Supporting the healing endeavors of all individuals practicing Reiki in the Midwest
Pamela Miles is the author of REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide and the incredibly informative website and blog Reiki, Medicine and Self Care with Pamela Miles, drawing on her 26 years of experience with Reiki. Based in New York City, Pamela is a vocal advocate for daily self-practice and has been a pioneer for the integration of Reiki practice into conventional medicine. Her impressive work in the area of medical Reiki has included practicing Reiki in the operating room, setting up programs in prominent NYC hospitals, involvement in Reiki research studies, and teaching and speaking about Reiki at medical conferences and schools, including Harvard and Yale. An oft-quoted expert on Reiki in the media, Pamela has also appeared on The Dr. Oz Show helping to spread the word about Reiki.
We caught up with Pamela in advance of her upcoming talk in Chicago to chat about the acceptance of Reiki as a complementary treatment to standard western medicine and get her thoughts about what we as Reiki channels can do to continue to credibly represent Reiki to the medical communities in our own neighborhoods.
In your experience, how has the acceptance of Reiki into the mainstream medical community evolved in the past 10 years?
Conventional medicine has changed more in the last 20 years than anyone could have anticipated. When I first started collaborating in mainstream medicine, there was no “complementary” perspective. A practice was either conventional or it was alternative.
As mainstream medicine became increasingly technological and pharmaceutical, expenses and bureaucracy got bloated. While medicine addressed diseases, patients and their families were suffering. They started taking matters into their own hands, literally in the case of Reiki practice.
Harvard researchers published surveys in the 1990s that showed Americans were using traditional healing practices such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, mind-body practices, and Reiki, and that they were using these practices without telling their doctors, and paying more money out of pocket than they were for their conventional medical care. That got medicine’s attention.
What is the most exciting development in Reiki research you have come across to date?
Definitely the study we did at Yale in which people received Reiki treatment within 72 hours after having a heart attack, while they were still in the cardiac ICU. The study showed positive results for improvement of mood, which had showed up in other research, but for the first time, we looked at the impact of Reiki treatment on heart rate variability (HRV), a very specific measurement that indicates how resilient the system is. Flattened HRV is a strong indication that the system has lost resilience and is the single most reliable predictor of death from a second heart attack. In our study, which was the first Reiki study to be reported in a top tier conventional medical journal, a 20-minute Reiki treatment improved HRV comparable to beta-blockers. This is very exciting.
What one piece of advice would you give to other Reiki Masters looking to share Reiki in conventional health care situations?
Learn the culture. Volunteer in an institutional setting, such as hospice, not as a Reiki volunteer, but a volunteer to do what their volunteers do. This will give you the deepest experience of conventional health care, and who knows? Staff may notice how centered you are and a conversation about Reiki might develop. But that cannot be the reason to volunteer.
In what way would you like to see organizations like the MRC contribute to the growth of medical Reiki?
Every situation has upsides and downsides. Reiki practice is completely unregulated, which makes sense for a home care practice. Lack of regulation, however, has led to widely diverse approaches to practice, which is not a problem in the home, but presents lots of challenges as Reiki practice moves into the health care marketplace. Educating members about how we can proactively address this situation makes it more likely that we will have input into institutional decision-making.
UPDATE 2/22/13: Pamela will be in Lexington, Kentucky on March 26, when she will share ways Reiki channels can communicate the value of Reiki with credibility and confidence. Register for her class Communicating Reiki Mainstream by March 19 to qualify for a special early registration rate of $35.