Is the world flat or is it round? Is the Earth the centre of the universe or is the sun? Ask anyone of the millions of followers of Chris Hatfield and they will all tell you that the world is round. Ask any 6th grader and they will tell you that the sun is the centre of the universe. We all know however that years ago it was believed that the earth was flat and that it was the centre of the universe. These types of changes in thoughts and beliefs are known as paradigm shifts in which “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.” (Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, 1962)
The shift from one world view to another has a long history. For example, in 1847 Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis proposed that the washing of hands and cleaning the instruments used in the obstetric clinics could dramatically reduce the mortality rate. Sounds logical right? Unfortunately, Dr. Semmelweis’ suggestion and findings were not well received. He eventually lost his medical license and died at the age of 47 in an asylum. It was not until years later when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory that the wide spread use of hygienic practices became commonplace.
Another example of a paraigm shift is the current endorsement of Chiropractic care by the The American Medical Association. At one point the AMA had actually waged war against the use of Chiropractic care for patients. In 1990 the AMA and others, in a U.S. Supreme Court decision, were found guilty of illegal conspiracy against the chiropractic profession. It took several more years but just recently the AMA endorsed the use of Chiropractic care for back pain.
Many people are still of the belief that there is no validity to the benefits of Energy Work such as Reiki. They keep saying that there is a lack of empirical data. Studies have used poor methodologies, small sample sizes, subjective response to the questionnaires and short study intervals to gain conclusive scientific evidence. On the other hand, TV shows such as Dr Oz, health journals and magazines are talking about how holistic practices such as Reiki are becoming more accepted. They go on further to say that these types of holistic practices will become increasingly more popular in the future as people realize their benefits and experience the effects.
Will it be only a matter of time before there is a paradigm shift in the world view of the effects of Reiki? I am often asked by my students and clients how to convince their friends and family that Reiki works. I am not sure that convincing is the right approach. I suggest that they ask the person to keep an open mind, experience Reiki, listen to their bodies and decide for themselves whether there are benefits from Reiki. So far the response I have received is an overwhelming “Yes!”