This month, I have targeted the use of Reiki by Genesis Health System. I began with a note to the Genesis website’s “Contact us” feature and a letter to Genesis administrator Doug Cropper. I received no reply to either.
Next, I submitted a message to the Genesis Facebook page that contained the same information as in this letter that was published in the Quad City Times and Rock Island Dispatch-Argus.
After my Facebook message, I received this reply: “Thank you for sharing your concern with us. I am going to pass this along to our cancer center for further review. Would you share a contact method with us so that they, or a patient advocate, can contact you for further follow up?”
I gave them an e-mail address and two telephone numbers, but received no further reply.
Finally, I sent an e-mail to Genesis senior communications consultant Craig Cooper, asking to speak to someone about the use of Reiki at Genesis. He asked what I wanted to know, so I submitted a dozen questions that yielded this response: “We received your comments. We acknowledge your concerns and understand your views. Thank you for your comments. Please direct any additional correspondence to me. We will have no further comment.”
These are the questions Genesis would not answer:
- Does Genesis consider Reiki medicine? If so, what studies suggest this, and what steps are taken to mitigate the possibility of side effects or overdose? If it’s not considered medicine, why is it being offered at Genesis?
- Could you describe what Reiki is?
The next several questions center on this paragraph from the cancer care treatment page of the Genesis Website: “Reiki, the name used to describe universal energy flow from one person to another, speeds the body’s own ability to rejuvenate and in some cases, regenerate healthy cells, by increasing and enhancing the positive energy flow through a person’s energy body.”
- What is the source of Reiki energy?
- How is this energy accessed?
- What instruments are used to determine how much energy is being used?
- Is this energy measured in joules, or some other unit?
- How is the energy transferred from practitioner to patient?
- What is universal energy flow?
- What is positive energy flow?
- What is an energy body?
- What is the basis for the claim that Reiki can rejuvenate and regenerate healthy cells?
- I am curious about the Usui Method of Natural Healing that is listed as being taught in the Reiki levels one and two classes. What is this method, and what can it heal? For instance, could it be used to treat ailments such as a broken arm or herniated disc?
To recap, four messages were sent to Genesis, with “no comment” being the gist of the replies. Genesis officials are noncommittal on whether or not Reiki could be used to treat a heart attack or to close a scalp wound. While not citing the source of this energy or explaining what type it is, or offering evidence of Reiki’s efficiency or existence, Genesis continues to offer treatment based on it. This is not being done at a mall kiosk or by someone trying it out on a friend’s incessant backache. It is being offered by a mainstream medical facility whose website boasts that it is “always bringing new heights of excellence in health care,” and claiming to deliver “groundbreaking research.” I suppose there is something groundbreaking about a hospital treating aliments with magic waves.
When receiving the “treatment,” the patient usually lies down, often with soothing music and scented candles thrown in. It’s like paying for a massage without getting massaged.
Since Genesis officials won’t answer my questions, I am left to guess as to why it is offering Reiki. It could be money. It could be that it got in through the back door as palliative care, piggybacking on Tai Chi or yoga, which can be legitimate ways of dealing with the stress of cancer. But Genesis is not advertising Reiki as palliative, but is crediting it with regenerating cells. This is the most blatant fraud on the website. One can vaguely claim “energy” without bothering to explain it. But cell regeneration is measurable and knowable, and for a hospital to claim Reiki does this is horribly irresponsible, if not criminal.
When patients see a service offered by a hospital, they trust that it works. Genesis is violating this trust promoting Reiki, which has never been shown to have any medicinal value. Despite the Moline Skeptics’ efforts, the cancer treatment plan of an area hospital continues to include waving hands and energy attunements.