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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reiki – scientific point of view

1.1. Reiki as a complementary and alternative medicine technique
The number of people seeking complementary alternative medicine (CAM) as a way to address their health care needs has increased significantly over the last several decades. CAM is expected to continue to play an augmented role in medical practice, including cancer treatment [1-4]. Reiki is biofield medicine, originally from Japan, which involves subtle body energies. The evaluation of Reiki as a treatment includes basic research [5-14], clinical trials [16-21], and self-reported assessment [5-24]. However, the understanding of Reiki as a method of medical treatment remains primitive at best [5]. Even research on the Reiki treatment of cancer patients primarily focused on the side effects rather than on the fundamental aspects of Reiki affecting cancer cells [7-9]. In contrast, there exist a substantial number of basic scientific studies on other biofield modalities for cancer treatment such as Gigong, Johrei, spiritual healing, etc. [25-31]. While the majority of these reports show positive results, they are rarely replicated, and some of them do not support previously reported data of positive effects of spiritual healing on malignant cell growth in vitro.
1.2. Scientific explanation of Reiki action
1.2.1. Theories explaining the mechanism of biological action of electromagnetic fields

The mechanism of low electromagnetic frequencies (LEMF) affecting biological tissues had been studied in the former USSR and, recently, in the USA and Europe. Although the mechanism is not clear, research provides some likely hypotheses. There are two explanations for this phenomenon. The first one is based on a principle in physics of electromagnetic radiation and cell structure. Endogenic LEMF could be generated by signals from endogenic LEMF resonating in the cell membrane, which, in turn, starts the regenerative processes [32-41]. The important point is that LEMF can affect all levels of body organization, not just the cellular level. Moreover, the induction of coherent waves is a natural mechanism of bioregulation. The cells start to emit LEMF waves after the transition from steady state to altered homeostasis state. The endogenic LEMF helps to return cells to the normal homeostasis state. If, for some reason, cells are not able to produce the endogenic LEMF, it is possible to help them return to the normal homeostasis state by exogenic LEMF exposure [42-46].
The second explanation of LEMF influence on living objects is based on chemical theory and the structural properties of water. It also says that LEMF fields are characteristic of all living systems, but the first target of LEMF radiation is the water (not the cell membrane). The structure of water could be enhanced by LEMF and, after that, it provides a signal through a triggering mechanism to the proteins in a cell membrane [34,47]. Water should be considered an active participant, if not a solicitous "cradle" for vital processes, rather than just a solvent for biomolecules [48,49]. Further research on this phenomenon has been done [50-55]. Also, the "memory of water" has been described [56-59].
Thus, it has been shown that mechanisms in nature exist, by which exogenic LEMF could influence endogenic LEMF and regulate processes in an organism.

1.2.2. Therapies based on LEMF
Therapy of various illnesses based on the LEMF has been described in the late 1960s and has been studied in various countries, including the former USSR, Canada, France, and Germany. The quantum therapy method uses frequencies from 5 to 250 Hz. It has been suggested that healing effects might occur through a resonance-type interaction, since some of the biomolecules and structural elements of the cells have their own theoretically calculated resonant frequency within this range [60]. Moreover, it has been shown that oncogenic and the associated quantum genetic particles were induced electromagnetically into recrystallized and translocated states based on various quantum phenomena [61-63]. The effectiveness of LEMF in treating various diseases, even in oncology, has been shown [64-72].
1.2.4. Measurements of electromagnetic fields from healer’s body and living objects
A.G. Gurwitch, in 1923, was the first to postulate the existence of a unifying organizing principle for all manifestations of life the existence of a vectorial "biological field." According to Gurwitsch, this field performs the organizing function for all vital processes taking place in its realm [73-76]. Dr. Zimmerman observes distinct changes in the fields in the healer’s body: biofields produced by a healer's hand. He recorded a pulsed signal of variable frequency ranging from 0.3 to 30 Hz, with most of the activity in the 7–8 Hz range [77,78].
Recently, various measurements have been done in these fields: measuring the aura during a procedure known as "Rolfing" using a modified electromyographic device [79]; measuring the emission of microwave radiation from tissue under stress [80]; bio-electric fields being made visible with a system that converts the bio-electrical field's electrons to photons [81]; and ultra weak emission of biophotons from biological tissues [73,76, 82-105]. Also, fundamental theories about biophotons and cell growth and differentiation, essential differences between tumor tissue and normal ones, some experimental evidence of DNA as a source of biophotons, and theoretical models have been provided [106,107]. Dramatic and unique differences before and after Reiki energy attunements or treatments have been shown by Kirlian photography [108]. It indicates that, in a Reiki session, the balance of biofield around the fingers is increased. According to the mechanism of healing described above, it could be due to increases in LEMF/biophoton emission from the Reiki healer. We could then conclude that Reiki attunement increased the emitting flow. The healing process of Reiki could be due to the action of exogenic LEMF (for the patient’s body) emitted from the Reiki healer’s hand, which was in perfect resonance with the endogenic patient’s body LEMF and restored body balance. Also, we could not exclude the possibility that these exogenic LEMF could damage cancer cells by itself not only through a body recovery mechanism. It is possible because of the differences in frequencies between normal and cancer cells mentioned above. In this case, Reiki will work like chemotherapy, directly destroying the ill cells. Our confidence is also based on the novel theory combined through all research on biofield: the Reiki nature, which includes characterization of endogenous energy fields in health and disease; and an understanding of how they regulate physiologic processes [109].

1.3. Reasons for creating this type of protocol for the Reiki treatment

1.3.1. Hypothesis regarding the source of Reiki energy
We do not support the theory that Reiki energy is energy from an outside source, after reconciling the scientific data cited above and the point of view of Reiki founder, Dr. Mikao Usui. He stated in his original book, Usui Reiki Hikkei, even before the discovery of biophoton emission, [110,111]:”However, it could also be possible to call it physical therapy since energy and light radiate from all body parts of the person who is giving the treatment” and “Usui Reiki Ryoho has materialized the healing power that the human body has.” We assume that Reiki energy is the natural human LEMF energy, which is emitted from the human body. A few words could be said about outside sources of energy. Though all human beings and all other living beings have their own electrical-magnetic energy balance, they all exist in the flow of energies outside those of the earth, moon, sun, and other galactic fields. So, humans are capable of accepting these external energies and use these for body balance [112]. We could say that, all human beings, during their whole lifetime, use energy from outside sources to maintain their own energy level. And we could expect increasing ability to accept and transform that energy from outside sources after Reiki attunement, not channeling some sort of unique energy, which has been unreachable before attunement. Thus, Reiki energy is the own energy of the healer, with increasing natural ability of accepting and transferring energy from outside sources.

1.3.2. Hypothesis regarding possible mechanism behind the so-called “Reiki intelligence”

Sometimes, Reiki energy has been thought to be some kind of intelligence that leads to the ill part of the body. A living cell (like an entire living being) is an open system with a continuous flow of energy passing through it [49,52,113]. And, as water fills up every hole on earth, the energy fills up every energy hole in the body. We believe that Reiki-attuned people emit all spectra of LEMF frequencies, which could be in resonance with any type of information processes that are needed to restore balance in the organism. Thus, the so-called ‘Reiki intelligence” could be the visible results of resonance action of endogenic and exogenic LEMF.

1.3.3. Are there factors that could influence the Reiki treatment?

It is a well-known fact that, in this healing technique, the health, mind, or mood conditions of the healer have no influence on the quality of healing effects [49] The latest research on the healer’s mood as it influences the results of the Reiki treatment [114] seemed to be very confusing. For example, we see from Figure 1 [114] that the amounts of Reiki-treated bacteria in healing and nonhealing experiments (experiments with different moods of healers) are practically the same. The differences were noted only between control groups and these could be due to problems with the experiment protocol and settings and not the healers’ moods.
Also, "wrong information" or "ill energies" are never exchanged between the healer and the one being healed, irrespective of the health status of the former [49]. We agree with this statement because, in our understanding, the process called “acceptance of negative energy from patients” by un-attuned healers is not really accepting “ill energy” from patients. It is rather the decrease in self energy of un-attuned healers during the process of concentrating, creating the healing intent, emitting the LEMF, etc. And this decrease in self energy could cause tiredness or even illness among the un-attuned healers. In Reiki-attuned people, the decrease in self energy does not take place because they do not need to concentrate or create the healing intent. The ability to accept and transfer energies from outside sources to maintain body balance has increased among attuned people as well.

1.3.4. Can un-attuned people have the same effect on treatment as canReiki practitioners?

Research shows that untrained people could not influence healing, but other studies reveal no differences between results obtained from treatments done by a Reiki practitioner or a sham practitioner [115,116].
Therefore, we decided that, as a first step in our research, a blank-controlled method (untreated cells are used as control) and no sham practitioner would be used. We call our treatment biofield-Reiki because, without using a sham practitioner, we could not separate the effect of Reiki from the biofield effects. If any positive results will be obtained, then the next step will be the differentiation of these results according to Reiki training level among sham practitioners, Reiki practitioners, and Reiki masters.
1.4. The importance of using the cell model

The most important aspect in CAM research is to avoid, during the study of effectiveness, other possible contributing factors─e.g., the natural course or cyclic nature of the disease; placebo effect; spontaneous remission; misdiagnosis─all factors, which are present during the study of CAM with humans and even with animals [117-123]. The preferable way to achieve this goal is to use a cell model. Most Reiki practitioners consider it a spiritual treatment approach, which is based on the belief that, when spiritual energy is channeled through a Reiki practitioner, the patient’s spirit is healed, which, in turn, heals the physical body [124]. We do not support this position because we do not consider Reiki as spiritual healing but as a physical LEMF energy, which directly influences body structures such as organs and cells. So Reiki does not need to heal the spirit of the patient to activate tissue healing and even cell cultures isolated from the body could be influenced by Reiki energy as well as by biofield LEMF energy. Thus, the cell culture model could be used in Reiki research. We used well-characterized cancer cell lines to study the mechanism of response to biofield-Reiki action on cancer cells.

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