When I tell people I do Reiki, often the placebo effect is brought up so I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on Reiki and the placebo effect. In case you haven’t heard of Reiki yet, it’s a method of healing that involves channeling healing energy. This energy goes by many different names like chi, prana, divine energy, or source energy. The idea is that Reiki changes the vibration of someone’s body and encourages healing by working on energy pathways and blockages.
Of course, a lot of people are rather skeptical that it’s possible for Reiki to work that way! As a healer, it’s easy to get defensive about criticisms and disbelief when we have seen for ourselves the results but I think it’s more interesting to take a look at the placebo effect. Is it really so bad if the placebo effect contributes to Reiki’s success?
I read Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin and she discusses the placebo effect a lot in that book. I definitely recommend giving it a read because it changed how I think about placebos. I no longer think that it’s a negative thing. There’s lots of other books as well that discuss spontaneous healing and things that help support the body while it heals itself (I’m going to put together a reading list!).
Not just for Reiki, but in other areas of healing as well, I see people worry that something is only working because of the placebo effect and their belief. There seems to be a fear of the impact belief could have, like we’re just tricking our bodies and it isn’t valid healing then. Sometimes people stop what’s working for them, even supplements, because they don’t want to feel like it’s fake healing. There’s a lot we don’t understand yet about the placebo effect and how it works though. It’s possible the concept of placebo got an unfair reputation! Is some healing more valid than others if the end result is the same?
Belief has a lot of power! We can see that with how our thoughts and beliefs shape our reality and our perspective, and how those changes in turn affect our health. I don’t think that makes placebos shameful or deceptive; it makes our minds a valuable ally in the healing process. I think even the placebo effect is beautiful because that means our body is healing itself and whatever we are doing that’s the “placebo” is supporting that process.
As healers, our role is to support the healing process
Anything that encourages your body to heal itself is worth trying, as long as you feel good about it (and it does no harm)! There’s so much that we don’t understand about healing, our bodies, and energy. Even if part of the healing of Reiki or any other modality can be attributed to the placebo effect and the power of belief or our minds, I don’t think it’s a bad thing or negates the positive experiences so many people have had with treatment.
No matter how you feel about various conventional and unconventional healing methods, good or bad, healing is the goal and whatever helps it happen is worth doing! If something is working for you, trust yourself and your body and keep doing it <3
If you haven’t tried Reiki or energy healing yet and want to try it for yourself, head on over to my Energy Healing page to book a mini 10 minute session!
What are your thoughts on Reiki and the placebo effect? I think it’s a fascinating topic to explore!