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Thread: Reiki. Your thoughts?

  1. #101  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis
    [I wonder how these people came to believe in the possibility of using “life-energy” to heal. Especially since it seems to be in such a wide range and variety of people. Sometimes “ancient mysteries” hold partial truths.
    Valid question. Valid point. Here is speculative answer.

    Firstly, earlier cultures believed all kinds of nonsense. The fact that many cultures believed something does not mean there was anything at all in it.
    Secondly, the placebo effect that has been mentioned several times could readily account for the perceived effect. (Related to this I like the observation that left to itself a cold will last seven days, but if you take appropriate medication you can get rid of it in a week.)
    Thirdly, some humans are great con artists, some are highly gullible. Thus has it always been.
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  2. #102  
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    For Pong: your statement that a Reiki practitioner would say the gentleman died because of "negative energy" is incorrect. A better word might have been "could". I still get your point though.

    Regarding CAM and Ethics: I think the assumption that most Reiki practitioners are frauds is rather biased and unfounded, not to mention the scientifically flawed as not all Reiki practitioners can be found as frauds. Fraud assumes that the people stating something know it is wrong and still do it for monetary gain. As for someone opting to do alternative medicine it is their choice alone to make. The outcome is their decision. To say otherwise say's we are all property of society. While I believe the use or disuse of alternative medicine is a personal preference, the ethical codes of many Reiki organizations do not encourage the use of Reiki without additional allopathics treatments by the individual's doctor. One quote in one book does not make for good evidence just like one experiment or one person's testimony. I have listed below various English speaking countries and their organizations for your viewing pleasure.
    USA:
    Vermont Reiki Association
    http://www.vermontreikiassociation.org/code.htm

    Northwest Reiki Association
    http://nwreikiassociation.org/Membership.html

    CANADA:
    Canadian Reiki Association
    http://www.reiki.ca/ethics.htm

    UK & IRELAND:
    Reiki Federation Ireland
    http://www.reikifederationireland.co...stitution.html

    The Reiki Association - UK Regulation Working Group
    http://www.reikiassociation.org.uk/17.html

    Reiki Association of Ireland
    http://www.reikiassociationireland.com/membership.htm

    AUSTRALIA:
    CARO - Council of Australian Reiki Organizations
    http://www.caro.org.au/pb/wp_2565f517/wp_2565f517.html

    Atlantic Usui Reiki Association -Australia
    http://www.atlanticusuireiki.ca/code_ethics.htm

    Australian Reiki Connection
    http://www.australianreikiconnection.com.au/Resources/

    Reiki Association of Western Australia
    http://reikiassociationwa.com/docume...-practice.html

    SOUTH AFRICA:
    The Reiki Association of Southern Africa
    http://www.reikiassociation.co.za/In...?Action=Ethics

    INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS:
    International Reiki Association
    http://www.internationalreikiassocia...n=1677&s_page=

    International Reiki Association Homepage
    http://www.holisticbenefits.com/ima/...l#codeofethics

    World Reiki Association
    http://www.worldreikiassociation.org/code.htm

    Shibumi
    http://www.shibumireiki.org/index.ph...ode_of_ethics/

    Regarding Reiki's Testability/Validity: First neither are mutually exclusive. Second, a "model" of a process is not need to test a hypothesis. It certainly helps though. I doubt Maxwell and other researchers on electricity knew exactly how to model it when they began. They conducted experiments and through rejection of "failed" experiments gained new insight and performed more experiments until a "model" developed. Of course in these early days even what qualifies are "evidence" becomes determined over time. As for how Reiki might work there are plenty of researchers in predominately Asian countries doing research on "Chi". Even, a western trained doctor with four medical degrees and a former President for the Nobel Prize in Medicine has some interesting thoughts on electricity's affects on the human body. The name of the man is Dr. Bjorn Nordenström. Dr. Bjorn Nordenström talks about biologically closed circuits and uses his theory to cure cancer patients.
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  3. #103  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrangeduck999
    I think the assumption that most Reiki practitioners are frauds is rather biased and unfounded, not to mention the scientifically flawed as not all Reiki practitioners can be found as frauds. Fraud assumes that the people stating something know it is wrong and still do it for monetary gain.
    I couldn't agree more. Many are also simply deluded.
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  4. #104  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    And I disagree totally.

    If a person plans to accept money for providing some kind of therapy, they have an implied duty to ensure that the therapy is valid. Reiki is crap. It has been scientifically tested, and found to be no better than placebo. That shows that the therapy should not be used.

    And please don't return the tired old argument to me about placebo value. A proper medical therapy carries both genuine therapeutic value as well as placebo effect. People should be getting the proper treatment. Not something like reiki that has nothing but placebo value.

    I agree that lots of reiki practitioners are probably quite sincere. However, they are also deluded in that sincere belief. And they have either failed to find out what science has to say on the topic, or refused to believe it. Either way is an irrational response. And the world absolutely does not need irrational therapists. Anyone who is not willing to get the proper scientific answer and follow its dictates, and instead, peddles a quack remedy for money, is the direct equivalent of a con artist, stealing people's money.
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  5. #105  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    I confess. I was being facetious. I don't think referring to reiki as fraudulent is either unbiased or unfounded.

    Nor do I think the one-post-wonder who probably found us googling his/her favorite pastime of ("reiki") is without the bias of having a conclusion to a belief system to which he/she seeks only that data which are supportive.

    The argument that reiki hasn't/can't lend itself to scientific testing is pure bunk. In every attempt to do so, reiki, like all "CAM" medicine demonstrates to be ineffective compared with real medicine. Lets be straight: "alternative" medicine isn't real medicine. It's self-described as "alternative." "To what?" one might ask. The answer is to real medicine.

    Those defrauding others either for money or personal status are assholes and those deluded into believing they're doing something real are idiots.

    Those who are in various stages of need, health-wise, for help are victims. Regardless of whether they improve coincidental to the "alternative" (a.k.a. "crap") treatment.
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  6. #106  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Lets be straight: "alternative" medicine isn't real medicine. It's self-described as "alternative." "To what?" one might ask. The answer is to real medicine.
    Indeed. On top of that, once it's been demonstrated to be effective it's no longer considered alternative. Once it's known to work, they just call it "medicine."


    Michael Baum gave a great interview on this exact topic with Richard Dawkins when they were putting together the Enemies of Reason series. It's well worth checking out.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grWfx...x=0&playnext=1


    A synopsis:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/264223
    This interview contains a lot of very important information, regardless of how one feels about CAM [Complimentary and Alternative Medicine]. Professor Baum starts by explaining the difference between complementary and alternative medicine. For him, complementary medicine is everything that improves the quality of life of a patient undergoing medical treatments, possibly for life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, seeks to replace scientific medicine. Says Michael Baum:
    I'm obviously against alternative medicine, because to me, alternative, by definition, means it does not work. If it works, we would use it.
    As an example of that, he cites a few medicines of herbal origin that are being used for cancer therapy such as vinca alkaloids form periwinkle and taxanes from yew trees.

    <...>

    Later on, they talk about what Baum politely calls "post-modern relativism," the idea that everything is but an opinion. I have an opinion, but you have read some other books and you have therefore another opinion and both opinions are equally valid. As a result, we have now alternative medicine, alternative teaching methods, alternative legal advocates, "but," he says "we haven't yet come up with an alternative Boeing 747 pilot".

    He links this to the MMR vaccine crisis where people are being told by alternologists and are convinced that there is a conspiracy of the medical establishment and the government that, in order to protect themselves, they were willing to sacrifice countless children to autism. "This is simply a lie," he says, and he adds that even among his closest friends, there are people who are not immunizing their children and that these children are now unprotected as a result.

    <...>

    Dawkins asks Baum if he can cite a few examples of complementary/alternative therapies for which he does have time. Baum cites art therapy as an example of complementary therapy in which he has invested quite some time. He also cites acupuncture, which is bonkers as an alternative complementary medicine belief system but which does have some value as a complementary therapy, for example in pain management. Still, his belief doesn't seem to go very far.

    He goes on giving an example of the importance of clinical trials and tells a story about how he was chairing a meeting in Florence, Italy on the role of CAM in the treatment of breast cancer. He was in serious pain at the time, so much so that he was limping. An acupuncturist offered him a treatment. The next day, he was completely without pain, and even visited the Uffizi gallery for a few hours. The interesting part is that she offered the treatment, but that he didn't accept it. Had he accepted it, the result would have been so spectacular that he would have become a convert. A nice illustration of the importance of controlled trials.

    Baum is also telling Dawkins about how many alternologists always go back to some "golden age" of medicine, and argues that there is no such thing as a golden age of medicine in the past, that the golden age is now, and that it will become more golden if only science can continue. He gives the example of Victorian England where life expectancy was not much more than about 40 years and where 30% of the children died shortly after birth whereas now most children survive, and that we now have life expectancies of close to 80 years, leading us to work longer than in the past.

    Dawkins and Baum talk about the importance of science education. Baum tells Dawkins that we have a scientifically illiterate population, a scientifically illiterate house of commons and, worse, that they actually take pride into their scientific illiteracy. Scientists have an important task here, he says, and children should be taught the scientific method from early secondary school in order to have a scientifically literate population. <more at the link>
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  7. #107  
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    In Western culture, alternative medicine is any healing practice "that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine",[1] or "that which has not been shown consistently to be effective."[2] It is often opposed to evidence based medicine and encompasses therapies with a historical or cultural, rather than a scientific, basis. Commonly cited examples include naturopathy, chiropractic, herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine, Unani, Ayurveda, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, homeopathy, acupuncture, and diet-based therapies, in addition to a range of other practices.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_medicine

    Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM, includes a range of traditional medicine practices originating in China. Although well accepted in the mainstream of medical care throughout East Asia, it is considered an alternative medicine|alternative medical system in much of the Western world.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditi...inese_medicine

    What is Yoga?
    Yoga is an ancient science of the coordination and purification of the body and mind to synchronize the human system to its deepest level. Yoga in Sanskrit refers to "yuj" which means ultimate bondage. The basics of yoga truly reflect the merging of human will with the will of God. Yoga has been practiced since ages to secure purity of mind, body and soul and the ultimate goal of yoga lies in the total harmony with the supreme power GOD.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Yoga-Pract...dia&id=1548570

    Mind over matter; I'm only bothering to post on this issue, for the insistence of some that Medicine as practiced in the US, is unarguable the only answer to good health or for the cures of mind and body.

    What I do believe is the overwhelming reason/cause for effective treatments, is the acceptance of the individual involved. Most, suppose fortunate in the Western World, believe going to a Medical Professional, listening to his/her diagnosis and acceptance of the remedy, fits this description, faith in that Doctor and/or the system.

    However around the world and with many individuals in the Western World, that faith does not exist, for whatever reason. Before, anyone goes off the deep end with my opinion, Children are not capable of having this inner thought process or many adults, and should seek whatever treatments are acceptable in the part of the world they live.

    While personally, I have little faith in the medical system, I have less in the alternatives, noting that alternatives in Western Cultures are traditional in others. Additionally, there is no question, all these alternatives have had success for some in the West.

    Cosmo aka as New Science, a long time poster here and other forums would be 92yo (Have not seen a post in several months) and was as sharp in making his points as most 30 year olds. He contributed this to alternatives (vegetarian/non intrusive medicine), wrote a couple books on the subject, changing his life style for cause, 50 years earlier. I won't go into all the posters and folks I've known that have lived long, apparently healthy lives, that never saw a doctor or practiced what your calling 'Traditional Medicine', a good many "Christian Scientist". Well one; My Great Grandfather, laying presumed dead at 90yo, was visited by the CS Clergy, walked out with them, living several more years.

    Kevin J. Tracey, MD, may have discovered the reason why Buddhist and Hindu monks tend to live longer and healthier lives. He recently spoke at a conference co-hosted by the Columbia University Integrative Medicine Program and Tibet House, discussing how advances in western medicine might explain what has been, until now, a mystical and religious phenomenon. The guest of honor at the conference was the Dalai Lama himself, who has been very cooperative in allowing the study of his religious followers for medical purposes.
    http://www.jyi.org/features/ft.php?id=901
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  8. #108  
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    Your Richard Dawkins reference was interesting. Baum cites art therapy as an alternative therapy that works, and acupuncture as one that does not. He is correct on both, except I would dispute the classification of art therapy as alternative.

    Humans are social apes, and our contact with other humans is vital to our mental and emotional well being. By improving that contact and the communication with other humans, we can ameliorate many psychological ills. That can be done with art therapy (since it involves close interraction with others), and music therapy, and talk/talk therapy and a bunch of other approaches. Since these work, and can be proved to work, and have become part of orthodox medicine, they are no longer 'alternative' therapies.

    Acupuncture, of course, is total crap, just like reiki.

    To Jackson

    A few points.
    In spite of your reference, yoga is not a science. Describing it as such is an insult to science and to scientists. Science requires empirical objective testing of hypotheses. This absolutely does not happen with yoga, so it cannot be described as a science. As a scientist myself, I find that description abhorrent.

    Re longevity. A recent article in New Scientist covered this topic. They concluded, from the work of numerous researchers on the topic, that living to an extreme age is the result of good genes. There are people who smoke, drink, fail to exercise etc., and drop dead of heart disease before they are 50. There are others (though few) who do the same and live beyond 100. The difference is genetic. It certainly has nothing to do with alternative versus conventional medicine.

    And Buddhist and Hindu monks do not live longer and healthier lives. They often claim they do, but the empirical evidence is missing. Many who claim to be over 100 conveniently have no birth certificate or birth records. Rather, such monks actually have high death rates, often at a young age, from a variety of ills. For example, they have a much higher rate of death by lung cancer than the populations around them. This is because they are constantly breathing incense smoke, which is highly carcinogenic.
    http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/new...airway-cancers
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  9. #109  
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    Just to clarify, Baum cites art therapy as "complimentary" therapy, not alternative. Also, acupuncture has some limited efficacy in pain management, but most of the "woo" and explanations around it are garbage, and the effect is limited. It says so both in the synopsis I shared and also in the video itself. :wink:
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  10. #110  
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    Re acupuncture.

    The pain relief offered by acupuncture is consistent with suggestion/placebo.

    Researchers have carried out tests where they applied acupuncture using approved methods, and also by applying the needles in random parts of the body. These tests were made double blind, since the people applying the needles were given a treatment plan, and did not know whether they were in the 'proper acupuncture' group, or the 'sham acupuncture' group. The degree of pain relief was identical (within statistically significant limits) for both groups.

    In addition, the level of pain relief was similar to the level of pain relief known to arise from placebo application.
    http://www.quackwatch.com/01Quackery...opics/acu.html

    In short, there is no mitigating therapeutical effect from acupuncture. Like reiki, it has placebo effect only.

    Of course, if you get your data from acupuncture sites, you will get a wholly different report.
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  11. #111  
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    Good to know. Thanks for sharing that, skeptic. Just to be clear, though, I'm not a supporter of acupuncture. I was just trying to accurately represent Dr. Baum's views from the interview which I shared above. We should all be cautious not to turn this into an "efficacy of acupuncture" thread, as that was not the intent from any of us. Cheers.
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  12. #112  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Another piece I think is interesting. I know I am not on the main theme here, but this is also about alternative medicine.

    Another form of quackery is homeopathy, in which people spend $$$ for distilled water or lactose tablets, and are told they will be consuming something to cure an illness.

    An interesting article in New Scientist.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...n-nothing.html

    The article describes the placebo effect from quack medicines like homeopathy or reiki as :

    "a bit like justifying building a car without any wheels on the basis that you can still enjoy the comfy leather seats and play with the gear shift."
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  13. #113  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    On yet another piece of quackery crap, here is a case of prayor instead of proper medical care leading to death.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news...ectid=10623917
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  14. #114  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Of course, if you get your data from acupuncture sites, you will get a wholly different report.
    I've always found acupuncture sites make sure you get their point.
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  15. #115  
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    "I've always found acupuncture sites make sure you get their point." -ophi

    Hallarious... at least it's an excuse to keep the quotes thread alive
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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