Spirits of the Lesser Gods
A Critical Examination of Reiki and Christ-centered Healing
|Institution:||Trinity Theological Seminary|
|Advisor(s):||Dr. Howard Eyrich|
|Degree:||Doctor of Philosophy|
Reiki is an emerging adjunctive therapy that claims to provide physical and psychological healing as well as an experience of spiritual connection. It is increasingly employed in counseling centers, hospitals, and even churches. Reiki is believed by many to be a safe, non-invasive healing intervention that draws individuals towards God. Reiki practitioners maintain that they imitate Jesus’ laying on of hands and claim that their praxis is essentially the same as the healing used by Jesus as well as by Buddha.
An ethnographic multi-case study was performed comparing the experiences of nine individuals, four who received Reiki therapy and five who received Christ-based hands-on healing. The long interview format was employed. The transcribed data were coded and analyzed for similar and distinct themes. In addition, a brief survey was utilized to determine the spiritual interests and involvement of each participant and the spiritual consequences of their healing experiences.
The findings indicate that Reiki healing is distinct from that which is depicted in the Bible. Reiki appears to open up individuals to an “energy-based” healing modality that is spiritual in nature but is not specifically Christian. As reported by Reiki practitioners, it is a spirituality which welcomes shamanism, psychic healing, clairvoyance, spirit guides, and a host of other metaphysical practices as individuals become more intimately involved. In addition, the research demonstrates that Reiki therapy, over time, can cause physical, emotional, and spiritual harm. The writer contends that biblical healing, which at its core is soteriological and dependent upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit, heals mind, body, and spirit without harmful consequences.
Rhonda J. McClenton is a counselor and educator who possesses a Ph.D in counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a M. Ed. from Temple University. She serves as an ordained minister, speaker, and teacher.