Using reiki for cancer treatment offers a natural healing option that possesses its own unique set of potential advantages and disadvantages. Reiki is an ancient Japanese practice that utilizes healing energy to mend ailments of the body and mind. When it is used in treating cancer, reiki can help stabilize the immune system, restore balance, produce feelings of harmony and relaxation, and reduce the effects of chemotherapy. Some of its drawbacks can be cited in scientific studies that found reiki does not cure cancer or diminish or eradicate cancer cells, as well as the fact that any positive results gained from reiki are not universal for all patients.
The name reiki is derived from the Japanese word meaning "mysterious atmosphere of feeling." It was conceived in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist healer named Mikao Usui. Usui found impressive results from the practice of harnessing universal healing energies and directing their flow through the human body. Over the ensuing decades, the practice was perfected by Usui and his students and eventually developed into two types of reiki: traditional Japanese reiki and Western reiki.
Among the benefits of using reiki for cancer treatment is a stabilization of the immune system. Many patients have reported markedly improved immune function after receiving reiki treatment. The overall effects of strengthening the immune system can lead to even more benefits, like a renewed sense of balance and inner alignment and feelings of peace, acceptance, and relaxation.
Another widely reported advantage to utilizing reiki for cancer is the pain management capabilities of reiki healing. Cancer patients may experience significant physical and emotional pain, and chemotherapy treatments will often exacerbate these conditions. Reiki has been shown to quell the nausea associated with chemotherapy, as well as the aches and pains that accompany it. Furthermore, reiki can lower the heart rate and initiate a positive mental attitude.
There are also disadvantages of reiki for cancer treatment. While the practice is noninvasive and considered safe, researchers have found no scientific evidence that reiki cures cancer or reduces the size or number of cancer cells in a patient's body. Claims that reiki can cure cancer are dangerous, and patients who are already placed in a vulnerable state are made even more so by such claims — especially when science has found no incontrovertible proof that reiki eradicates cancer from the body.
Critics also cite the fact that reiki for cancer treatment does not affect all patients the same way. Some may be noticeably improved, others may stay the same, and still others may get worse. One thing that critics, health care professionals, and reiki supporters generally agree on is that reiki is not one of many alternative cancer therapies; it is a complementary therapy, meant to be utilized in addition to — not in place of — other forms of treatment.