here, is an example of a magical belief masquerading as a plain Jane health and fitness article [see 001., below]; then, I cite from a recent Skeptic North article on magical beliefs [see 002., below]; then, from my own compilation covering how 'vitalism is science ejected' [see 003., below]; and finally, from the Quackwatch article on reiki [see 004., below]:
001. Connecticut's WTNH states in "Relax with Reiki" (2010-10-25)[vsc 2010-10-26]:
"reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing that treats the whole person [...a] Japanese term [...] 'rei' means universal and 'ki' means 'life force energy' [LFE...it is] the energy found within all living things [...and is] passed from the practitioner to the recipient through the practitioner’s hands [...and] brings balance and maintains health and well-being [...this is] a natural way to heal the body [...] it encourages the body’s healing response [...] reiki can help with a variety of emotional and physical ailments from anxiety and stress to injury, and cancer."
Note: so, by use of hands, we're naturally healed by LFE. I argue that reiki is an engagement with the supernatural, and that LFE is imaginary. There is a six minute video segment on the WTNH page, where we're told it has "amazing benefits." And, of course, the terms "chakra" and "meridians" come up. I call this an advertisement because it is completely credulous and offers no other opinion besides overwhelming support. Even the so often fair-balanced distortion at least would be bad journalism. This isn't journalism.
002. Skeptic North's recent post "A Skeptic’s Guide to Magical Thinking – Part 1" (2010-10-25) states:
"by tying it to the scientific method, we admit that there are three possible values for a magical belief: the belief has not been tested, the belief is un-testable by scientific means, the belief has been tested and is false [...] vitalism – the belief that living things posses an animating energy or life force [...] I['ve] lumped everything that had to do with a life force or vital essence [...including] reiki [...such] animism is generally considered alongside theism as a religious belief, yet its spirits typically profess no intelligence, making them more akin to a vital energy than a god."
Note: so, reiki categorically is in the magical, animistic, vitalistic woo area.
003. LFE is science ejected.
004. Reiki's cousin, therapeutic touch, specifically, was scientifically dismantled by an 10 year old girl. See "Reiki is Nonsense" at Quackwatch where we're reminded:
"reiki has no substantiated health value and lacks a scientifically plausible rationale. Science-based healthcare settings should not tolerate its use, and scarce government research dollars should not be used to study it further."