Saturday, 1 September 2012

Letting People Know about Reiki

Reiki students are advised not to advertise, but to let people come through word of mouth.  However this can be backed up by having a business card or leaflet to give to people you meet.

I have recently been involved in re-writing a leaflet about Reiki for The Reiki Association, which members will be able to buy to give to potential clients. 
Students who have attended my introduction to public practice workshop will remember that one of the characteristics of public/professional practice is a greater need to take note of the expectations of society.   This has become relevant in the re-writing of this leaflet, due to recent adjudications of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)

There is much greater awareness now about Reiki and complementary therapies in general than when the leaflet was first written years ago.  Some people hold the view that these therapies are just fooling the public into parting with their hard earned money!  As a result complaints about some Reiki advertising were made to the ASA recently and were upheld.   In revising the leaflet it was therefore felt to be wise to pay more attention to the wording so that it would not cause problems for those who might use it.

The complaints the ASA upheld were about statements concerning what Reiki could be beneficial for.  The role of the ASA is to ensure any advertising is ‘legal, descent, honest or truthful’.  There is a concern that people with a medical condition might choose to go to a complementary therapist instead of their doctor and so become more ill.  They therefore do not accept any mention of medical conditions that Reiki might help without “robust evidence” in the form of clinical trials.  They have been made aware of some of the positive research in to the benefits of Reiki, but dismissed them because they did not involve a large enough number of participants in the trials.

The Reiki Association consulted the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) which gives guidance about what advertising content is likely to be acceptable to the ASA.  What was interesting in their suggested revisions was that, while they removed any reference to physical conditions, they inserted the words ‘emotional’ and ‘spiritual’ where we had not thought to include them. 

Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki from Japan to the West, taught that the underlying cause of physical problems lies on the levels of mind, emotions and spirit and that this is where Reiki is really beneficial.  I have seen this to be true from my own treatment practice. 

So while it is frustrating not to be able to say that Reiki can help problems like period pain, healing from surgery or arthritis (to name but a few) because people are often first drawn to seek help due to physical conditions, it is indeed perhaps more truthful to say that what Reiki helps with is the emotional and mental aspects of these problems, which may in time result in improvement of the physical. 

I have one student who has indeed found that Reiki has not improved the physical condition she hoped it would cure.  However she says it has changed her life and she wouldn’t be without it because it has helped her feel so much better.

What are your thoughts about how to let people know about the benefits of Reiki?

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