Can You Get Through to This Reiki Lady?

I’m currently in a live chat on the Boston Globe’s site with a reiki practitioner, but for some reason none of my comments are making it through. Can you get one? Let me know in the comments and take screen shots!

Live chat link (EDIT: Over now! See below for screenshots)

My article today on this chick and the Boston Globe over on Bostonist



EDIT 2: Another!


Edit 3: A great question from Todd W. about her ridiculous aspirin comparison:


Edit 4: In which she directs us to a web site that has no evidence for reiki at all:


Edit 5: I think this is my favorite of her answers:


Reiki is like gravity? Which we can’t measure? REALLY?

Here’s the whole transcript:

Reiki chat with Debbie Griseuk

The event is now live.
Waiting for writer to provide content…
Reiki with Debbie G. RMT:

my name is Debbie Griseuk, RMT and I will be on line for the next hour to talk to you about Reiki
Reiki with Debbie G. RMT: hello

[Comment From rich] How do you become a master teacher?

[Comment From sox499] what is reiki?

[Comment From bosgal] I have been super stressed and have tried everything. Can Reiki help me for real?
12:22 Producer: Debbie Griseuk is having some technical difficulties, and is working to post her answers ASAP. We apologize for the inconvenience.
12:31 Producer: Debbie is experiencing some difficulty with her internet connection, so she is going to dictate her answers to me, and I will post for her. So, first up… rich’s question. And the answer…
12:31 Producer: You study for a period of time and practice, and then you find a teacher who will invite you to become a master.
12:32 Producer: To sox499, reiki is basically a stress-reduction technique that assists your body’s natural ability to heal.
12:32 Producer: to bosgal, There are never any guarantees with reiki, but it really helps produce a deep inner peace that will reduce stress. The only way for you to know that is to try it.
12:33 Producer: Anybody here can give me (Debbie) a call at any time, 603-262-9366.

[Comment From chins] hello. I have been practising Reiki for 12+ years… learnt it overseas, and I do not do it for money. I do it to be an instrument to help family and friends. Often, people will get to know by word of mouth and call me for reiki sessions. It is a gentle, intuitive, non-intrusive energy transmission system that believes that the body will receive energy and heal itself as needed
12:34 Producer: that’s a perfect way for reiki to be used. It’s an every day stress-reduction for family and friends and pets.

[Comment From isobel bailey] why do you think there is an objection from the catholic church about reiki?
12:36 Producer: You know, I honestly, honestly do not understand it. We’re not competing with the church and reiki has nothing to do with religion.

[Comment From Maeve] You are on the right track.Krista Tippett, Speaking of faith interviewed Dr. Rachel Naomi Remon who is an advocate of the mind/body connection. The US Conference of Bishops could be echoing the fear of the those in the Vatican who are involved in the “study” of US sisters,nuns. The Vatican/Bishops do not want to lose power. These pronouncements are a diversion . Reiki is one of the wonderful healing strategies–I take tai chi!!
12:37 Producer: I agree, and I wish more people would understand that.

[Comment From barb] You manipulate energy to heal, relieve stress etc. Can you ever manipulate energy and cause harm. If you can do good, why can’t you do something wrong and cause harm?
12:38 Producer: That’s a very good question. Reiki people do not have the ability to manipulate anything. The energy goes to where it’s needed the most. I am not that powerful. Reiki is very simple, it’s natural to the human body. The same way the power of touch is healing, I cannot harm you with the power of touch.

[Comment From Rebecca] Does reiki work on technical issues? Do you wave your hands over the computer?
12:38 Producer: No, but if it did, I would be fixing my own computer right now!
12:39 Producer: Once again, we are taking narration from Debbie Griseuk since she’s having computer issues — these are HER answers. Keep those questions coming!

[Comment From Lou] what does a reiki session consist of? how does it compare to a massage?
12:40 Producer: First of all, you keep your clothes on when you have a reiki session and one of the reasons reiki is so safe and simple is because we do not manipulate tissue. So, it’s very safe, because it’s gentle, hands on. The big deal of the whole thing is not disrobing.

[Comment From barb] If I am stressed, how does your energy know where to go and just how does it relieve my stress?
12:43 Producer: It works very similar to an aspirin, the same way the aspirin knows where to go, the energy knows where to go. It helps you with a deep inner peace, to bring harmony to mind, body, and spirit. When you’re in harmony, and nothing hurts, there’s no stress.

[Comment From Rebecca] What scientific evidence is there showing reiki is anything more than the power of suggestion?
12:44 Producer: We don’t have a reiki meter. The same way we don’t have a faith meter, to see how much faith we have in a higher powerful. What we do have is $4 million the government is putting into a study for returning veterans, because reiki has been scientifically proved to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, increase oxygen to the brain, etc.

[Comment From Lou] i don’t mind the disrobing – i think i had a part of reiki in one of my massages – the woman asked me to state or chant anything that i wanted – it kind of confused me so i didn’t – is it always like that?
12:45 Producer: No, reiki sessions are very quiet for the most part, it doesn’t require any participation. So whatever they were doing with chanting is beyond me. I don’t chant.

[Comment From Todd W.] I was under the impression that aspirin dispersed throughout the body and interacted with various receptors. What mechanism does reiki use?
12:47 Producer: Well, the reiki uses the body’s natural ability and desire to be in harmony. It works with the life force energy or chi. It works with the energy that’s already created in our bodies.

[Comment From Rebecca] You say “reiki has been scientifically proved to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, increase oxygen to the brain, etc.” Where is this study published? Did reiki perform better than placebo/sham?
12:48 Producer: If you go online at, that’s Pamela Miles’ site, she’s the one who works in the operating room with Dr. Oz, you can see many studies that have been done. Although never enough. We don’t have enough.

[Comment From Brian G] Are there any scientific peer reviewed studies you can point us to?
12:49 Producer: The other thing you can look on is the Natural Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine website, a goverment site.

[Comment From Ben] So you’re comparing reiki to faith, like one has in a religion. In other words, if you don’t believe in it, it doesn’t work?
12:50 Producer: It’s similar to gravity. If you walk off the side of the building, you’re going down, regardless of what you believe in.

[Comment From chins] well, re: the technical part :), I DID use it once on a computer that was shutting off and not working properly. and eventually I did get it work well after reiki :). My friends teased that maybe we don’t need computer engineers anymore :).. but hey who knows…. energy is energy I suppose. Not claiming anything – just an anecdote.
12:51 Producer: Those kind of things happen all the time, because energy is energy. We can’t see it. Just because we can’t see electricity, we know it’s working when we turn a lamp on.

[Comment From Pete] Is there a good scientific study you can refer me to which shows reiki produces a better result than the placebo effect?
12:52 Producer: Once again, I would go to — they really have the best published studies, and you can do a search online and come up with all kinds of studies.

[Comment From chins] chakras – energy centers – auric level – these are important to know because our energy is much more than just that contained within our physical body. When a person is happy – they generate a positive energy within their expanding aura; opposite for those who are sad/depressed..
12:53 Producer: That’s kind of advanced energy viewpoint, but they’re absolutely correct. Happy cells make a happy body.

[Comment From Lou] thanks for the replies – would reiki be of any benefit to my wife who’s due in a month? pre or post?
12:54 Producer: Reiki is so beneficial for everything, it’s possible it may reduce some of her pain or bring her some extra comfort. I say maybe because it’s different for everyone. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a hospital without reiki.

[Comment From isobel] Isn’t the National Institutes of Health (NIH) doing a big study on reiki?
12:54 Producer: Yes
12:54 Producer: Giant

[Comment From Todd W.] Exactly how does reiki work with the life force energy? Aspirin has a physical interaction. What kind of interaction does reiki have? How does that translate to physical changes in the body?
12:55 Producer: Any time the body feels relaxed, and reiki adds coping skills to the body, the body can then use those coping skills however it sees fit.

[Comment From Sym] Is there a reason that being near someone in a normal situation doesn’t have some Reiki effect? Or does it?
12:56 Producer: I don’t understand the question. Sorry

[Comment From isobel] I wonder why the church doesn’t object to other alternative healing techniques, such as acupuncture, massage, tai chi, etc.
12:57 Producer: Me too. Just a quick note, reiki is complimentary, not alternative. I really would understand why the church picks on reiki.

[Comment From Todd W.] When practicing, how are you able to tell whether you are connecting to the person’s “life energy” or not?
12:58 Producer: If the person is living and breathing, then the energy is connecting, it’s an automatic thing

[Comment From Guest] yes, so the question becomes: how do we know that ‘reiki energy’ is working? What do you use as your ‘lamp’?
12:58 Producer: What I use as my lamp is how the person feels, and after doing this for years, I’ve seen spectacular results.

[Comment From Ben] Is Reiki more like faith or more like gravity? If the Chi is there, why can’t it be measured?
12:59 Producer: I know when I feel love for someone or a pet or an animal. I cannot measure that love. Reiki is more like gravity because it’s life force gravity, and once it’s left the body, you no longer exist.

[Comment From Rebecca] You directed us to to find studies showing that reiki has proved to “reduce heart rate, blood pressure, increase oxygen to the brain, etc. ” A search of that site reveals only one article even mentioning reiki…the article is about tai chi and contains no citations. Is there anyplace else with evidence?
1:00 Producer: sorry i meant

[Comment From Kyle] Have there been any independent studies on reiki?
1:00 Producer: There have been some, but not enough

[Comment From Ben] What kind of complaint would cause you to refer your client to a medical doctor?
1:02 Producer: Common sense. Anything that our wonderful medicine and science can work on, they need to see a doctor.
1:02 Producer: We’ve run out of time! We have a lot of questions left over, which you can email to Debbie at [email protected], or call her at 603-262-9366. Thanks for participating in today’s chat!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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  1. Sorry, Rebecca. My office filter will show the page, but won’t let the live chat run. Hope you got in a good one.

    In the mood for a good discussion after my argument about “Mercury in retrograde” and “personal intuition” with a (possibly ex-) friend yesterday. Still feeling a bit ornery…

  2. Oh, that is just brilliant. You guys rock! The questions were good, the follow-up questions were good, and she really couldn’t explain herself. And they were honest, smart, non-confrontational questions. I think this is a really good example of how inquiry should be done. Hopefully a few people who were on the fence about this were watching, and got a good idea about what reiki really is. Maybe they’ll go and research it for themselves!

  3. @MiddleMan–why is your avatar an internal diagram of a neutron? Is it because you’re neutrally biased?

    (By the way, it would be a little more complete if you had one more squiggly line connecting between two of the others.)

  4. Hopefully they will go research it. Unfortunately that last link takes you to the reiki propaganda page. There you can find quite a few scientific-sounding studies, all written by one Pamela Miles who appears to be the person who defined reiki for NCCAM! Oh and that’s her website as well.

    Just a wee bit biased. So even if a fence-sitter was trying for truth, they would have to recognize the manipulation that is going on here. Alternative medicine lies with such earnest sincerity. It is loathsome.

    PS: Todd W. rules!

  5. I always love it when someone says you can’t measure love but it’s there. I don’t try to heal anyone (or charge them for it) with love. If my dog is sick, off she goes to a vet, I don’t try waving my hands around and loving her well. Real love is actually doing something that might help.

  6. actually, love could be measured, in theory if not in practice.

    If I built a Reiki detector I suspect it would be functionally identical to a bullshit detector.

  7. That was similar to my martial arts teacher’s reasoning about chi. He said “well, you can’t see thoughts either. I can’t open up your head and see what you were thinking“, to which I responded “No, but give me an fMRI and I can show you where in the brain your thoughts are stored. I can show you their path through the brain by following the electrical impulses by which they travel. Chi doesn’t even have that kind of ‘physical residue’

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