This afternoon, I went to the little gym in the Stata Center at MIT. I went to the bathroom after my hour of bicycling, and I saw an ad for Reiki Healing Classes sponsored by the MIT Athletic Department. I was appalled. I had never heard of Reiki before, but I knew that anything described as a “life force energy” had to be bad. In my opinion, Reiki is a delusion that some people believe and a scam that other people use to make money. The class at MIT, for instance, costs $175 whereas most PE courses are about $15.
Looking up information online, I realized that Reiki is worse than I thought. Here are a couple of excerpts from the website of The International Center for Reiki Training:
“Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.”
Right… so, Reiki works 100% of the time for ANY illness. Sounds like a scam to me. No pharmacist or doctor would claim that their treatments work all the time, let alone that the same course of treatment works for all illnesses.
“An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an ‘attunement’ given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of ‘life force energy’ to improve one’s health and enhance the quality of life.”
So, anyone can learn Reiki and anyone can pass on Reiki? In a single class? Well, that beats medical school. Besides, at $175 for a course, one can potentially earn far more as a Reiki master than as a doctor!
This following paragraph has to be my favorite, though:
“While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.”
So, Reiki is not a religion. Okay, I can accept that. I cannot accept, however, that Reiki doesn’t require some form of belief. Apparently, you have to at least believe in God. As an atheist, I guess Reiki probably won’t work on me. You also have to believe that running your hands over a sick person will magically make that person feel better. I can’t believe that. Certainly, running your hands all over someone can make you and your new friend feel better, but no more than a nice massage or a good night of sex. I don’t believe Reiki hand healing is going to cure cancer.
I am somewhat dismayed that a Reiki class is being offered at the Massachusetts Institute of TECHNOLOGY. Reiki seems to be pretty much the polar opposite of technology. I consider Reiki a kind of Japanese medieval folklore, revived in the 1800s by a couple of Japanese dudes and now used by some California yuppy capitalists to make far too much money. Oh, wait… make that Michigan yuppy capitalists since the International Center is based in Michigan, apparently. Even if there is such a thing as Reiki healing, should such a class really be offered by the MIT athletic department? Trust me, MIT students need more exercise, in general. Running one’s hands all over another person and talking about magical healing forces does not count as exercise, in my opinion. Admittedly, running one’s hands all over another person (particularly a person of the opposite gender) is a good exercise for the average MIT student, but I still don’t think MIT should offer such a class!
Personally, I will be writing a letter with my complaint to this address: [email protected].
If you’re an MIT student or alum (or just a concerned skeptic), please also write to this address! Maybe we can cause a stir in the MIT Athletics Department.