Thursday, July 12, 2018

Reiki: Pseudoscience and Medicine

As someone who is pursuing a career in medicine, there are times when I hear about alternative medicines and am in total support. On the flip side, there are times where I cannot help but cringe. The alternative medical use of Reiki as a form of healing that dates back to early 20th century Japan when it was developed by Mikao Usui and then popularized by his student Chujiro Hayashi. The idea behind reiki is that a "reiki master" would help to imbue you with positive energy in order to bolster your life force, or "qi." The idea behind "qi" itself and the presence of a life force goes against biological and physical concepts that have been supported with real data. Sometimes referred to as "palm healing," reiki is essentially medical pseudoscience. There is no empirical or concrete data to support the fact that it actually works, in most cases, it is probably just a placebo effect. Below I've attached screen shots of how much it would cost to become a "reiki master," which can be done online, within 5 hours. As mentioned in the lectures, this form of alternative medicine probably relies on the appeal to a false authority with titles like, "reiki master." Having actually tried reiki before, I can firmly say that it is indeed a pseudoscience that can easily trick the naive thinker into believing it is effective in treating the most common illnesses. 


  1. Hi Vinh. As someone who is interested in pursuing a career in medicine myself, I can't help but roll my eyes when I see things like Reiki. I'm someone who was to see empirical evidence and science behind medical practices and Reiki has none of that. It is the definition of pseudoscience. I think there are a lot of alternative treatments out there that are foolish. Many of them seem like a scam just to get money from people with no focus on actually making them better.

    1. Hi Cameron,
      Thanks for your response. I absolutely agree! There needs to be hard evidence backed by the ability of repetition in order for me to truly believe in it.

  2. Hi Vinh,
    As someone who is also pursuing a career in medicine, I don’t understand how many people believe in these types of things. I totally agree with what you have written about Reiki. Indeed, I believe that there is no such thing as “life energy.” Reiki is one of those things that is immeasurable, unobservable, and it simply doesn’t exert any measurable effects where it can show that it actually works or has any proven benefits. Also, how can a person just become a Reiki master in 5 hours when it takes 8 years to become a physician? This type of practice is a gimmick to make people thinking that they are actually getting healed.