Reiki and Consent


Reiki and Consent - Where do we draw the line?

Trauma (medicine)

One of the first things we learn as Reiki I students is to always obtain the consent of the person you are treating. This becomes even more important in Reiki II as we look at sending distance healing, and it should go without saying that no Reiki Master should be passing attunements to people without their knowledge.

A few days ago I read this blog post by a surgeon who is out to debunk reiki, Reiki Invades An Operating Room, and while I wanted to be very upset at his tone and approach, I couldn't be. All other issues aside, the Reiki case in question in this blog post is one where an anesthesiologist who also happens to be a Reiki Master (and yes, many health professionals do Reiki) discusses passing Reiki and attunements to patients who are out on the operating table.

In Lightwork in the O.R.: a Case Study, the author states,

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.

And therein lies the problem. I have the right to refuse any aspect of medical care that I do not wish to receive, even if that might kill me. I also have the right to choose or refuse any part of my care. My 77 year old mother is dying of liver cancer. Respecting her wishes we have declined all medical treatment other than pain management in hospice care. She has the right to decline the biopsies and treatments that might extend her life, and she also has the right to say no to Reiki, even if it would help her feel better.

Pamela Miles brought this up for discussion on her Reiki, Medicine, and Self-Care Facebook page, and the responses have been interesting, with a large number of Reiki folks bristling at the criticism instead of addressing what I believe is such a crucial issue. I mean, if we cannot even agree that individuals have the right to say yes or no to a Reiki treatment, how are we to go convince the surgeons of the world that we are not completely woo-woo?

Here is my last (but probably not final) comment on that page:

I think Orac is appropriately angry at one of his colleagues, and the fact is that said colleague sneaks reiki in on people who he knows would say no if asked, and even attunes them at times with no basis or discussion. I would think that as a community we should be thinking about what we can learn from this, and part of what I take away is the importance of clear communication and consent regarding any kind of treatment. I have the right to decline medical treatment period, even if it could keep me alive. I should therefore have the right to decline reiki, and Reiki Doc's patients are not given that option. Someone like Orac wouldn't even talk to us unless we could at minimum agree on that.