Reiki misunderstood, says master
A Taranaki woman who has provided hundreds of free reiki sessions for cancer patients says negative comments about the technique are off the mark.
Reiki Master Dale Spurdle said the practice can be very beneficial for people suffering from stress or pain.
"I have yet to come across someone who did not enjoy their experience," she said.
"Reiki goes where it's needed, which means it might help someone relax or it may help with emotional stress depending on what that person needs.
"It is always a positive experience even if it just gives someone a better night's sleep."
The practice of reiki involves using hands to encourage a flow of "life force energy", which is said to promote happiness and healthiness by reducing stress and helping patients relax.
Recent debate was sparked over the effectiveness of the Japanese treatment after Whanganui Hospital started trialling natural therapies.
The hospital has introduced reiki as well as Maori healing, Christian prayer, massage and meditation.
Sceptics have protested at the natural healing techniques, saying there is no evidence-based research for some of them.
Mrs Spurdle dismissed negative comments about reiki, saying people did not understand that it was complementary and did not replace traditional treatments.
"It works with and does not take the place of traditional treatments; it's just something else people can try to cope with what they are going through."
Since 2009, the Taranaki Cancer Society has organised three free reiki sessions with Mrs Spurdle for those patients registered with their centre.
Support c-oordinator for the Taranaki Cancer Society, Tania Gecse, said the free sessions were popular.
In 2011 Mrs Spurdle gave 232 sessions of reiki and received a volunteering award for the time she had dedicated to cancer patients in the community.
Amy Mitchell is an AUT journalism student
Taranaki Daily News