than just pharmacology and does require a fair degree of skill and judgement.

By DrBollocks (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

Now, I am deeply disturbed by this. This guy could be a good anesthesiologist as far as I know, but this is a major violation of the patient's right, in my book. For me, I wouldn't care. But say he has a devout Christian or Muslim patient? If such a patient knew, he/she could be horrorified. *shocks head*
Even a firm Atheist might object at being subjected to such "faith healing" without his consent.

My thoughts on reading this was if his focus on Reiki would distract him from what he ought to be doing (or would cause him to do something he ought not to). I’d want my anaesthetist to be focusing on the job at hand.

"...he mentioned putting on his “reiki game face,”... "

Somehow the face of the emperor in Star Wars VI - The Return of the Jedi came to my mind. That was also a guy who had energy coming out of his hands, given to him by a mysterious universal Force. Someone need to tell Reiki Doc though that this was a movie.

But on a more serious note, in addition to the arrogant and unethical behaviour of forcing his woo onto an unconcious patient, what worries me is his quote: "I was being a doctor..." Obviously he thinks that he can go beyond his job of keeping the patient safely in slumber but instead does the job of healing him/her himself. I think it might just be a smalll step then for him to go over to the "Dark Side" completely and apply reiki instead of SBM if those two would ever clash in his belief. And that might endanger patients.

By StrangerInAStr… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2012 #permalink

I can understand why he's using a pseudonym. If the sh!t hits the fan, and he loses a patient under anesthesia - and it's due to him being focused on the rainbow chakra of loveliness and purity being chased by the puffy unicorns of hope and charity - he's going to get his arse sued, and rightfully so.

I wouldn't want a reiki anyone in charge of my anesthesia if I'm in the hospital - that's not why I'm paying you to put me under. Pay attention to ME not your faith healing.

I don't think he is doing anything unethical, since he is effectively doing nothing at all, though distracting himself from his job with this nonsense is unprofessional, just as daydreaming while he should be focused would be. However, I do sometimes wonder, where is the boundary between shared delusions and frank mental illness? On the face of it this doctor is barking mad, but his delusional belief system is shared by a depressingly large number of people, like his patient's girlfriend.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Well, from his persepctive (that reiki actually works), he is being highly unethical.

It would be remiss to leave something clearly in need of treatment, untreated, when we have the ability to treat it at the same time that other work is being done.

Unless it is something life threatening and neither the patient nor family can be consulted on how to proceed, treating the "something" would be grounds for assault, if I'm remembering my law correctly.

Maybe Orac could weigh in on this. As a surgeon, if you discovery something that needs treatment but is outside the scope of the planned surgery, do you just go ahead and treat it right then and there?

"My guide is telling me that you have a serious Past Life Trauma and that we were meant to meet, so that we can explore it and ascend to the Third Yellow Ray together. How about tonight at my place?"

If only the California Medical Board (or whatever it's called) had the power to subpoena Blogspot and ID this dangerous fool... Or at least let the relevant hospital know.

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I think it is highly unethical for any physician to be treating in this manner, especially without informed consent.

I agree that the Southern California Medical Board should investigate this matter. As a patient, I want my doctors to focus on real, treatable conditions and symptoms, not this past life trauma and energy woo. If I knew that while I was undergoing surgery that my doctor's thoughts were distracted by this nonsense, I would be outraged. This is just so infuriating on many levels.

This is the person's other blog. There is a photo of someone on it. http://amazingpolar.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-first-blog.html

While I do anesthesia, I also give Reiki Healing to my resting patients. They do not know, nor does anybody else in the room. I have quite a following at work. Many request my services. Recovery room RN’s love me. All of my patient report the same thing: they felt no pain.

Hmm, SBM pain killers + reiki = no pain. What a surprise! Now, let's try it without the reiki and see what happens...

I can do anesthesia and teach, I can do anesthesia and tell jokes with the surgeon; anesthesia is a lot like driving a car, yes

Is it me, or does this guy just sound bored of his job and invented a way to make it interesting again? Also, what Grant said.

It is non-toxic, safe, and does not need to be documented or charted or even discussed with the patient at the time it is given

IANAL or doctor... but wouldn't that be against some sort of law or medical rule? Would this guy get into trouble with his state board?

Plus, face palm at the idiocy that is "no evidence is fine" thing.

@Sophia8

That was almost exactly what I was thinking!

Ethical quirks aside, the fact that this twit has lost his mind ought to be enough reason to fire him. Just don't tell anyone you heard Me say so.

By THE ONE TRUE GOD (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

We can be glad he isn't performing homeopathic anesthetics.

I know that at my hospital, the nurses are very prone to woo thinking. We have one that reads palms - at the drop of a hat. I haven't let her touch me yet, but it would be hilarious I'm sure. Many believe in ghosts, Dr Oz and various and sundry supplements to lose weight, etc....So that this dr has nurses lining up to see him doesn't surprise me at all. My feeling is that many nurses want to feel superior/different than doctors and go to the woo side that doctors don't embrace. Lilady I am sure will correct me.....

Sounds like Reki doc has been helping himself to his patients' anaesthetics.

Also, he ought to be careful with all the channelling Michael Jackson - just imagine if MJ takes over in the middle of surgery and has Reki doc moonwalking around the theatre.

I don’t think he is doing anything unethical, since he is effectively doing nothing at all

Look at it from the perspective of someone who believes in a different supernaturalist system. Practicing sorcery on an unconscious victim could be seen to be extremely objectionable and perhaps even to require some sort of purification afterward, only now the misdeed is hidden.

Or suppose that you're not bound by the Patient Self-Determination Act and you have on your hands a homeless person who, say, has been the victim of a vicious street beating and is now brain-dead and on a respirator. After the fact, this person's scrambled heap of possessions is found to include a living will instructing against being kept alive on a ventilator. Further suppose that your own religious sensibilities find such a desire to be a danger to the eternal soul of the patient. Is it unethical to ignore the document? After all, you're doing nothing at all.

Narad,

Is it unethical to ignore the document? After all, you’re doing nothing at all.

In that case, yes you are; you are ignoring a document, behaving differently on the basis of your beliefs, and the outcome for the patient is quite different as a result. In the case of the reiki anesthetist, he isn't doing anything physically different that science tells us could affect the patient's outcome.

That's unless, of course, imagining that he is pumping energy into a patient's chakra distracts him from the fact they have turned blue.

I wouldn't want to outlaw thought-crime, it seems more than a little Orwellian to me.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I keep seeing references to this person as being a "he". Perhaps I am overlooking something, but it seems to me that his blogger is a female.

http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/11/on-negativity-and-negative-entitie…

For years I was 'floaty' and used to try to find big strong men in relationship to help me 'ground'.

The kids are with their dad.

The blogger refers readers to Margaret. Therefore, it would seem that Margaret McCormick, a Southern California healer knows the blogger.

8. be sure to call or email Margaret. Tell her I sent you! She is the only one that can help long-term.

As referenced in her post below, there is a Glen Ivy Spa at the tip of Southern California in Corona, CA, and Corona Medical Center is nearby.

I blog. I am on Facebook. I am on Twitter. Someone today at the nurses' lounge shared they added the reiki feature for twenty bucks to their spa treatment at Glen Ivy tomorrow--they know about me. And today, at their request, I gave salt pellets in pretty sheer drawstring bags to the Charge Nurse and the Nurse Educator to Feng Shui their office. (and to suck up negativity!) The night scrub tech who knows I am 'highly clairvoyant' is waiting to hear about my experience with the ghosts of Victoria, BC!

A quick Internet search of anesthesiologists that practice at this facility includes two women, one of whom advertises herself as an alternative medicine provider.

I wonder if the Reiki doc's employer condones the use (and perhaps billing) of OR time for such purposes as this,

I showed her how to use a pendulum by herself right in the middle of the O.R.

Perhaps she is trying to have her employment terminated. According to the S.T.A.R. Clinic, a Quantum-healing Collective, this doctor was intending to quit the world of HMOs and prescription pads in September 2012 and move into multidimensional work.

"It is non-toxic, safe, and does not need to be documented or charted or even discussed with the patient at the time it is given"

How is it that all "energy" manipulation like Reiki can only magically do good? Reiki Doc thinks he's doing incredibly powerful energy manipulation. Stands to reason that if that were really true, their would be an equal possibility for injury as healing. Not sure why he thinks he doesn't need patient permission to do what he thinks is incredibly powerful to a patient. Although we all agree that reiki is BS/absolutely nothing but handwaving and aren't too worried about permission to do nothing at all, he thinks he is doing something, therefore he most certainly is acting unethically based on his own belief that he is doing something profound to the patient.

The idea that reiki can only do good is a shared hallmark of alternative medicine. We know that the side effects of doing nothing are nothing, and that with *real* treatments any treatment that is powerful enough to have positive effects is also powerful enough to have some negative side effects. But in magical fairy land, there are therapies that are super powerful and can never do harm. :-p

In that case, yes you are; you are ignoring a document, behaving differently on the basis of your beliefs, and the outcome for the patient is quite different as a result.

Given that the patient is never going to know anything ever again in either case, I'm not seeing how the outcome is meaningfully different.

I wouldn’t want to outlaw thought-crime, it seems more than a little Orwellian to me.

I understand your point, but I'm trying to find a line involving what the ethical demand is regarding respect of a patient's beliefs.

@ Dr. Bollocks: Here in the USA, "anesthesiologists" are medical doctors and "anesthetists" are advance practice nurses.

Mr. impression of Dr. Reiki is that "he" is a "she" based on....

Dr. Reiki's reaching out (pawing) the plastic surgery patient (who fainted) girlfriend's crystal worn about her neck.

"What next caught my eye, after shaking hands with both the patient and his girlfriend, was the beautiful crystal on her necklace. A greyish brown, with swirls, it was a point about one inch wide and three inches long. I asked if I could touch it? I admired it, and told her it 'felt good'. She said it was Labradorite, for protection.

I laughed and shared what I had around MY neck. "I wear amethyst, see? And this is my Om (it has diamonds on it)--it is all sparkly, like me!"

Based on the fact that Dr. Reiki is quite "chummy" with the recovery room nurses (the percentage of female nurses still exceeds males who are nurses).

And based on Reiki Doc's "About Me" comment...

"Your people want to make a statue in your honor. What will it be made out of and what victory will it commemorate?

One the exact spot I disclosed to a classmate my pain over divorce I was going through, there is a fountain of a female pierced with thorns, with tears and water flowing from her face and hands. She stands on a column about ten feet up. That is my statue. I am she. (on the Post-Call Reiki blogpost 8.22.12)"

Those are fighting words Agashem...and not something that I have encountered with the doctors and nurses I have worked with. I suspect you have to give out "vibes" in order to have nurses (and doctors) let you in to their conversations about woo....something I've never done.

BTW, I'm very confident in my nursing education and skills and I don't have a "need" to feel superior...or put another profession down. :-)

I understand your point, but I’m trying to find a line involving what the ethical demand is regarding respect of a patient’s beliefs.

I get where you're coming from. I tend to take a pragmatic view that only acknowledges real world consequences, whether people know about them or not. Also, the patient could have a long-lost relative who comes in and sues the hospital for ignoring his views. I'm not concerned about metaphysical things that can't be detected (except of course by trial by ordeal), so a patient (or putative relatives) has no way of finding out whether or not their wishes have been respected.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki doctor is a female (or a cross-dresser):

http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-multidimensional-healer-in-or-…

"So I had to buy clothes! In my one hour free, I went to the local discount store. I bought two pairs of slacks, three blouses, two dresses (my new favorite dress in the world, and my new second-favorite dress in the world), a cardigan, a nightgown, a Hello Kitty bathrobe, and panties that won't show through the second-favorite dress in the world all for the price I would have spent on a dress without batting an eye. The total came to $222."

"Hello Kitty" bathrobe?...a case of arrested development.

This guy works with patients?

@ Grant:
I too would wonder if his attention might be focused too much on the whimsy and lead him to ignore WHAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO DO. I imagine that his work involves monitoring various measures that affect patient welfare, like oxygen, bp.

@ Krebiozen:
I can answer your question about delusional beliefs and mental illness on an individual basis-
people have all sorts of odd beliefs but that alone is not a guarantee of being certified as mad; if someone manages to function in society reasonably well and live independently, their oddness will be barely noticed. It's only when it affects others or their own safety, that we start saying , "Perhaps *something should be done*".

A case in point: I personally know an older gentleman who believes in spirits, past lives, astrology , aliens et al. A friend of his believes him to be quite 'over the edge'. I would dispute it because: he has lived independently since age 25; worked for a firm for 40+ years; he has friends, he almost married a few times; he manages to earn money through INVESTMENT. He tried to help his brother who went missing a few years back, as well as friends with health issues. When it comes to practical considerations, he's more reliable than most people and has never had any problem with the law, debt or taxes. He believes in some woo, but visits a doctor for his CVD and RA , takes his meds etc.

Personally, I DO wonder how in touch with reality people might be if the general trend of their thought allows them to accept impossibilities as the standard of day-to-day life. Again, I have to tread carefully because I know that religious ideas can be considered as unrealistic-( I could argue that the tendency towards faith might have a type of survival value and be thus selected.
I could also make an argument for the utility of vanity).

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Something doesn't add up, if the anesthesiologist is performing reiki but no one in the room knows it, then how are people requesting his services? Why would patients be reporting back to the anesthesiologist that they feel no pain, days later? Wouldn't they be reporting that to their surgeon or doctor? The pieces just don't fit together. Either the staff is aware and possibly the patients too, and you have to assume some confirmation bias/placebo effect, or this person is telling tales.

I also feel like this whole reiki thing is a means for the anesthesiologist to take credit for other people's hard work. I'm not sure why. Anesthesiology is an important part of surgery and requires great skill and experience. But if you feel your positive energy is the reason the patients and doctors do well then you might need to reconsider your motives.

Personally, it doesn't impact me if people pray or send their reiki rays at me, any more than it impact them if I think uncharitable thoughts about them, but it calls into question the individual's understanding of science and medicine and that definitely doesn't sit well with me.

She asked me for my contact information, exchanged hers, and asked me to find out what his past life trauma was, and fix it.

I also had the same thought as Sophia8

Also, what Narad said about the patient's own religious beliefs that might consider Reiki sorcery. It is quite possible that patient will find out afterwards from someone who recognizes what the addled anesthesiologist is doing.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

"Recovery room RN’s love me"
--I'll just bet they do you pompous fraud...

By starskeptic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

This is absolutely unethical. Reiki Doc is doing something that s/he sincerely believes has an effect on the patient, without the patient's knowledge or consent. The fact that RD thinks it will only help is irrelevant. So is the fact that all of us agree that Reiki is bogus.

To think otherwise is to revert to the mindset that enabled some of the worst medical atrocities of the past. "It's OK to do this to the patient without telling them. It won't hurt them so they don't need to know!"

Reiki Doc's belief system shows how woo and alt med appear to depend on quasi-relgious notions. If you follow alt media, spirit and soul are discussed more frequently than would be expected from their self professed focus on health issues..

Today @ Natural News, Old Reliable Mikey writes about the afterlife.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Pardon me, I just had a horrifying thought: as some of us know all too well, a nearly-90 day old thread @ RI has attracted Reiki artists -and more than1600 comments --and and and THIS ONE is brand new and NOT about to expire and can be active for a REALLY LONG time.. so when the other one DOES ... oh no...oh save us...

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@DW

Shhhhh - they are still a the old one.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Lilady, not trying to fight. I am neither a doctor or a nurse. I do work closely with both (physical therapist in a hospital setting). Nurses have told me things without me asking, I can tell you. One tried to tell me that cabbage could cure both ulcers and sore shoulders. Another told me green coffee extract - see Dr Oz - was helping her lose weight (not evident to the rest of us). Also the nurse who reads palms apparently does so at the drop of a hat. I have heard nurses argue that vaccines are bad - in a hospital on an internal medicine floor where the average age of a patient is over 80. So, I have worked with some incredible nurses who are so clever and put my knowledge to shame, but there are a lot of nurses out there, so it shouldn't be a surprise that some are woo inclined. They just seem to 'come out' to me maybe?

Reiki doctor is a female (or a cross-dresser)

Um... "And I am very 'sparkly' according to my Cousin Susie who is on the Other Side." Assuming this refers to Cousin Susie being dead, I certainly wouldn't be comfortable with someone who thinks this situation is merely a minor incovenience like changing apartments.

Reiki Doc is female (she refers to herself as someone's "niece" in one post).

I perused some of her musings and really wondered how this woman can function in a science-based field. On the one hand, she does acknowledge that reiki is not a substitute for actual medicine, but goes on about how wonderfully fabulous it all is anyway.

And for those who reject reiki? Well, clearly you are just under the influence of mind control. So speaketh Reiki Doc, so it must be so.

THIS ONE is brand new and NOT about to expire and can be active for a REALLY LONG time.. so when the other one DOES … oh no…oh save us…

You just made me decide against posting a long comment about why people believe bollocks that might have encouraged this.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Krebiozen:

If you commented in detail I can only imagine that it would serve ultimately to DISCOURAGE whimsy-based actiivities. We have to think long term and bear the contemporaneous nonsense.
Go ahead. I might do the same.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I'm wondering if Reiki Doc really has the great relationship she claims to have, with recovery room nurses. Look how she refers to her colleagues...

http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-multidimensional-healer-in-or-…

"Who was in the room? The obese billing woman who came late. The Studio 54-ready doc who had turned into an Informatics specialist, sitting next to his buddy, The-Simple-Old-Country-Birthing-Babies doc who also had turned into an Informatics specialist, the Saavy Latina who is from the computer company, the I-am-Having-a-Bad-Hair-Day woman who is thinking I-am-Looking-Really-Good with this permed long colored hair that covers her face who is the Computer Expert, the Project-Leader who is an americanized asian looking to get this project off-to-a-good-start. Next to her was, High-Ranking-Nurses who will do anything to get out of charting in the OR. These took up a whole leg of the U-table configuration. Then there were anesthesiologists from all of the hospitals going to be involved....."

I'm reminded of one of my daughter's favorite anecdotes about me. I was shopping with her in the children's clothing department in the mid 1970s...when we came across the "Hello Kitty" brand line of crappy-made little girl clothes. I told her, we are not buying any "Hello Sh!tty" clothes.

Has anyone come across her book "Messages From My Patients" that she references in her Michael Jackson post?

Denice,
OK, here goes. I know a number of people who have some very bizarre beliefs who function perfectly well. One of my relatives, a highly intelligent person, a retired teacher, actually believed that David Blaine could really levitate after seeing a documentary about him, and a couple of years ago was confidently expecting a UFO to materialize over the USA, though she had forgotten about this when I asked her about it after the event failed to materialize. Despite her extreme gullibility she doesn't seem unwell in the slightest, quite the opposite if anything. Perhaps some delusions are good for us, and have survival value as you suggested.

Personally, I DO wonder how in touch with reality people might be if the general trend of their thought allows them to accept impossibilities as the standard of day-to-day life.

I have been wondering about this recently, specifically about Marg and Judith on another thread who are absolutely convinced that 'energy healing' works, to the extent of discouraging people from having conventional cancer treatment, even palliative treatment. How does someone maintain a belief system that seems to me, and presumably the great majority of people, as not just barking mad, but dangerous? I have a friend who is currently dying of kidney cancer, and he has some unusual beliefs about past lives and such-like, but even he went straight for conventional treatment with no hesitation.

The only explanation that makes sense to me is that they as they are both 'energy healers' they interpret everything they experience as supporting their beliefs, and anything that contradicts them is simply discarded as somehow faulty. Anything from Big Pharma can safely be discarded, for instance, and any patient who doesn't respond to their treatment has a death wish, or is too fearful or sought help too late. Even the patient with pancreatic cancer who suddenly died just ten weeks after diagnosis is hailed by them as a success.

When you can edit out your failures for what appear to be rational reasons, you are left only with your successes. Benjamin Rush, who was in most respects a great man, did just the same thing with bloodletting, and was convinced it was a panacea his whole life, in the face of evidence that it wasn't. Human diseases and illnesses are messy, noisy things, full of random variation, subjective assessments and vulnerable to suggestion and expectation. Given our natural propensity for seeing patterns where there are none it's no wonder so many people manage to fool themselves in that area so spectacularly. Even sportsmen and women can become convinced that their performance is improved by a particular pair of socks, a hologram around their wrist or a pretty colored bandaid on their skin.

For the first time in human history (as far as I know) we understand this flaw in human perception and have developed tools, such as statistics, probability theory and the scientific method to alleviate it. The sad thing is that there are still plenty of people who think they are somehow immune, and refuse to accept it affects them and that their intuition is superior to reason.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

My comment above was held in moderation for a few minutes, so some people may have overlooked reading it. I believes it identifies the Reiki doc.

I've been reading her blog. As a patient, I find her highly disturbing and would absolutely never consent her being involved in my medical care, regardless of her role.

She is posting commentaries about her co-workers and a particular neurosurgeon. Other commentaries about how patient's bad vibration and energy can block the insertion of needles, and interfere with medical procedures.

I have spent more time than I care to admit in The heart room. It just gets spooky: there are some patients, who out of fear or whatever, do NOT want to be there. Like the patients with the epidurals that won't go in, these ones have the ability to block interventions ALL OVER their body. The I.v. Won't go in. The arterial line is a challenge. You try and try and try to get a central line. When it is time to put the breathing tube it's hard to see the glottis, the opening between the vocal cords where the tube goes in. The saw breaks, the sutures snap, and the vein graft is poor quality. The surgeon struggles. The negativity is pervasive. Other anesthesiologists, who are more financially motivated and on lower vibration, do just fine.

Basically, when she screws up and can't do her job right, she blames the patient's bad vibrations, and when the other docs can do the job right, she blames it on their lack of care, bad vibrations, and purely financial motives.

Clearly, I am not a medical professional, but if I had a doctor who struggled to put in an epidural or do sutures, I would expect them to carefully and rationally evaluate the source of the problem. Instead, this physician seems to be blaming patients for having bad energy which blocks the insertion of needles, and in some cases can make a needle "jump" out of place to another insertion point.

@S

Damn, but that was a scary post to read. "My ineptness is your fault, patient!" Definitely would not want her anywhere near me.

I think the first surgeon to use Reiki may have been none other than Dr. Oz. He invited Reiki Master Julie Motz into his OR.

Motz was also a strange "intuitive" who claimed she could enter the body of the patient, and roam around there until she found the source of patients' anger/fears/anxiety, which was often trauma suffered as a fetus.

Apparently the other people in the OR thought Motz was hilariously off her rocker, but Oz kept using her services. Motz's book "Hands of Life" indicates how kooky Oz must have been early on, though concerned about his image.

By LindaRosaRN (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Hey - Doesn't this PROVE that Reiki WORKS - Even on anesthetized patients? It just can't be the placebo effect!

The divorced Reiki doc also recommends sending Reiki to your children when they’re at the ex’s for visitation, and also when they return. Exactly why does unconditional love need an assist from Reiki?
http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/09/reiki-and-exs-dogs.html
Had lilady not found the Glen Ivy spa reference suggesting Reiki doc is from the LA area, the fact that this post is headed by a photo of my favorite mommy panda would lead me to wonder if I should insist that any anesthesiologist who treats me in the future be male to make sure it isn’t Reiki doc. I don’t want anyone this nutty literally holding my life in her hands.

And the arrogance regarding “does not need to be documented or charted or even discussed with the patient at the time it is given” is astounding. Again, I don’t want a person like this involved in my healthcare, especially in such an important capacity.

For some great laughs, go to the link posted by "S" (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/10/prweb9985980.htm)
and scroll though the brochure at the bottom.

I wish Orac could number or time stamp his comments so we could readily reference some of the many great responses here.

But someone suggested woo might have been selected as a survival mechanism.

My humble opinion. Yep. It sure has. We, as a species have been killing, exiling and shunning 'non-believers' for a long time.

We are all generally descendants of believers and/or sycophants.

ALL Reiki practitioners are nuts. No exceptions. Functional maybe, but nuts none-the-less.

Every person on the flyer linked above by "S" is also nuts.

But so entertaining. Good for a chuckle.

By Everbleed (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

She's also a double divorcee...claims that she was *used* as "beard" by her two ex-husbands. (Guess she wasn't into "reading minds", interpreting Chakras and other nonsense, then)

She's also a specialist in cardiology anesthesia, with a Roman Catholic background and an Italian heritage (She, her mother and her grandmother...who is in a nursing home with Alzheimer disease...all speak Italian).

@ Chemmomo...if you ever need a cardiology procedure, make *certain* that your anesthesiologist is a guy doc.

Namaste!

LindaRosaRN:
my own budding scientist wants to meet your daughter (although it hasn't occurred to mine that yours has grown up by now).

From that Wikipedia link I posted:

"According to the New York Times, Lisa Oz's mother "believed fervently in New Age approaches like homeopathic remedies and meditation" and Lisa introduced husband Mehmet to the worlds of "alternative medicine and Eastern mysticism" which he integrates into his advice programs."

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I'm getting the rather strong sense that Reiki Doc expects to "ascend" on December 21, having looked at the Facebook associations out of the parallel Galactic Free Press blog. Jeez, first the Wakefield appeal and now this to remember.

I just had to do this one follow-up on my prior post. Below is a quote from the brochure listing the Reiki Doc as a participant. I found it amusing. Am I just an arrogant free thinker or is this stuff funny...? Disturbingly so.

"Ascension codes trigger physical memory for the body to hold, integrate and interpret light to transform your cellular structure into a crystalline configuration; activate your multi-dimensional memory to connect with your higher self /soul essence; release and restore ancient wisdom from other star systems and Gaia herself; bring advanced light technologies and knowledge into conscious awareness on individual and collective levels; and help humanity remember that we are part of a cosmic family, source energy and that we are Divine."

By Everbleed (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

LindaRosaRN, pass on to Emily that she has inspired the next (OK, it's probably a half) generation.

Girls do science! And do it well!

@Narad

Yikes - what a whackaloon. However, I did not see anything that indicated she was an end of the baktun whackaloon. I did see that Orgasm Without Guilt is Proof of God though.

I think the world would be a safer place if she did "ascend".

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

It’s actually an interesting question in medical ethics. Is is ethical to do reiki on a patient without informed consent, given that reiki is nothing more than magical thinking and does nothing?

Yes, it is unethical because the reiki doctor is not doing 'nothing:' he or she is making up stories in their heads about their patients and their patients' health. Such storytelling is bound to influence treatment, evaluation, and how you work with different patients.

THIS one has balanced chakras and will do well; this one has too much vital energy and will give problems. I expect someone with a black aura to respond poorly to medication -- and they did! Those who are spiritually sympathetic always need less meds, I see it all the time .

Someone who makes medical judgments on the basis of reiki pseudoscience/spirituality is inventing ways to be biased for or against patients based on nothing at all. Asking whether this is unethical is like wondering if it's unethical for a racist to have their own separate way of evaluating health care based on skin color. At least you can SEE skin color.

And the reiki doctor can see the patients before they "see" the healing energy. She's probably making snap judgments on level of spirituality and type of personality based on instinct and then translating that into what she discovers and experiences in the "energy" system. It's an insidious form of bigotry.

Would you want this person on a jury? They can tell if you're guilty or not by looking at your aura. Spectral evidence doesn't belong in court, and it sure as hell doesn't belong in an operating room.

a nearly-90 day old thread @ RI has attracted Reiki artists -and more than1600 comments

Not visiting that thread. It breaks my browser.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki Doc can *sense* who among us are vampires!

http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/07/energetic-self-defense.html

"What are some tip offs that someone or something you encounter is not of the light?

1. The eyes. The eyes are dark and without life. This can be in a picture or in life. You just can't look at it.

2. Your breath. I feel a breathlessness and pressure in my chest. I saw another shopper in the crystal shop was a vampire this way. Oddly enough, my Light bothered him just as much as his dark bothered me. We spoke not a word to each other, only brief eye contact, and auric fields interacted across the store.

3. That vague sense that something terrible happened here. I just read a list of satanic locations, and was surprised at how accurate my 'creep you out' detector had been. The Pentagon was the worst. I was only at a metro stop and I wanted to bolt out of there! Incidentally, any establishment with lots of tunnels built under it is where these kind of places are. My first job was at one of them, and recently when I saw a picture of the founder I had my detector go off. Turns out this individual was a Thirty-third level Mason. I won't say who because you wouldn't want to know, probably. Here is a link if you want to know. It is in the very back, after the information about Monarch Slaves."

See other *secret knowledge* about the *Illuminati*, etc.

If we read about unrealistic beliefs ( see Krebiozen's cancer patient above; the Reiki artists' beliefs about WHY Reiki works or fails, etc) you'll find what psychologists already know about how people's attributions serve as self-protective mechanisms and ways to enhance faltering self-esteem. Unreality makes life more live-able for some people.

For example, fear of rapidly approaching death might be so disturbing and dis-organising to a person , he or she might seek relief in denial ( beyond conscious control) and believe that he or she is NOT very likely to die soon and see healing just on the horizon as being most likely.

I think that advocates of Reiki are in a similar camp: they HAVE to believe that they have some control when they don't. The hard facts of death approaching and helplessness at this prospect cause them to retreat into more the comforting belief that they HAVE control and can save patients.

Which brings us to self-esteem: if you attribute successes ( of Reiki or anything else) to your own prowess, you'll feel better and certainly more powerful. If l succeed, it's more self-enhancing to believe that I did so because of my abilities or effort rather than because of chance or because the task was easy.

It is even MORE self-esteem building to believe that one has special gifts or suchlike- that very few people could succeed at this- to believe that one can cure what's seemingly INcurable: it must be a big ego- boost indeed.
One trumps the medical establishment worldwide. Woo hoo!

Also if Reiki ( or other forms of woo) fail, usually the so-called healer will attribute the failure ( of the cure or the research- see Bengtson ) on EXTERNAL forces, the patient lacked faith or didn't behave correctly; someone else interfered. Attributing bad outcomes to external forces ( see vaccines cause autism/ cancer is caused by diet or toxins) preserves belief in an inviolate self with maximal control over future events.

Perhaps beliefs like these allow people time to adapt to the bitter taste of reality. My prof always said that being realistic about the future might lead to depression.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Ok, this is too much to absorb. Is this for real? Just to recap, she claims she sees such evil dark sides in people that she feels the other person may be a "vampire". She reads about satanic locations, and thinks the Pentagon is among the worst satanic locations.

I fear hearing of how she may proceed in an attempt to rid the world and her patients of the evil powers of satan. There have been other physicians who tried to impose their beliefs of good and evil, god and satan in their patients, and to my knowledge these freakin lunatics never served their patients well. Her twit, I mean her tweet, says "Science and religion are one".

She is on Twitter and Facebook.

@ lilady:

She writes, " Light is more powerful than Dark".
She doesn't get around much, does she?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

In response to her comments that science and religion are one. Science and religion are NOT one and they must be held separate! This nonsensical approach to the practice of medicine must stop. Instilling these bogus beliefs into ill patients can certainly be damaging to their mental health and well-being. This doctor is doing an injustice to her patients.

My heart detects she's several sandwiches short of a picnin and advises my soul never, ever let her near me in any capacity, personal or professional.

And it must be right--my quiet inner knowing says so.

picnic, not picnin--sigh

@ S:

She shares a common belief prevalent amongst alt med advocates: it's what I run into everyday at woo-ish websites like Natural News, PRN, AoA, TMR...

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

On the other hand, "I don't know when the Event is coming. It is sometime between now [July 15] and December 21."

Change is coming. It is on the way. It is not a choice exactly, but a matching of vibration. Gaia is raising up Her Vibration. Anyone who is compatible with it, and of the Light, will get a chance to stay. Everyone else, who lives in a fear-dominated reality (our society as we know it), will get the chance to excuse themselves and reincarnate (die), or travel to another third dimensional world to progress.

So, it seems as though there's some sort of deadline on here.

@ HDB
Not visiting that thread. It breaks my browser.

great way to kill a cell phone too...

Alain

Regarding experience with reiki, I had one recently. I was visiting an escort at her place (one's gotta have a sex life from time to time) and the escort was specializing into reiki-sex. I was having the frame of mind that reiki was worth nothing in an health care standpoint but it might have some entertainment value....I was disappointed; it didn't give me any satisfaction.

When discussing with the woman, she asked me if I believe in spirits (nope), miasma (nope), god (not even) and I told her it was unlikely to believe in these unless there's some good evidence that they exist.

I take that experience as a lesson not even to try implausible modality.

Alain

@ Narad:

Ways to "raise your vibration" is particularly hilarious.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

A quick Internet search of anesthesiologists that practice at this facility includes two women, one of whom advertises herself as an alternative medicine provider.

You know, this press release is quite odd. There are two people by that name licensed in California, and the description matches the one who isn't the anesthesiologist.

Ways to “raise your vibration” is particularly hilarious.

Don't forget, December 21 "marks the begining of the official merge between space and time and time and space." Now, I'm not sure why this phrasing was necessary or who's officiating, but I can tell you that this has been (apparently unofficially) available for about 10 bucks for a long time.

I wonder if she plants Holy Handgrenades in the OR, just in case. They are, apparently, "very effective for minimizing the deadly orgone fields around nuke plants". That makes me snicker, even without the Monty Python association.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Narad:

I am invited to some festivities on that date: I'm sure that the revelers won't allow the end of the world interfere with their drinking and other indulgences. I know these people.

@ Alain:

I hope that she didn't charge extra for the .... er,,, hand-waving.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Today, the anesthesiologist is pretty much a procedural artifact, present for those 1 in a 1000 cases where things don't go as planned, replaceable by a trained chimpanzee or a machine. As such RD spends day in day out in an operating room, with zero interaction with patients other than "count to 100", and looking forward to another day where the good part was that no one really needed the anesthesiologist.
In comes the woo, and now she's actively "helping" the patient. She's no longer a machine, she's again a healer contributing to the recovery. That it's all in her head doesn't matter.
I can only hope that her mechanical skills stay unaffected by her chakra handling, and that she continues to stay the unknown (to the patient) member of the team.

@ Denice

No she didn't but she's not cheap.

Alain

“Perhaps she is trying to have her employment terminated. According to the S.T.A.R. Clinic, a Quantum-healing Collective, this doctor was intending to quit the world of HMOs and prescription pads in September 2012 and move into multidimensional work.”

Forgive the jibe, but you’d hope (s)he already works in a multidimensional space - the three-dimensional one you and I live in. (Presumably she means beyond three dimensions.)

@Denise - Who is attending, naturally......

Points to the nerds among us....

I won’t say who because you wouldn’t want to know, probably. Here is a link if you want to know.

Robert Mondavi? This person is a Disinformation Operative. Why would she be covering up for "Bartles & Jaymes"?

December 21 “marks the begining of the official merge between space and time and time and space.”

You mean they are not currently merged? I spent all that time studying 4D metric tensors for nothing?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

I spent all that time studying 4D metric tensors for nothing?

Should've stuck to Golden Dolphin Activation Matrices, man. Or solid state, I suppose.

On the Galactic Free Press blog, someone asked if she gets permission to do reiki on patients before she does it. Here's her answer:

I ask for Reiki Permission on a Soul level with every client. I also have permission to do an anesthetic, and Reiki is one of my tools I use to enhance patient comfort while they are under my care. I can 'tell' when soul permission is not given: the Reiki won't go in. I then direct it to that patients Guardian Angel for the patients Highest Good. Patients come to surgery wanting to feel better.

So, in other words, no, she does not get permission from the person before she does it.

I can ‘tell’ when soul permission is not given: the Reiki won’t go in.

Not only is it medical experimentation, it's medical experimentation directed from Sirius B. Across another dimension. This is setting up to be the Black Lectroids all over again.

Oh, no, the Red Lectroids.

Gaia is raising up Her Vibration.

Would that be the one she keeps in her bedside table?

Regarding experience with reiki, I had one recently. I was visiting an escort at her place (one’s gotta have a sex life from time to time) and the escort was specializing into reiki-sex.

Alain, you're killing me here. I'm sorry you didn't get your monies worth but the reiki should have been a dead giveaway. I can only imagine it was something out of Barbarella and "make love by consuming exaltation transference pills, and pressing their palms together when their "psychocardiograms are in perfect harmony"."

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Note from reiki.org:

It is very important when giving Reiki treatments in hospitals or otherwise to make sure the patient understands what Reiki is and to only provide a Reiki treatment if the patient has requested one.

So, Reiki Doc is also flaunting what little professional standards there are in the field.

Wow, this person really needs to not be in charge of maintaing anybody's life, ever.

(S)he believes in auras, (s)he believes (s)he sent magic woo to hurricane Sandy and protected everyone (I guess all those people that dies were vampires then). (S)he believes in aliens, auras, angels, pendulum magic, talking trees, talking fruit and vegetables, mediums, remote energy healing (for pets too!)....

Seriously hope this person doesn't work in medicine any more.

By nastylittlehorse (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki Doc is also flaunting
HA! Minus-10 Pedantry points for Narad!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Science mom

No it involved real sex too, I made sure of that but the premium was definitely not worth it.

Alain

HA! Minus-10 Pedantry points for Narad!

I don't collect Green Stamps, either.

Disturbing, is the only word that comes to mind. Reading This I am compelled to comment here for the first time.

If I had prior knowledge of this individual prior to my surgery, I would ask that I be sedated by someone else.
His blog is filled with unbelievably crazy stuff. Example, "As Reiki Doc, I am a Karuna Reiki Master. Because of this, my access to the Higher Dimensions is open."

He's batshit loony, and should be banned from getting near anybody. Who knows how this stupidity is going to inform his decisions at some critical moment. NO, fucking, thank you.

I use "he" because he has posted an image of himself in comments on this website "Galactic Free Press", of course.
http://soundofheart.org/galacticfreepress/content/intraoperative-reiki-…

If you know this guy, he deserves nothing less than public ridicule.

By Cremnomaniac (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Lawrence:

Oh, you're not a nerd, your sarcasm is finely honed and socially apropo. What is cooler than that?

- btw- I get invited to some rather bizarre events- most are not much to write home about:

a recent function involved worship of an ancestor;
my friend celebrated her marriage in an ancient inn that was crumbling ( a famous person was killed there, too);
I know semi-well-known artists who hold opening receptions at galleries: some include djs/ house music, political chatter, wine and cheese;
tennis clubs hold holiday parties that involve alcohol and mixed doubles;
gentlemen in my life know very odd people from their corporate pasts;
I attend investment newsletter meetings at Pakistani restaurants;
I have cousins by the dozens - several have very *interesting* careers.

So it's not all fun and games but I'm glad that they invite me.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Science Mom:

You know, a guy I know is always trying to get me to go to tui na therapy in which a Chinese fellow supposedly adjusts your Qi back into harmoniousness by rubbing.
I always wonder what he rubs.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ DW, hey it's a massage, what have you got to lose as long as the happy ending is optional.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Just got down to this clear spot. Yikes! Orac found a Live One. Big Kahuna Reiki Master. And my Killjoy friends weighing in from their pesky real world. This year the mushrooms are scarce but very good. Chanterelles, I assure you.

After reading the various comments of the reiki 'healers', it's clear their biggest issue is projection.

I have a few considerations to present.
First, I disagree mildly with DrBollocks on one point. I'd not want to watch the "professional" (he lost the respect of not being considered in quotes with the Reiki bit and energy flows lunacy), I'd want that person gone from the profession! No telling when some unimportant thing, like PO2 is unimportant in favor of energy flow)! Nope, that "professional" masquerades as such and is indeed not at all.
I agree completely with DrBollocks in his objection to Orac. The anesthesiologist has a delicate balancing act to perform that is beyond the mere technician with an MD, the surgeon. So, you know where to cut, what to cut. So does a butcher. You know how to handle blood loss. So does an EMT, though with less technical equipment and training. Though, you have greater training, know how to sew better than Goodie Grandmother, that is substantially different than handling physiological idiocracies in problematic patients!

I've worked in medicine in the military. I'm not a professional, but I can discuss medicine with pharmacists, I can discuss medical issues to complex degrees with physicians, I can diagnose a patient with complex issues quite well and refer the patient to the professional and not get a response back that I was incorrect in my diagnosis. I was trained as an SF medic and have committed acts of surgery (committed, as one does not PERFORM surgery in a forest clearing or a desert, one has not even a CLEAN field to work with, no OR, no OR personnel, only the paltry tools in one's medical kit to perform an emergency anastomosis or pack significant abdominal bleeding until the MEDEVAC arrives some 16 hours later or more.
I have the greatest respect for medical professionals and surgeons, but I respect the anesthesiologist even more.
For, when I had a lousy anesthesiologist once, I was AAOx3 throughout abdominal surgery. Recalling skin opening, muscle opening, blunt dissection, retraction and the remainder of the procedure. As well as OR small talk about the game and personal conversation.
Said anesthesiologist was subsequently terminated for cause, incompetence, before I could make my report.
At least the idiot managed to keep my PO2 to reasonable levels and not leave me brain dead. Or *REALLY* screw up and leave me locked in.

@ flip

After reading the various comments of the reiki ‘healers’, it’s clear their biggest issue is projection.

agreed, it was part of my experience.

Alain

@Narad,
" I’m trying to find a line involving what the ethical demand is regarding respect of a patient’s beliefs."

It's my understanding, from a few Christian friends who have worked in such settings, that hospitals very strongly discourage anything that could be considered an attempt to "convert" a patient to one's own religion. Evidently, even official chaplains are restricted in what they could talk about. On the other hand, if a staff simply performs a ritual that's unseen by the patient, that would be hard to argue as anything but individual exercise. It also makes sense that some "magic" rites might proliferate among surgical staff independent of any strong or specific religious beliefs, the same way "good luck" superstitions do among actors and athletes.

David N. Brown
www.exotroopers.wordpress.com
www.evilpossum.weebly.com

By David N. Brown (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Following on from David's thoughts, I think an addendum for this discussion is the placement of chapels and chaplains in hospitals at all. I find it strange that there are places/people like this in a hospital, and they're always Christian.

I don't know much of anything about these services, do chaplains turn up to any bedside, or only people who specify a certain religious perspective?

45 Everbleed; USA; November 12, 2012:

I wish Orac could number or time stamp his comments so we could readily reference some of the many great responses here.

Your comment is number 45, as of right now (2012-11-13 T 0113 [blog time]). I find that by selecting View → Page Style → No Style in Firefox. YMMV for other browsers.
The blogging software is capable of giving timestamps for comments – when NatGeo took over ScienceBlogs, it was on. In their glorious wisdom, NatGeo has disabled that function — it's not ORAC's decision.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

lilady, my impression too but they wrote about it as being "recent", hence my Q. Perhaps they haven't bothered to check... it does look like one of those things that cycles around.

“Vaccine bombshell: Baby monkeys develop autism symptoms after obtaining doses of popular vaccines”

The linked article talks about the "International Meeting for Autism Research" in London -- which was in 2008. Browsing through some of the recent blogposts around the WWW repeating the same claim in the same words, most of them credit SafeMinds for alerting them -- so you can thank SafeMinds for stripping off the date, and the fact that the study was withdrawn for Wakefield-related mendacity, and leaving sufficiently-gullible people with the impression that it was recent.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

Hdb - that's the impression I got from a lizditz article that I skimmed before I asked here; good to get confirmation.

@flip,
I can't speak from any first-hand knowledge, or even a clear account, but my impression is that a patient could request a chaplain/ priest of their own religion or denomination. It wouldn't be unduly surprising if the hospital tried to make a chaplain who doesn't really fit the bill fill in.

David N. Brown
Mesa, Arizona

By David N. Brown (not verified) on 12 Nov 2012 #permalink

"Past life trauma" sounds like a short distance to full blown thetans...

Thanks David.

Reiki Doc is also flaunting

HA! Minus-10 Pedantry points for Narad!

No, Narad got this one right. ReikiDoc is flaunting the oh-so-high professional standards of hand-wavers, even if that's flouting the professional standards of mainstream medicine.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Oops. That'll teach me to post five minutes before leaving for the train station. Unless reiki.org specifically intended the soul plane to be an acceptable venue for explaining what reiki is and getting consent, I need to correct my pedantic correction to HDB's pedantic correction.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Wow, as a doctor, as a scientist, you don't do research on the topics you write about first? What kind of scientist does that? I think that instead fits the description of an inside the box emotional thinker. Your emotional reaction to Reiki is what dictated your article here. You clearly do not have any of the facts of Reiki, nor do you have much (if any) experience with it. You are the type of physician I avoid, because the care you can give is so limited by your mind.

I know we have an energy field.I know the medical profession is more Left brain.I would have no problem if my doc ( and support staff) would include such practice. There is more to us that a body.Our body makes every drug we need,we need to learn to access it.

Ha ha. I love it when one your own becomes on of ours. Years ago in a Reiki magazine a woman ER doctor wrote that she too used Reiki in the ER and that when she did, patients needed fewer intrusive interventions. I know of several doctors who use Reiki in their practice and publicly say so.

Most doctors go into the profession because they want to heal people. Soon enough they find out that they are in fact paid pharma shills (or as a former reformed pharma rep put it, "pharma whores" -- apparently that was the term used in the pharmaceutical company she worked for) and pencil pushers for the insurance companies. It's not very satisfying. Reiki adds the element that's missing, both for the doctor and the patient.

Having said that, one thing I would object to in ReikiDoc's manner of proceeding is the lack of informed consent. When I learned Reiki we were taught to ask for permission.

For "pharma whores" read "drug whores". Not my words, but the pharma rep's. I can give you the reference for it. It's from a movie called "Doctored", about 45 minutes in.

Your emotional reaction to Reiki is what dictated your article here. You clearly do not have any of the facts of Reiki, nor do you have much (if any) experience with it.

Actually, I know quite a bit about reiki, having read what reiki masters themselves say about it. But let's just ask you one question: What is the difference between reiki and faith healing (sometimes also called the laying on of hands)? Be specific, and cite evidence.

@ EJ, Om:

[citation needed]

@ OM:

"I know we have an energy field."

Prove it.

"There is more to us that a body."

Prove it.

"Our body makes every drug we need,we need to learn to access it."

Provide the list of the "drugs" our bodies need and how we access these "drugs".

Approxinmately 24 hours ago, I made a prediction on this thread ( see above) about our friend Marg perhaps making an appearance here.

It came true. Does that mean that I exhibit pre-cognition or that I simply understand people through plain, old cognition?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

This was posted by
"ALL Reiki practitioners are nuts. No exceptions. Functional maybe, but nuts none-the-less."

First off, why is their a total condemnation of ALL Reiki practitioners based on this one person? Would you want to be judged by many based on one person's actions in your particular field that were deemed inappropriate?

I am a very left-brained (science and math were my strongest subjects) who was not exposed to any particular religious beliefs. I did however have a belief that there is some higher presents in our lives that is intangible - some religions call this presents God, Allah, Yahweh, Creator, etc.). I would like to preface my next statement so you might know who I am before you make any judgments of who I am

Approximately 12 yrs ago, I experienced a dramatic life event . This event involved my husband death. He suffered from one of the subsets of the MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy) neurological diseases. This was an extremely difficult and slow death. I would not wish this fate on my worst enemy. The prognosis was 6 yrs. Thorough the process of slowly watching his ability to speak, swallow, walk, read, and generally be the extroverted fun loving man I knew and loved for more than 30 years deteriorate right before my eyes, knowing I could do NO THING to stop this and even worst, could not stop the painful contortions of his leg muscles other than rubbing them with OTC muscle cream. My friends and family will attest I am a very strong, self willed, confidence woman who survived all that life has thrown at me and even this did not stop me from creating and managing a traditional business for more than 17 yrs. My career background is 33 years in the title insurance field. The day my husband had to stop working was the day opened my own title agency. It was like walking the financial plank of sorts but I knew I had to do this for my life after he would be gone. The reason I am telling you all of this is so you WILL KNOW I am not some "Flake" or "air-head" but someone of substance, inner strength and who is not a follower but truly a person who walks her own path.

In 2001, one year after my husband died, my life took a turn I could not see coming... Yes, I know what you are thinking... that I was so full of grief I was not in my right mind. Well truthfully I was very much so for the first year, but remember I had been grieving his death since 1994( the year we found out he was terminally ill) so by the time of his death I had already grieved his loss for 6 long years . When he finally died I felt many things, one of which was relief that his suffering had ended and sadness that we were now parted.

How can I explain what happened next when it is something that cannot be logically explained? I hope each of you KNOW you have a soul, a part of you that survives this physical death. If you cannot go there... you will know this later and for some not until death comes to you will this truth be revealed. Sorry, I did not mean to digress so I will continue if you will be patient enough to read on.

IN 2002, after practicing meditation for one year, I began to experience multiple synchronicities (I think you would call these coincidences). There were far too many and logically I knew the probabilities were extremely unlikely that so many "coincidences" could happen in this manner and time frame. These "coincidences" lead me to the practice of Reiki. I have studied and practiced Reiki for more than ten yrs and have worked with hospitals in their hospice service. What Reiki can do for the dying is wonderful... it can calm their minds and fears... something happens on a physiological level that helps to reduce pain. I myself have experienced healing my finger after I accidentally burned my tip of my index finger with a soldering iron... the pain was gone in 15 minutes, the next morning I had not blistering not any sensitivity in the area of the burn. As I child I suffered burns on 23 percent of my body with most being a 3rd degree burn. I have massive scar tissue on parts of this 59 yr old body so I know what burns feel like and how they normally heal. What happened that day was what some would consider "miraculous" or at the least incredible. I am not a fool I am someone that questions EVERYTHING... and I am saying to you today... There is more to life than meets the eye.... I only ask that you remain open and QUESTION EVERYTHING. Before you judge Reiki and all the loving and wonderful people who have dedicated themselves to this path of self healing... please experience it for yourself... It is truly the only way to KNOW for sure what we do and whether or not it is REAL.

I thank you for reading my post. I am grateful you felt open to my thoughts and experiences.

May the path always rise up to meet you....

I don't understand how people who believe there are human energy fields which cause noticeable effects explain the fact that physicists apparently aren't interested. This is their area, it's hot, and they are filled with passion for it.. A discovery like this ( a new form of energy!) would be monumental. Exciting. Ground-breaking in a competitive field. And yet ... it stays in medicine.

That makes no sense.

A strange inconsistency like that ought to give them pause.

Linda G. wrote:

I hope each of you KNOW you have a soul, a part of you that survives this physical death. If you cannot go there… you will know this later and for some not until death comes to you will this truth be revealed.

I'd like to ask you a question:

Your story places a lot of emphasis on religious beliefs (God, Higher Power, souls, etc.) Would you agree then with Orac that reiki is basically a form of spiritual healing -- and the science in support of it is less important than an attitude which accepts spiritual truths?

Linda G. - if you have any studies that show reasonably conclusively that Reiki works (that there's some "there" there), please share. So far I've only heard personal experiences, and these are subject to individual biases (if not self deception) as I'm sure you'll agree.

If there's a good study that shows statistically significant benefits from Reiki as compared to a suitable placebo, please share.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

There were far too many and logically I knew the probabilities were extremely unlikely that so many “coincidences” could happen in this manner and time frame.

The most noticeable coincidences are always the least important ones in any sort of coherent syncronicity-based system. Once this is correctly understood, hocus-pocus such as Reiki becomes entirely unnecessary. If it is poorly understood, coincidences devolve into "messages" and one either becomes paranoid or grandiose, the latter seemingly being precisely the road you took.

@Mu,

Today, the anesthesiologist is pretty much a procedural artifact, present for those 1 in a 1000 cases where things don’t go as planned, replaceable by a trained chimpanzee or a machine. As such RD spends day in day out in an operating room, with zero interaction with patients other than “count to 100″, and looking forward to another day where the good part was that no one really needed the anesthesiologist.
In comes the woo, and now she’s actively “helping” the patient. She’s no longer a machine, she’s again a healer contributing to the recovery. That it’s all in her head doesn’t matter.
I can only hope that her mechanical skills stay unaffected by her chakra handling, and that she continues to stay the unknown (to the patient) member of the team.

I once had an outpatient procedure done under sedation. I remember a physician standing beside my recovery room bed and badmouthing me for my being too anxious about the procedure, and how it was now affecting my recovery. I was gasping for air and it felt like I was drowning, but I couldn't physically move, speak or even open my eyes. It was like I was paralyzed, except for the gasping and suffocating feeling, and my ability to hear every single insulting and demeaning insult he commented about me to whoever else was in the room. All I wanted was for him to give me the oxygen mask, but I couldn't speak or move to request it.

So even if anesthesiologists have limited interaction with patients, there are times, albeit rare occasions, but there are times when the patient can overhear what the doctors are saying. If I heard someone like Reiki Doc talking about dimensional travels and karmic trauma, or was aware that she as a doctor was swinging pendulums over people's heads, it would absolutely deter my experiencing a relaxed, pleasant procedure and recovery process as I would not feel that I was safe under the care of competent, rational medical professionals.

@Narad,

There are two people by that name licensed in California, and the description matches the one who isn’t the anesthesiologist.

Yes, there are two people by that same name licensed in Southern, CA. One is a recently retired family practice physician from Vista, CA and has the middle initial of "G", and the other is an anesthesiologist in Corona, CA.

The PRWeb article appears to have blended information about the two doctors into one. The photograph on the PRWeb article is definitely of the retired family practice physician from Vista, not the anesthesiologist. PRWeb seems to have copied the photograph from the website of the medical practice where the recently retired family practice doctor used to work.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/10/prweb9985980.htm

Therefore, it would seem that Reiki Doc is the one who is a licensed anesthesiologist and has the middle initial of "S". http://www2.mbc.ca.gov/LicenseLookupSystem/PhysicianSurgeon/Lookup.aspx…

I certainly hope the medical board is investigating this matter.

(Another reply to Flip's question re: chaplain's in the hospital)

Around these parts (NorCal) a patient may request a spiritual advisor, and the hospital can make you aware that such services exist. But no-one shows up at your bed and says "Hi! Thought about your soul, lately?"

And, fwiw, when my mother was in hospice, she had a Buddhist chaplain. :)

It is a slippery slope when we interchange the words religion and spirituality. Are you applying I am religious because I believe in a Higher Power than man? I see religion as a man-made institution which is more in the business of controlling the masses with its creeds and dogma based in fear. Where Spirituality is the understanding of the nature of who we truly are... with no creed and fear based dogma ... we are free to fearlessly explore and question everything. So to answer your question regarding reiki being a form of spiritual healing, I concur. with Orac in that it baffles me to no end how when something happens to a patient such as an "unexplainable healing" the response I have heard from medical specialist has been " Well...the patient MADE it happen.") First off, those that practice Reiki are only a channel for this energy. The healer is the person receiving as it is not only my belief but the belief of many... that WE CAN heal ourselves.. that the human body has the capacity to repair itself given the right circumstances. My belief is that Reiki simply assists the body bring itself back to a state of balance where it can do its most natural job... to heal itself.

Again, I try always to maintain a sense of logic and common sense... but sometimes we experience life in ways that defy all logic.. and test our limiting beliefs.

I hope I have given a new perspective to this conversation. If anyone you like to know more about me or my life experiences which have altered my belief system I am open to that discussion.

LOL... Well to tell you the truth Narad, I thought this way about "spiritual healers " myself! So I understand and hold no resentment toward you for that comment.

If one of us attempts to detonate an explosive in the middle of Times Square, but we fail, because the bomb is fake, have we done something unethical (or illegal)? After all, we didn't actually do anything. I think the answer here is, clearly, yes. This would be an unethical act. There was intent to do something unethical.

Reiki Doc believes she is knowingly and willfully violating the code of ethics (or even the law). To me, this seems very analogous to the hypothetical situation above. There is intent to do something unethical.

why is it the quacks always say you don't have the facts or understand their quackery just like the religionauts say aboot theirs

By al kimeea (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki has the capacity to activate the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system (borborigme is an indicator of this). It should be noted that each practitioner of Reiki is an individual and may incorporate their own spiritual beliefs into their practice which can in turn have a detrimental impact on their credibility and effectiveness in conventional medicine.

As a practitioner that does volunteer work in a clinical setting I find his thoughts to be disturbing. I volunteer upon request of in-patients and four time slots once a month for hospital staff. I view Reiki and describe it as a way to calm the nervous system. One can also liken Reiki to a form of meditation for the client/patient.

There is a great deal of research supporting the integration of Reiki into conventional medicine as a form of complementary care I will provide a link at the end of my comment.

I can also attest to the importance of patient consent and HIPPA. There are forms that must be filled out every time I go to work with a patient including patient surveys. There is also a contractual agreement in place that I signed stating that I shall not use any terminology within the hospital that is not medical. I wouldn't want to.

Reiki is a phenomenon and it does deserve study time. There have been a number of studies that demonstrate increased blood flow to the hands of the practitioner during a treatment as well as demonstrating borborigme as a result of the relaxation response being activated shortly after a treatment has begun.

What Reiki does not demonstrate:
"intentions or visualizations"
"New Age trendy faith healing"
"guiding by spirits" or "funneling the universe"
Reiki does not make people "psychic"

Reiki does demonstrate: Balancing the nervous system via activation of the relaxation response as mindfulness meditation would. Keep in mind there are several ways to activate the relaxation response.

Now about reikidoc:
I personally think that the man in question was inappropriate and unprofessional in terms of anesthesia and Reiki. He breaches HIPPA and patient confidentiality, and in his own words he had no permission to give a treatment to anyone.

As a practitioner myself I am disappointed that someone currently involved in their medical career wouldn't take either practice more seriously. Especially when people on both sides of the scalpel are counting on him to be present with the task at hand.

http://reikiinmedicine.org/pdf/jacc.pdf
Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome. Rachel S.C. Friedman, Matthew M. Burg, Pamela Miles, Forrester Lee, and Rachel Lampert J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2010;56;995-996.
This is study performed in Yale.

@ Linda G: I'm sorry that your husband died a lingering death.

This is a science-based blog, not a religion blog. Your claims about reiki or any other type of alternative *healing* techniques are not based in science. In fact, they are the antithesis of science.

There is no *aura* and no *energy field*. Your anecdotal information about your reiki practice and spontaneous *healings* do not constitute science...no matter how you try to *spin* the circumstances that propelled you into reiki *practice*.

Get some professional help to understand how science works and to deal with your grief.

Linda G wrote:

So to answer your question regarding reiki being a form of spiritual healing, I concur. with Orac

Thank you for the honest answer.

And the second part of my question -- would you say that the science in support of reiki is less important than an attitude which accepts spiritual truths? In other words, must someone first believe in a spiritual Higher power BEFORE the evidence is looked at in order for them to find the evidence convincing? Approach it willingly and at the personal level ...

I ask this because science assumes a neutral stance. The evidence has to be strong enough to persuade skeptics.

Ha ha. I love it when one your own becomes on of ours. Years ago in a Reiki magazine a woman ER doctor wrote that she too used Reiki in the ER and that when she did, patients needed fewer intrusive interventions. I know of several doctors who use Reiki in their practice and publicly say so.

Wow, it said so in a magazine huh Marg so it must be twoo? How about any randomised double-blinded studies for Reiki working?

Most doctors go into the profession because they want to heal people. Soon enough they find out that they are in fact paid pharma shills (or as a former reformed pharma rep put it, “pharma whores” — apparently that was the term used in the pharmaceutical company she worked for) and pencil pushers for the insurance companies. It’s not very satisfying. Reiki adds the element that’s missing, both for the doctor and the patient.

I'm sure you'd like to think that as you are so desperate for validation of your woo bollocks. But it's the physicians who are not very good to begin with, have gotten in some trouble with their medical boards and/or are looking to cash in on the woo cottage industry that migrate over to "your side". I wouldn't be bragging about the quality you attract there.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Just to make one thing clear: This one guy isn't the basis for my disbelief in Reiki. He's just the latest example. My disbelief is based on:

A) the lack of high quality evidence,

B) the scientific implausibility of some exotic kind of energy that can be manipulated by humans but has yet to be discovered by physicists,

C) the fact that it's got some outdated pre-scientific ideas in its premises, like vitalism,

and D) its defenders typically to resort to logical fallacies, propaganda tactics, and so on instead of presenting good evidence.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Since Linda is being generous, I'm really interested to hear how a reiki practitioner and advocate deals with the problem I wrote above, the one about physics. I'll repost:

I don’t understand how people who believe there are human energy fields which cause noticeable effects explain the fact that physicists apparently aren’t interested. This is their area, it’s hot, and they are filled with passion for it.. A discovery like this ( a new form of energy!) would be monumental. Exciting. Ground-breaking in a competitive field. And yet … it stays in medicine.

That makes no sense.

That is a strange inconsistency. Linda, why does it not bother you? It's one of the main things that bothered me about 'psychic energy.' Reality is connected, and science reflects that, particularly when you get to physics. Plus scientists are explorers, competitive, daring, keen on finding things out, on thinking outside the box, on pushing the envelope. A new form of energy would not remain in medicine alone (or in parlor tricks like spoon-bending.) They'd all fall on it ravenously.

Why aren't they?

About chaplains in the hospital. In the northeast area of the United States, it has been my experience that all hospitals have chaplains (on call). I've been in hospital chapels and in non-sectarian hospitals, they do not have religious symbols displayed.

If you indicate a religion when you are admitted to the hospital, you will be visited by a chaplain or a lay chaplain. If you state *none* to the admission clerk...you will not receive pastoral services.

My son was hospitalized numerous times (he was a *frequent flyer*), and the Protestant chaplains/lay ministers were just very nice people...who were not intrusive.

BTW, I had two awful experiences with a Roman Catholic priest. My husband was hospitalized for some complicated renal testing and an officious obnoxious priest was quite nasty. Within hours of his birth, I requested baptism for my son. The Protestant chaplain was unavailable and the Roman Catholic priest refused to baptize him; the NICU nurse baptized him. The nurses in the NICU, all of my son's doctors and I knew that there is ONE Christian baptism, that is recognized by the Catholic church and mainstream Protestant sects.

Both times I lodged complaints with the hospital administration and with the Catholic diocese.

Because it's magical energy, Sastra, so of course the physicists can't detect it.

I myself have experienced healing my finger after I accidentally burned my tip of my index finger with a soldering iron… the pain was gone in 15 minutes, the next morning I had not blistering not any sensitivity in the area of the burn.

That's happened to me twice in the 7 times I've burnt myself on a soldering iron.

I'm not a reiki practitioner.

That's simply not rare for soldering iron burns.

By W. Kevin Vicklund (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Ha ha. I love it when one your own becomes on of ours.

Allow me to assist you with reading comprehension, Marg: given that Reiki Doc appears to be as nutty as a fruitcake, nobody here much seems to want her in the first place. Having a "reiki master" who happily repeats babbling about "Archon technology in the etheric plane," "conspiracy againt the Goddess," and "occult war" is dandy -- it's like Scientology without the put-on for public marketing purposes.

That’s happened to me twice in the 7 times I’ve burnt myself on a soldering iron.

Indeed. What's the tip of a pencil iron, about 500 C? That's a prompt deep burn. I would bring up the old restaurant trick of relieving pain from a superficial burn by making it worse. I have a scar on my right forearm in the shape of the end of the handle on a Sitram skillet, a crescent about an inch and a half long and half an inch thick, that I gave myself about a month ago at 450 F. Scarcely hurt at all.

I've had a few cases where I've touched hot cookware and felt a short period of pain as a result without any lasting injury. In some cases, my first awareness of the situation is wondering why my arm suddenly jerked, followed by a burning ache and the inference that I touched the hot tray or whatever. My unconscious reflexes detected the danger and pulled away fast enough to avert injury.

I don't know how hot a soldering iron typically gets, but it doesn't strike me as implausible someone could briefly touch one and pull away before it transfers enough heat energy to trigger blistering. It wouldn't surprise me if such cases are the norm, since I imagine most solderers usually avoid grabbing the tip, even when they're confident it's cold.

Of course, if I had a Reiki healer seemingly avert such an injury in a personal anecdote, I'd still remain skeptical because I know I'm subject to bias and cognitive failings. I'd avoid using such an anecdote as evidence in itself because I wasn't controlling for other factors and I wouldn't extrapolate from one case. Being a skeptic means being aware of your flawed human nature instead of taking things at their apparent face value.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

“Our body makes every drug we need,we need to learn to access it.”

Oh those ignorant diabetics. Why won't they just learn to grow new insulin-secreting cells?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

I have touched hot items, including soldering irons, frying pans, a knife etc and experienced the very thing described by Linda G

I'm a reiki master

By al kimeea (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

I love Orac, and I love this blog, but I'll just point out: OF COURSE the surgeon thinks anesthesia is pure pharmacology.

Linda G - I'm sorry to say this, and mean no malice by it, but I'm afraid you haven't managed to add anything to the conversation that we (or I, anyway) didn't already know. We've had a number of discussions with people who earnestly believe that there's an energy field they're able to manipulate with their minds to help people or animals heal. All bring stories that - at least to them - sound amazing and inexplicable without resorting to an energy field. None to date have shown good evidence that Reiki or other "energy healing modalities" provide any benefit over placebo. Indeed, I have to wonder what someone pays a Reiki master to teach them, since I've not seen any statistics on how much better a trained Reiki master can perform than an untrained but well intentioned novice.

If you can provide us some insight into that, it would be a useful and different perspective.

Thanks.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

And I'm sorry to say, many of these people who believe in energy healing eventually start posting wishes that people who disagree with them will die a horrible death, typically by poison or by a terrible disease. I trust you won't go down that route; to the best of my knowledge it hasn't affected anyone in any serious way yet.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Meph - why does all of this sound like the "Force" from Star Wars? At least it seems to be portrayed that way....which leads me to wonder what happens when a Reiki Master goes to the "Dark Side?" Can he harm people with his "powers?"

Lawrence,

I have to admit it takes me great effort to not quote Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda when discussing Reiki. I also avoid references to duck (duct?) tape.

As an aside - the term "duck tape" was a pet peeve of mine until I read several sources that indicate that this is, in fact, the original spelling as it was made from cotton duck cloth. More, apparently it is not good for sealing duct-work as it leaks too much and falls off too easily. The things you learn ...

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Sastra

I don’t understand how people who believe there are human energy fields which cause noticeable effects explain the fact that physicists apparently aren’t interested. This is their area, it’s hot, and they are filled with passion for it.

Well, there was Targ and Puthoff, but they were fooled by a "parlor trick" (Uri Geller bending spoons).

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

I have touched hot items, including soldering irons, frying pans, a knife etc and experienced the very thing described by Linda G

I’m a reiki master

Me too but I just thought it was because I have such a high midi-chlorian count.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Science Mom:

Now we finally got to Coruscant
The Jedi Council we knew would want
To see how good the boy could be
So we took him there and we told the tale
How his midi-chlorians were off the scale
And he might fulfill that prophecy
Oh the Council was impressed of course
Could he bring balance to the Force?
They interviewed the kid
Oh, training they forbid
Because Yoda sensed in him much fear
And Qui-Gon said "Now listen here"
"Just stick it in your pointy ear"
"I still will teach this boy"
- Weird Al Yankovic

Sorry - couldn't be helped.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

ah so, Padawan am I

By al kimeea (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

It would be foolish for a scientist to discount the reports of millions of people. I agree that this "ReikiDoc" is quite the magical thinker. But, to dismiss the entire concept of energy healing based on this one persons statements would be the same as saying all surgeons were killers based on one persons failure in the ER. It is obvious how this is not so much of a scientific statement of accuracy but instead an attack on something that this naive person has failed to look at with an open mind and is afraid of the possibility of scientific evidence for Jesus to heal as he is still comforted by the delusions of Christianity.
Here are the facts.
1 Tesla designed a instrument that could affect the production of any chemical in the body, serotonin, cortisol, hormones,ect. Basicaly he could "beam" electromagnetic frequencies into the body to produce the same effect as any know chemical substance that could be ingested.
2 Every electrical activity has a electromagnetic field as a byproduct, even electo-chemical electricity.
3 Their are more nerves in the body than any supercomuter has wires.
4 Documented evidence remains that states that an individual can have control over his or her autonomic functions.
5 Their exists an electromagnetic frequency in the body responsible for cell regeneration. When amplified in tests on a salamaders amputated limb the regeneration time lessened.
6 Zero point field is a documented and unlimited source of energy.
7 Reiki has been scientifically documented.
8 Meridians of acupuncture have been mapped by scientific equipment.
9 Only a fool would dismiss something as false simply because it falls out of his range of experience.
10 It would be magical thinking and very unscientific to discount something being observed since known history.

re comment # 121; My money would be on pre-cognition but such a highly placed minion of Lord D is probably controlling the future. A few more demonstrations & it will be time for the stock market scheme.

@ THS: The comments on your screen are numbered?

OMG...I finally went through the "Master's" info, and that woman is full bat-shit crazy.....how does she still have a job?

Sorry – couldn’t be helped.

One never need apologise for a Weird Al Star Wars parody.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ THS:

As much as I appreciate your encouraging interest:
1. there is no such thing as pre-cognition ( although some of us often appear to have it)
2. there will never be a stock market scheme. I have enough work ( and money) as it is.
3. Lord D is a figment of Uncle Stabby's extremely vivid imagination. I sometimes wonder if I am also.
Nope, I'm real.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

Jake wrote:

Here are the facts:.

Thanks, Jake. Those were hilarious.

I especially liked when you brought in zero-point field as "a documented and unlimited source of energy." I suppose it would be too much to ask you to answer my question re. why physicists are apparently uninterested in zero-point field, reiki energy, or anything else having to do with perpetual motion or vitalism if it is so unscientific to dismiss them. You'd think the research journals would be packed by physicists racing for the Nobel Prize.

Mom of3
The Yale study concluded . . .

"It is unknown whether the beneficial effects of Reiki treat- ment over music stem from the presence of another person, the presence of a person with healing intention, the light touch technique, or a combination of factors. Further understanding of the mechanisms involved in Reiki’s impact on autonomic activity requires comparison of Reiki with other control groups, including non-Reiki light touch and nontouch intentional human interaction."

There's your answer. Placebo.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Sastra

I think we have just witnessed a 500 Tesla strength crank magnet in action. All loony ideas should be firmly bolted down to prevent injury from flying crackpots.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Jake
I like point no. 9. It especially applies to this crowd.

MESSAGE BEGINS-------------------

Very Good Cadre Leader DW, DL, etc., etc.

Of course I'm a figment of this uncle whatzitz's imagination . . . or am I? I believe that's where the lightning is supposed to go. In any case, "always hide in plain sight" as my dear, exalted egg-mother was wont to say. Now back to your nefarious machinations, or a delicious cocktail . . . or both! I must say, the crazy around these parts is "off the hoop" as the hatchlings say. Have fun.

And if anyone cares, the conference ended in total mayhem and a few disintegrations. It seems that the Kthrakxxk Swarm Superintendet-Regent took offense when someone who shall go unnamed suggested <very politely that culinary alternatives to what amounted to variations on multi-colored pus should be made available to off-world guests. Well. Carapaces opened. Wings were outstreched. Mouth parts were a-flailing. I'll let your imagination fill in the rest. Suffice it to say, I've still "got it."

Carry on . . .
Lord Draconis Zeneca VH7ihL
Awfully Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Mixmaster of HD 40307g

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Flagship "Blistered Pelts of Our Vanquished" GPC-533
010111010111010101010

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

I like point no. 9. It especially applies to this crowd.

Well, Marg, given that you've been nattering on here for some time, you are "this crowd." Furthermore, the mirror-image in your case for "falls out of his range of experience" is in fact honest scientific appraisal. For crying out loud, you've been reduced to moronic sniping after having to call Judith back in to try to make your own efforts basically go away.

Well Marg,
If reikiquack has made the transition from our side to your side, I'm one those who has made the trip in the opposite direction. In my 20s I fancied myself as quite the seeker, I became a regular consumer of reiki, homeopathy, orgone healing, TM, EST, and quantum everything else. Then I started to work for a new age event company where I met many of my heroes. It took about ten years, but I got better, and finally several events led me to an epiphany of sorts: I was afraid of death. Duh, you say, but I was so fearful on an existential level, that I allowed myself to torture reality in the most ridiculous ways. I would believe in anything as long as it promised me an afterlife, or easy health, or control over a scary, random world. That all vanished with several deaths in my circle. I'd never experienced anyone dying, or been exposed to it as a child. It seemed mysterious and immense to me. What I discovered was a very natural, very normal phase of life, full of a terrible beauty. And in that terrible beauty, I saw that there was no need for an afterlife, or spirits, or any of the nonsensical, contradictory artifice of magical-thinking. What I thought I was looking for in all my years as a spiritual gadfly, I found in reality. This universe. My limited, precious, unique and utterly inconsequential life, and those of the people I love. In retrospect the rest was all fear-based reality torture. Come on in Marg, the reality's fine!

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Pareidolius:

You bring tears to my eyes with your beautiful comments about life and death. Thank you.

@lilady, re numbered comments:

from Bill Price, above (I dare not try to use italics):
45 Everbleed; USA; November 12, 2012:

I wish Orac could number or time stamp his comments so we could readily reference some of the many great responses here.

Your comment is number 45, as of right now (2012-11-13 T 0113 [blog time]). I find that by selecting View → Page Style → No Style in Firefox. YMMV for other browsers.
The blogging software is capable of giving timestamps for comments – when NatGeo took over ScienceBlogs, it was on. In their glorious wisdom, NatGeo has disabled that function — it’s not ORAC’s decision.

Anyway, I tried BP's suggestion, since I'm in Firefox and it works. For example, your recent short comment above is #168.

@DW: What, Lord D is not real? But the messages are so convincing. And the scheme would have been so grand!
I do appreciate your analyses of woo & the miesters.

Wow, I did it...and it worked!

Do I have to run through those functions every time I open up this blog? I am so not computer technical savvy.

Jake
I'm not going to discuss each of your points systematically tonight (if I have time after writing these postdoc applications I might have a go).

I noticed that many of your points mention electricity and electromagnetic fields. These are not mysterious to physicists and are both predictable and measurable.

Reiki on the other hand deals in the manipulation of "energy fields" which unlike electromagnetic fields appear to be undetectable except by Reiki masters. Energy and fields are not mysterious hocus pocus, but have precise definitions. The "energy" in Reiki bear little resemblance to the energy that a physicist speaks of.

As for the zero point field (zero point energy?) this is just the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical (QM) system can have. In a QM system this energy must be greater than the minimum of the classical potential well due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle.

What do you mean by:

6 Zero point field is a documented and unlimited source of energy.

? Who has documented it as an unlimited source of energy? references?

There are interesting effects, such as the Casimir force between two conducting plates (at a very small seperation), but this not free energy ....you add energy to the system by pulling the plates apart and get energy from the system by letting the plates pull together. No free lunches.

By stewartt1982 (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Jake:

[CITATION NEEDED]

@Linda, Marg, random "mom" person, and all other Twoo Believers:

You are deluding yourselves. Maybe your mind was grief-roasted by the tragic death of a loved one, maybe you have no idea how science works, or maybe you were never good at anything, never had any talents or anything to show for your life, never felt special, but calling yourself a ~Reiki Master~ makes you feel accomplished. Whatever your motivation may be, tragic back story or mid-life crisis, it isn't real.

Reiki is just another placebo like acupuncture, crystal healing, homeopathy, Bach Remedies, chiropractic adjustment, etc.

It's not real. It's not a "healing modality" or a mystical mastering of a "universal energy source". It's a way to make yourself feel better about experiences and processes where you have no control.

Oh, and WRT burns - the shallower the burn, the more painful it is. Serious, even deadly full-thickness burns have burned through the sensory nerves, removing the ability to feel pain.

Burns to the surface of the skin, even very minor ones, cause us to immediately jerk away from the heat source, before we even realise we're hurt. The heat source causes pain which can seem totally out of proportion to the size/depth of the burn, because the nerve-endings are just under the surface of the skin. However, the pain dissipates quickly, and rarely leaves a mark.

Partial thickness burns offer the worst of both worlds - agonising pain and tissue damage. Overnight Reiki-healing a partial thickness burn would be more impressive.

Oh, and whoever was talking about it, in an attempt to look all legit and sciencey, it's borborygmus, and the plural is borborygmi. For the uninitiated, the growling noise made by intestinal gas.

However, despite the ~Reiki Warrior~ claim that it's indicative of relaxation? Nope.

Hunger, problems such as lactose or wheat intolerance, coelhac disease/sprue, IBDs and IBS, incomplete digestion of food (especially food very high in fibre) and swallowing air because you're eating or drinking too quickly. They'll make your tummy rumble. Being relaxed? That would make intimate activities such as sensual massage or sex, turn into a veritable orgy of rumbling gut gas.

Here are the facts.
1 Tesla designed a instrument that could affect the production of any chemical in the body, serotonin, cortisol, hormones,ect. Basicaly he could “beam” electromagnetic frequencies into the body to produce the same effect as any know chemical substance that could be ingested.

Cool! Send me a blueprint and I can beam myself with akvavit frequencies!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@169 THS November 14, 2012: Thanks for the report.

@170 lilady November 14, 2012:

Do I have to run through those functions every time I open up this blog?

I generally keep each active article open in its own tab, so I can track where I was last reading in that article. I click on the tab, check the last comment number, refresh the tab, and go from the next comment. I close a tab when the last comment is three days old. (When I spot a comment in RI Returned that I've closed the tab for, I just open it back up and scan for the date break.) The three-click incantation I use sticks to the tab, so everything in the tab is No Style. Google and Wikipedia look really funny in No Style, by the way.
I don't know your RI reading habits: I have my habits, as described above. You might just open the RI Home page and go from there, clicking on articles and comments (from the Insolence Returned list): for this habit, switching to No Style on the RI Home page might do the trick for all the articles and their comments.
If you drive your reading from the RSS feed, you might need to perform the three mouse-clicks much more often. It gets much easier, with practice — almost automatic.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 13 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Jake - based on your comment, I believe all of your knowledge stems from watching re-runs of Stargate on the Sci-Fi Channel......this goes back to Reiki basically being equivalent to the "Force" from Star Wars - even some of the looney terms are the same "Reiki-Master / Jedi Master" anyone?

Is it accepted practice for doctors to be texting during a surgery?

At work, while juggling a propofol pump that kept beeping every ten minutes, a needy surgeon (raise the table! Lower the table! Tilt the table!) I was texting and coordinating.

ReikiDoc is doing reiki sessions on her son and herself while she has a patient in front of her on the O.R. table.

So, in the O.R., while the patient was stable, doing my 'speed version' , I drew the Distance Symbol with my eyes. I opened my son's aura. I picked up congestion, and throat chakra blockage. His father has been telling him 'you eat like a pig' and even kicked him under the table for his lack of manners at a restaurant. My boy does not want to spill, and bends close to the plate. This reiki session helped me piece the clues 'Thank God!' he exclaimed, when I said my sister the therapist would be someone to talk to about that and get help to feel better.

And then I turned the Reiki on myself. I realized he knows I love him. And one day he will understand how I was coordinating care while a case was in progress. I am doing a good job.

@Linda G

TL;DR version: anecdote.

I hope each of you KNOW you have a soul, a part of you that survives this physical death.

Evidence please.

What Reiki can do for the dying is wonderful… it can calm their minds and fears… something happens on a physiological level that helps to reduce pain.

So psychology and counselling may help - no need for adding in spiritualism.

I am not a fool I am someone that questions EVERYTHING

You may not be a fool but you do seem to be dismissing confirmation bias and other typical things that we humans fall for.

It is truly the only way to KNOW for sure what we do and whether or not it is REAL.

Ah, the other ways of knowing fallacy.

It is a slippery slope when we interchange the words religion and spirituality.

Ah the "I'm not religious, just spiritual" fallacy.

If anyone you like to know more about me or my life experiences which have altered my belief system I am open to that discussion.

Nope, but if you'd like to post some evidence I'm all for it.

@Jake

It would be foolish for a scientist to discount the reports of millions of people

Ah, argument from popularity.

It is obvious how this is not so much of a scientific statement of accuracy but instead an attack on something that this naive person has failed to look at with an open mind and is afraid of the possibility of scientific evidence for Jesus to heal as he is still comforted by the delusions of Christianity.

And obviously didn't bother to read the comments before posting.

As for the rest, WTF? and [citation need]

Slightly off topic: I thought that whole left brain/right brain stuff related to maths, science and arts had been debunked?

@Johanna, and @Lilady

Thanks - I suspected they wouldn't just turn up, but a recent TV ad on a show about hospital chaplains seemed to imply that they were doing more than counselling people of their own faith. I think I should probably watch the show now before getting any wrong ideas from the ad alone.

@Narad

I have a scar on my right forearm in the shape of the end of the handle on a Sitram skillet, a crescent about an inch and a half long and half an inch thick, that I gave myself about a month ago at 450 F. Scarcely hurt at all.

At the risk of this being taken the wrong way... you people are bonkers! ;)

@MOB

More, apparently it is not good for sealing duct-work as it leaks too much and falls off too easily.

Having some experience with this, yes cloth tape is terrible. What you need is the industrial strength 'gaffa' tape.

@Pareidolius

Come on in Marg, the reality’s fine!

Oh that's good, I'm stealing that.

@Lilady and other computery people

Get yourself Firebug for Firefox. It allows you to right-click a particular part of the page and see the source. No searching through the source for the right bit of code; just right-click a comment and you'll see the ID number. Far easier than keeping tabs open and having to change page styles constantly. It takes me one click to find a comment ID.

@Jake,

But, to dismiss the entire concept of energy healing based on this one persons statements would be the same as saying all surgeons were killers based on one persons failure in the ER.

This is, I believe, an inaccurate assessment of the situation. People aren't rejecting energy healing because of a few comments from a few of its practitioners; they're rejecting it (or at least asking hard questions and looking at it very skeptically) because there's not any good evidence that it works. Most of the items that people have brought to the discussion in favor of energy healing can be more easily explained as perfectly normal occurrences that people assigned excess importance to. Quite likely they believe they've seen evidence of energy healing because of wishful thinking, philosophical considerations, or ignorance of the normal progression of events. In some cases it appears people are willing to modify the term "works" as needed to meet the situation.

However, if you can provide high quality data showing that any mode of energy healing controlled by direct mental action (e.g. wishing, prayer, hand waving) provides better results than a suitable placebo, please share.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Pareidolius: Add one more to the growing chorus of applauding readers for your "limited, precious, unique and utterly inconsequential life" comment. Very well-said.

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

"Throughout history
Every mystery
Ever solved has turned out to be
Not Magic.

Does the idea that there might be truth
Frighten you?
Does the idea that one afternoon
On Wiki-f00king-pedia might enlighten you
Frighten you?
Does the notion that there may not be a supernatural
So blow your hippy noodle
That you would rather just stand in the fog
Of your inability to Google?

Isn't this enough?

Just this world?

Just this beautiful, complex
Wonderfully unfathomable, NATURAL world?
How does it so fail to hold our attention
That we have to diminish it with the invention
Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?"

Tim Minchin sums it up almost as well as Pareidolius!

By janerella (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Jake:
But, to dismiss the entire concept of energy healing based on this one persons statements would be the same as saying all surgeons were killers based on one persons failure in the ER.

Jake, I don't think anyone her is rejecting reiki because this woman is a loon and a lousy anesthesiologist who describes surgeons as "needy" because they are expecting her to be focused on her job and not texting reiki to her son. In general, I think pretty much everybody in this thread had already come to certain conclusions about reiki before ever opening the thread.

1 Tesla designed a instrument that could affect the production of any chemical in the body, serotonin, cortisol, hormones,ect. Basicaly he could “beam” electromagnetic frequencies into the body to produce the same effect as any know chemical substance that could be ingested.

Citation needed, and so what? We're talking about whether or not reiki is reasonable, not some of Tesla's more madcap inventions.

2 Every electrical activity has a electromagnetic field as a byproduct, even electo-chemical electricity.

True. Now, how is it relevant?

3 Their are more nerves in the body than any supercomuter has wires.

Depends on what you count as a wire, but so what? That has nothing to do with whether or not reiki works.

4 Documented evidence remains that states that an individual can have control over his or her autonomic functions.

Some of them, yes. Again, so what? There is a world of difference between me affecting my own heartrate and some reiki master doing the same thing by waving her hands over me. Or are you suggesting that reiki is bunk and actually the reiki master is just tricking me into affecting my heartrate and then taking credit? That seems more plausible, but I doubt it's your argument.

5 Their exists an electromagnetic frequency in the body responsible for cell regeneration. When amplified in tests on a salamaders amputated limb the regeneration time lessened.

Citation needed, and also, we aren't salamanders. We don't regrow limbs, and we don't metamorphose from tadpoles either.

6 Zero point field is a documented and unlimited source of energy.

If you have proof of this, there's a million bucks and certainly a Nobel waiting for you.

7 Reiki has been scientifically documented.

Citation needed. BTW, marketing doesn't count as scientific documentation.

8 Meridians of acupuncture have been mapped by scientific equipment.

And city limits have been mapped by scientific equipment too; doesn't make them anything more than the arbitrary creation of human minds.

9 Only a fool would dismiss something as false simply because it falls out of his range of experience.

True. But likewise, only a fool would accept something a true simply because it is cool and exciting. Actually, all of us have done it at one time or another; it's very human. But no less foolish.

10 It would be magical thinking and very unscientific to discount something being observed since known history.

Possibly, though if you look at the kinds of hogwash people have been convinced of for centuries, I'm not sure that argument from antiquity is so smart. Especially since reiki is a 20th-century invention.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

It would be magical thinking and very unscientific to discount something being observed since known history.

What observations, exactly, are you referring to here? We certainly haven't observed energy healing to effective at curing illness or injury since 'known history'. In fact, if we had, why would a need to develop effective science based treatments, instead of continuing non-invasive magical hand waving, arise?

Pareidolius Posted:

"Mom of3
The Yale study concluded . . .

“It is unknown whether the beneficial effects of Reiki treat- ment over music stem from the presence of another person, the presence of a person with healing intention, the light touch technique, or a combination of factors. Further understanding of the mechanisms involved in Reiki’s impact on autonomic activity requires comparison of Reiki with other control groups, including non-Reiki light touch and nontouch intentional human interaction.”

There’s your answer. Placebo."

This portion of the study is stating that Reiki has beneficial effects over music that need further studies to be fully understood.

The actual conclusion is as follows:

“In conclusion, in hospitalized post-ACS patients, Reiki increased HF HRV and improved emotional state. Further study needed to evaluate whether Reiki treatment may represent a long-term nonpharmacologic approach to improving HRV and prognosis after ACS” (Friedman, M., Miles, P., Lee, F., Lampert, R., 2011).

Reiki is a credible practice and method of stress reduction that can be effectively administered in conventional clinical settings.

I would encourage you all to phone your local hospitals and wellness centers to see if Reiki services are offered in your area.

What's the difference in stress reduction that reiki offer over yoga?

Alain

@Mom_of3

Reiki is a credible practice and method of stress reduction that can be effectively administered in conventional clinical settings.

I'll agree that lying down with someone that has a comforting attitude, gently waving their hands over you can be relaxing for some people. Now, if you're trying to claim that the purported energy transfer of reiki is credible and effective, well, then, you're going to have to pony up some really convincing evidence.

I would encourage you all to phone your local hospitals and wellness centers to see if Reiki services are offered in your area.

No need. I already know some hospitals in my area offer this nonsense and even provide training. I've tried to get them to look at science and act accordingly, but my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

elburto Posted

"Oh, and whoever was talking about it, in an attempt to look all legit and sciencey, it’s borborygmus, and the plural is borborygmi. For the uninitiated, the growling noise made by intestinal gas.
However, despite the ~Reiki Warrior~ claim that it’s indicative of relaxation? Nope.
Hunger, problems such as lactose or wheat intolerance, coelhac disease/sprue, IBDs and IBS, incomplete digestion of food (especially food very high in fibre) and swallowing air because you’re eating or drinking too quickly. They’ll make your tummy rumble. Being relaxed? That would make intimate activities such as sensual massage or sex, turn into a veritable orgy of rumbling gut gas."

When the human body experiences the stress response of the sympathetic nervous system the digestive systems slows down to save energy for "flight of fight." When the body switches from stress response to relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system digestion begins again. Hence the borborigme.

A quote from an interview with the leading pioneer in Reiki research with 20 years of experience researching Reiki in conventional medicine alongside researchers at Harvard and Yale:

"We need more research showing that reiki treatment optimizes the body’s self-healing, such as documenting a shift from sympathetic nervous system dominance to parasympathetic nervous system dominance" (Heneberry, 2012).
Yes, indeed borborigme could very well be one sign of this shift from the sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system. Here is the link to the whole interview,
http://www.abmp.com/textonlymags/article.php?article=61

A little more information on the stress response:

" Stressors good and bad set off a series of events within the body's neuroendocrine system. Often called the "fight or flight" response, these events are triggered by the brain, which alerts the body's autonomic nervous system to prepare all systems to react to an emergency. The autonomic nervous system sends a message in a split second through nerve fibers, which signal all the other body systems.
During this alarm period, many different hormones are activated with many dramatic effects on other body systems. The heart beats faster, blood pressure is raised, and blood vessels dilate (open wider) to increase blood flow to the muscles. The pupils dilate to aid vision. The digestive system slows down so that the body's resources and energy can be used wherever else they are needed, and the production of saliva decreases. The bronchi dilate to aid breathing. The skin sweats to cool the body, and the liver releases its stores of glucose, the major fuel of the body, to increase the person's energy level. The body stays in overdrive until the brain tells it that the emergency has ended" (Human Disease and Conditions, n.d.).
Source website: http://www.humanillnesses.com/Behavioral-Health-Sel-Vi/Stress.html#ixzz…

I am a Reiki Master and I agree with you : what Reiki Doc does is not ethical by Reiki standards either.
Fortunately, you will not find many Reiki practitioners like him.
When practiced correctly, at the right time and place, Reiki can be a good complement. Try it.
But don't go to Reiki Doc's clinic !

Mom_of3:

I agree that reiki, like other forms of relaxation such as yoga or massage, can put people into a relaxed state.

Now all you have to do is show us evidence that the manipulation of energy specific to Reiki is what causes this relaxation.

Otherwise, why not just use massage or yoga?

Reiki is a credible practice and method of stress reduction that can be effectively administered in conventional clinical settings.

Banging on the same study doesn't make reiki anymore than a placebo. There is no evidence to demonstrate your claims that reiki has a unique physiological effect. "More research is needed", of course more research is needed because you couldn't tease out an effect over an above placebo.

I don't know why you woosters can't just admit that what you are doing is just "feel good" placebo "medicine" and leave it at that.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Alain Asks:
"What’s the difference in stress reduction that reiki offer over yoga?"

Both Reiki and yoga offer a form of relaxation. The difference would be in how the rest is acquired. In a Reiki treatment a client or patient is either seated or laying in a relaxed prone position while a set series of hand positions are used. During a yoga practice various poses are preformed and varying level of intensity according to the individual practicing. Both can offer self home practice.

So the obvious differences are that yoga (with Yin and Restorative forms as potential exceptions) is a moving meditation while Reiki is stationary. In hospital settings where patience have a lack of mobility Reiki is much more effectively administered than yoga.

Please keep in mind that relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated by any meditative activity including walking, knitting, cooking, anything that soothes the individual so that their system can switch from stress to non-stress feeling more comfortable and relaxed in the moment.

So for some yoga is the stress reduction practice for them, for others it is jogging, walking, biking, mindfulness meditation and Reiki among many more.

Here is a link to an interview with Dr. Herbert Benson, who coined the phrase, "relaxation response." http://www.nexuspub.com/articles_2011/interview_ja_2011_Benson.php

Thank you for your question. I hope I have provided you with a satisfactory answer.

In a Reiki treatment a client or patient is either seated or laying in a relaxed prone position while a set series of hand positions are used.

And what are the powerful, "sacred," "confidential" symbols for? Note that you have already excluded "funneling the universe."

Please keep in mind that relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated by any meditative activity including walking, knitting, cooking, anything that soothes the individual so that their system can switch from stress to non-stress feeling more comfortable and relaxed in the moment.

Once again you fail to address the actual issue. WE AGREE that people can 'feel relaxed' due to a reiki session. But why dress up relaxation with energy woo and bizarre handwaving when simple meditation and guided imagery exercises are just as, if not more, effective in relaxing people? Either can be done laying down.

The difference would be in how the rest is acquired. In a Reiki treatment a client or patient is either seated or laying in a relaxed prone position while a set series of hand positions are used.

Why is a set of hand positions used? Is there any evidence usig the hand positions is necessary for reiki to acheive an effect? If different non-reiki hand positions are substituted for the correct ones does the treatment fail?

Re: reiki and yoga as moving versus stationary meditation, reiki doesn't claim to be a system of meditation undertaken by the subject, either while moving or stationary, but instead be system where a trained master channels undetectable healing energy to a subject to actively cure illness or injury.

If all reiki is is a meditative or stress relieving practice akin to yoga, jogging, walking, biking, mindfulness, etc, why the claims that reiki offers healing ability?

Certainly no one--even Lance Armstrong, who could make a case for it if anyone could--has ever argued biking cures cancer, but a lot of Reiki afficionado's (such as our own marg) claim that reiki can.

That's one thing that irritates me about a lot of woo. They make big claims, like energy medicine talking about vitalist forces that can heal major problems, and when confronted, their claims suddenly shrink to relaxation and "harnessing" the placebo effect.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

or managing the pain of cancer from earlier curing it

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Bronze Dog, al kimeea - all the healing energy gets used up by their furious backpedaling.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

I keep being told that the reason there aren't studies which evidence the effectiveness of Reiki and similar treatments is because of the influence of Big Bad Pharma and mean mainstream medicine. Research funds are not available, therefore, the Reiki practitioners claim that they are not able to evidence their curative treatments in the customary treatment trials. This makes no sense to me.

Reiki practitioners could gain a lot of acceptance by scheduling a curative walk through of a local hospital's cancer ward. Certainly, it wouldn't be cost prohibitive to simply walk the halls once a week for a month or two, and send healing energy to each patient. Clearing out the cancer center weekly by healing all of the patients would earn the Reiki masters some respect, in my opinion.

JGC,

Certainly no one–even Lance Armstrong, who could make a case for it if anyone could–has ever argued biking cures cancer, but a lot of Reiki afficionado’s (such as our own marg) claim that reiki can.

Funnily enough I saw a documentary recently which argued that the bicycle had a dramatic effect on human evolution. In the days when many people lived and died within a smalll community it extended the range within which people found mates, and significantly increased genetic diversity. Other forms of transport have since continued that trend.
You could argue that since inbreeding may lead to increased risk of cancer, the humble bicycle prevents cancer. It's a great deal more plausible than Reiki doing so, anyway.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Mom_of3:

Please keep in mind that relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated by any meditative activity including walking, knitting, cooking, anything that soothes the individual so that their system can switch from stress to non-stress feeling more comfortable and relaxed in the moment.

So you agree it is nothing more than generic stress relief. Why, then, should we tolerate the promotion of it as some form of mystical healing or manipulation of psychic energies? The studies show it is not superior to yoga, knitting, prayer, a nice walk in the forest, bubble bath, watching "Doctor Who" (well, that destresses me, anyway).... But yet its promoters describe it as something much more than any of that. If it is a form of relaxation, it should be intolerable to promote it as the manipulation of energy currents by a trained (and paid) practitioner to adjust your energy fields and create healing. Because that's not promoting as relaxation. That's duping clients and relying on the relaxation effects to give the appearance of an affect.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Research funds are not available, therefore, the Reiki practitioners claim that they are not able to evidence their curative treatments in the customary treatment trials.

Heaven knows, Reiki is such an expensive procedure!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

I wonder why nobody seems to have come up with some sort of mystical therapy based on hand-waving and clapping with the patient?

I remember when I was a little girl and how I would sit with one or more of my friends and we'd do little rhythmic variations of patty-cake, starting out slowly and increasing tempo, chanting rhymes and sometimes snapping our fingers or wiggling our hands or mirroring each other in often rigidly prescribed but nevertheless soothing ways. Do it gently, repeat it over and over, interact with another -- and I wouldn't be surprised if there's some real stress reduction there.

If nothing else, you'd feel connected to the other person or persons: you're one of them, you're like them, you're with them. Very comforting and reassuring. Together now: "Fudge, fudge, call the judge, mama's got-a- new baaaaby..."

I think I know the next form of woo.

Calli Arcale,

watching “Doctor Who” (well, that destresses me, anyway)

You have to be careful of which episode you watch if you want to relax. I found myself all emotional after David Tennant's final episode.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

6 Zero point field is a documented and unlimited source of energy.

If you have proof of this, there’s a million bucks and certainly a Nobel waiting for you.

Cheque please!

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Calli Arcale Posts:

"Mom_of3:

Please keep in mind that relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system can be activated by any meditative activity including walking, knitting, cooking, anything that soothes the individual so that their system can switch from stress to non-stress feeling more comfortable and relaxed in the moment.

So you agree it is nothing more than generic stress relief. Why, then, should we tolerate the promotion of it as some form of mystical healing or manipulation of psychic energies? The studies show it is not superior to yoga, knitting, prayer, a nice walk in the forest, bubble bath, watching “Doctor Who” (well, that destresses me, anyway)…. But yet its promoters describe it as something much more than any of that. If it is a form of relaxation, it should be intolerable to promote it as the manipulation of energy currents by a trained (and paid) practitioner to adjust your energy fields and create healing. Because that’s not promoting as relaxation. That’s duping clients and relying on the relaxation effects to give the appearance of an affect."

Thank you for your thoughts.

I agree that Reiki activates the relaxation response as does many other activities. The relaxation response is generic and necessary for healing. Anyone who is stressed knows that too much stress only makes things worse, headaches, backaches etc... By relaxing we can let go of that stress and the body's systems have an easier time of making necessary repairs to damaged tissues.

If the big concern is the promotion of Reiki as psychic energy manipulation then know just as no two people are alike, no two practitioners are identical in their approach to Reiki.

As practitioners it is professional behavior to be courteous and tolerant of other practitioners, but there is also the understanding that not every practitioner is credible. Not every practitioner market, portrays, or views Reiki that way. I think this is understandable

Also understand that each client or patient experiences Reiki as an individual, no two sessions are alike. These experiences are subjective and for the client or patient alone.

Just know this credible practitioners will not market themselves in the ways you have described.
And if anyone is ever interested in receiving a treatment I encourage them to do the research and to not subject themselves to a practitioner who does not conduct themselves in a professional manner.

A credible source of information about Reiki is
Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide by Pamela Miles.

I am including a few more studies here and I encourage others to find studies on their own. It would be interesting to read studies in which Reiki didn't demonstrate effectiveness in reducing stress symptoms in some way.

http://www.advancesjournal.com/adv/web_pdfs/miles.pdf
http://www.reikiinmedicine.org/pdf/research_letter.pdf
http://www.reikiinmedicine.org/pdf/schiller.pdf
Literature Review:
http://www.reikiinmedicine.org/pdf/alt_therapies_reiki.pdf

To AdamG. The only research offered currently discusses the efficacy of Reiki in various circumstances. They do demonstrate the efficacy of Reiki helping relieve stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and insomnia. All of these conditions being related to the nervous system. In other words, we can document and collect data providing evidence only on what we can test.
There is no research currently that offers answers to your question.

" then know just as no two people are like"

all too common strawman that medicine considers everyone the same, next

and the "no true reiki master" too boot

The Rosa Protocol isn't current, no. Still valid as very good evidence you are delusionally guessing and poorly at that.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

A credible source of information about Reiki is
Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide by Pamela Miles.

The foreword to your very source contradicts your statement that reiki is not "funneling the universe," unless you think there is some distinction from "accessing" the "universal pulsation."

@Momof3,
I really appreciated your honest admission that the real benefit of reiki is stress relief, comparable to meditation, walking, cooking, etc.

BUT then you went off the deep end.

You say, "Anyone who is stressed knows that too much stress only makes things worse, headaches, backaches etc… By relaxing we can let go of that stress and the body’s systems have an easier time of making necessary repairs to damaged tissues."

Are you really saying I could have cured myself (or even made ANY improvement) by relaxing in order to make "necessary repairs" to my breast cancer tumor?

"The only research offered currently discusses the efficacy of Reiki in various circumstances. They do demonstrate the efficacy of Reiki helping relieve stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and insomnia. All of these conditions being related to the nervous system. "

Again, I think we all agree that IF it's promoted as stress relief, relaxation therapy, or simply the comfort of having a caring human presence, that's one thing. For bullsh!t woo peddlers to actively promote it to cancer patients with exaggerated claims of HEALING efficacy, that's entirely different.

Mom of 3,

Can you prove that reiki relieve depression?

Alain

Momof3, a lot of your argument seems to follow the same theme: "This effect which could be due to reiki has been observed; that is sufficient to be convincing evidence for reiki."

The problem is that this is a known fallacious pattern of logic called "affirming the consequent." We can construct arguments we know to have true premises and false conclusions with that pattern and that means we can never trust it to produce true conclusions. "If dragons exist here in suburbia, and one visited my lawn before dawn and left a clump of dung, there would be a clump of dung on my lawn. There is a clump of dung on my lawn. Amazing! Dragons exist in suburbia!"

That's a whimsical example, yeah, but effects of this kind of careless thinking can be anything but harmless. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, innocent parents had their children taken away because teachers were told to look for "symptoms" that purported to indicate children who'd been sexually victimized. Those who prepared these lists never thought to ask themselves "Are these behaviors that we think are caused by sexual trauma also behaviors that might be caused by perfectly normal upbringings? Is it possible that normal children are curious about sex, too?" The human toll of shoddy thinking was tragic.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

Mephistopheles -- for me, that was very much offset by how ridiculously long it took him to die. As the Oodcasters put it, "Russell T Davies achieved the impossible -- he actually made me want the Doctor to die." I mean, he tells us he's dying, but gives absolutely other indication of that for *twenty minutes* while he wanders around, visiting companions, seeing the sights, doing who knows what all, seeing Ood Sigma one more time, and then this catastrophic regeneration into Matt Smith. It was way too far over the top, and the goofiness of that offset it to me. But when i want to destress, I pull out a classic. If I'm in a hurry, I'll go for one of my favorite modern episodes -- a goofy one like "The Unicorn and the Wasp", or a really good one like "The Doctor's Wife". (Hey, didja know Neil Gaiman's written another one? And it's got Cybermen! He became a fan of them in the 60s, so it'll be *classic* Cybermen, I'm sure.)

Anyway.

Mom_of3: "If the big concern is the promotion of Reiki as psychic energy manipulation then know just as no two people are alike, no two practitioners are identical in their approach to Reiki. " This is actually a large part of my concern. If reiki is so wildly unstandardized, how can a consumer expect to have the slightest clue what to expect? Are you going to get someone who will be honest with you about the limits of their capabilities? Or not? Plus, I have yet to see evidence of anyone advertising reiki purely for relaxation, without any suggestion that it enhances healing by manipulating energy fields. I mean, that's like saying chiropractors don't adjust subluxations. Take away the bizarre energy field claims, and what is reiki? Soothing words given a totally unnecessary name that suggests mystical healing powers?

If reiki is just relaxation, then there is no reason to use the word reiki at all because that's misleading.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Calli Arcale:

I don't know why the Reiki artists would not want to claim relaxation as a benefit...
oh wait, it's too pedestrian, it doesn't involve the sublime tinklings of the music of the spheres or miracles.

At any rate, relaxation is a serious concern for people with illness, disability and other worries- it's often been a concern when I've counselled people.

Actually right now, my relative is in great need of finding something to do as she recovers from complicated hand surgery and she awaits a second operation on the OTHER arm ( which she injured while avoiding using the injured hand). To make matters worse, she is very independent and usually quite active. So she is stuck. She has been walking about since she can't drive.

I'm trying to suggest activities commensurate with her abilities and personality that don't involve mobility. I told her to find an area of interest to study and I'll find materials. I know she did study botany.

Recovery should involve taking time off - even for a few hours a day- from being a patient and thinking about your current limitations.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Nov 2012 #permalink

@thenewme - I'm with you.

Momof3 - I hope neither you, nor your three children, ever become ill. I mean really ill, not something self-limiting.

Your frankly disgusting assertion, akin to that brand of bullsh¡t known as "The Secret", that "relaxation" heals, and depression or sadness somehow impedes healing, is a slap in the face to people with actual health problems.

No amount of mystical hand-waving will prevent or fix traumatic brain injury, or alleviate depression in a 34 year old imprisoned in her home after SACD causes rapid onset bilateral spastic diplegia.

Hard to be cheery when you've been sat in the same bed for a year, even if the magic happy mind-rays will magically heal the nerve damage.

I'll take science any day. And no, borborygmi still isn't caused by Reiki-induced parasympathetic relaxation.

For thenewme

I was referring to the destructive nature of stress. Sorry to hear of your situation, it is very hard so I apologize for any offense to you.
I did not say that relaxation will cure I said something that our bodies do for themselves, they repair cells. Our stomach cells are replaced every three days, the body "heals" itself. I can understand the confusion of using such a trigger word in this particular setting. We have amazing bodies that reproduce cells constantly, that is very much fact.

I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to share a little information with you all.

Thank you very much for the thoughtful conversations and although it was a heated debate that will most certainly continue for some, I hope you feel certain in what you want for yourselves. That is what is most important, know yourself. If you want to try Reiki, try it. If not, then don't. If you want to step outside of your box, then do so! If you are happy right where you are then don't move a muscle! Be authentically you.

I have learned a great deal from everyone's postings. Some were genuinely curious, others furious and some just wanting answers. It wont be the last time I encounter these attitudes. So truly thank you.

I am one person passionate about medicine and the opportunity to integrate complementary methods into the allopathic field. It is exciting! I work with many professional who feel the same way.

It is okay to be upset and want questions answered, by all means ask, use your critical thinking skills! Don't settle for anything less than you deserve. Research, research, research. Don't forget that science has an open mind, researchers do not make it habit to conduct studies thinking they already know the answers, they search for them.

Be Well.

borborigme ;)

@ Mom of 3,

You didn't even bother to answer my question which is really simple, can you prove that reiki relieve depression?

You made that claim, it's not for me to research it (which I've done), it's for you to prove it.

Alain

Mom of 3:

I am one person passionate about medicine and the opportunity to integrate complementary methods into the allopathic field. It is exciting! I work with many professional who feel the same way

Sure, tell me how reiki can alleviate that reduction of blood leaving the heart because of the obstruction before the aortic valve due to obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Especially when a complex migraine mimics a both a stroke and a heart attack. Which is what we dealt with a bit over a year ago.

Gah! The worried well can imagine how their little "good thoughts" can cause miracles. Until a real medical emergency occurs.

You are as bad as the insurance company nurses who want to give advice to my 24 year old son to prevent further heart issues. Like growing an extra inch of muscle* in his heart was somehow preventable (hint: it is a genetic disorder affecting at least one in a thousand).

* It was removed during open heart surgery, but there are still issues with scar tissue. Real medical issues cannot be removed by happy thoughts or magical hand waving.

So, Momof3,
Rather than "curing" my cancer myself, you seem to be claiming that your Reiki treatments would have "relaxed" me enough to allow my cancerous cells to "repair themselves?" Is that it?

Darn right I'm furious. You're lying, cheating, and stealing from desperate cancer patients. And here you are continuing your sick, fraudulent game by claiming to be "passionate about medicine." Bullsh!t ! By what you've posted here, and also by the amount and variety of woo on your blog, I stand by my claim that you're a fraud.

By the way, I'm a mom of 3 also, and I can't bear to think what my children would be dealing with now had I fallen victim to quackery like yours in lieu of real treatment. As a fellow mother, as a "health care provider" wannabe, as a business owner, and as a human being, shame on you. You're so wrong you don't even realize how wrong you are.

There seems to be some confusion about my identity and I wanted to clear it up.

I am not Pamela Miles. Reikiinmedicine.org is not my blog. I don't have a blog. I reference her because she has 25 years of experience and she is one of the leading researchers of Reiki. Peace.

There seems to be some confusion about my identity

I'm failing to see an example of anyone suggestiing that you have been taken to be Pamela Miles.

@Mom_of3

“It is unknown whether the beneficial effects of Reiki treat- ment over music stem from the presence of another person, the presence of a person with healing intention, the light touch technique, or a combination of factors"

You think the study is saying it's beneficial over music. However, what it's clearly saying is they can't tell whether the benefits they saw were from other factors. In other words, there's no confirmation of anything except that something sometime caused benefits. The 'further study' bit is about them saying they'd need more experiments to see what other factors they can disentangle from these 'effects'.

Pareidolius was right, it's placebo.

I would encourage you all to phone your local hospitals and wellness centers to see if Reiki services are offered in your area.

Take advice from a 'mom' on the net instead of my local doctor? No, I don't think so. Especially when there isn't any proof that it does work and makes absolutely no sense given what else we know about the world. (Aimed at Nita too)

This is a very non-answer answer to the question of why promote it as energy healing.

These experiences are subjective and for the client or patient alone.

AKA it's not based in science.

They do demonstrate the efficacy of Reiki helping relieve stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and insomnia. All of these conditions being related to the nervous system

Bull hockey. Whilst relaxation can help many emotional disorders, it doesn't cure them - at best it makes you more able to manage them.

And can you at least link to stuff on Pubmed by the way?

We have amazing bodies that reproduce cells constantly, that is very much fact.

Ah the old "healing body" fallacy. Yeah, if the body self heals so well, why do we need reiki (or medicine) in the first place?

If you want to try Reiki, try it. If not, then don’t.

And the "what's the harm fallacy".

Mom_of3 seems to have fallen for the integrative medicine fallacy. Also the "all disease is stress" fallacy.

Especially when there isn’t any proof that it does work and makes absolutely no sense given what else we know about the world.

And a large mountain of expressly negative evidence that it does NOT work. We're not in a situation of no evidence either way here. The question has been studied to death and the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence allows us to draw concrete conclusions AGAINST.

Our stomach cells are replaced every three days, the body “heals” itself.

Except when it doesn't. Like when you have cancer. Or ALS. Or occluded coronary arteries. Or diabetes. Or schizophrenia. Macular degeneration. MS. Rheumatoid arthritis. Acute appendicitis. Glaucoma. COPD. Congestive heart failure....

Well, you get the picture.

I am one person passionate about medicine and the opportunity to integrate complementary methods into the allopathic field.

What added value would accrue by integrating treatment modalities for which there's no evidence of efficacy with treatment modalities that have been demonstrated to work? There's no evidence that complementary methods work of themselves, after all (or they wouldn't fall into the 'complementary medicine' category), so why would we predict integration would make allopathic medicine work better?

How does one pick and choose which complementary methods should be integrated, and which should not-- should we be integrating psychic surgery with standard or 'allopathic' surgery?

gotta get Krebiozen's preview...

Mom_of3:

Our stomach cells are replaced every three days, the body “heals” itself.

Yes, our bodies have amazing capacities for self-healing. Immortal they are not, and those self-healing capabilities can go very wrong. One of my favorite examples concerns structures just above the stomach. The esophagus is not as robust as the stomach; under normal conditions, this is not a problem, but if for whatever reason it gets exposed excessively to stomach acid (acid reflux due to GERD or pregnancy, bad habits such as smoking or alcoholism, or just the really crummy luck of being born in a place without clean drinking water so you're constantly getting GI infections), then it has to step up its game. It has to start replacing cells just as the stomach does. But these cells are different. They're more like intestinal cells, interestingly enough, and they are much more likely to become cancerous. This is the way that esophageal cancer, one of the more horrible forms of cancer, gets started. With the natural healing mechanisms of the body.

A more benign example is fibromas. These benign tumors are usually nothing more than unsightly or irritating, but they occur due to errors in the healing process, predominantly on the skin of the legs. Scar adhesion is another great example. Surgeons are gifted at working *with* the body's natural healing mechanism, especially plastic surgeons, but it is not at all unusual for surgical revision to be required because of damage caused by the body's healing process.

Blood clots are another lovely example. Our body has this great mechanism for preventing us from bleeding out every time we get cut, which is a good thing because minor cuts are inevitable. But blood clots kill people every year, when they form where they shouldn't or bits of them break off within the system. The healing process is powerful, but it doesn't come free and it has its own tradeoffs.

And then of course there are cytokines. Even if we forget about autoimmune disorders, where the body is literally attacking itself, some of the worst illnesses are the ones that trigger cytokine storms, causing the body's own healing mechanisms to do more than injure. It can kill, and with frightening speed.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

Mom of 3:

There seems to be some confusion about my identity and I wanted to clear it up.

I really don't care, except you ignored my question. How does your happy thoughts and magical hand waving deal with the extra inch of heart muscle that grew during during my oldest child's puberty? Come on, be specific how Reiki works with real non-self limiting medical issues.

And back to the anesthesiologist: the shivering that happens as a person recovers from anesthesia is very freaky if you have ever seen your child having full blown seizures.

Good point Beamup, I should have added that in as well.

Disappointed in the preview file... if only because what I really want is an edit function. ;)

JGC,

gotta get Krebiozen’s preview

You can download my slightly improved version here. It includes a 'clear text' button and a warning not try anything fancy with super or subscript, or ampersand HTML codes.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

flip,

Disappointed in the preview file… if only because what I really want is an edit function.

There's no pleasing some people ;-)

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

To all the Reiki practitioners and advocates who agree that the subject of this post is unethical and out of line:

Do you have a regulatory board to whom she (pronoun based on the other posts with the link above) can be reported? What disciplinary action can you, as fellow practitioners of your art, enforce against this type of practice?

Why does the 'reiki game face' remind me of Buffy, where it was used to refer to someone's vampiric face they could shift to at will?

Momof3- 'allopathy' is an (inaccurate) term used historically to designate pretty much everything that is not homeopathy (though Hahnemann used it specifically to refer to those treatments using drugs which produced effects opposite to the disease). It also came in handy to be able to define two schools, one your school and one their school, because it adds an artificial sense of legitimacy and size.

Reiki doesn't involve administering tiny amount of substances which cause the diseases you want to treat, so reiki's technically 'allopathy' as defined by the early usage of that term. Funnily enough, most of what you would call the 'allopathic field' isn't, according to Hahnemann's definition. Basically it's inaccurate, divisive, and has never been a term used by mainstream medicine about itself, because it makes no sense to do so.

It was invented, and is still widely used (except by those ignorant of its history and meaning), as a derisive, perjorative term. Hopefully you just didn't know.

Sorry, cause the symptoms of diseases you want to treat.

thenewme:

So, Momof3,
Rather than “curing” my cancer myself, you seem to be claiming that your Reiki treatments would have “relaxed” me enough to allow my cancerous cells to “repair themselves?” Is that it?

Darn right I’m furious. You’re lying, cheating, and stealing from desperate cancer patients. And here you are continuing your sick, fraudulent game by claiming to be “passionate about medicine.” Bullsh!t !

@thenewme, you seem to know too well that this is exactly what is being told to patients. It is bullsh!t and this type of patient manipulation should not be tolerated. It inevitably places the blame and guilt onto the patient when they fail to "repair" themselves.

If there is to be patient consent for Reiki, then it should include an explicit statement that Reiki is only a means of relaxation and has no curative or healing benefit beyond comparable relaxation techniques, such as listening to music, meditation, etc. I would hope that if Reiki were to be offered in an inpatient setting that patients would be given the option of receiving other relaxation modalities, such as music or massage. In no way does any of this excuse the 'treatment' being performed by ReikiDoc in California. She needs to go...

The funny thing about homeopathy and the accusation of allopathy is that both concepts are based on treating someone entirely according to symptoms. It seems to me that Hannemann trapped his thinking in that frame, filtering everything he saw in those limited black-and-white terms.

Real medicine uses symptoms as just one means to diagnose a cause and then treat the cause when possible. Sometimes people who get a disease don't get the full suite of symptoms or sometimes they get unusual symptoms because of their unique quirks or circumstances. If the oddity doesn't introduce new risks, the treatment is likely going to remain the same since the cause is the same.

In some cases, the treatment is counter-intuitive. Treatments for ADHD are stimulants that boost executive function in the brain, allowing the patient to control their attention and hold back their impulses, calming down their behavior. Alcohol is a depressant but can cause reckless or violent behavior because it suppresses brain function involved in inhibition. Science-based medicine is why we know these things.

That's why allopathy is a ridiculous accusation, completely detached from how real medicine operates. It's an accusation born from homeopathy's oversimplification and misunderstanding of disease and thus it reflects badly on the accuser.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

If there is to be patient consent for Reiki, then it should include an explicit statement that Reiki is only a means of relaxation and has no curative or healing benefit beyond comparable relaxation techniques, such as listening to music, meditation, etc.

That's real strong evidence for therapeutic efficacy of Reiki, isn't it? "End stage cancer--why not give Reiki a try? It's just as good as knitting!"

Reiki has the capacity to activate the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system

I am not certain that the PNAS has a "relaxation response". But before getting hung up on technicalities and pedantry, are we talking about the real human-physiology parasympathetic system? Or some kind of symbolic, metaphorical version, a Western equivalent of chakras and Kundalini Serpent?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

I an conviced that there are really one a limited number of people, maybe about 1-1000.00, and it is not as many try to claim. So what is it really.
By placing symbols into Key Chakras within a persons psychi'/emotional body in a particular sequence, faciliting the opening of a healing channel that would expand through use.
We should not be at pains to ingore the ablitiy of anyone to work within this area of the psychic/emotional system, you do not need verbul permission for this work, that permission will come from the Soul/spirit, that is the Male/Female of the energy centres.
Those few who have the doorway open to the Universe have the privlage of connection.

By Len Thomas (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Krebiozen

No, no there's no pleasing some people... *looks around*

Oh you mean me? ;)

@Len

What was that in English? Even if the concepts were sound I didn't understand any of it...

A little late to this thread so my comment is probably very out of place now but I simply MUST comment on the 'Stargate' reference.

At the link posted by S, when I saw the word 'ascension' I immediately thought of the 'Stargate' series on the scify channel.

When I came to the 'ascension code transmission' part, I joked to myself, "transmission to where? The Pegasus galaxy?" (in reference to 'Stargate: Atlantis')

Sure enough, on scrolling down to the list of last couple of names, right there you have, "Crisostomo Jacinto
with his stargate chamber".
Really, "with his Stargate Chamber"?? Don't these people feel the slightest bit silly coming up with all this nonsense?

And then you have the reference to "zero point energy" by Jake.
@Jake: Zero point modules as a source of energy have only been documented in Science fiction (no, "Stargate" is NOT a documentary) and even in that fictional universe it is not an unlimited source of energy.

These people really can't tell the difference between fact and fiction, can they?

I am not certain that the PNAS has a “relaxation response”.

As I recall from some of the Pincus ApEn stuff, the production staff has had a carefully developed one.

But before getting hung up on technicalities and pedantry, are we talking about the real human-physiology parasympathetic system? Or some kind of symbolic, metaphorical version, a Western equivalent of chakras and Kundalini Serpent?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Reiki is just a rebranding of the Theosophical fraud. Don't believe me? Even worse, one has the contention that Usui pretty much ripped it off from Morihei Tanaka, who whomped it up from that very vat.

You have such fear of the unknown, the lot of you.

@Marg:
Projection, much?

It is your own fear of the unknown which makes you replace it with a soothing fantasy in your mind's eye so that it is no longer an unknown to you.

Those of us who do not fear the unknown, confront reality just as it is, without resorting to magical thinking.

How's that projection working Marg? Been there. Done that.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

From Narad's second link:

After 1,000s of systems over 1,000s of years, why is healing not part of orthodox medicine?
Possible answers that were up for debate by open minds included:

1. Healers still debate who is right and which system is best. Unlike orthodox medicine there is little agreed standardised delivery of intervention for different illnesses and conditions

2. Healing is offered for every illness any person could ever have – whereas orthodox medicine treats specific illnesses with a variety of targeted and proven interventions.

3. Healers often use ‘intuition’ and do not accept their intuition can be wrong, which it can be. So, unlike tried and tested drugs, healers may not achieve similar results to each other.

4. Many healers say, ‘It’s not me doing the healing’, or ‘I’m only a channel, and have no control over outcome’. Medical doctors may prefer therapists to be accountable for their actions, not to say the outcome has nothing to do with them.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Bronze Dog,
"It seems to me that Hannemann trapped his thinking in that frame, filtering everything he saw in those limited black-and-white terms."
Well, the obvious issue with Hahneman is that he was responding to the state of science 200 YEARS AGO. At that time, the options for identifying germs, toxins and medicinal substances were presumably limited, and recording the symptoms they produced may well have been one of the better (less bad) options.

Something that just crossed my mind as an analogy of Hahneman is Cosmas and Lactantius, the church fathers who tried to revive the flat Earth. I have read bits of their writing, and what I found especially striking is that a good deal of what they wrote on cosmology was specifically criticism of geocentric astronomy. Hence, what one gets in the same text is ideas that seem like silliness even for their time side by side with ideas that seem a millennium ahead of their time.

David N. Brown
Mesa, Arizona

By David N. Brown (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

@all
I have enjoyed this group their are a few real skeptics here. You know the ones that question even established theories. The truth of the matter for me is real experience I can teach a nonbeliever to send energy over a distance in a matter of minutes and have another nonbeliever feel it. My conclusion through my experience is that there is something real going on I do not have the funding or proper equipment to scientifically diagnose what is occurring but it is indeed occurring at a repeatable rate beyond chance. I am a skeptic that has experienced something un-explainable and and attempting to find answers. My "theory" is this.
Because we are able to affect our autonomic nervous system with our will, we are somehow able to transmit electromagnetic waves from our body onto another via our nervous system. Tesla claimed that he could engineer frequencies to reproduce chemical effects in the body. But our body and cellular memory has all of the "memories" built in. I know for a fact at a repeatable rate that I can cause a reaction in someone without them even being present. The only account for this is non-locality. Which recent studies show our brain itself is capable of entanglement between hemispheres. That is: brain cells on opposite sides of the brain are communicating the same signal without any nerves between them.
I do not have the patience to cite anything for your. especialy given your obtuse reactions to the field entirely which has been my lifes work. My reference to zero point field was excatly what I said it was. Though we have no way of tapping it yet. Yes I have seen Stargate band no I do not own a zero point module. lmao. FYI the world is not flat. Any pioneer in any new field of discovery is ridiculed at first them praised later. That is not what I seek. I seek a world free of disease and a profit designed administration that handles heath care. I seek many answers I am not afraid to look at the world as round as some others fail to.
On another topic :
The government has been doing research on psychic phenomena since the 20s do your research.
Remote viewing, Psychic spying,Seeing across distance with the mind in time and space under strict scientific guidelines. Proven true.
Remote influecing. Affecting matter using nothing but the mind. Proven True.
Precognition. Proven True. Though knowing the future changes it.
A military lab study where they took some blood and hooked it up to a electroencephalograph in an isolated room showed spikes at the same time as the doner when showed emotionally charged images at intervals from as room 50 feet away. They also conducted the study at 370 miles away with no time delay on the results. This study implies that every cell in our body in entangled with one another.
I agree it is hard to find real data in reigious or spiritual context. Fluffy delusons I like to call them.
But it does not mean that the bars of our yoke not there. <reference to dna in the holy bible. Aliens premonitions or gods or delusion You decide.

Can a blind person describe the trees?

On another topic does the evidence of neural plasticity mean that any psychiatric treatments could be potentially temporary.
and eventually obsolete after neural and behavioral reconditioning becomes public knowledge.

@Jake

Citation needed. For everything you just posted. And the stuff you posted previously.

I do not have the patience to cite anything for your. especialy given your obtuse reactions to the field entirely which has been my lifes work

AKA I don't have anything so I'll scream "close minded". Maybe if you posted some evidence we'd change our minds... oh hey, we asked for it already! Got anything other than logical fallacies there?

Go do the Randi Challenge. Then you can prove yourself without having to spend any money at all - with a bonus million in return if you succeed.

reference to dna in the holy bible.

Uhuh, sure...

Can a blind person describe the trees?

Is that relevant?

spikes at the same time as the doner when showed emotionally charged images at intervals

I can only speak for myself, but if someone is showing emotionally charged images to a doner, I would switch to a different Turkish restaurant for my takeaway.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Marg: Exploring the unknown has given us many terrific things, in both senses of the word (did you know you can set asbestos on fire?). A certain respectful caution towards the unknown is well-justified; I hear looking around a convention hall full of fluorine chemists is a good way to gain an understanding of why.

@Jake: If remote viewing worked, why did the CIA give up on it?

@Jake:

The government has been doing research on psychic phenomena since the 20s do your research.
Remote viewing, Psychic spying,Seeing across distance with the mind in time and space under strict scientific guidelines. Proven true.

Oh, they certainly researched it, but the second part of your claim ("Proven true") is false.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 15 Nov 2012 #permalink

Was there anything in Jake's comment that was true?

@Jake: If remote viewing worked, why did the CIA give up on it?

Ha! You think they gave up on it...

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

@jake,

Precognition. Proven True. Though knowing the future changes it.

So you can know the future but it does no good because once you know it it won't happen? How is this different from not knowing the future? Is this like the man who can turn invisible, but only if nobody is watching?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Jake:

Yes, blind people can describe trees. Sight is not the only sense. ;-)

You know the ones that question even established theories.

Actually, a true skeptic isn't just someone who questions even established theories. Questioning established theories is a piece of cake, especially since many of them are hard to understand. Go hang out in the comment thread of a mainstream news article that isn't about a celebrity; there's a pretty good chance you'll run into several people questioning the establishment, to varying degrees of rationality. After all, you don't have to be a skeptic to question the establishment. You only have to either distrust it or disagree with it on a particular point.

What's hard isn't questioning the establishment. What's hard is questioning yourself, your own preconceptions, your own conclusions. That's the measure of a true skeptic, rather than just someone shouting imprecations from the peanut gallery.

The truth of the matter for me is real experience I can teach a nonbeliever to send energy over a distance in a matter of minutes and have another nonbeliever feel it. My conclusion through my experience is that there is something real going on I do not have the funding or proper equipment to scientifically diagnose what is occurring but it is indeed occurring at a repeatable rate beyond chance.

You don't yet know that it's the truth. You have certain observations; you don't yet know what is producing what you observe. I don't think you need a ridiculous amount of funding to test it, although lots of money does make it easier by giving you access to lots of helpers, computers and software to take care of double-blinding the data, etc. But I think it can be done quite cheaply. It may take some time to devise the best experiment, but it's worth it, and I bet you can find volunteers to help you for free, although again, it will take more time if you can't afford to just round up a bunch of undergrads and tell them what to do (which is how universities get a lot of their assistants).

Because we are able to affect our autonomic nervous system with our will, we are somehow able to transmit electromagnetic waves from our body onto another via our nervous system. Tesla claimed that he could engineer frequencies to reproduce chemical effects in the body.

Tesla claimed a lot of things; he was a genius, but not all of his inventions actually did what he believed they were capable of. The Mythbusters tested one, his "earthquake machine". It was dramatically successful in their small-scale experiment, but a total disappointment on the large scale experiment; not everything scales up proportionately.

It is not inconceivable that certain electromagnetic waves or frequences of electromagnetic radiation can produce chemical effects on the body. One of the easiest examples is a sunburn, and other radiation injuries. Radiation definitely can produce chemical effects on the body. It can even kill you. And then there's the fact that microwave radiation can, as we all know from the kitchen, heat water. There are stories of technicians at high-powered radar installations actually heating up their lunches on the instrumentation. Again, this is a real effect, but not particularly beneficial. In fact, it can be downright lethal.

And I don't see any reason to think that electromagnetic waves transmitted by our minds can affect other human beings directly. The electromagnetic fields given off by the body are extremely weak. They're nothing on the order of a microwave oven or a radiotherapy machine or a tanning bed. Now, an electric eel can definitely put out a field that will affect others, but its body has evolved specifically to do this, and again, it's not a particularly beneficial field. (It uses it to hunt, and occasionally for self-defense.) And there are a number of animals known to be sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Sharks are especially famous for their sensitivity, and this is believed to be why hammerhead sharkes are shaped the way they are. But beyond triggering their receptors, the field doesn't have any direct effect on them. It just tells them which way to lunch, basically.

So while I don't think it's totally impossible, it is an extraordinary claim that one can affect another person by thought alone through the mental manipulation of one's personal electromagnetic field. It would therefore require extraordinary evidence.

In my quotefile, I have this great bit from a Smithsonian article about the discovery of preserved soft tissue in a T. rex fossil:

Schweitzer showed the slide to Horner. "When she first found the red-blood-cell-looking structures, I said, Yep, that's what they look like," her mentor recalls. He thought it was possible they were red blood cells, but he gave her some advice: "Now see if you can find some evidence to show that that's not what they are.

The only account for this is non-locality. Which recent studies show our brain itself is capable of entanglement between hemispheres. That is: brain cells on opposite sides of the brain are communicating the same signal without any nerves between them.

I know you are dislinclined to cite this, but that's another extraordinary claim, and I am disinclined to take people's words alone for extraordinary claims. How was it shown that signals on two sides of the brain matched without any connection? Did they rule out the fact that both sides of the brain probably had access to the same inputs and thus might independently produce the same signal without any awareness of one another? (This would be broadly analogous to the independent discovery of calculus by two different mathematicians with no communication with one another. It doesn't mean they were psychically linked; it just means they were starting from a very similar base. People are more alike than we often given them credit.) And what does it mean "without any nerves between them"? The brain is massively interconnected; I am doubtful there is any part of the system with absolutely no nerves between it and any other arbitrarily selected part of the system, barring surgical isolation of a part of the brain from everything else except the circulatory system.

The government has been doing research on psychic phenomena since the 20s do your research.

Now, this line of reasoning has always puzzled me. Why do people so deeply trust the government that they think that if the government is researching something, there must be merit to it? As long as it's not a terribly expensive project, a complete waste of time can go on for decades at government agencies, protected by bureaucracy. Heck, even expensive ones can go on far longer than one might expect, as long as they don't attract too much attention and keep a few people busy.

You go on to make a lot of claims about things having been proven true. Yet you are tired of providing citations. Hopefully you will at least understand why some of us are not terribly impressed by those claims, then. We have no reason to believe them, and you plead exhaustion as your justification for not attempting to persuade us. Which sort of has me wondering what the point is in making the claims.

A military lab study where they took some blood and hooked it up to a electroencephalograph in an isolated room showed spikes at the same time as the doner when showed emotionally charged images at intervals from as room 50 feet away.

Question: how do you hook blood to an electroencephalograph? And did you know that researchers performed fMRI on a dead salmon while showing it various emotionally charged pictures and produced apparent results? They did this not to suggest that dead salmon have opinions about pictures, but to demonstrate the fundamental problem with this kind of research: that there was a result doesn't mean it was meaningful. I have heard of the study you mention, actually. It was very crude, and there was no blinding. Did they see a real result? Or just the one they *wanted* to see? Their testing was unable to answer that question. I suspect they did not really appreciate the importance of that question.

What about you? Do you appreciate the importance of that question?

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Re: " we are somehow able to transmit electromagnetic waves from our body onto another via our nervous system"

Citation needed.

"Tesla claimed that he could engineer frequencies to reproduce chemical effects in the body."

Please provide evidence he was correct.

"I know for a fact at a repeatable rate that I can cause a reaction in someone without them even being present."

How exactly have you established this claim as factual? Details please.

"Which recent studies show our brain itself is capable of entanglement between hemispheres."
I give up--which recent studies show this? Citations needed.

"I do not have the patience to cite anything for your. especialy given your obtuse reactions to the field entirely which has been my lifes work."
Why are you wasting our time, then, making claims you won't even attempt to support?

"Any pioneer in any new field of discovery is ridiculed at first them praised later."
Only some will be praised later, after they've gathered a sufficient body of evidence that they were right. The fact one's ridiculed isn't evidence they're lkely right.

@ JGC:

Entanglement between hemispheres?

First of all, is that quantum entanglement or the regular kind ?
Secondly, does that mean that the hemispheres might actually NOT be totally INcommunicado all of the time? Oh, don't tell me that there is NOT of wall of impenetrable separation between them? Newsflash! You mean there is COMMUNICATION!

The only wall I can envision is the one that fences off their minds from any contact with reality.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki is not nearly as good as knitting. Knitting actually produces something.

Le sigh. Meant to say "some string."

Knitting actually produces something.

Lots of potential for entanglement there, in my experience.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Not to mention cheap sox.

Denice,

Secondly, does that mean that the hemispheres might actually NOT be totally INcommunicado all of the time?

Someone should design something that allows the hemispheres to communicate all the time, then we wouldn't need all those gadgets, tapes, supplements etc. that claim to improve communication between them. Maybe they could call it the corpus callosum, that has a nice ring to it.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Knitting actually produces something.

Entertained and helpful kittens, often.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

I found your entangled hemispheres right here!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Is it sad that I found this

“Building a brain with yarn and knitting needles turns out to follow many of the same pathways as actual brain development,” says Norberg.

indescribably cool?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

I once had the nightmarish task of having to remember all the cognitive symtoms of a guy who had an operation to control epilepsy (IIRC) which severed the corpus callosum. When you know the symptoms then you can imagine how awful it must be ( although I don't know if a person with that condition would realise just HOW awful). Now I'm thinking about it.
-btw- I like the knitted brain ( good name for a pub ?). Doesn't Orac's infamous grey bunny have a knitted brain that is also removable?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

I have a knitted brow, does that count?

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

I hesitate to reveal this, but I actually have a 30-year-old BBC-spec Tom Baker scarf. I made it through about six rows myself before a friend's grandmother took pity on me and cranked it out in the space of a weekend.

I made one in college; but in my naivety (having only made two other things before), I didn't believe the pattern when it said how wide to make it. It looked too narrow, so I cast on more stitches. Result: it's the right length, all the right colors, and much too wide. I pretend I meant to do that, by pointing out it's closer to the width of Baker's final scarf (which had a different colorway as well).

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 16 Nov 2012 #permalink

Krebiozen

Just to confuse matters, we ought to toss in corpus callosal agenesis.

An oncologist in New York is prescribing Reiki to treat breast cancer.

http://www.9wsyr.com/news/local/story/Reiki-other-integrative-treatment…

“I’m very excited about Reiki and acupuncture in terms of how they can be integrated into our treatment of patients with cancer,” Dr. Scalzo said.

Dr. Scalzo says patients with cancer can also benefit from yoga, nutritional supplements, changes in their diet and vitamin C infusions. Iris does the infusions once a week. Her last scans showed her tumors are shrinking.

“I’ve always believed if your mind was strong and your body was strong you can heal itself,” Otts said.

Dr. Puc says she’s living proof that energy medicine works.

Why didn't Marge and Judith come with that link?

@S - I'm sure the actual treatment she is undergoing has nothing to do with her tumors shrinking....this is exactly what happens - people give credit to the woo, rather than the real treatments that are going on at the same time.

If energy medicine and wishful thinking works, then,

I will receive $2 million dollars in cash in the mail today. I will receive $2 million dollars in cash in the mail today. I will receive $2 million dollars in cash in the mail today... I will meet ...

Most importantly, no WooSeller will have have an "M.D". bestowed upon their name.

S - send some seed money to Peter Popoff and The Lord will gift your bank account. Must be true, saw it on TV t'other night and he had testimonials as proof...

By al kimeea (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Renate
I saw that one too, but didn't post it because I didn't want this rabidly anti-reiki bunch to start hounding the doctor.

There's a lot of very annoying stuff in that article:

Her doctor has prescribed chemotherapy, which makes her feel sick, and Reiki, which makes her feel better.

That's a little ingenuous since chemotherapy, in the long run, increases her chances of surviving breast cancer, whereas Reiki is simply a placebo.

Reiki Master Lisa Cavallaro is using that energy to help Iris heal herself.

No she isn't, because that energy doesn't exist.

That energy can’t easily be measured,

It can't be measured at all because it doesn't exist.

Iris’ oncologist Heidi Puc has seen it work.

She has?

“They do have patients that have had some regression of their disease and again, this is hard to prove,” said Dr. Puc.

That's hardly a glowing testimonial that she has "seen it work".

Reiki that is done before surgery has been proven in studies to help some people recover faster.

Citation? I have reviewed the literature and can't find a single such study, just a few that found reduced post-op need for analgesics.

Dr. Anthony Scalzo, who’s been practicing oncology for 30 years, says energy medicine is powerful.

It's interesting how often these articles make statements that are not supported by direct quotes. What Dr. Scalzo actually says is:

“I’m very excited about Reiki and acupuncture in terms of how they can be integrated into our treatment of patients with cancer,”

Not the same thing at all. Maybe he's excited because he thinks they are useful placebos that can distract people and help them to feel better.

Then there is some mention of vitamin C infusions and:

Iris does the infusions once a week. Her last scans showed her tumors are shrinking.

This is the same Iris whose doctor prescribes her chemotherapy "which makes her feel sick", remember.

“I’ve always believed if your mind was strong and your body was strong you can heal itself,” Otts said.

Or perhaps it's the chemotherapy, the treatment she is on that is proven to shrink tumors?

Dr. Puc says she’s living proof that energy medicine works.

No direct quote to that effect though, just, "some regression of their disease and again, this is hard to prove" and a statement that Reiki helped her through a "real personal life crisis".

Otts might not have time to wait for data. Her cancer was diagnosed at an advanced stage. “I don’t feel like I’m Stage 4. I don’t feel like I only have a certain amount of time to go. I feel healthy. I feel good. I feel energized,” Otts continued.

Maybe that's because chemotherapy these days is more effective and has fewer side effects than it did just a few years ago. Do the scientists who have put the hard work in to develop these drugs, or the pharmaceutical companies who have invested the money get any credit? Of course not, it's all down to a hand waving Reiki master.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

do a few stretches, clap your hands a few times and rub them together - feel the energy ball?

Now I'm an energy healer, reiki style or maybe New Russian, no Quantum Touch that's the ticket

By al kimeea (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

I saw that one too, but didn’t post it because I didn’t want this rabidly anti-reiki bunch to start hounding the doctor.

Yes, how dare we object to quacks lying to people and stealing their money. The nerve!

yes, we'd like further gov't oversight applied to them and to you equally

By al kimeea (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Oh gee, now this doctor is a quack too?

Most certainly.

But these guys are pure as the driven snow:

Nope, profoundly unethical and should not be allowed. Completely unrelated to reiki anyway. Ever hear the term "tu quoque?"

I'm one of them now, I took the online course this morning with coffee

By al kimeea (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith - and that proves your point how, exactly? I see a short news story with exactly two sources - one ethicist pointing out the potential for conflict of interest and an oncologist agreeing with him. I don't see anyone defending the system or name-calling critics or trying to change the subject, like you and Marg keeping doing.

And even if every oncologist in the US is as corrupt as you are very clumsily implying, that still doesn't make "energy medicine" real.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

The Dr. Puc who works in the same clinic as Dr. Scalzo is prone to woo: she's "board certified in integrative holistic medicine."

http://www.hoacny.com/our_staff.html?parent_id=62696&category_id=62820#…

This clinic has a "wellness center" where they sell reiki at $40 an hour, in addition to offering acupuncture, foot reflexology and massage therapy. And yoga, and tai chi....

http://www.hoawellness.com/integrative_therapies.html?category_id=62622

So this "news story" is nothing more than a puff piece that serves to promote a clinic that sells reiki and other woo.

And they have a DO on staff.

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Judith, it's funny that now that the other thread automatically closed, you instantly forget that we don't consider pharmaceutical companies "pure." Heck, I described my relationship with them as keeping my friends close and my enemies closer. You're trying to flush the truth down the memory hole while erecting a transparent straw man.

The pharmaceutical companies only have partial trust because their products only live up to our standards most of the time, but not all the time. Our trust is conditional and typically dependent on international consensus between multiple independent parties, not solely on the pharmaceutical company's say so, like you've been lying about. Your real problem is that you're not willing to go through the same hoops to earn even conditional trust.

Your jealousy and Ayn Randian business sense has also trapped you into seeing this as a competition, not as a test of your character or your accuracy. You're not trying to prove your trustworthiness or the reliability of your conclusions, you're trying to evade the issue by whining about someone else. If you want us to trust you, stop resorting to the tactics of a textbook scoundrel.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

I like my friends close and my enemies closer. Judith is doing everything she can to maintain her distance.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Judith,
As Beamup mentioned, you really do need to learn what the tu quoque logical fallacy is. You make a fool of yourself every time you attempt it here, especially when it is a straw man you are tu quoqueing about.

But these guys are pure as the driven snow:

That article is about a problem with the US healthcare system that no one here would defend, not with cancer treatment itself. In Canada where I believe you are, and the UK where I am, that situation does not exist, yet chemotherapy is still a mainstay of cancer treatment.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Reiki Doc tweeted that she is going to blog about Reiki research. Over Twitter, she has met Dorset Reiki, who introduced her to Dr. Daniel J. Benor's books about research studies on energy medicine. Benor developed the WHEE protocol, which, by the way, sounds nearly identical to the teachings of Mercola's friend, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt. WHEE stands for "Whole Health - Easily and Effectively®" It is a "Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT".

https://twitter.com/usui2102

http://charmouthreiki.vpweb.co.uk/?prefix=www

Dr. Benor of Canada offers his WHEE method "at a small charge (for maintaining this website) to anyone who would like to relieve their physical and psychological pains."

In return, I also ask that you teach at least 3 other people how to use WHEE, asking them to teach at least 3 others and to keep passing it on.

http://www.wholistichealingresearch.com/whee_process_1

That sounds like a chain letter. Chain letters are illegal in the United States.

https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudscheme…

I have yet to see any explanation as to exactly how tapping on one's forehead can re-program the way your brain processes information. Can you explain that to me in simple terms, Judith?

@Bronze Dog
That was not about the pharmaceutical companies, but about the doctors who earn most of their income from prescribing chemotherapy drugs.

@S
WHEE sounds a lot like EFT. In EFT one taps acupuncture points. I am acquainted with EFT, but not sufficiently to attempt an explanation.

@Krebiozen
I would say there is a huge problem with the healthcare system if doctors have to push drugs to make a living. I don't know what your excuse in the UK is. By the way I thought surgery was the mainstay of cancer treatment. And although everybody jumps on the study that showed that adjuvant chemotherapy has an overall 2.3 per cent effectiveness, taking the criticisms into account only lifts it up to 8 per cent, which in my opinion makes it next to useless, for most cancers.

By the way I thought surgery was the mainstay of cancer treatment. And although everybody jumps on the study that showed that adjuvant chemotherapy has an overall 2.3 per cent effectiveness, taking the criticisms into account only lifts it up to 8 per cent, which in my opinion makes it next to useless, for most cancers.

"Cancer" is not one disease. Surgery is very effective for some cancers at some stages, and useless for others. Similarly, chemotherapy is very useful (even curative) for some cancers, and less so for others.

Any generalization like "2.3 per cent effectiveness" is quite meaningless given how much cancer varies.

I would say there is a huge problem with the healthcare system if doctors have to push drugs to make a living.

@Judith, At least there are studies which evidence that prescription medications work for some patients. Do you consider it acceptable for a doctor to push herbs, supplements and energy treatments?

I've noticed that you have dismissed every single suggestion for a possible study to test the effectiveness of Reiki. It seems there is always an excuse as to why a study can not be done. I thought the waiting room treatment study would have been a good opportunity for you. If you want people to believe you, you need to come up with a means to conduct a proper study so as to demonstrate whether Reiki works.

I have to tell you, patients get a fast and hard education here on RI, and the more I read, the more Reiki sounds like total bull. No wonder so many people are complaining. It seems the real problem is that there just isn't enough enforcement to stop all the shameless quacks from practicing.

Judith,

I would say there is a huge problem with the healthcare system if doctors have to push drugs to make a living.

Perhaps, but what does this have to do with the efficacy of Reiki, or chemotherapy for that matter?

I don’t know what your excuse in the UK is.

For using chemotherapy? Multiple studies showing it is effective in a wide range of cancers. We have already established that your opposition to chemotherapy is not rational.

By the way I thought surgery was the mainstay of cancer treatment.

Reading comprehension fail again Judith? I wrote "a mainstay".

And although everybody jumps on the study that showed that adjuvant chemotherapy has an overall 2.3 per cent effectiveness, taking the criticisms into account only lifts it up to 8 per cent, which in my opinion makes it next to useless, for most cancers.

That has to rival your previous statement about drug companies not wanting a better solution for cancer as the dumbest thing you have written thus far, especially since you have no sensible suggestions for alternatives. I can think of four people I know who are alive today thanks to chemotherapy of one sort or another, one of them 30 years after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

"Hodgkin's" - gremlin stole my apostrophe.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

taking the criticisms into account only lifts it up to 8 per cent, which in my opinion makes it next to useless, for most cancers.

Let's say I come up with a new kind of seatbelt that's proven to prevent an additional 8% of car accident deaths. Judith thinks this would be "next to useless."

Because if something's not 100% effective, why bother using it, amirite?

@ S:

About EFT( see also skeptical Inquirer):
Mercola recommends this for psychological issues- if you don't believe in meds, I suppose you need something. EFT consists of tapping on accupuncture points while repeating affirmations or verbalising your problems. OK, as a psychologist, I can't imagine how this would do anything other than perhaps distracting a person from problematic thoughts for a short while. It seems unrealted to the crux of the dilemma being considered.

What would the mechanism of action be? First of all, accupuncture points are not real, so how would stimulating them do anything? Even if ( in some other universe) accupuncture poits were an actuality, how would that translate into fixing problems that exist in the psycho-social sphere. People learn to behave maladaptively which leads to interpersonal and emotional issues.

So it's at least doubly wrong: real psychotherapy involves learning more effective patterns of interaction and self- assessment, using language to change thought.

I notice that EFT can include NLP- a whole other species of inefficacy.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Bronze Dog
That was not about the pharmaceutical companies, but about the doctors who earn most of their income from prescribing chemotherapy drugs.

Did you ever consider that maybe, just maybe, that doctors who treat cancer might favor prescribing chemotherapy because such treatments are the most effective while Reiki is ineffective? That would produce the same results.

I might as well generate innuendo that you're untrustworthy because you make most of your money doing your job.

Another aspect of this is that chemotherapy isn't supported solely by those doctors and the pharmaceutical companies, it's supported by an international consensus of independent researchers working at cross purposes, and pretty transparently. Science works in an adversarial manner. Everyone is motivated to be everyone else's watchdog. Anything that doesn't work eventually gets torn down and exposed in peer review and replication. That which remains standing is most likely to be true.

Science is essentially the opposite of authoritarian. To corrupt the process for any length of time, someone would have to be pulling a LOT of strings, and it would be insanely expensive to bribe or silence the number of people involved. Worldwide conspiracies are inherently fragile in the information age. It'd be much cheaper to skip the whole scientific process and push for deregulation using political clout, and rely on marketing spin, like alties in general have been doing.

Meanwhile, your arguments for Reiki continue to raise the red flags I expect of everyday quackery. You would do well to learn how skeptics spot pseudoscience instead of recycling popular, naive tropes.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Denice

I notice that EFT can include NLP- a whole other species of inefficacy.

From what I have seen EFT can include any woo you can imagine and some you would rather not imagine. In several of the training videos I have seen there is a guy on the stage furiously rifling through a tray of little vials as Gary Craig does his tapping routine on some mark. Gary Craig's credulity knew no bounds. He was so open minded that his brain fell out and hopped a freight train.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

[vent]

The reiki trolls seem everywhere… :-( I've just had occasion to block @mikeyreiki 's tweets owing to his repeated rude allegations despite my polite corrections and repeated requests for him to stop hassling me.

But "whatever", I guess.

[/vent]

@Krebiozen
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was one of the few cancers that was shown to respond well.

Also, how do you know the people you know who survived their cancers survived due to chemotherapy? You are making an assumption there. They could have survived due to surgery. Or radiation. Or luck. Or attitude. I am sure there is a name you all have for making such an assumption and you would use it if I made the same sort of comment for someone allegedly surviving due to energy treatments.

Judith,

re “how do you know” - I would think the studies were controlled, i.e. the studies covered if other factors might be playing a role. (Perhaps you're not familiar with how testing is done? Case-controls are one important aspect of medical studies.)

I'll have to leave this with Krebiozen (sorry!) as I'll be off-line for while.

Speaking of the waiting room treatment, why does Bengston need pictures and names? He didn't have the names or pictures of the mice he healed, did he?

And as others have asked, how recent does the picture have to be? Is a baby picture good enough?

How precise a name? Would LW be enough? Those really are my initials. How about Orac? Lots of people know the person by that name. Would the name on his birth certificate be required even if he is better known by another name?

I would think it would work better to show him the MRI or whatever and give him the name of the cancer.

@Judith, If you discovered that you had breast cancer, how would you treat it? If you discovered that you had pancreatic cancer, how would you treat it?

@Judith, In your opinion, who is the best Reiki or Reiki-like Healer in the world? Would that be the Dalai Lama?

Continuing with excuses why the waiting room treatment can't be done:

Allegedly Bengston can't treat people who have been "riddled with chemo and radiation". That's the usual excuse, and no doubt Judith and Marg use it too.

But why can't magic cure the effects of chemo? I mean, the effects are those of poisoning. Can't magic cure poisoning? If someone were bitten by a spider and wanted Reiki to make it better, would Judith turn them away because Reiki doesn't work on poisoning? Restoring the body from the effects of poisoning seems easier to me than curing cancer.

And why can't magic cure the effects of radiation? It can cure burns, right? Weren't we told that in the previous endless thread? And after all, homeopathy can cure the effects of radiation -- Orac reported on a paper by a homeopath on that very subject, right after the Japanese tsunami. Is Judith saying that Reiki isn't even as good as homeopathy?

Why can't magic -- I mean Reiki -- cure poisoning *and* radiation burns *and* cancer, all at the same time or in quick succession?

@S
The Dalai Lama is a great follower of science.

@LW
According to Bengston, chemo and radiation kill something in the person so treating them is akin to trying to charge a dead battery. He also says, quite responsibly, that if you use his method to treat someone who is currently receiving chemo, you might in fact cancel the chemo out, with the effect that the patient benefits from neither treatment.

He says he prefers to work with a recent photo. He didn't discuss working with an MRI.

It's not magic. I forget who it was that said that any sufficiently advanced science that is not understood appears to be like magic.

@Judith, Are you in agreement that patients who are "riddled with chemo" can't be successfully treated with Reiki?

Judith, I didn't get my 2 million dollars of cash in the mail today. What went wrong? I'm not on chemo. :-(

That was not about the pharmaceutical companies, but about the doctors who earn most of their income from prescribing chemotherapy drugs.

OK, so to defend this assertion, you should be able to find a signal that oncologists on straight salary, as at pretty much any university hospital, having no such motivation, are less prone to employ chemotherapeutic agents.

@S
Patients who are "riddled with chemo" can be treated with Reiki palliatively. I am sorry you didn't get your 2 million dollars. Neither did I.

@Narad
That would be an interesting study.

@LW

I think the real reason is that the people who had radiation and/or chemotherapy certainly had a serious cancer. Excluding them greatly increases the fraction of patients who never actually had cancer - the ones who who were diagnosed by naturopaths, bio-energetic field machines, iridology etc. Hover, these people can still "wave their medical records" in youtube videos.

Interestingly, my Firefox spell checker doesn't recognize naturopaths or iridology and suggests a hyphen in bioenergetic. Is there some secret bull$hit filter in it?

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Patients who are “riddled with chemo” can be treated with Reiki palliatively.

@Judith, if patients who are "riddled with chemo" can be treated palliatively, then how can you tell whether the treatments are cancelling each other out?

He also says, quite responsibly, that if you use his method to treat someone who is currently receiving chemo, you might in fact cancel the chemo out, with the effect that the patient benefits from neither treatment.

According to Bengston, chemo and radiation kill something in the person so treating them is akin to trying to charge a dead battery.

Ah, we're getting somewhere. Now, chemo is a poison, we all agree on that. Does *every* poisoning kill something in a person? If little Johnny ate a few too many aspirin and had to have his stomach pumped, or little Suzy got stung by numerous wasps and was in the hospital for a while, are their somethings dead?

And radiation ... how much radiation does it take to kill that something? Do we conclude that people who were exposed to the radiation releases after the tsunami have dead somethings? (At least homeopathy works even if you have a dead something.)

Oh dear -- what about people who have to fly a lot and get exposed to poorly maintained X-ray machines? Do they have dead somethings? Or people who've had diagnostic -- not therapeutic -- X-rays?

I hope Bergston-- or Judith -- can clarify this. I mean, I'd hate to waste time and money on their magic if I had a dead something. Maybe I should just stick to homeopathy. At least magic water cures thirst.

@S
This business of the two treatments cancelling each other out seems to be something specific to Bengston's method, as he is the only one who raises it. The same with chemo and radiation killing something in a person.

@LW
Have you heard the story told by Bernie Siegel about the oncologist who was doing radiation for months with a dead machine and whose patients were still getting both the effects and the side effects normal to radiation?

The Dalai Lama is a great follower of science.

Um, the Dalai Lama seems to think that Wholeness and the Implicate Order represents a sufficient grounding in quantum mechanics.

To be fair, I don't know that any of the people I've known who survived cancer did so because of the therapy they had. The statement, "My friend G. had lymphoma; he was treated with radiation and chemotherapy; and he's all right now - therefore the radiation and chemo cured him" would be an anecdote.

I have a high degree of confidence that the treatment did, in all likelihood, cure G. because there have been a lot of studies that show the most likely outcome of leaving the cancer untreated and show that patients who have radiation and chemotherapy are much more likely to survive and even, dare I say it, be cured than people who are not so treated.

But spontaneous remissions do happen, so it's possible G. would have been OK regardless. It's just not the way to bet.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Judith - you are thinking of science fiction grand master Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke's law is generally stated as, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

What advanced technology is Bengston using?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith,

Have you heard the story told by Bernie Siegel about the oncologist who was doing radiation for months with a dead machine and whose patients were still getting both the effects and the side effects normal to radiation?

No, but I've heard the story of when the highway patrol pulled Werner Heisenberg over. The policeman asked, "Do you know how fast you were going?" and Heisenberg replied, "No, but I know exactly where I was!"

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

He also says, quite responsibly, that if you use his method to treat someone who is currently receiving chemo, you might in fact cancel the chemo out, with the effect that the patient benefits from neither treatment.

How does that work, exactly? Chemo is a poison, meant to be more poisonous to the tumor than to the patient. Bengston's method is meant to kill the tumor or otherwise make it disappear. How do they work against each other?

Does Bengston's method strengthen the tumor so it's more resistant to chemo? That doesn't sound like a good thing, even if you weren't taking chemo. What if he strengthened the tumor and then didn't get around to disappearing it? You'd be even worse off than you were before.

Or maybe Bengston's treatment weakens *you* so the chemo is as poisonous to you as to the tumor. That sounds even worse. When does he get around to re-strengthening you?

And how could chemo work against Bengston's method? Is he only able to treat people who are healthy and vigorous, and can't do anything for people who are sickened as by poison? Come to think of it, I do find that plausible.

@Judith

Have you heard the story told by Bernie Siegel

Anybody can make up a story. Do you think Barack Obama was born in Kenya? Do you think aliens are flying halfway across the galaxy to abduct people and probe their anuses?. Do you think Pierre Trudeau had concentration camps constructed to imprison western separatists in the 1980s? I have heard stories about all these things.

Siegel's theories concerning the purported benefits of psychosocial support therapy remain unproven. He has stated: "a vigorous immune system can overcome cancer if it is not interfered with, and emotional growth toward greater self-acceptance and fulfillment helps keep the immune system strong", however he has published no scientific study supporting these claims.

In other words, he is another new age bull$hit artist who makes unsubstantiated claims, never collects any evidence to support them and has a convenient out to blame the patient when they don't get better. What a repugnant money grubbing a$$hole.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Siegel also recommends that a breast cancer patient seek guidance in her dreams about whether to heed her doctor's recommendations about radiation. Thenewme will love this little piece of advice to listen to the "voice in your head" when making medical decisions, 'cuz it knows much better than any doctor with real book lurnin'.

http://www.breastcancerwarrior.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=ar…

Siegel's own website is full of this crap. He embraces a GMN (German Non-Medicine) approach that claims past emotional conflicts and traumas both cause and can heal cancer.

He likes to be called "Bernie"--probably because deep down inside he knows he doesn't deserve the honourific "Dr."

And he sells a ton of stuff on his website too, like all card-carrying cranks.

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

EFT consists of tapping on accupuncture points while repeating affirmations or verbalising your problems. OK, as a psychologist, I can’t imagine how this would do anything other than perhaps distracting a person from problematic thoughts for a short while. It seems unrealted to the crux of the dilemma being considered.

What would the mechanism of action be? First of all, accupuncture points are not real, so how would stimulating them do anything? Even if ( in some other universe) accupuncture poits were an actuality, how would that translate into fixing problems that exist in the psycho-social sphere. People learn to behave maladaptively which leads to interpersonal and emotional issues.

So it’s at least doubly wrong: real psychotherapy involves learning more effective patterns of interaction and self- assessment, using language to change thought.

@Denice, I asked about EFT because I often find that the same practitioners who practice it also recommend or practice Reiki. I spoke with an LCSW some time ago about EFT, TFT, and similar treatments. She is not what one would consider as being an alternative medicine provider. Yet, she is attending meetings and events with other providers, and is being gradually introduced to these treatments. She is accepting that the treatments work with some patients because her peers state that the treatments work with their clients. When I questioned her as to specifically why she thinks that EFT works and how tapping on one's forehead could "re-program" the way a patient's brain functions and how they process thoughts, she dismissively stated that she didn't know and it didn't matter. She asked what's the harm in trying it. She said that she just wants to help her patients, and EFT and similar techniques are easy enough to try. She said she doesn't want to argue with people over treatments, but if they want to get better, then they can put the effort forth and try the techniques. It was quite a frustrating conversation.

There are a lot of mental health providers who assert that tapping can literally re-wire how one's brain processes thought and emotion. No one can provide me with a specific response as to how this is happening. Frankly, I certainly believe it to be a load of cr-p, but I'm not the one with the psych degree and business license hanging on my wall. It is difficult to dispute her "what's the harm" response.

I should have clarified that he feels resolving those past traumas is necessary to healing. I left that part out.

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

A statement like "chemo and radiation kill something in a person" ( OTHER than cancer cells - which is what they're supposed to kill) leads me to imagine that whosever made it believes in vital energy ( Qi, Prana, Mana, *elan vital* et al) that allows a person to live, heal and thrive. Unnatural interventions like chemicals and radiation from machines ( not the sun) interfere with Nature's own healing powers..

Thus- how I understand it- healers and Reiki artists encourage natural energy patterns whilst SBM intervention works against it- stopping the natural healing from happening. One of the idiots I survey "adjusts" energy in people who have "imbalances" getting them to come into sych with his own pristinely perfect energy. SB meds and therapies- not being natural- can only harm according to this philosophy; non-organic foods, additives, GMOs and high heat can also destroy the natural life force inherent in foods- which would of course, assist the natural, self-healing. Pure foods and water, prayer , meditation and pure thoughts are healing- and probably non-acidic, if I follow their drift.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

And he sells a ton of stuff on his website too, like all card-carrying cranks.

But he's not in it for the money like those greedy oncologists.

Not only does using "$" in place of "s" get you past the moderation filter, it also enhances the meaning of "bull$hit artist" and "a$$hole".

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ S:

Unfortunately your acquantance isn't the only person who believes in whimsy-based psychology: Orac writes about Quackademia- it isn't only doctors and nurses, you know.

Awfully enough, some of the anti-vaxxers we're familiar with through AoA, TMR and the Canary Party include a social worker, school psychologist, counsellors...then there's Carol Stott.. I can't imagine how anyone who has ever studied the issues formally can buy AJW's ideas and the various biomedical treatment scams.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@LW
Bengston's treatment is not meant to kill the tumour but to strengthen the body. He says that killing and healing are incompatible: you can do one or the other. Reiki people on the other hand feel that you can support the body through Reiki while it's going through chemotherapy and that Reiki will counteract the side effects. That's why some hospitals offer Reiki by volunteers to cancer patients.

@Denice Walter
Have you heard of EMDR? If you have, what do think of it?

BTW there is now something called Energy Psychology and they have yearly conferences for it. Many psychotherapists I know attend.

Many psychotherapists I know attend.

And you know how many psychotherapists? If you're going to trot this sort of thing out, you're going to have to establish whether the appeal to authority even manages to amount to that.

@Judith

BTW there is now something called Energy Psychology and they have yearly conferences for it.

There is also something called Holocaust Denial and they also have conferences for it. The fact that there are yearly conferences for something doesn't make it legitimate. There was even a conference for geocentrism a couple of years ago.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Bengston’s treatment is not meant to kill the tumour but to strengthen the body. He says that killing and healing are incompatible: you can do one or the other.

Well, something's going to have to kill something for any of this to mean anything.

My therapist was trained in EMDR, it was why I sought him out when looking for help with some life issues. Turns out he decided it was bull$hit and had forgotten to scrub it from his website by the time I came along. As a former new ager/magical thinker, I was still looking for that easy fix. He turned out to be an even bigger skeptic than I was becoming, and five years of real talk therapy actually made a huge difference in my life. As for Energy Psychology, I pity the fearful marks that will get taken in by that crap.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Interesting book:

http://www.amazon.com/How-We-Do-Harm-America/dp/1250015766

"How We Do Harm exposes the underbelly of healthcare today—the over treatment of the rich, the under treatment of the poor, the financial conflicts of interest that determine the care that physicians’ provide, insurance companies that don’t demand the best (or even the least expensive) care, and pharmaceutical companies concerned with selling drugs, regardless of whether they improve health or do harm.

Dr. Otis Brawley is the chief medical and scientific officer of The American Cancer Society, an oncologist with a dazzling clinical, research, and policy career. How We Do Harm pulls back the curtain on how medicine is really practiced in America. Brawley tells of doctors who select treatment based on payment they will receive, rather than on demonstrated scientific results; hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that seek out patients to treat even if they are not actually ill (but as long as their insurance will pay); a public primed to swallow the latest pill, no matter the cost; and rising healthcare costs for unnecessary—and often unproven—treatments that we all pay for. Brawley calls for rational healthcare, healthcare drawn from results-based, scientifically justifiable treatments, and not just the peddling of hot new drugs.

Brawley’s personal history – from a childhood in the gang-ridden streets of black Detroit, to the green hallways of Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest public hospital in the U.S., to the boardrooms of The American Cancer Society—results in a passionate view of medicine and the politics of illness in America - and a deep understanding of healthcare today. How We Do Harm is his well-reasoned manifesto for change."

Brawley calls for rational healthcare, healthcare drawn from results-based, scientifically justifiable treatments, and not just the peddling of hot new drugs.

I must have missed the part where Dr. Brawley recommends replacing treatments supported by actual scientific evidence form proper controlled trials with magical had waving. Judith, could you point it out to me.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Interesting book

Posting three paragraphs of marketing copy, however, is not interesting.

I suspect three paragraphs of marketing copy is a close as Judith will ever come to reading the book. This is just like Marg trotting out Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma under the misapprehension that problems with the quality of current evidence for some pharmaceuticals somehow validates un-evidenced hand waving.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Judith, what do you think about Bengston's claims that he can cause cumulus clouds to dissipate by pointing at them. This is a claim that happens to fall into my domain of expertise since in happier times I spent a lot of time close to the bottoms of cumulus clouds in a glider and I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This means that I know that cumulus clouds are huge*, and the thermals that create them contain a lot of energy. I also have a good although somewhat rusty understanding of thermodynamics. I find these claims of cloud busting risible and I am prepared to show my work as I did on the previous thread.

This time I will assume a more conservative dew point of only 2 C (275.15 K). Again starting with the volume of a 800 m cube of air rising from a quarter section of summer fallow field we have an air volume 512 million cubic meters. The vapor pressure of water at 2 C is 0.706 kPa (from Wikipedia**). Using the ideal gas law this gives us 0.706*512000/275.15/8.314 = 158000 kg mol of water vapor condensing into 2846 tonnes of liquid water to form the cloud. In order to make the cloud disappear Bengston must re-vaporize this water. The latent heat of vaporization of water at 2 C is 45.0 MegaJoules / kg/mol. This means vaporizing the cloud will require 158000*45.0 = 7110 GigaJoules. If Bengston busts 4 clouds an hour this will require an average power output of 7.9 Gigawatts. To put 7110 GJ in perspective this is equivalent to burning 263 tonnes of anthracite coal (27 GJ/tonne). Never mind healing Bengston has the answer to AGW (please don't tell Stephen Harper or he will use it as excuse to nothing about Canada's appalling CO2 emissions).

Now, what is more likely, everything we know about thermodynamics is spectacularly wrong, or someone is telling porkies?

*One thing you learn early is that cumulus clouds are much bigger and much farther away than they look.

**For all its' faults, Wikipedia is a reliable source for constants like these.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

kg/mol should be kg mol - unlike you pantywaist scientists with your puny gram moles, us engineers use the more manly kg mole.

Randall Munroe of XKCD has examined the disgusting consequences of accumulating a mole of moles. It aint pretty.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Marc Stephens is Insane re: Bernie Siegel .... GAAAAHHHH!!!! A good friend gave me Siegel's stupid miracle book when I was diagnosed. It was my first introduction to breast cancer quackery, and I was horrified that a so-called medical doctor could be so ignorant and disrespectful. Talk about blame-the-patient mentality!

I went to the breastcancerwarrior site you linked to, and I'm disgusted. Ignorant and disrespectful don't even begin to describe Siegel, who deserves to have his license revoked and be sued for malpractice. Here's his advice to a breast cancer patient with recurrent disease asking how to choose a treatment:

"Dear TK -- You get out of your head and into your heart. You need to do what feels right and stop thinking. You are not a… statistic. There is self-induced healing and people who don't die when they’re supposed to. Doctors call them spontaneous remissions, which doesn't teach them anything. Start living the life you love so your body knows you want to live. Your body doesn't see death as the worst outcome so let it know you love it and your life and it will do all it can for you. "

ACK!!!!

Have you heard the story told by Bernie Siegel [...] ?

Have you heard of the term 'JAQing off"?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Militant,

It's not quite the same feat as cloudbusting, but have you seen the story about the "miracle healer"/psychic in Israel who says he deflected Hamas missiles away from Gaza using his energy? He's complaining that he's not getting any of the credit:

“I see all these politicians thanking this and thanking that, but giving no credit to Oren Zarif,” said the controversial figure, as his interviewer chuckled quietly next to him. “You need to understand, when you see missiles falling harmlessly into open area, this is happening because Oren Zarif is operating in unconventional ways.”

Yeah, he refers to himself in the third person.

Kookoo for Cocoa Puffs...

http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=6810

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Thenewme,

It's amazing what a small world it is in woo and how the same names keep popping up over and over. Sorry you had to relive memories of the time in your life when you got the book. I always think of you in particular when I encounter BC sites that infuriate me, and this guy's advice got to me.

Is anyone here familiar with radiology equipment? Would it even be possible for it to operate without the radioactive media without anyone knowing for over a month? This story smacks of urban legend to moi.

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 20 Nov 2012 #permalink

Oh, MSII, I *totally* agree. No apologies needed! I wasn't frustrated by your mention of this particular woo. In fact, it actually helps me by reminding me once again why I bother to even address crap like this. So many people tell me to not waste my time, but I'm inevitably drawn in.

I used to post a lot more on the breast cancer forum in response to quackery, but unfortunately the powers that be there prefer to give equal weight to all treatment options. It's maddening, as you can imagine, to see woo allowed and encouraged there on a site specifically for breast cancer patient support (and owned by a breast cancer physician, for gosh sake! )

I wish I knew better what I could *DO* to make a difference in the real lives of real breast cancer patients who are directly targeted via quack-magnet forums like BCO. It's so very frustrating, and I admit I let it get to me more than I should.

I really appreciate your posts here, by the way, and appreciate you thinking of me with regard to (anti-) breast cancer woo. I hate feeling so powerless, but it's good to know I'm not alone. Thanks!

Hmm, 'new' thread, still the same old (old) tired arguments...

@Judith

I would say there is a huge problem with the healthcare system if doctors have to push drugs to make a living. I don’t know what your excuse in the UK is.

Part of the advantages of having a UHC system is that doctors don't 'push' anything. They prescribe what they think is best for the patient because they get paid either way. This means they're more inclined to 'push' medications that are effective and safe; or 'push' lifestyle changes where relevant.

Also, how do you know the people you know who survived their cancers survived due to chemotherapy? You are making an assumption there. They could have survived due to surgery. Or radiation. Or luck. Or attitude. I am sure there is a name you all have for making such an assumption and you would use it if I made the same sort of comment for someone allegedly surviving due to energy treatments.

Holy crap - seriously? You're seriously asking this? F** and all this time I thought she was at least paying attention...

According to Bengston, chemo and radiation kill something in the person so treating them is akin to trying to charge a dead battery. He also says, quite responsibly, that if you use his method to treat someone who is currently receiving chemo, you might in fact cancel the chemo out, with the effect that the patient benefits from neither treatment.

Appeals to authority... wonderful.

He says that killing and healing are incompatible: you can do one or the other. Reiki people on the other hand feel that you can support the body through Reiki while it’s going through chemotherapy and that Reiki will counteract the side effects.

Shocking, yet more black and white thinking. And um, internal inconsistency. You can't kill and heal at the same time, except when you can?

... Man, if I had the skills I'd create a Marg/Judith bot. Randomised sentences from their comments would make as much sense as they do.

@MOB

Judith – you are thinking of science fiction grand master Arthur C. Clarke. Clarke’s law is generally stated as, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Let's not forget this is also the same man who fell for a fairy hoax by a couple of pre-teen girls.

@S

It is difficult to dispute her “what’s the harm” response.

Have you seen the What's The Harm website? It might have something useful there... but otherwise I'd make a point that encouraging avoidance of seeking properly trained medical assistance and medicines *is* the harm.

I know from experience that seeking alternative methods to meds/professional help is one way of both trying to avoid stigma and putting in some tough decisions about what to do. (Not aiming for victim blaming so much as suggesting apathy can do a lot to keep you away from SBM)

@Thenewme

I wish I knew better what I could *DO* to make a difference in the real lives of real breast cancer patients who are directly targeted via quack-magnet forums like BCO. It’s so very frustrating, and I admit I let it get to me more than I should.

I think the 'difference' is intangible for the most part. For me, my natural curiousity sent me reading different things and that sent me down a rabbit-hole of info. The more I read, and the more discussions like this I get myself involved in - even as a lurker - the more I learn about good from bad arguments. You may never hear from people whose lives change, or who think twice about something, or decide to go a different way: but trust me, it does happen.

The more people who speak up about this stuff, the better. The more people who say "this is my experience, this is the research, this is what really happened" the more you can counteract the silly testimonials and attempts to speak for the ones who *have* received chemo.

That's my opinion on it, anyway.

>blockquote>"Do you think Pierre Trudeau had concentration camps constructed to imprison western separatists in the 1980s?"

I knew that sumbitch was up to something. Too bad it wasn't very effective or we might be spared Prorogue Man.

@MA but there are things that science doesn't know, so flim-flam this is not. Nice example of the energy involved.

Us gurus have figured out how to manipulate matter at the quantum level doncha know?

I took that online course at Judy's place, felt my balls of energy and within a day or so, a hangnail I've had for a week or so healed. True story.

Now The Mouse Whisperer needs a photo? No mention of that in The Star, just gushing paragraphs of him healing many things both mind and body - like a gangrenous leg.

If only OHIP covered that I could have chosen voodoo hand jive over debridement and stitches. Oh you nanny state getting in the way of us energy healers.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@flip, the idea that they don't really know if a treatment works - during a study even - is common and somewhat infuriating given the scars I have on my arm from all the blood they took outta me to track what was going on.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Let’s not forget this is also the same man who fell for a fairy hoax by a couple of pre-teen girls.

No, it isn't, that was Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

@LW

Thanks - my mistake, and serves me right for not proofreading before submitting. ... Sigh... I'll just waddle over here to remove my foot from my mouth...

@Al Kimeea

the idea that they don’t really know if a treatment works – during a study even – is common and somewhat infuriating given the scars I have on my arm from all the blood they took outta me to track what was going on.

Yes, during the study it's hard to tell. After the study and with numerous repeats... not so much. (Also: ouch!)

Also, how do you know the people you know who survived their cancers survived due to chemotherapy? You are making an assumption there. They could have survived due to surgery. Or radiation. Or luck. Or attitude. I am sure there is a name you all have for making such an assumption and you would use it if I made the same sort of comment for someone allegedly surviving due to energy treatments.

And now you understand WHY it's important to rigorously collect all that data that you've already acknowledged you don't even try to collect. We may SUSPECT that patients who are treated with a promising chemotherapeutic agent survive their cancers more often than those treated with other agents, but without collecting that data and studying it carefully, there's no way we can say we KNOW.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Bengston’s treatment is not meant to kill the tumour but to strengthen the body.

Now The Mouse Whisperer needs a photo? No mention of that in The Star, just gushing paragraphs of him healing many things both mind and body – like a gangrenous leg.

Wait -- so The Mouse Whisperer can strengthen the body and heal a gangrenous leg, but can't strengthen the body enough to recover from the ravages of chemo? Which the body can generally recover from naturally, given time?

Oh wait, chemo is unnatural. Magic doesn't work to repair damage done by unnatural things. Like taxol.

Marg, do you really not see how silly this special pleading is?

Did the Toronto Star puff piece mention Bengston's "Cloud Busting"?

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Oh, and Marg and Judith, how can Bengston heal cancer anyway, given that we've been assured that cancer is caused by unnatural toxins in the environment and did not exist prior to modern industry? It's the result of poisoning by toxins produced by industry, hence it causes dead somethings, hence Bengston cannot heal it.

Judith: Bengston’s treatment is not meant to kill the tumour but to strengthen the body. He says that killing and healing are incompatible: you can do one or the other. Reiki people on the other hand feel that you can support the body through Reiki while it’s going through chemotherapy and that Reiki will counteract the side effects. That’s why some hospitals offer Reiki by volunteers to cancer patients.

It would be interesting to know if those patients have signed an informed consent form with a explicit statement acknowledging that Reiki can "counteract the side effects" of chemo and strengthen the body.

I would guess that those patients instead welcome the Reiki treatments because of the human interaction, the conversation, and warm, soothing, gentle touching. Even if they wanted the treatment solely for it's soothing qualities, who's to say that they wouldn't sign a consent agreeing that it has mystical healing powers, just so they can get the treatment.

Judith,

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was one of the few cancers that was shown to respond well.

So you admit that chemotherapy isn't completely useless? Yet you condemn those who prescribe it at all. Perhaps you should be a bit more precise in your language - not all chemotherapy is cytotoxic, and as you have noted some is adjuvant to surgery, some is the main treatment. Some types of chemotherapy are very effective, some are less so, some have serious side effects some have practically none.

Making sweeping generalizations isn't very helpful, and as we have already discussed, even in situations where it is least effective such as unresectable pancreatic cancer or lung cancer it is not "next to useless". A few months of extra life can be precious, as I'm sure you know from all your experience with terminal cancer patients. Those evil oncologists you condemn, who only prescribe chemotherapy for money, are probably saving people's lives as they do so, unlike Reiki masters and energy healers.

Also, how do you know the people you know who survived their cancers survived due to chemotherapy? You are making an assumption there. They could have survived due to surgery. Or radiation.

I am making assumptions, but based on good evidence.

My friend with lymphoma didn't have surgery or radiation; she had an aggressive form of lymphoma that kills within months without treatment.

My sister-in-law's multiple myeloma which typically kills within a year was treated several years ago with chemotherapy alone and she is successfully maintained on drugs (thalidomide IIRC, I'll check next time I talk to her).

My brother's kidney cancer was treated with surgery, but the metastasis in his lung was treated successfully with chemotherapy, with no radiation. Maybe the lung tumor would have shrunk on its own, but I doubt it. It was growing before chemotherapy and shrank during it.

My friend with kidney cancer was also treated with surgery, losing both his kidneys, but the cancer had metastasized to his stomach, liver and pancreas so it is very probably chemotherapy that has kept him alive the past three years - I don't think he has had any radiotherapy in that time. He is hoping to live until March when his first grandchild is due, so the few months chemotherapy may buy him are very precious indeed.

There is some doubt in there of course, but so little I feel confident enough to credit the chemotherapy in most cases.

Or luck.

By "luck" I assume you mean the natural variation in survival when untreated, but all of them have survived much longer than you would expect if they hadn't had chemotherapy.

Or attitude.

There is little evidence that people's attitudes have any effect on their survival and a lot of evidence that it does not. It's another one of those things that everyone knows but isn't true. IIRC some years ago there was a clinical trial of breast cancer patients that suggested an effect of a positive attitude, but several studies since have failed to replicate it. It seems that milder symptoms lead to a more positive attitude and a better outcome, not vice versa.

I am sure there is a name you all have for making such an assumption and you would use it if I made the same sort of comment for someone allegedly surviving due to energy treatments.

I was basing my statement on clinical trials that prove that chemotherapy greatly increases people's chances of survival in the cancers my friends and relatives have or had. Where is the evidence that proves the same about energy treatments? Where is the aggressive lymphoma patient who only had energy treatment and is still alive 30 years later? The outcomes in the energy healing anecdotes you have related fall within the expected range of outcomes for untreated cancers, the outcomes in my chemotherapy anecdotes do not.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Have you heard the story told by Bernie Siegel about the oncologist who was doing radiation for months with a dead machine and whose patients were still getting both the effects and the side effects normal to radiation?

I had heard that one before, it's repeated in this article by Siegel. I'm not an expert on radiotherapy by any means, but don't radiotherapy machines generally use x-rays? I don't think I have heard of machines which contain a radioisotope that someone could forget to replace without anyone noticing. There are machines that are used to place radioactive material in applicators for rectal or vaginal application, but since I believe gamma cameras are used to position these, if they didn't contain any radioactive material this would be noticed immediately. Something doesn't ring true about this.

Anyway, it wasn't "months" it was "one month", and I doubt anyone would have noticed the lack of effect of a radiotherapy machine within a month anyway. Not all patients get burns, and the effects may not be distinct from other treatments the patient is getting. The idea that these patients, "had side effects and their tumors shrinking because they thought they were being treated" is simply preposterous.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@MA, I don't think so. I'll check when I get home. I kept it to write something but never got around to it and now I might since he's squeaked into my universe again.

@LW despite the word itself being used since ancient times to describe the disease. Must of been something else the egyptians were burning off.

@flip it was difficult for my minder and myself to know for sure during the study, but there are other bloody indicators that show a positive progression for us to follow/discuss. Those behind the curtain were following the progress of the treatment no problemo, having access to all the data.

I was able to figure out which arm of five I was in after it ended of course. One lab rat broke open his pills, found they were sweet and concluded he was on placebo. The real good news for me didn't come until much later but I could feel I was healthier. Having said that, I felt that way during the first failed study. Placebo strikes again!

Ouchie, from the bloodletting? Not really, the lady was very good, 98% painless and the rest I felt a little prick. By the end she said she could feel the scar tissue.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

that should be feel the scar tissue with the needle as she pushed it in

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@LW

Wait — so The Mouse Whisperer can strengthen the body and heal a gangrenous leg, but can’t strengthen the body enough to recover from the ravages of chemo? Which the body can generally recover from naturally, given time?

Oh wait, chemo is unnatural. Magic doesn’t work to repair damage done by unnatural things. Like taxol.

This kind of thinking shows just how much they're applying themselves not to the real world, but to the supernatural instead...

I've heard of EMDR and don't think very much of it: again, what would the mechanism of action be?

What we call mental illness and emotional problems can be both biochemical and psych-social- how in the world can blinking your eyes affect how you think and behave amongst people in the real world?

KIds take a long time to develop realistic ideas about the world and their fellows- including self-evaluation and self-regulation through language- what we call executive functioning: how can that be changed and all tidied up when amiss- by BLINKING! The idea is actually blinking mad.

I like to think that therapy and counselling are just forms of education about how to interact with others as well as a form of self-programming- how to get yourself to do what you want to do: calm yourself down, rally your spirits, deal with others, work harder, not give up, have hope for the future. It's not magic that can be accomplished by hand waving, eye blinking or Om chanting.

Although most of the big guns in woo-ville would say otherwise: surveying woo, I have encountered a great deal of opposition to SB psychology which includes vitriol heaped upon any medication used to control symptoms as wel as dismissal of effective SB forms of therapy like CBT.
.
Energy medicine/ psychology is their answer to all the problems which are - in reality- engendered by physiological conditions, learning and ineffective social interactions ( and I am really simplifying thoings because this is an outline, not a dissertation).

One of the idiots I survey characterises all human interactions as "energy exchanges": a teacher instructs and guides a student, a person feels sexual attraction for another or a parent cares for a child. Those are all exchanges of some form of life energy; problems arrive when the energy patterns are off-kiltre and can be adjusted by the master energy alligner, such as himself. RIGHT.

Wouldn't you think that calling every interaction an 'energy exchange' grossly simplifies the intracacies and subtleties of human interaction, language and self-regard into meaninglessness? To suppose that every problem has a specific freqency that can be tuned up into a more appropriate one - *a la* Rife- is pathetically mis-understanding the complexity of life as well as misleading vulnerable followers.

Yet energy adjustments, prayer, meditation and herbal/ supplement remedies are alt media's answer to all of the psychological questions we can ever ask.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@LW despite the word itself being used since ancient times to describe the disease. Must of been something else the egyptians were burning off.

I do hope it was apparent that I was being facetious. But "cancer is caused by unnatural toxins created by modern industry" is a trope beloved of many newagers. If only we lived in a pure state of nature we wouldn't have all these problems...

@thenewme
Siegel's advice to breast cancer patients makes sense, and does not say "don't have surgery, radiation and chemo".

@Flip
I'm not appealing to authority when I quote Bengston; I'm just telling you what he says. Being informative, so to speak.

@Denice Walter
I didn't think EMDR worked with blinking. I thought the therapist passed a light in front of your eyes and had you looking from side to side.

Here is a on EFT and PTSD:

http://www.stressproject.org/research.html

I don't know what these numbers mean, but they may speak to you:

http://www.stressproject.org/documents/traumatologygraphs.pdf

Does this mean EFT is useful for PTSD?

"here is a website"

it would be really useful to have a preview button

@Al Kimeea

I'm a bit afraid of needles, so I tend not to enjoy lots of them.

As for being a lab rat, I've never experienced that sort of thing - I have done a study, but it consisted of me telling the researcher my experiences of certain treatments/hospitals.

@ Judith:

I was being facetious: how would moving your eyes from side to side or in ANY particular pattern have any sort of effect on complex patterns of social interaction and internal self-regard guided by language.

People's problems with being-in-the-world are a complex of physiological and social as well as linguistic: what have eye movements to do with that?

I'm on my way out the door...

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith

I’m not appealing to authority when I quote Bengston; I’m just telling you what he says. Being informative, so to speak.

Yes, that's an appeal to authority all right.

How about posting not third-hand comments of what he says, but a link to what he ACTUALLY says... or even better, to some studies that prove energy healing works.

He says she says is fun for kiddies. Try bringing in something we can confirm for ourselves...

@Flip
Read his book.

Like it or not, the woo-meisters are taking over.

You know, so much of this stuff is essentially lazy, looking for the greatest rewards with the least effort. People want health without vaccines or medicines, cancer cured without side effects, wealth without work, perfect relationships by tapping your body, an afterlife where we can make amends with lost loved ones so we don't need to bother while they are alive, a world in which everyone cares for each other just through meditation and so on and so forth.

I wish it did work that way. I wish magic was real, and that we really could attract wealth and happiness just by thinking lovely thoughts and make cancer disappear through our imaginations, but reality just doesn't work like that. If we want to make real changes in the world we have to take action. It's only by spurring us to action that any of these ideas have any effects at all in the real world.

Pretending that magic works is a form of denial, a way of avoiding engaging with reality, of avoiding coming to terms with our mortality, the ultimate in refusing to take responsibility and in emotional immaturity. I really do think this movement is one of the most damaging sets of beliefs around.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Marc Stephens Is Insane:

Is anyone here familiar with radiology equipment? Would it even be possible for it to operate without the radioactive media without anyone knowing for over a month? This story smacks of urban legend to moi.

I'm a software engineer, and one popular cautionary tale in my field is the THERAC-25. It was a radiotherapy machine with a software defect that turned out to be fatal -- specifically, a class of software bug called a race condition, which occurs only when events happen in a specific order and a specific timing. There were severe radiation injuries and a number of deaths as well. Given how long it took to figure out that this machine was killing people (two years), I could believe a machine could function for a month without anyone realizing it was silently failing to do anything.

I'm a tad more skeptical of the part of the story that claims patients were still getting all the effects and side effects of radiation, though....

Krebiozen:

I had heard that one before, it’s repeated in this article by Siegel. I’m not an expert on radiotherapy by any means, but don’t radiotherapy machines generally use x-rays? I don’t think I have heard of machines which contain a radioisotope that someone could forget to replace without anyone noticing.

Yes, they use x-rays. X-rays can be produced lots of ways. Your typical x-ray machine uses an x-ray tube that works in principle very much like a TV tube or a flourescent light, except that it emits x-rays instead of visible light. Many radiotherapy machines do the same thing; I believe the THERAC-25 did, for instance. But this takes a lot of power; portable machines, machines in developing countries, and some very old machines do still use radioisotopes. You'd *think* nobody could forget to replace it without anyone noticing, but stranger things have happened. One famous incident was basically the reverse of that -- a radiotherapy machine was abandoned in a defunct hospital, and nobody had removed the cesium-137 source. A couple of scavengers broke into the abandoned hospital, found the device, and took it as scrap. They found an interesting glowing blue powder inside. The story gets pretty awful from there on out, especially once people started playing with the interesting powder. Five people died, but over a hundred thousand were exposed. (Still, I don't think removal of a source would be at all normal. You need shielding and stuff like that; removing it would be a very obvious event. But maybe if the paperwork wasn't filed, and someone was on vacation and several others involved got laid off or retired or were hit by busses -- well, stranger things have happened, and one lesson I've learned in my job is that you can never assume everybody before you has done their job properly; you probably shouldn't even assume that you yourself have done your job properly.)

tl;dr -- I also find the story suspicious. But not because it's inconceivable that someone would screw up the radiotherapy machine that badly. ;-)

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@LW, no problems, I realized your intent. I wasn't very clear that I'm in agreement. :P

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

You’d *think* nobody could forget to replace it without anyone noticing, but stranger things have happened.

Isn't it necessary to take films to verify the patient setup in the first place? This story also strikes me as fishy.

@ Krebiozen:

I've often though that laziness fuels woo- both client and provider alike. We have these so-called experts in health who profess knowing more than doctors or psychologists because they studied in a few woo-centric evening classes or suchlike. As many of us here can assert, that's not what an education in science entails. It's hard work and takes forever- or just seems like it does.
Similarly, folks like AJW wanted a shortcut to fame and fortune, so they took the easy path rather than doing years of poorly-paid, painstaking research to learn something new that is a real effect- not a fraud comprised of smoke and mirrors.

@ Narad:

Most of what I've read from Siegal seems fishy.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

I should be really doing something else, but instead I've been looking at the International Energy Psychology Conference that Judith kindly posted a link to - it's what Orac might describe as a target-rich environment.

There's Gary Craig the developer of EFT (utterly implausible and unsurprisingly doesn't work), who offers an entire day on "The Power of Ethical Marketing - Believability Builds Your Business and Your Reputation" which is presumably all about making your bulll$hit believable. He also offers a session entitled 'A New Psychology - The Ultimate Healing Tool', the modest and understated blurb for which I cannot resist quoting in full:

Walk with me through this new doorway and learn why all the standard books on psychology need to be rewritten. In this engaging 90 minute presentation, I will be introducing a New Psychology that is much more promising than EFT, medicine or anything else this world has to offer. Join with me in this pioneering new concept that blends spirituality with Quantum Physics into a compelling direction that is destined to take the healing field in a new direction. Discover that the Ultimate Healing Tool isn’t a method or a protocol or something you buy at the pharmacy. It is you.

More promising than medicine my a$$.

Marilyn Mandala Schlitz "helps Deepak Chopra explore the idea of nonlocality" (which sounds like a euphemism to me) and is President and CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a notorious center of pseudoscience. She is one of the authors of a recent study 'Distant healing of surgical wounds: an exploratory study' PMID 22742672. It looked at breast surgery patients, who were either blinded and received distant healing or no distant healing, or were unblinded and knew they were receiving distant healing.

The study found "No differences in the main measures were observed across the three groups", which seems pretty unambiguous to me, but after some goal-post shifting sorry, I mean "post-hoc observations", the study concludes, "some of the ambiguity observed in earlier DHI studies may be attributable to interactions among participants' and healers' beliefs, their expectations, and their motivations".

Gary Schwartz was there, he is responsible for some of the most embarrassingly credulous "research" on mediums I have ever come across, and he apparently believes that 'Medium' is a documentary (check out his work with Allison Dubois).

Amit Goswami appears in 'What the Bleep Do We Know?' a movie so indescribably awful that I still haven't managed to sit through it, despite several courageous attempts. I just couldn't get past the bit where they claimed that native Americans literally couldn't see the invading Europeans ships, apart from the enlightened shaman with his elevated state of consciousness. Dr. Goswami says in the movie, “The material world around us is nothing but possible movements of consciousness. I am choosing moment by moment my experience. Heisenberg said atoms are not things, only tendencies.” That sounds like someone in the throes of a 1960s acid trip to me; no further comment on Dr. Goswami required I think.

Daniel Siegel seems to me to be the only one of these people who is at all able to distinguish things that go on inside people's heads from those that go on outside them. Even he has a tendency to lapse into claims like:

I think an outcome of our brain development is that we think we're all separate, when in fact we're all interconnected like cells in the body. And so with mindfulness practice, we can actually use science to dissolve this optical delusion or separateness so we come to feel the truth, which is that we're all deeply interconnected and interdependent.

That's not an existential truth we need to wake up to, it's an ideal we should be striving towards.

Just to add to the wooish flavor there were also sessions on 'Healing Past Life Trauma', 'Integral Qi Energetics' and, not to be missed, 'Quantum Healing in Mind-Body Medicine' from the aforementioned Dr. Goswami, who is allegedly a theoretical nuclear physicist who should know better.

I can't say I'm sorry I missed it.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

(Especially @Judith and Marg) Is there a distinction in terms of the title or modality which specifically refer to the energy healers who do their healing from a distance? I'm thinking of the healers who advertise as performing their services over the telephone, sometimes via a conference call for a group healing session, else a private healing session over a single phone line for those who are more seriously ill.

If they are healing with energy, then how is it that their positive energy can travel over the phone line, without the 'energy' from the telco communications causing interference? Should they not be conducting their sessions during thunderstorms?

Why do they even need to use the telephone at all, if their energy can travel across time and space?

I've never noticed that they request a photograph prior to the session, just a monetary donation.

@Denice, If I have your permission, I'd like to compile some of your comments into a single document, and send them to that LCSW. I am sure she will see that as being argumentative and confrontational, but in any case, I'm interested in her response.

Along this line, there are other mental health providers who believe that having their patients view a series of colored lights is an effective treatment for depression, and perhaps other illnesses.

If they are healing with energy, then how is it that their positive energy can travel over the phone line, without the ‘energy’ from the telco communications causing interference?

Don't forget the bandwidth issue. Then again, one can totally send homeopathic healing resonances by MP3 file.

@al kimeea, no problems here either.

I was just afraid someone else might read my comment and think I actually believed that "[Cancer is] the result of poisoning by toxins produced by industry, hence it causes dead somethings, hence Bengston cannot heal it." Which I don't. Except for the statement that Bengston cannot heal it. I do believe that.

Don’t forget the bandwidth issue. Then again, one can totally send homeopathic healing resonances by MP3 file.

Oh, my! This guy, Peter Chappell is a saint. He says that he has devoted his life to helping people all over Africa recover from AIDS using his homeopathic resonance system. Anyone can use his system of self-healing to recover from serious infectious diseases. /sarcasm off

http://www.healingdownloads.com/about.php

Individual treatment is not the direct way of treating infectious disease.

Unless you have an underlying chronic condition which is limiting your immune system. If you have an infectious disease and were otherwise healthy before, then these resonances are an effective approach.

This guy is absolute slime! There are not enough prisons in the world to lock up all of these freakin quacks! http://www.vitalremedies.com/

We have shown this works amazingly well in practice in thousands of cases across a wide range of serious epidemic diseases. We provide the resonances for a wide range of epidemic diseases on this site, including many western epidemics like Lymes, herpes, flu, mono, fungal infections, chlamydia, candida, the common cold and warts. As well as resonances for all the main endemic and epidemic diseases of Africa.

Where are the Internet police?

Don’t forget the bandwidth issue.

I did indeed forget about bandwidth. That must be why the healing sessions aren't successful in my town. The government, notorious for their conspiracy against alternative medicine providers, has apparently teamed up with Cisco and other manufacturers in a covert operation to rewire the circuitry of their routers so as to perpetuate the suffering of society. Certainly, they must be electronically blocking the healing resonances using special filters in their telephone and other communications equipment. It's all part of the conspiracy that Peter Chappell discusses on his websites. /sarcasm off.

These are the two most egregious examples from the website: from a list of the conditions the recordings can "treat" and anonymous testimonials of their success. I guess he doesn't mention cancer because it's a British company and the Cancer Act applies.

AIDS

In AIDS, an AIDS healing download was listened to three times a day by a 36 year old woman and full recovery was clear 17 days later, she was better in all ways, could walk long distances (for example 5km instead of 100 meters), could work, could eat well, and all the symptoms had disappeared.

Malaria
(where there is fever, severe pain, weakness, etc)
The man (see photo) was better from malaria symptoms, after listening non-stop for 20 minutes in an hour, with no other treatment. Normal treatment takes 3 to 4 days, often only half works and has complications/weakness that remains for a week. In this case, the man (on the right) the morning after the night of malaria is standing with his kiln of 4000 bricks he is firing for building his house; this was such a rapid recovery that it is almost unheard of. This was also possibly the fastest cure ever seen.

Wouldn't you like to be back at work or up and about tomorrow?

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

We provide the resonances for a wide range of epidemic diseases on this site, including many western epidemics like Lymes, herpes, flu, mono, fungal infections, chlamydia, candida, the common cold and warts.

Hey, he's one-upped Bengston right there.

I can imagine a radio station that plays nothing but these resonance recordings. "Coming up at 2, the Herpes Hour...right now the sound of healing continues as we cure your chlamydia...Don't forgot this weekend we go all malaria so you can be back at work Monday morning..."

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

I did indeed forget about bandwidth. That must be why the healing sessions aren’t successful in my town. The government, notorious for their conspiracy against alternative medicine providers, has apparently teamed up with Cisco and other manufacturers in a covert operation to rewire the circuitry of their routers so as to perpetuate the suffering of society.

I actually meant the acoustic bandwidth on copper pairs, which is around a range of 300 Hz to 3.2 kHz. Maybe somebody should look into the effects of different multiplexing schemes on telephonic transmission of healing energy. I mean, you wouldn't want to be paying for the vibrations just to be shunted into the DSL modem or something.

If they're homeopathic recordings, are they less effective the louder you play them?

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Militant Agnostic - the article titled "Proof of a healing touch" does not mention the cloudbusting but is subbed - "W Bengston has scientifically proven that hands-on healing can cure many ailments"

Of course, he is a skeptic scientist and not a healer.

It's a Q&A and the last question is "Can anyone learn to be a healer?" ironally from a young woman tragically confined to a wheel chair - the journalist. He speculates yes given a person's natural ability and his DVD I guess. Cha-ching.

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Marc Stevens Is Insanely Funny

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

my apopologies MSII for the wrong spelling

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

If they’re homeopathic recordings, are they less effective the louder you play them?

These guys don't seem to think so.

Al,

Thanks, but when you have such a big target it's not hard to make fun of it.

I wonder if there's anything out there that Marge and/or Judith would think was "too far gone" or ludicrous, even for them.

And don't worry about the spelling: as you probably know, it's not my name.

By Marc Stephens … (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Marc Stephens Is Insanely Funny, I agree. I'm starting to think there should be a page added to RI for the most quotable quotes.

(Especially @Judith and Marg) Is there a distinction in terms of the title or modality which specifically refer to the energy healers who do their healing from a distance? I’m thinking of the healers who advertise as performing their services over the telephone, sometimes via a conference call for a group healing session, else a private healing session over a single phone line for those who are more seriously ill.

If they are healing with energy, then how is it that their positive energy can travel over the phone line, without the ‘energy’ from the telco communications causing interference? Should they not be conducting their sessions during thunderstorms?

Why do they even need to use the telephone at all, if their energy can travel across time and space?

I’ve never noticed that they request a photograph prior to the session, just a monetary donation.

Marg and Judith, This was a serious question. I would like your thoughts on this. This is how your peer energy healers practice prey on patients.

A new specialty of medical care should be started for those recovering from these health fraud schemes, something like 'Quackovery'.

Hum, the word practice in my last comment should have had a line marked through it, crossing it out.

S,
The code you are looking for is [strike} and [/strike] like this. I'm going to look very silly if that doesn't work.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

S Krebiozen

isn't it ""phrase"" without the "

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

what happened to the opening

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

open with a shift+comma and close with a shift+period with a key to the right of the right shift key before the closing strike

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

crap left of right shift

By al kimeea (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Thanks, Krebiozen and Al.

Al, I'm not sure I understand your comment. I call them tags, instead of phrases, but code works for me. Hopefully, this will not work. I use the greater-than and lesser-than characters, not the brackets.

@ S:

Compile away, if you think it'll accomplish anything- which I doubt.
However, it should be noted that my comments are short hand for a whole lot more that I have discussed at other times here- thus it's part of a conversation not an edited article. At any rate, the point is that many of these so-called therapies have NO MECHANISM OF ACTION that would explain how they work to ameliorate psychological problems.

Of course, you can always say that they facillitate interaction between the counsellor and client or that they make clients 'hopeful'- there are other more honest ways of accomplishing those aims that don't involve creating a charade or playing at being a healer.

-btw- I am semi-anonymous and at present, reside somewhere in the northern hemisphere. I have studied both clinical and experimental psychology and other stuff.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

S,
I should have specified to use the greater than and less than characters instead of the square brackets in my example, but you appear to have divined my meaning anyway.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

I wonder if there’s anything out there that Marge and/or Judith would think was “too far gone” or ludicrous, even for them.

Marg has previously advanced, in response to a direct question, that she has never encountered a bogus "energy healer," although I think she reserved the possibility that this subspecies might exist somewhere.

@S
If it were "energy" by the definition we now give to the word distance would dissipate it. The phone is also an unnecessary accoutrement to the process. According to Bengston (and any number of others) distance is immaterial. Since you don't think energy healing in person is possible, I doubt that you will have any greater regard for distance healing.

@Narad
There are incompetent healers out there just as there are incompetent doctors, accountants, plumbers, receptionists, sales people, you name it.

@Krebiozen
Thank you for your stories of cancer survival. In truth my experience with chemotherapy has been limited to what I have seen and heard and most of it has not been positive. It was good to read something positive.

MESSAGE BEGINS-----------------------

If only they knew what "other stuff" meant, they might be a degree or two more respectful to you Cadre Leader Walter, DW, DL, etc.
I'd stay and chat but the surviving members of the Kthrakxxk consulate and the Rothschildren are here for poker night and we've polished off several bottles of Chateau Mouton already. Wouldn't want to say anything I'll regret on the dayside.

Remain viglant and do something with these troublesome energy witches, will you. They eat into our profits so.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Grand Vitara of Wikiup, Reiki Sushi Master

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
0010101111010101010111010000101010111010

-------------------------MESSAGE ENDS

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

I’ve heard of EMDR and don’t think very much of it: again, what would the mechanism of action be?

What we call mental illness and emotional problems can be both biochemical and psych-social- how in the world can blinking your eyes affect how you think and behave amongst people in the real world?

KIds take a long time to develop realistic ideas about the world and their fellows- including self-evaluation and self-regulation through language- what we call executive functioning: how can that be changed and all tidied up when amiss- by BLINKING! The idea is actually blinking mad.

I'm sorry, Denice, but this that you've presented here is a massive straw man, not in any way a realistic reflection of EMDR. It would be like me mocking the possibility that "talking therapy" could be of any use by asking rhetorically "how could merely uttering syllables at another person, who utters syllables back at you, possibly do anything to solve people's real problems??"

I've had EMDR twice, and the effects of those sessions were pretty impressive, if somewhat unpredictable. In both cases, the therapist and I worked together to identify a statement that I accepted intellectually but was unable to come to terms with emotionally. I then followed the pencil he held as he moved it back and forth within my field of vision; it produced a rather unpleasant fatigue in the eyeball muscles, and we continued to talk about the statement I'd identified.

The two sessions had rather different results. In the first session, it led to a moment where I simply suddenly saw the truth of the identified statement. Remember, this was a statement I already accepted to be true intellectually, but emotionally could not accept. Suddenly it was like ... the best comparison I can give is the difference between following all the steps of a mathematical proof, and on the other hand seeing a really well-constructed illustration of the proof. One convinces you, the other CONVINCES you.

The second session ... went a bit differently. Even though we had worked on a statement beforehand, my mind actually went to a very different incident, one I hadn't thought of in years, one I had always carried guilt and pain from. That incident suddenly came back to me, and I saw for the first time that - even though I would have entirely denied that I blamed myself for it - I did, in fact. I knew the accusations against me were false but blamed myself for being, somehow, the sort of person who gets suspected of such things. Recalling it in the session, for the first time I saw that I couldn't take responsibility for others' mistaken judgments of me, and again, it wasn't merely accepting it on an intellectual level, but seeing the truth of it. ... I suspect that the unpredicted results from that session, as positive as they were, were a major reason we didn't go farther with the EMDR.

Now, do the results from those sessions prove that EMDR works? No; that's the fallacy of affirming the consequent. However, I can say very confidently that something sure happened in those sessions that had never happened before or since. Whether it was EMDR, hypnosis, or some other effect, I can't claim to know from just my own personal experience with it.

However, I do think it deserves better than dismissal with the straw man "'all your problems can be solved by BLINKING!!' Hogwash!"

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

There are incompetent healers out there just as there are incompetent doctors, accountants, plumbers, receptionists, sales people, you name it.

This is rather strange phrasing, as the original question regarded fraudulent "healers."

The phone is also an unnecessary accoutrement to the process. According to Bengston (and any number of others) distance is immaterial.

You might as well get it over with and throw in time. In essence, all you're asserting is that you don't really mean 'energy' when you say "energy," you mean energy.

@Narad
Fraudulent healers are generally incompetent healers.

@Judith - count me in as someone who had a positive chemo experience. Not bad at all and I'm NED (no evidence if disease). Be careful when you talk about something of which you know nothing about....and I hope you never do.

Fraudulent healers are generally incompetent healers.

This is even odder phrasing than Judith's. You're now (1) finally acknowledging the existence of fraudulent healers and (2) claiming that they might not be "incompetent" all the same? Should've stuck with the backward pass, Marg.

Judith,

You wrote: “There are incompetent healers out there just as there are incompetent doctors, accountants, plumbers, receptionists, sales people, you name it.”

As reiki itself doesn’t work, so there is no ‘competent’ or ‘incompetent’, just wrong-headedness by anyone who uses it, espouses it, sells it, etc.

@Judith

Siegel’s advice to breast cancer patients makes sense, and does not say “don’t have surgery, radiation and chemo”.

How does "listening to your heart" (in other words making decisions about your medical treatment based on irrational emotions rather than evidence and expert opinion make sense?

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Judith and/or Marg - could you point out the flaw in my thermodynamic calculations that show that the claims of Begston's "cloud busting" are risible? Even dissolving a small cloud would require an enormous energy expenditure equivalent to burning a dump-truck load of high grade coal.

Which is more likely, every thing we know about physics and thermodynamics is not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong or someone is telling porkies*?

I got this delightful Cockneyism from Ben Goldacre (pork pies = lies)

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

Militant Agnostic,

There's also the word porkies, as in ‘telling porkies’.

I felt a little prick
I feel the same way after being rude to idiots on the internet, but I get over it.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 21 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Antaeus:

Sorry to be disagreeable but I think what occured had very ittle to do SPECIFICALLY with eye movements but was an avenue to explore emotional content perhaps allowing less self-critical thinking ( that's therefore more emotional) in the presence of a therapist. I think that this could- and is- accomplished more easily in other ways.

There are many ways to get people to reach emotional areas that they usually shy away from- there's a huge list of
expressive modalities - including art. movement, writing, reacting to thematic material ( literature), and relaxation techniques- the 1970s produced other exotica- as well as uh ,talk therapy. I don't that this is an anything special. There's a review about this by Herbert et al ( 2000) Clin Psy Rev 20, that addresses some of this

You mentioned that this might work like hypnosis does - and I think that that's corrrect. Hypnosis is not an specialised magical state of consciousness as is protrayed in novels or films but a different focus perhaps.

At any rate, if it helped you, great: I just don't think that eye movements cause what you experienced. I have problems with people marketting therapies that proclaim that something new is happening without being able to explain just how that happens physiologically or via learning theory.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

Continuing along:
I think that the reason that some might resort to techniques like EMDR or hypnosis is to shorten the amount of time spent discussing issues with the therapist; in the early days, pioneers of psychotherapy used hypnosis, free-association and the predecessor to the lie detector.

Similarly, utilising evocative therapies and imagination - perhaps discussing dreams and fantasies- are another avenue. I feel that the reason some far-fetched activities like past-life regression and energy work might have useful effects is because the client becomes aware of emotions not usually present and has someone there who is sympatheteic to listen and encourage further exploration.

I have personally used a form of mild self-hypnosis on myself- it's not too far removed from self-regulation of your activities and emotions through inner speech.
(-btw- I don't do any of those type of therapy on people- just straight forward counselling about specific issues and problems usually related to educational and vocational actviities)

And I can think of may other more effacacious ways of getting closer to deeply seated emotional issues.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

At any rate, if it helped you, great: I just don’t think that eye movements cause what you experienced. I have problems with people marketting therapies that proclaim that something new is happening without being able to explain just how that happens physiologically or via learning theory.

What are you demanding in the realm of "being able to explain just how"? When Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, he wasn't able to explain just how characteristics were inherited from ancestors, but that didn't stop him from being correct about what he was proposing.

Like I said, I'm not taking my own experience as automatic validation of EMDR's hypothesized mechanism of action. But rather than making relevant objections to EMDR's hypothesized mechanism of action, you're ignoring completely that it exists and bashing a straw man version of EMDR instead. If someone was learning about EMDR solely from your description of it, they would think it consisted of blinking eyes AND NOTHING ELSE, which is frankly so bad a misrepresentation it makes the anti-chemo trope of chemotherapy as "poisoning" look perceptive by comparison.

And I've been sitting here trying to write an accurate description of EMDR's hypothesized mechanism of action but I finally have to admit I don't feel like putting in that time if it's going to be wasted. If I'm talking to someone who will not only offer an outrageously incorrect characterization such as "executive functioning: how can that be changed and all tidied up when amiss- by BLINKING!" but will actually decline to admit that it's anything less than a fair characterization when called on it, then yeah, I've got lots better things to do with my time, particularly on Thanksgiving.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

@ Antaeus:

I'm sorry if you think that you're wasting your time: forgive the hyperbole, I could probably have been more precise in saying that I don't think it's the EYE MOVEMENTS that do it: it is what ELSE is going on- analysing dreams was called the "royal road to the unconscious", hypnosis was used to start exploration, similarly any of the other modes of evoking underlying feelings and thoughts. It's not the hypnosis ( or the other actions) that change things but what occcurs later
when a person discusses what comes out and integrates it into his or her life. By executive functioning, I mean the complex evaluations of self and other,ways of managing emotions we use and several other abilities we use in day-to-day life.

I believe that EFT and EMDR may be presented as
something beyond what they actually are: ways to address underlying emotional issues prior to talk therapy/ CBT. It's not magic, it's not a secret pathway. If it works it's because OTHER things happened- i.e the conversation with the therapist and the realisations you made.

I won't waste your time any further.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

Addendum:

I should mention that my own views were influenced by Scott Lilienfeld's articles @ Quackwatch.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Antaeus
You are in a similar position with EMDR as I am with energy healing. I have experienced energy healing and seen it work, yet because other people have not, and because there are no studies that unequivocally demonstrate a sufficiently significant effect, they dismiss it, in somewhat contemptuous terms, as DW did with EMDR.

An article in Scientific American on EMDR (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=emdr-taking-a-closer-l…) says that it works better than nothing, probably better than supportive listening alone, but not better than standard behavior and cognitive-behavior therapies. The article concludes that "not a shred of good evidence exists that EMDR is superior to exposure-based treatments that behavior and cognitive-behavior therapists have been administering routinely for decades".

And yet you felt it do something.

The same way it is said about Reiki, for instance, that the calming effect or pain reduction it shows (with measured physiological correlates) is due to the other person's presence or to the placebo effect.

You are in a similar position with EMDR as I am with energy healing.

Well, except for the part where Antaeus isn't in the business of charging people for a Theosophical retread backed by whimsical physics pretensions.

Oh, and to be in possession of The Documents The Man Wouldn't Let See The Light of Day Anyway. Can't forget that.

@ Judith:

There are LOTS of things that produce emotional effects and insight- have a conversation with a close friend, have a few drinks, read poetry... well, for me, anyway. In the 1970s and 1980s, tons of evocative therapies were initiated and tried by many people to rapidly access deep emotions and conflicts: there's a long list that runs from experimentation with drugs to creative dance.

I have problems with EMDR as something beyond what we already have- i.e. exposure to the traumatic/ noxious experience through recollection; Barrett and Lilienfeld ( @ Quackwatch) have similar issues; I suggest you read those 3 articles .

Shapiro postulates that EM functions somewhat like REM sleep- which in animals is involved with processing memories- and she goes on from there. Yet there is no evidence that EM produces brain changes similar to REM sleep. Supposedly, the same can be done without EM ( see articles above & Herbert et al, 2000) WHICH IS EXACTLY MY POINT..

So why do it when there are other ways of addresssing the same issues that we do have data for? Barrett recommends EMDR as a therapy "to avoid"; what may benefit people is not the EMDR itself but the EXPOSURE to the content itself which we can do WITHOUT EMDR. Obviously talking about the traumatic experience with the therapist ( EMDR or not) might lead to restructuring thoughts and trying out new ways of interacting, being encouraged to behave differently, relieving stress, etc.

Therapy is about learning how to transform maladaptive social interactions and constructs about how the world- and ones' self- work, learning to control emotions and thought: while talking about the issues may help, I can't imagine how the EM part helps.

Seems like window dressing to me.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Denice Walter
That was not Antaeus' experience. You are restructuring his experience to fit your model.

@ Marg:

How do you know that what he experienced was due to eye movements? Eye movements weren't the only thing that went on in his session.;

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Nov 2012 #permalink

That was not Antaeus’ experience. You are restructuring his experience to fit your model.

What, pray tell, does this have to do with ray-qi, Marg? Oh, wait, I have an idea.

To both Judith and Marg:

Would either of you care to comment on "Reikidoc" 's behavior, as described in the post above and on her blog? Is she practicing Reiki appropriately? Within ethical guidelines? Do you approve or disapprove of her practice, as described?

If you do find the way she's practicing your art problematic, could you share with us what you (and your fellows) could do to guide her to better practice?

Comparing scepticism about EMDR to scepticism about Reiki is disingenuous. The implausibility of EMDR is dwarfed by the implausibility of Reiki.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith

Read his book.

Sigh... I think I need to dig out my comment about books from another thread. In the meantime:

No, that's not how that works. Books are not peer-reviewed, and they're also requiring money. I'd like something I can find on Pubmed thanks.

You made the assertion, you back it up.

The phone is also an unnecessary accoutrement to the process. According to Bengston (and any number of others) distance is immaterial

Then why do phone psychics/healers exist at all?

Also, is there an equation for this distance issue - is it like gravity, it diminishes by a power of X?

There are incompetent healers out there just as there are incompetent doctors, accountants, plumbers, receptionists, sales people, you name it.

So you would agree that healers should be regulated, just like doctors?

In truth my experience with chemotherapy has been limited to what I have seen and heard and most of it has not been positive. It was good to read something positive.

So you'd admit that your experience biases you then?

I have experienced energy healing and seen it work, yet because other people have not, and because there are no studies that unequivocally demonstrate a sufficiently significant effect, they dismiss it, in somewhat contemptuous terms, as DW did with EMDR.

Nope, I consider everything under the null hypothesis: show me some decent evidence and I'll accept it exists. That's not dismissing it so much as being neutral.

Besides which, you missed the point, which is that if *other things* exist and explain the effects in a more mundane way, there is no reason for magical mystical concepts to overlay it.

@Marg

You really have given up haven't you? It's nice that you have nothing left you're now reliant on Judith to do the heavy lifting for you...

Oh yes: Yet another tour of distractions away from the fact that MARG, the contemptible purse-snatcher of science, HAS NO EVIDENCE THAT ENERGY HEALING WORKS

@Flip
I'm going to have to start calling you a "one-trick pony".

Marg to Flip:

I’m going to have to start calling you a “one-trick pony”.

BAHAHAHAHAHA!! Oh, that is rich! Marg, maybe you can do some hand-waving to repair the irony meter you just blew up.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

I feel like reversing a saying: When every one of your problems are nails, all you need is a hammer.

Our biggest issue we have with you is whether or not energy medicine works (NOT the already known problems we have with pharmaceuticals and such), so why shouldn't we have someone hammering on your self-censorship, Marg?

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Chemomomo -

Charlatans have no code of ethics. That's why they've chosen to become charlatans.

@ Krebiozen:

Oh, I totally agree! Orders of magnitude! There's a short article about EMDR @ Sceptics' Dictionary you might like.

But here's the commonality: whether it's Reiki or EMDR, it's not the only thing going on in these sessions- in the former, a person gets attention and perhaps a sort of generalised caring from the practitioner and in EMDR, a person is exposed to the negative stimulus ( through recollection) and talks about it with a therapist. So how are the effects of these separate parts disentangled and evaluated? Where are these studies? Not so much there.

Both situations are presented as having a highly efficacious method of helping people, that focuses on the hand-waving or eye movements- not the other parts of the interaction; curiously, there is less evidence for the former than for the latter. Oddly enough, even the founder of EMDR later admitted than the EM weren't necesssary ( see Sceptics' Dictionary; Quackwatch articles cited above). She didn't develop her ideas from research but from her own personal experience; her ideas about how it works don't fit any data we have ( this is also discussed in the articles I cite).

In the history of psychotherapy and group therapy, there have been scores of methods to get people to explore their emotional issues and themes: everyone knows about the early ones- hypnosis, free association, dream interpretation, the "lie" detector, art therapy. In the late 20th century, more exotic methods were proposed and popularised- the primal scream, sensory awareness, past life regression, guided imagery, encounter groups- that run the gamut from possibly reality-based to outrightly fanciful.

I seriously don't think that the EM part of EMDR is real and that marketting it involves getting people to believe in it- which is DISHONEST : if the help comes from other parts of the therapy which are SB and already known to us, why talk about EM at all? Unless, it has marketting value.

You don't need any tricks to get people to discuss their problems- it takes time and patience. I can discuss my own non-client activities- which is part of my social life: a cousin and the ex are both recovering from ( respectively) surgery and an injury- which compromises their daily activities and makes them miserable ( they'll live!). What I do talking with them is not so different from what a therapist might do: I learn what they feel and fear, encourage them, get them to 'hang on', try to give them alternate ways of looking at their dilemma- in short what anyone MIGHT DO.

Real therapy involves getting people to examine their own constructs about how reality works- including themselves and their interactions with others- how to DO things better, change how they behave and feel.
If that's part of EMDR, why not call it that? But then, without EM, it would be so special.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

WOULDN'T be so special.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Krebiozen
But that is essentially just your opinion. You are assigning degrees of implausibility.

@Marg

I’m going to have to start calling you a “one-trick pony”.

And maybe I'm going to have to start calling you Gish gallop pony.

Yet again, I have to remind you that I wouldn't be so repetitive if you'd do us all a favour and stop running around in circles. Put up some evidence or shut up with the logical fallacies.

By the way: that's yet another comment in the column of not actually proving that energy healing works. See - if you had responded with some evidence, or a study, or something, maybe I'd change my comments by discussing said evidence...

Once again, Marg proves herself incapable of rising above playground retorts.

Oh and Marg.... I'm absolutely 100% not allowing you to distract lurkers or fence sitters from the fact that you have offered not one whiff of reliable, repeatable evidence that energy healing does anything.

But that is essentially just your opinion.You are assigning degrees of implausibility.

EMDR claims that moving around the eyes, which are connected to the brain, might have a specific effect on the brain. Reiki masters claim they can beam an unknown healing energy out of their hands, curing cancer and other illnesses even at a distance. Equally plausible? Just my opinion? I don't think so.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

well, I did fix my buddy's shoulder over Lotus Sametime - I also burned a hole in his shirt according to him. This is truly powerful stuff

By al kimeea (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Flip
And in fact, you are misleading them.

Judith and Marg: I note that both of you have commented since I posed my question to you.

I'll rephrase:

Do you think think that the subject of this post, "Reiki invades an operating room," is performing your chosen art to your standards?

If not, what can be done about it? By you, or any other Reiki masters?

*sigh*  I should have known the purse-snatchers of science would descend to fit anything unguarded into their narrative.  All right, then.

First of all, let's agree to put aside any claims of "but there's easier/cheaper/more reliable ways of achieving the same effect" because even if COMPLETELY TRUE, those claims are irrelevant to the question under discussion, which is "does EMDR have this effect?"

Second, the idea behind EMDR as a useful component of a therapeutic approach (which is all it was ever claimed to be, which is why mocking the idea that it could function as a therapy in isolation is a straw man) is that "lessons" learned under traumatic circumstances can be maladaptive to later life (being very, very prone to overgeneralization) but very, very strongly embedded due to the trauma.  For instance, a case of illness that follows ingestion of a particular food may cause the mind to "learn" that the food is dangerous, and this can result in violent dislike of the food afterwards, even if it's proved that the food was not the source of the illness after all:  the brain "knows" that the food was responsible and won't abandon that "knowledge."  A modality that allows the brain to be less rigid with what it "knows" might allow new, more adaptive lessons to fairly compete with the lessons laid down by traumatic events.

When is the brain less rigid with what it "knows"?  When it is dreaming; in dreams we accept as given facts things our conscious mind would rightly reject as utterly false in a waking state.  If we could find some way to bring a little of that flexibility of the dream state into a waking state, it might allow someone struggling to not allow trauma-lessons to dominate their thinking to bring about needed changes in their thinking.

What is the prior plausibility that there might be a "bug" in the regulation of dreaming that allows us to induce some of its effects in the midst of a waking state?  I'd say, pretty good, actually.  Evolution tends to produce systems that, while functional in the main, have weird quirks and bugs.  Why should seeing others yawn make us sleepy ourselves?  It makes little sense from an evolutionary perspective, but it's still a well-known quirk of the system.  It's not implausible that there might be other, less documented bugs, some of which might have uses.

It even avoids an otherwise potent objection, that of "if this was really part of the human system, wouldn't we have evolved to take advantage of it?"  That objection is strong against, say, the claim that humans leave 90% of their brains fallow when they could be using them just as well as the 10%, or the claim that blinking by itself would have therapeutic effects.  However, if useful exploitation of such a hypothesized "bug" would require not just inducing the mental state but second-guessing one's own thinking in order to devise a new set of thoughts to get oneself to think while in such a state - well, that's a pretty tall order to expect from evolution.

Now, how does that compare to the prior plausibility of energy healing, as described by the purse-snatchers of science and other adherents?  Even if we bend over backwards to give energy healing the benefit of the doubt - for instance, answering "how does it always know what to do to have a healing effect rather than hurting?" with "maybe it just supplies the body with energy that can be employed in the body's own healing" (ignore for the moment the fact that this would make auto-immune diseases worse) - we're still left with utter implausibilities such as "this energy can be directed accurately over hundreds and thousands of miles by an originator who doesn't even know where in the world the recipient is, as long as the originator has seen a photo of the recipient" and "this energy might be diverted to recipients the originator is actively trying not to affect, because the universe recognizes such macro-level human descriptors as 'part of the same experiment' and 'quantum entangles' together their health with those the originator is trying to direct energy to"?  If you tell me that seems plausible considering all you know of science, that tells me what you know of science is very little.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Krebiozen
But that is essentially just your opinion. You are assigning degrees of implausibility.

These things tend to happen when pretend physics is invoked, Judith.

Even science recognizes the existence of a subtle energy that permeates everything and from which all that is emerges into being: quantum physicists call it "the Field".

@Chemmomo
The woman is certainly flaky and I don't hold truck with the idea of her not asking people's permission. There was a discussion about her on a reiki site and people generally disapproved of the way she carried on. Does that answer your question?

@Flip
Anyone who goes on about "Gish gallop" and writes in CAPITAL LETTERS should not go on about playground retorts. People and stones and glass houses and all that.

And, from Judith's Toronto Bioenergy Associates directly, this gem:

Dr. Larry Dossey divides medicine into three "Eras". "Era I" medicine, which is medical practice as we know it, looks at the body as a machine. "Era II" medicine recognizes the power of the mind and introduces such concepts as meditation and biofeedback into treatment. "Era III" medicine brings the discoveries of quantum physics and a recognition of the body as a matrix of energy and information into the picture. The energy healing we do at Toronto Bioenergy Associates works with the body in this field of energy and information, creating possibilities for healing that can seem miraculous from the point of view of the "Era I" paradigm.

The trick with invoking Larry Dorsey is the question why the more accurate name Toronto Intercessory Prayer and Psychokinesis Associates wasn't used instead.

Since the point can't be reiterated enough for this rigid pair:

EMDR involves eyes, which are connected by nerves to the brain, and how the eye movement affects the brain. We know the eyes affect the brain because signals travel down the nerves into the visual cortex. This is how we see.

Reiki posits an unknown, exotic stuff that's called energy despite lacking the qualities energy has. This stuff has not been demonstrated by physics, and largely resembles the old follies of vitalism and chi in a new coat of paint. Somehow, this stuff has escaped detection at the most fundamental levels with our most precise instruments but has "big picture" relevance at the biological level that has effects powerful enough to be detected by imprecise human senses.

If I were handing out research grants, I'd be more favorable to EMDR, since it at least deals with known systems. Reiki pretty much involves making up an entire new branch of physics all at once and applying it right away instead of, say, proving this mystical stuff actually exists at all, and building one step at a time.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

Anyone who goes on about “Gish gallop” and writes in CAPITAL LETTERS should not go on about playground retorts. People and stones and glass houses and all that.

You seem not to understand this element of rhetoric, Marg.

Marg, it's interesting that you accuse someone else of misleading, when you accept money for providing a "treatment" that you have yet to provide any scientific evidence that it works. The irony meters are going to start blowing fuses again.

Reiki pretty much involves making up an entire new branch of physics all at once and applying it right away instead of, say, proving this mystical stuff actually exists at all, and building one step at a time.

One might also note that the well-known ability to send ray-qi back in time would seem to imply experimental constraints by way of the CPT theorem, which, you know, has to do with what "quantum physicists" "call" "the Field."

Marg,
thank you for answering.

I am relieved that you as a group are at least aware that there are problems within your ranks.

Hopefully I'll be able to resole the problems mentioned above in time to contiune the discussion (left click? Buelller? Bueller? left click. I dare to you to try it).

@Marg

And in fact, you are misleading them.

Please point me to the evidence you have posted - that *isn't* Bengston, since that stuff has already been thoroughly refuted. Even if his work wasn't, that's one person; consensus is usually required in science because it means the studies have been reproduced. So, either show me a bunch of excellent studies I can read on Pubmed, or show me one large excellent meta-analysis I can read. I do not recall you doing this in the 1900+ posts so far. Indeed the people who have been posting studies and not anecdotes, newspaper articles, or blogs, have been... hmmm, the regulars here.

Am I *really* misleading anyone by pointing out those facts? Especially when the majority of it happened at a several-months-old thread that lurkers might not see?

Anyone who goes on about “Gish gallop” and writes in CAPITAL LETTERS should not go on about playground retorts. People and stones and glass houses and all that.

My use of caps etc has been a gradual thing due to the fact that no matter how many times I or others ask you questions, we receive very little other than ... yep, you guessed it, Gish gallop and logical fallacies. You don't even bother rebutting them, you just continue on like a runaway train.

For clarity: if you hadn't noticed, I started off giving you the benefit of both politeness and doubt. After many many comments and questions and rebuttals, your lack of proper response got on my nerves. You are obtuse, inconsistent, ignorant of high school science, and willing to gloss over anything that doesn't fit your POV. Instead of supporting your assertions, you simply dismiss everything that is said to you without consideration. You ignore replies that explain things; and then ignore them fifty times over as we re-explain.

You refuse, 100%, every time, to accept that many of us would happily change our minds if something was provided to us of a certain standard; and continue to build strawmen of extreme stature no matter how many times it's explained to you that it's false.

It's not up to us to provide evidence, and it's not reasonable to expect us to simply take your word for it.

Now if you stopped posting crap and started discussing things like an adult, I'd be more inclined to engage in a polite manner. You want to troll, that's fine. I'll play along and troll you back. For every inane retort you will come up with, I will ensure that no one forgets that you have not posted a single shred of evidence in your favour.

By the way, I note that once again you do not post evidence, but instead rely on tone trolling. Gee, wow - and you wonder *why* I repeat myself? In fact, you're so dull at this point that I seem to be the only one willing to respond to you regularly, the others have evidently put you on a 'do not bother' list and are expending more energy on fresher targets.

Speaking of which:

@Judith

Are you ignoring my questions?

(sighs). Is anyone else bored with Marg and Judith? They keep repeating they know reiki "works" but have not given us ONE piece of documented evidence. They ramble on and on about clients but don't give any real proof the clients ever even existed.

I could, if so inclined, make up similar stories about the wonderful things I did as a midwife. They would at least be plausible in the medical world, even if untrue (if they were true, you can sure bet I'd at LEAST have published a Case Study about it). But Marg and Judith can't even be bothered to do that little piece.

But then, that would require some real patients and real documentation that others could look at. And the woo-meisters don't ever have any of that.

I really wish I could use killfiles in Scienceblogs again.... I learn more reading the science-based responses from people than reading the blather of the reiki-masters.

A long time ago, I worked for a non-profit; my work included counselling people who had been diagnosed with a serious condition- obviously their lives were fraught with anxiety and fear. A few were interested in
eastern forms of meditation and physical activities, so I took it upon myself and studied t'ai chi and yoga -on my own, over time**- to discover what might be of use to these clients. I found- admixed with woo and religion- exercise, relaxation techniques, quietude and cameraderie amongst the students and instructors. I think that these activities might appeal to some of the clients and benefit them. I informed them about what I liked: it should be noted that the providers of these activities often advocated spiritual activities and assumed vital energy as a force for healing. Thus, what they promote/ describe as benefits of their instruction and what I discovered ( and what SB research has found) are quite different.

I think it's important if you are an advocate of SBM to stick to what can be illustrated by data.

There's a possibility that what Marg and Judith advocate has merit and does really help people BUT not in the way that they think. The people who taught these eastern exercise systems believed in something beyond what yours truly- materialist, through and through- saw demonstrated. It's possible that some people are actually searching for a spiritual connection or sublime experience beyond the work-a-day world we all inhabit BUT that has nothing to do with me. If some of my clients found spiritual promise and healing that also had nothing to do with me- and I probably
would call it something else-more psychological than spiritual

** and yes, I was actually rather good at these activities.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Marg and Judith, I'm with flip.

I'll add my own anecdote in support of Denice's and others comments and assure you that I've been treated by what some call one of the greatest energy healers in the world, and he didn't do a darn thing for me. Well, he did do a few things. He lightened the load of my wallet, gave me false hope, and even worse, my seeing him prolonged my receiving proper treatment and thus added to the worsening of my condition.

Each time I saw an alternative provider, it pushed me farther and father away from receiving proper care. In my experience, they almost always mix in some outrageous and expensive woo into their treatments. The practice of meditation with them is not just straight meditation, instead it is the practice of reflection to heal your karma from a bad past life, along with other nonsense.

There’s a possibility that what Marg and Judith advocate has merit and does really help people BUT not in the way that they think. The people who taught these eastern exercise systems believed in something beyond what yours truly- materialist, through and through- saw demonstrated.

What Marg and Judith advocate is fraudulent by philosophical as well as physical standards, so I am inclined to disagree. I realize that my repeated invocation of Theosophy is getting... well, repetitive, but I think it's accurate. What's on offer is the worst of both worlds.

(Put another way, I consider "energy healing" not just to be an invitation to psychologically stay right where you are, but an offer to be billed for the digging of a post with tether to help keep you there, if one is to consider it in such terms.)

@MI Dawn

Is anyone else bored with Marg and Judith?

*Raises hand* "Aye"

The people who taught these eastern exercise systems believed in something beyond what yours truly- materialist, through and through- saw demonstrated.

I see no evidence of sincere belief on the part of the people who invented these scams.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 23 Nov 2012 #permalink

It may be worth noting that the inventor of Reiki died of a stroke at the age of 60. He was using real super-secret Reiki, not the fake Reiki that was introduced to the west. Maybe he was doing it wrong.

In this study Reiki appeared to make chemotherapy patients feel better when compared to chemotherapy alone, but sham Reiki worked just as well, which suggests that real Reiki is no different to sham Reiki. This article by Edzard Ernst discussing the same study covers much of the ground we have been discussing here.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

I should perhaps add that Mikao Usui, the inventor of Reiki, claimed to have discovered "the miraculous medicine for all diseases", so I think pointing out his early demise from cardiovascular disease is fair comment.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

(Put another way, I consider “energy healing” not just to be an invitation to psychologically stay right where you are, but an offer to be billed for the digging of a post with tether to help keep you there, if one is to consider it in such terms.)

I'm in partial agreement, but this would vary with the type of energy treatment involved. If they are healing you for karma, as in something you did wrong in a past life, then this would be much more than an "invitation to stay right where you are", it could very likely set a patient further back by a somewhat complicated scenario of self-blame. In this situation, the healer would be blaming the patient for their own illness, with the "cure" of healing/fixing their karma as unreachable. As the patient's medical condition worsens, it supports the healer's contention as to the presence of bad karma, and may make the patient feel as if they have done too much wrong (too much bad karma) to overcome. This may have the effect of making the patient feel they are inherently evil and spreading that evil to others around them, as a very ill, and therefore needy patient would certainly effect others around them in one way or another.

@ Narad:

By *helping people*, I am referring purely to the transient emotional lift and what any social contact with another fellow creature might provide. People feel good when someone tells them that "Everything will be alright"- even though that might be a bald-faced lie. I think that astrologers and mediums similarly provide a comfort to frightened and worried people - as they rifle through their savings accounts.

Woo-meisters make clients feel better as they teach their devotees to shun reality and hand over self-determination to them. Talk about tethers: they preach that all information acquired elsewhere is bogus.

@ herrr doktor bimler:

I am referring to the people I met who taught yoga and t'ai chi- not the Reiki folks- I've never met any of them.

While there were very slight monetary gains for these teachers ( they had careers in physiotherapy and other legit day jobs), I believe that they had faith in their discipline and taught to spread the gospel- so to speak. Also, the degree of serious study was made apparent to me by the outlandish physical feats which they had mastered.

While THEY might have believed that they were providing a spiritual outlet, I surmise that their teaching helped people to move around better, have confidence, make friends, relieve stress, have an interest to work on, combat inactivity and other worldly concerns.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

God forbid that people should be bored here. I am just listening to this:

http://www.cbc.ca/whitecoat/blog/2012/11/23/sully-sullenberger-lessons-…

Sully Sullenberger, the Hudson river landing hero, has become a consultant to bring the lessons from aviation emergencies to the operating room.

Don't jump on me for it being irrelevant to this thread; I am bringing you something worthwhile to listen to.

My kitting** has the power to open doors purely by force of will. If he stares at a door long enough, it will open. Or possibly not.

I have numerous observations that indicate that this is so.

To date, the kitting has not proposed an excuse explanation for the observed negative results.

**"Kitten" sounds like an ungrammatical pronunciation in a regional dialect. Listen to Stan Freberg's Elderly Man River.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

Mr O'Brien:

And here I thought that 'kitting' was the preparation, creation and/ or stocking, of KITS.
Good to know.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

Ms. Walter - Glad to know i have performed my public service. And it is your business to know.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

I only find you and Marg boring. I am not bored in general.

For my entertainment, I have for the first time, been reading Mark Twain. I'm not for reading something just because it's well known, but after coming across more and more of his work through skeptic sites, I decided it was likely I would enjoy his work and took it upon myself to start educating myself on it. (And I'm loving his work so far.)

I'm also reading several comment threads on several sites, enjoying my favourite TV show, working on a project of my own and several for other people, and am about 1500 posts behind reading blogs I'm subscribed to - and falling further behind now that 'Bad Astronomy' has moved to Slate. Not to mention the podcasts I've been neglecting.

Bored? Only of your lack of evidence... Which I see you're now following in Marg's footsteps by posting non sequiturs.

No wonder people start talking about food recipes here after a while...

To add to the talk of boredom, one of the big things I've noticed about the paranormal is how they took all these fantastic ideas from fantasy and sci-fi, my favorite fiction genres, and gradually made them more boring as I investigated them. It's all teasers and no delivery.

UFO videos that are supposed to rock my world turn out to be out-of-focus insects.
Psychics who claim huge insight end up working at chance level or making predictions that are playing the odds.
Jedi promise magical combat, knocking their students down with their chi, but can't even nudge a skeptic.
Ghost hunters wander into haunted houses and instead of a real-life horror movie, we're treated to the sight of them spooking at nothing all night.
Energy healers who claim to cure cancer end up struggling to eke out ahead of placebo in pain relief and can't even reliably sense a person's presence under controlled conditions, much less their chakra imbalances.

I was really hopeful about this stuff when I was a kid, but there's been no visible progress in all that time. Today's charlatans are pretty much the same as the old charlatans, offering the same excuses. Meanwhile, I can see the march of mainstream science.

And no, I'm not bored in my life, just with woos, and that causes much of my frustration. I keep giving them chances to surprise me, but they keep going in the same closed circles, year after year. It's something of a masochistic hobby combined with intellectual charity. Meanwhile, it looks like I'm set to finish off my degree, and I've got plenty of entertainment when I'm not working.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

flip,

I have for the first time, been reading Mark Twain

Don't miss Twain on Christian Science. The parallels with contemporary nonsense are striking.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Krebiozen

Thanks for that. I got myself a copy of "the complete works" which happens to include that as well as his novels. See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051XSGYS

Am working my way through the last chapters of the Gilded Age, which is the first offering in the set. In fact, I think I'll go finish it now...

@Bronze Dog

I once attended a night-time ghost tour of an old prison, which sufficiently creeped me out. If only because a few weeks or so before it was the site of a large mass murder: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Arthur_massacre_%28Australia%29
The makeshift cafe they'd set up after the shootings had images of 'ghosts' on a pinboard - as blurry as you'd expect them to be.

Suffice to say the combination of walking around an old prison - colonial at that and very derelict - at night and the thought of the slain had quite an effect on one's imagination.

Sully Sullenberger, the Hudson river landing hero, has become a consultant to bring the lessons from aviation emergencies to the operating room.

This does sound interesting, and I will listen in when I have a chance. I expect that Reiki will play as much of a role in Sully's recommendations for surgery as it does in aviation.

Is anyone else bored with Marg and Judith?

Count me in.

Alain

@ Bronze Dog:

I've always thought that writers may use the supernatural as an easy plot twist- that it is as if it's already written- and can just be inserted when they run out of ideas. Let's say a character moves to an odd, old historic town and meets an intriguing but difficult to comprehend man - the crappy writer, short on creativity or subtle understanding of human nature- would probably make him a vampire. The rest of the story is then practically written because there are only a few ways it can go- UNLIKE the infinite variety and complexity of reality . What I can't understand is why- because imagination is the kingdom of unlimited possibilities- would anyone would resort to tired, old boring formulae? There's so much fascinating, evocatively symbolic and bizarrely ironic in real life without tossing in worn out conventions that bore us to tears.

Similarly, those mystical woo-meisters appear to be reciting a set-piece: a patient is given up for dead by doctors; the humble woo-meister suggests a simple cure- known to the ancients, in their wisdom- and *Voila!*- a cure.
Or the drug companies create a toxic product and then hide the evidence - because they want to make MONEY- and people die but a valiant alt med researcher FINDS THEM OUT- and of course, is disgraced, the crime is covered up, then ANOTHER valiant truth seeker UNCOVERS the dastardly deed et al.

I personally know a few stories that would curl- or straighten- your hair ( as the case might be): the truly horrible tales never include a ghost, a vampire, a witch or an alien but the terrors of everyday life- and all that flesh- and mind- are heir to- as well as the sometimes lifelong aftermath of tragedy. Believe me, there are a few horror stories in my own family and in those of my friends. Awfulness and nightmares are based in reality and follow its laws- physics, chemistry, biology, psychology- but far beyond human control. And then there's memory that keeps the fading images of the tradegy alive, well and close at hand- a thought away, never retreating into the distance as the years wear on.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

Here is another link

Judith, when you're down to just hacking up arbitary links to radio programs and YouTube like so much flak, it's time to reconsider whether you actually have anything left to say.

Judith & Marg - are you aware that Sullenberger is an experienced glider pilot and as such he would find your tales of Bengston's cloud busting as risible as I do. He is not "on your side" anymore then Ben Goldacre is. The concept of using ideas from aviation safety to reduce medical is not a new one. The way aviation incidents are reported and handled has been recommended for medical incidents in the past. An incident is a mistake you got away with and if it goes unreported no one else can learn from it.

What systems do Reiki organizations have in place to prevent errors?

An back to gliding, do either of you have any explanation of where Bengston gets the energy to dissipate clouds? If I don't get an answer, I will have to assume that Bengston and his fans are telling porkies.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 24 Nov 2012 #permalink

And Judith, even if mister Sullenberger would have something positive to say about reiki, it just proves he should stick to flying airplanes.

Judith,

Do you agree with Dr. Goldman?

Either you didn't read about the tu quoque fallacy as some of us suggested, or you didn't understand it. What has the undeniable fact that doctors sometimes make mistakes have to do with how this specific anesthesiologist behaves while doing her job? Or even the broader question of whether Reiki has any benefits at all?

The only connection I can see is that if this anesthetist is visualizing imaginary energy while she should be monitoring her patient she is very much more likely to make a serious mistake.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith

I did not say “God forbid anyone should be bored”; I wrote “God forbid anyone should be bored here.

Yes and I replied by noting that if I am bored here, I can merely go away and do other things. Besides, you're quibbling over semantics now. This proves energy healing works how?

Here is another link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUbfRzxNy20.

Do you agree with Dr. Goldman?

I do not respond to requests to view youtube videos. If you have a link to peer-reviewed literature on energy healing I can read - on Pubmed or via a journal's website - I will read it.

I quote from what I said on another thread, which applies to youtube as much as it does to books:

Books are not papers, and depending on how bad the author/editor is, may not reference papers on the subject; or may misquote, cherry pick or otherwise bias the impression of the reader as to the true nature of the topic at hand.

This is why we like Pubmed, it allows us to find and read the actual papers referenced, and see for ourselves the actual data behind the subject. That’s what scepticism is: finding and reading the data and not taking someone’s word for it.

Even if I were to find a book well-written and the person’s opinion I agreed with, it does not mean that the same book or author has been entirely correct. Furthmore, books and experiments take many years to write, and even more to research. In the time it takes to get the book/paper through editorial oversight and printing, new experiments have taken place which give new information that can greatly change the nature of the understanding of that subject. This means that books can be extremely out of date very quickly: and why Pubmed is preferred because one can find the latest info as it is published and get a better and more up-to-date perspective of the whole.

Reliance on one book or paper is not a good idea, because it doesn’t fully encompass the data on the subject. Reliance on one book or paper suggests an unwillingness to read the whole, and an even greater unwillingness to consider that a subject must be judged not just on the ‘proofs’ but also on the ‘disproofs’ as well. If one outweighs the other, then we can lean towards agreeing with proven or unproven. When new evidence for either side is given, we adjust our position accordingly. That is what science does, and that is totally NOT what you seem to be doing.

Judith,
Have you ever seen an energy therapist admit to having made a mistake or an error of judgment the way Dr. Goldman does in that video? How would an energy therapist even know they had made a mistake? Tweaked the wrong chakra? Yinged when they should have yanged? Weren't properly attuned so all their Reikiing is out of key? Used a violet ray when they should have used a green one? Healed the cancer cells instead of the healthy ones?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 25 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Judith, I too am curious as to how an energy healer can recognize when they have made a mistake. How would they know if the patient's continued illness is due to their own negative energy or due to the healer using the wrong type of energy?

Could a healer's bad energy seep through and damage the patient? Surely energy healers are not immune to iatrogenic errors.

The point behind speaking about boredom: Show us something we don't expect. That will make the conversation more interesting.

Right now, Judith and Marg are doing everything they can to avoid learning new tactics and stick to familiar scripts, tropes, and distractions that only work on the gullible.

By Bronze Dog (not verified) on 25 Nov 2012 #permalink

Marg and Judith, I found Reiki Master Laura Bruno's blog, which addresses some of my questions. This Master healer states that when the patient's condition continues to decline despite their Reiki treatments, they are experiencing a Herxheimer reaction. In the case of their Lyme disease patient, discussed below, their infectious disease can not fully heal despite their Reiki and other medical treatments until "all lessons have been learned". According to this Reiki Master, the patient may be so highly advanced from being a healer in their own past life, that they have become adept at sidestepping their healing treatments. http://laurabruno.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/healing-lyme-disease/

Most of those affected are, in this lifetime or certainly in previous ones, highly advanced healers. This awareness (whether conscious or completely subconscious) makes them adept at sidestepping treatments that would bring about healing before the lessons take root.

Yes, the healing comes when all lessons have been learned. It can come gradually, though. :) You don’t need to learn every single lesson at once in order to start feeling much better. The Reiki attunement symptoms sound like a Herx reaction to the powerfully cleansing and vibration raising experience. All the things you’re doing are good things. Remember, Lyme is a vibrational disease. Everything is, but Lyme in particular, seems to respond well to raising your vibration completely out of the frequency of Lyme...

If you are wanting a more personalized reading you would need to schedule a private session, but the general information covers a lot of the areas affected. I see a fair amount of B12 deficiency and have written on that before, as well as given talks about it.

Laura Bruno writes that she is happy to spread what she calls hope and offers Medical Intuition sessions for $175 per hour. She seems to think she can diagnose a B12 deficiency from a distance, and for a patient client she has never even met - sight unseen, no tests, just her special energy powers. One testimonial even thanks her for curing their infectious disease. She offers a 3-pack for $333, and a Quickie for $75. This could be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that she is toying with people's lives and health. http://laurabruno.wordpress.com/testimonials/

”Laura Bruno did what half a dozen doctors did not: She cured me of an infection that had persisted for two months, through harsh medication after harsh medication. With no advance warning of what my call would be about, Laura was able to pinpoint the problem on the spot and suggest effective treatments. Instead of looking at a chart and sending me to the drugstore for the chemicals that ‘work for everyone else,’ Laura looked at the source of the problem, and her solutions took into account my whole body, including my diet – something the Western doctors never stopped to consider but that turned out to be a major cause. Thanks to Laura, I’m cured!”
Amy B.– Ann Arbor, Michigan

@Marg and Judith, What are your opinions of her patient's client's Herxheimer reactions from their Reiki attunement? Do you share the opinion that a Reiki treatment can cause a Herxheimer reaction? How would you distinguish this reaction from her patient's client's symptoms from their seemingly acute medical condition? Do you think it is appropriate for Laura to be promoting Reiki in this manner? What about her energetically diagnosing vitamin deficiencies? Are these assertions typical or accepted behavior for Reiki Masters?

@ Krebiozen:

I have also NEVER heard any of the web woo-meisters I survey admitting error- And yes, I am NOT everywhere ALL of the time but I imagine I hear a great deal.

-btw- about the divided attention you referenced above-
people all have experienced the cocktail party phenomenon: you're intensely listening to Howard with (seemingly) all of your attention but then Micheal- on the other side of the room- says either your name or something important to you and your attention switches over to him. How did you know what MIchael was saying if you were listening to Howard so closely? ( selective attention; Cherry; Broadbent, others)

This has been extensively studied and has many real life applications in occupations that require attention such as air traffic tower workers and oh, people who work in surgery.
So no, I wouldn't rely upon someone who deliberately divided attention between two tasks- one of utmost importance and another spurious. And I don't think that air traffic controllers should read novels/newspapers between flights' take-offs/ landings either.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Nov 2012 #permalink

So no, I wouldn’t rely upon someone who deliberately divided attention between two tasks- one of utmost importance and another spurious.

Two days after Orac posted this blog about ReikiDoc, she did a blog post on "What Is An Anesthesiologist To Do?"

http://reikidoc.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-is-anesthesiologist-to-do.html

Everyone knows that the work of an anesthesiologist consists of 'long stretches of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer terror'.

She provides a sample listing of things anesthesiologists do during their "long stretches of boredom" in the Operating Room. Watch YouTube, do crossword puzzles, talk on the phone, check email..." I wonder if she writes her blog posts during her patient's surgeries. I'm almost afraid to ask if physicians really shop on Ebay while they have a patient on the OR table. Anyone?

MI Dawn:

Is anyone else bored with Marg and Judith?

Oh hell yes. After months of observation, I have concluded that chronic insomniacs stand the best chance of benefiting from their "treatment."

OTOH, they've given me a renewed appreciation of the lively whackjobs who trolled here last year - the Thing, Offal, Grandma Marsha the Ron Paul groupie, even Medicien Man/Dr. Smart /the drunken scat fetishist. Is it weird that I miss being called an infection promoter?

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 25 Nov 2012 #permalink

I’m almost afraid to ask if physicians really shop on Ebay while they have a patient on the OR table.

Aviation, anesthesia, and wanking around on the 'net came together here a few months ago.