Dealing with a recent health issue for myself, brought to mind this question I have heard a few times from skeptics: If Reiki works, why do Reiki practitioners ever get sick? I guess, at first glance, it seems like a reasonable question. But I’d like to meet it with a few of my own:
- Why do people committed to aerobic exercise, ever have heart attacks?
- Why do psychiatrists ever have any form of mental or emotional imbalance?
- Why do the cars of good mechanics, sometimes break down?
- Why do people who brush their teeth, occasionally get cavities?
- Why do black belts sometimes get beaten up?
- Why is it that, even when you make all the right choices and do all the right things, you may still fail to achieve your goals?
In other words, why would you think that any particular skill or practice is 100% protection?
The obvious answer is, it is not. People who wish to doubt the efficacy of a particular practice will sometimes point to occasional failure as a total proof of the inadequacy of that practice. But the same people who say “Reiki is hogwash, because Reiki practitioners sometimes get sick!”, would never say, “Changing your oil regularly is pointless, because sometimes cars break down anyway!” or “Training in martial arts is worthless, because sometimes a black belt will be defeated!”
Jim Fixx, the man who really put aerobic exercises such as running and jogging on the physical fitness map, was a dedicated runner. In 1977, he authored a best-selling book titled The Complete Book of Running.
Fixx started running in 1967 at age 35. When he started, he weighed 214 pounds and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Ten years later, when his book was published, he was 60 pounds lighter and didn’t smoke at all.
Yet, in 1982, after publishing a second and third book, Jim Fixx died of a massive heart attack… while running. Critics immediately pounced on this as proof that his theories about aerobic exercise and health were junk. But an autopsy established that Fixx had a congenitally enlarged heart, with massive damage from his years of smoking and poor diet before, and also had a genetic predisposition to heart problems (his father had died of a heart attack). The consensus was, if he had NOT started running, he would have died much earlier.
Jim Fixx was a great evangelist for aerobic exercise, even with his death from a heart attack.
Why do I mention him? Because he is a great example. First of all, Fixx was human, and had human failings that predisposed him to heart attacks. We don’t know how long he would have lived if he had not started running, but we can say with some certainty that he would have been heavier and unhealthier from smoking.
Reiki practitioners, just like anyone else, will sometimes make mistakes, because of their humanity. They may fail to take care of their bodies in one way or another. They may focus on helping others, and ignore their own health, thinking (mistakenly) that their Reiki attunement makes them somehow “immune” to the things that beset us all. As wonderful as Reiki can be at speeding healing, it does not make us bulletproof! And especially if we ignore our own health, for whatever reason, it is easy for us to become victims of our own humanity.
For myself, my own health issue came to a head when I had a ruptured varix in my esophagus, leading to a severe, life-threatening upper GI bleed. I won’t go into all the details, but it was a dangerous situation. What caused it?
Esophageal varices (the plural of varix) are caused when the liver does not have sufficient blood flow. This may be because of fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, an enlarged spleen, or other factors. In my case, I had hitherto-undiagnosed fatty liver disease. It had never cropped up in any medical examination, and was lurking there, just waiting to take advantage of me.
I am grateful for conventional medical treatment, because it saved my life. And I am also grateful for Reiki, because I have been giving myself Reiki every day since that, with the specific aim of reducing and healing the problem. And, the Reiki has been helping to reduce the symptoms.
Now, I am 60 years old, and for many of those years I was somewhat sedentary. I’m not obese, but I’m not cheetah-sleek, either. I don’t expect to be a shining example of athleticism and good health, because that is not the foundation I laid for many years. I enjoyed too many “all you can eat” pizza buffets, and sat on my rump for too many hours when I was younger. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do maintenance on my house now, keeping up the electrical and the plumbing, and making sure the paint looks good. (Metaphors here, folks. Stay with me.)
Reiki has helped me more times than I can count, when dealing with problems that I created for myself by earlier bad choices. And who knows? It could very well be that regular self-Reiki helped to keep off a ruptured varix for a few years… among other things. There’s no way to scientifically test it in my case… no double-blind, no control group. But as long as I can, I intend to keep giving myself Reiki. I know this: it cannot harm me. And I am very sure it helps. What do I have to lose?
Being attuned to Reiki does not create a Superman nor a Wonder Woman. But it does give us another tool to use in establishing, and maintaining, good health for ourselves and others. I think that makes it worthwhile.