Proud of Reiki?

Proud of Reiki?

I am always a bit amazed when I fly. I am over Minnesota on my way to NECSS in New York for a day of science-based medicine and a weekend of science and skepticism. And the Book of Mormon.

In 5 hours I can travel a distance that used to take a year and while miles in the air I can be on the internet, although I feel a bit churlish noting that it is slow. I am going 500 miles an hour several miles in the air and I winge about 3G speeds.

My first essay for Science-Based Medicine in 2008 was entitled Alternative Flight. Aviation, engineering, physics and chemistry are all based in or a core part, of science. There is not alternative aviation or integrative engineering, or complementary physics. Medicine is unique in its ongoing and accelerating integration of pseudo-scientific magic into its practice.

You do not see the department of Astronomy bragging about bringing in astrologers into their midst. But in medicine? We have Development of a hospital reiki training program: training volunteers to provide reiki to patients, families, and staff in the acute care setting.

What do we know about reiki? That is was discovered? invented? pulled out of thin air? when Mikao Usui had what appears to be a psychotic breakdown:

After fasting and meditating for several weeks, he began hallucinating and hearing voices giving him “the keys to healing.”

The practitioner of reiki usually doesn’t even touch her patient, just passes their hands over the air around the patient to transfer energy. Whatever this energy may be, it has not been measured or even defined, except to note that a simple experiment for a 6th grade science project published in JAMA can easily demonstrate those who say they can detect a human energy field, when tested, cannot.

Reiki is nothing that can do nothing, and has never demonstrated effectiveness for any process in high quality trials. It is at best a placebo and a goofy placebo at that that. Even offering it is perhaps fraud.

And yet the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, supposedly one the premier institutions in the US, has developed a volunteer program to meet the demand for reiki.

Who demands a useless intervention divorced from reality invented during a mental breakdown? At least the staff of Brigham and Women’s Hospital who then use it on their patients.

That patients and staff like 20–30 minutes to relax and slow down and feel better is a good thing. That they are doing it in the context of total nonsense is sad.

And, apparently, such nonsense is the future of medicine.  I look forward to my place being kept a lot by TCM levitation

Points of Interest 04/11/2015
Points of Interest 04/08/2015

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