Medical Reiki: A Groundbreaking Approach to Using Energy Medicine for Challenging Treatments by Raven Keyes – A Review by Dr. Jody Messinger Wolfe, CMRM
I am fiercely committed to the development of a body of scientific research on Reiki in medicine. As both a Certified Medical Reiki Master (CMRM) and a former university professor, I come by this passion honestly. Despite some promising preliminary findings, we need research with greater rigor and significantly more reliable data to provide a sound evidence base for Reiki’s therapeutic efficacy. This research should be a high priority if we’re going to effectively promote Reiki’s use in Integrative Medicine and to establish Medical Reiki as a respected profession.
That is why I’m so pleased to serve on the board of directors of Medical Reiki Works, the first non-profit organization devoted to raising funds for and conducting rigorous research on Reiki in medical settings. When Raven Keyes (of Raven Keyes Medical Reiki International) and Dr. Sheldon Marc Feldman (noted breast cancer surgeon at New York’s Montefiore Hospital and Albert Einstein College of Medicine) founded Medical Reiki Works in 2016, they understood the importance of this venture. Now in our fifth year, we have raised the funds for and are ready to conduct a groundbreaking clinical trial of Reiki in breast cancer surgery with a world class research team. This study is just the first in an ongoing scientific research agenda Medical Reiki Works will promote.
Good research takes time. What do we do while we wait? To Raven Keyes, the answer is to remain proactive in training Certified Medical Reiki Masters to populate this emerging profession and to continue to chart the course for the future of Medical Reiki. As part of these efforts, she has gifted us with her newest book: Medical Reiki: A Groundbreaking Approach to Using Energy Medicine for Challenging Treatments, coming out in May 2021 from Llewellyn and available now for pre-order.
I recently had the opportunity to read a pre-publication copy of Raven’s book, and I found within its pages and stories a renewed commitment to the work I do and an elevated sense of hope for the future of this profession. After months of being restricted from clinical settings due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Reiki practitioners will find Raven’s inspiring book just the tonic we need to keep us motivated for the significant role we can play in post-pandemic healing. This book is, in fact, a manifesto for our future. The research that is on the horizon will inform and guide our practice with a badly needed evidence base, but this book ignites the flame of vocation that called us to the work in the first place.
Raven begins with a helpful historical journey through traditional spiritual healing practices in indigenous societies, key issues in modern medicine, and the development, teaching, and practice of Reiki as we now know it in the Western world. She also tackles the difficult task of defining Reiki and Medical Reiki in terms accessible to readers of any background. No matter who you are or your level of familiarity with Reiki, you will appreciate Raven’s ability to take you on a clear and informative tour of Reiki and its relationship to medicine.
Raven describes Medical Reiki as “the blending of science with the unseen world we call spirituality.’ It is, she says, ‘the delivery of the healing energy called Reiki by a Master already trained and attuned to the highest level of Reiki practice, and who is then further trained to safely and unobtrusively bring it to those in medical settings such as operating rooms, chemotherapy suites, birthing rooms, and so on.” Thus, Medical Reiki is not a new kind of Reiki, but rather the practice of Reiki in medical settings, though with protocols in place that take into consideration the unique requirements of the medical milieu (adherence to privacy laws, clear understandings of scope of practice, professional attitudes and behaviors appropriate for clinical practice, adjustments in hand positions, etc.).
The standards and practices that pave the way for Reiki’s successful use in medical settings form the curriculum for training Certified Medical Reiki Masters by Raven Keyes Medical Reiki International (RKMRI). Though Reiki Masters from any lineage can become CMRM’s, having this credential helps assure our healthcare collaborators that we are prepared for effective professional practice within their hospitals and clinics. Raven’s own fascinating story of becoming a Reiki partner with prominent New York surgeons is woven throughout her book, showing the reader how and why her training program came into existence and how this preparation benefits practitioners, patients, and our healthcare partners.
In addition to being a manifesto, Medical Reiki is also a handbook. Raven admirably has managed to address all the potential stakeholders of Medical Reiki – current and future Reiki practitioners, patients who suffer from illness or injury, and those in healthcare fields who are interested in a more holistic approach to healing. Chapters in the book aimed at each of these audiences form a roadmap to utilizing, partnering with, or practicing Medical Reiki based on currently available opportunities through RKMRI. The author outlines procedures and provides helpful forms that can facilitate doctors’ and patients’ incorporation of Medical Reiki in their treatment plans. Likewise, Reiki Masters interested in working within healthcare will find useful guidance.
Readers from each of the book’s intended audiences cannot help but be stirred by the stories that are woven into the narrative and that comprise its final chapter. These poignant testimonials vividly portray the many benefits for patients that can come from blending Reiki with conventional medical care. While personal accounts may not be the strong scientific evidence base we also need, as anecdotal data, they help paint important and useful portraits of the broad range of positive outcomes that are potentially available when hope, healing, and relief from suffering are enhanced by Reiki.
Let’s not underestimate the power of Medical Reiki’s personal stories, especially for those who are just learning about Reiki. In a recent Facebook post (2/10/21), Anita Moorjani tells us: “When you hear of somebody who has experienced something that is outside of the realm of what you thought is possible, you see their story, you get all the proof you need to know it’s true. It’s as if it’s happened to you. It blows your mind open to the point where you are now allowing it to happen to you.” This, she says, is why it is so important to share our stories of healing. Reliable data may be the engine for moving our work forward to meet the evidence-based criteria of modern medicine, but it is, and will continue to be, personal accounts of recovery that open us to the possibility that we, too, can find the healing we long for.
In addition to the powerful stories of patients and their Reiki practitioners, I was deeply moved by the compelling words of doctors who contributed their viewpoints to Medical Reiki. The Foreward by Dr. Sheldon Marc Feldman, the Epilogue by Dr. Mandy O’Hara, and the endorsement by Dr. Bernie Siegel all were particularly meaningful to me. They suggest, as Raven Keyes believes, that we truly can find supportive partners for Medical Reiki in the medical profession. Physicians like these have taken the leap of faith to try working with Reiki, have trusted their experience with it, and are willing to invest their advocacy and/or research efforts in pursuing empirical proof of what they now believe is possible.
My own work as a CMRM with a Certified Hand Therapist, who treats me with respect as a professional equal, is so encouraging in this regard. And I remember how grateful and hopeful I felt when an incredibly busy surgeon in a university medical center, who walked briskly into pre-op ready to take her patient (my client) into the OR, stepped aside, stood quietly by, and asked the pre-op team to do likewise to give me time and space to complete pre-op Reiki. Raven is right; there is a real future waiting for us in exciting, synergistic collaborations with professionals throughout healthcare. Medical Reiki: A Groundbreaking Approach to Using Energy Medicine for Challenging Treatments has helped me to continue to believe it and pursue it.
I encourage you to allow Medical Reiki to draw you into envisioning this future and to imagining your place within it. Raven’s 20 years of experience, including a decade of collaboration in Dr. Feldman’s operating room, shine throughout this work, giving the reader a strong sense of rich possibility without glossing over the obstacles we need to prepare to overcome. If you are interested in or practice Reiki, if you or anyone you love has been a medical patient, if you are intrigued by the growth of Integrative Medicine, or if you are or are training to become a healthcare professional, then you are going to want to read this book.
Here you can order Medical Reiki: A Groundbreaking Approach to Using Energy Medicine for Challenging Treatments by Raven Keyes (coming May 2021)
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Article by Jody Wolfe
Dr. Jody Messinger Wolfe is a Certified Medical Reiki Master in Morgantown, WV, USA. A former university faculty member and business owner, she now devotes her professional efforts to the practice of Usui Reiki, Medical Reiki, and to the advancement of Reiki in healthcare settings. She owns Mid-Atlantic Complementary Healing and serves as a member and secretary of the Board of Directors of Medical Reiki Works.