Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019

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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 71 BUYER BEWARE: REIKI REGULATIONS DON'T EXIST Pamela Miles has been educating reiki practitioners for decades, and she is the first to tell you that reiki practice is not regulated in a way that creates standardization among practitioners or their training. "There are absolutely no standards for reiki practice or education. Some people who consider themselves reiki masters have less training than my first-degree beginners." For some, "getting certified" is as easy as watching a video. "Some watch canned trainings online and then hang up their shingles as reiki teachers. It is inconceivable to most people how meaningless reiki certificates are, or that many reiki professionals have no training in clinical skills or ethics." But Miles isn't calling for regulation at a state level, especially given that reiki presents no danger to clients. "I do not favor that kind of regulation. I favor educating the public and health-care communities so people get the information they need to make informed choices about professional reiki treatment and reiki teachers." How This Gives Reiki Practice Greater Credibility Despite its foundation and characteristics, reiki practitioners don't typically describe their work as a spiritual practice. "This is not the way reiki practice is generally expressed, and that's why this conversation is so important," Miles says. "The way the practice is usually expressed pushes away many people who would otherwise be interested in its benefits. While some are entranced by the new-age language and speculative model that are wrapped around reiki practice, many more people—especially the mainstream public and medical professionals—are turned off by it." Miles says she's met and taught many professionals who tolerate the language of the practice because of how beneficial their reiki experiences have been. "For example, at a recent three-day Reiki & Medicine Intensive, one of the participants was a nurse who is actively working, and another was a reiki professional who had been asked to expand her hospital's reiki program. These are people who are in health care, and they tell me they feel stymied by the language," Miles says. "They can't get up in front of colleagues and talk about reiki energy coming through and going where it's needed." Miles says she understands that angst, because she was faced with the same dilemma when she was invited to set up the first hospital reiki program back in the 1990s. "I was personally uncomfortable with the usual language and model, and I knew I'd get nowhere in medicine if I insisted upon using it. Based on 25 years of spiritual practice before first experiencing reiki in 1986, I recognized it as a spiritual practice from the beginning. As I prepared to present reiki practice to doctors, I knew I had to be concise, use clear language to report what I'd been observing, and present a plausible model. I needed to envision the practice as doctors would see it, and highlight what would be valuable to them. This was in a hospital HIV clinic before we had the sophisticated treatments that help patients manage their disease today. Patients were frightened, in pain, and distrustful of conventional medicine. Reiki practice helped relieve their suffering and bring them present so they could be better partners to their health-care providers." But, Miles says, if the usual language is working for you, that's great. "I'm certainly not saying anybody needs to change their practice or their presentation, but if you are uncomfortable with the language, or if you haven't taken reiki practice seriously because of the way

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