A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

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A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by cursuswalker » 03 Apr 2011, 20:55

Take two groups of practitioners, one genuine and believing Reiki works the other who have gone through the training pretending to believe, in order to seem authentic.

Give them all patients to treat with a given condition, improvements in which can be easily measured.

Measure any improvements (which would happen) and compare results.

The question is not if there was an improvement in the condition in both groups, but which group experienced the biggest improvement. If Reiki actually works the genuine practitioners should have better outcomes.

However if both groups experience equal improvement, due to the placebo effect, then Reiki is debunked.

However, if the second result occurred would those who believe Reiki works simply say that the fake practitioners had ability they did not know about?

If so that would constitute an admission that Reiki is untestable, and thus falsify their claims to "know" it works.

Discuss...
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Cosmic Ash » 03 Apr 2011, 22:14

I'm not sure your reasoning works.
cursuswalker wrote: However if both groups experience equal improvement, due to the placebo effect, then Reiki is debunked.
There couldn't be any other reason why both groups would improve equally? Wouldn't you need two more groups - one who received no treatment and one who recieved 'reiki' from an actor? You're assuming reiki only works if the practitioner believes. Is this true? I think perhaps that is what you're testing here rather than whether reiki is real or not.

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Nicholaas » 04 Apr 2011, 00:57

This reminds me of a study done on the efficacy of intercessory prayer (back in 2006, I think). All three test groups knew that prayer was at least as possibility, but not all groups were actually prayed for. And I think a similar test of Reiki would need that control group; one who did not receive the "treatment", as Cosmic Ash mentioned.

Any time you're trying to measure the effect of something that is inherently non-scientific and non evidence-based, you're treading in some murky water. Studies like this won't have much of an impact; those who already know there's no scientific basis to it will have a "well, duh" reaction, while hardcore believes will tap dance around the conclusions with excuses for the failures and subsequently move the goal posts, so to speak. This seems to be the general reaction to the aforementioned prayer study, for example.
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Explorer » 04 Apr 2011, 09:37

Nicholaas wrote:This reminds me of a study done on the efficacy of intercessory prayer (back in 2006, I think). All three test groups knew that prayer was at least as possibility, but not all groups were actually prayed for. And I think a similar test of Reiki would need that control group; one who did not receive the "treatment", as Cosmic Ash mentioned.

Any time you're trying to measure the effect of something that is inherently non-scientific and non evidence-based, you're treading in some murky water. Studies like this won't have much of an impact; those who already know there's no scientific basis to it will have a "well, duh" reaction, while hardcore believes will tap dance around the conclusions with excuses for the failures and subsequently move the goal posts, so to speak. This seems to be the general reaction to the aforementioned prayer study, for example.
I agree with you.
But it is our job as druids to find Truth. Which also means distinguishing spiritual truth from scientific truth. To enlighten the supersticious and the naive, to express it humbly *grin*.

BUT... this is only half the task, the dissolving step in the alchemy. Which 'we skepticals' might sometimes forget.
The other task is for the ovates, to integrate those seemingly opposing truths into one coherent and meaningful stream that contains both clarity and mystery.

Sounds complicated, but everybody can do it. It is simply a matter of using all your faculties in a balanced way. Your intelligence, your rational mind, your common sense, your senses, your emotions and your fantasy and imagination.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by cursuswalker » 04 Apr 2011, 18:45

Cosmic Ash wrote:I'm not sure your reasoning works.
cursuswalker wrote: However if both groups experience equal improvement, due to the placebo effect, then Reiki is debunked.
There couldn't be any other reason why both groups would improve equally? Wouldn't you need two more groups - one who received no treatment and one who recieved 'reiki' from an actor? You're assuming reiki only works if the practitioner believes. Is this true? I think perhaps that is what you're testing here rather than whether reiki is real or not.
Ah, but you cannot make the assumption that it only works if the practitioner believes it does until you have tested whether there is something genuine underlying that belief.

And, as I said, if you provide evidence that believing it works, on the part of the practitioner, makes it work better than not believing, then you have still demonstrated a genuine effect, even though that effect my not be due to the explanation that practitioners believe in.
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Lily » 04 Apr 2011, 19:45

ta-daa, has been done:
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/4/999.long
the whole paper can be read.
Painful Diabetic Neuropathy
Impact of an alternative approach

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—
A total of 207 subjects with type 2 diabetes and PDN were recruited.
The study design was a randomized, semidouble–blind, placebo-controlled, 12-week trial. Subjects were randomized into one of three treatment groups (Reiki, mimic Reiki, or usual care) in a 1:1:1 fashion. Mimic practitioners were actors trained to mimic Reiki practitioners in style of practice.

...

CONCLUSIONS—
Global pain scores and walking distance improved from baseline in both the Reiki and mimic-Reiki groups. However, there were no significant differences between groups at the final visit.
In conclusion, Reiki is no more effective than mimic-Reiki...
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Cosmic Ash » 04 Apr 2011, 22:08

Ok I might make myself sound a little stupid here, but I want to clarify.
If reiki and fake reiki groups both showed improvement, then waving your hands over people makes them feel better. We just don't need to pay for a fancy system? It would be interesting to take it further and see why this sort of interaction is helpful.
Unless I'm getting it all wrong and all three groups improved the same, so the hand waving actually had no effect at all (I'm assuming all groups continued with their ordinary medication/treatment).

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Explorer » 05 Apr 2011, 06:22

Cosmic Ash wrote:Ok I might make myself sound a little stupid here, but I want to clarify.
If reiki and fake reiki groups both showed improvement, then waving your hands over people makes them feel better. We just don't need to pay for a fancy system? It would be interesting to take it further and see why this sort of interaction is helpful.
Unless I'm getting it all wrong and all three groups improved the same, so the hand waving actually had no effect at all (I'm assuming all groups continued with their ordinary medication/treatment).
You are right, as long as you stay in the fact-finding physicl skeptical mode. Which is good, because now we know more truth, that Reiki is probably just a fantasy.

But if we go in ovate/shamanic mode (as I described in my previous post), we could perhaps discover that the perception of illness and pain can be changed depending on how hard you believe in it. You can call it placebo, self-hypnosis, shamanic healing, magic. Perhaps people gain confidence, loose stress, and improved the conditions for the body and mind to repair itself, when somebody with a scary mask waves hands in the air in a cloud of smoke.

You know, the muggles have their shamans also. They wear white coats and inhabit rooms full of magical implements, like thick books, microscopes, pots full of medicine, and artifacts and mementos from their long journeys into other worlds that they call 'third world'. And they have secret knowledge that we do not have, gained from years and years of study in medicine school. When they SPEAK, others listen, and are healed. Often not even from their medicine, but just their ritual consult and presence assures people. Perhaps improving the conditions of their body and mind to repair themselves.

Personally, I believe it is all a fantasy. There is no 'supernatural' or 'paranormal', because if you think about that for a minute that makes no sense at all. But fantasy and imagination are powerful, we can work with it. And from that perspective I do have some confidence in the shaman with the scary mask, because I believe that my body (through my mind) respond to that also.

I think that Reiki isn't show enough though, it is too timid and subtle for me. I prefer my shaman, naked, painted, full of wooden necklesses, in clouds of sage smoke, doing whatever she does and making me feel a lot better afterward.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Nicholaas » 05 Apr 2011, 07:51

Nico wrote:I think that Reiki isn't show enough though, it is too timid and subtle for me. I prefer my shaman, naked, painted, full of wooden necklesses, in clouds of sage smoke, doing whatever she does and making me feel a lot better afterward.
I'd pay 29.99 an hour for that. :whistle:

Lily - thanks for posting that study!
"Everything is right for me, which is right for you, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which comes in due time for you. Everything is fruit to me which your seasons bring, O Nature. From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return."
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Explorer » 05 Apr 2011, 08:02

Nicholaas wrote:
Nico wrote:I think that Reiki isn't show enough though, it is too timid and subtle for me. I prefer my shaman, naked, painted, full of wooden necklesses, in clouds of sage smoke, doing whatever she does and making me feel a lot better afterward.
I'd pay 29.99 an hour for that. :whistle:
*grin*... I married her.
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by merryb » 05 Apr 2011, 19:22

Reiki is universal energy a person giving a reiki treatment is only a conduit for the energy and is not being Reiki. Too much thought just let the energy flow. As with prayer you have no definitive answer but it seems to work.
With Reiki for you to find an answer in your heart space.
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by Lily » 05 Apr 2011, 19:51

Merry,
no offense meant - but this thread shows that backed by research, it does NOT work.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

Lily


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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by merryb » 06 Apr 2011, 20:16

Lily whose research when where can I read it. Please give me details. Such sweeping statements need backing up with evidence. I do not always agree with other peoples opinions and beliefs but I would not dream of trash them. There is sometimes a real nasty edge on some of the post on the message board. Respect for each others beliefs would be good thing..
Merryb

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by skh » 06 Apr 2011, 20:27

merryb wrote:Lily whose research when where can I read it.
I believe Lily referred to the study she quoted just a few posts above yours in this thread: http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... 23#p408423

(It is often helpful to read the whole thread before replying.)

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by DJ Droood » 06 Apr 2011, 21:19

I think there needs to be an attendant posted outside the door of this room, and when you enter, they will give you fresh towels and a print off of the Skeptical Druid mission statement (if the name itself isn't enough of a hint.) This board has about 800 other forums and subforums where one must "respect" everyone's "beliefs". This is the only forum where respect for opinions is earned through empirical evidence and sound reasoning. I see this as being in keeping with the druidic principle of truth seeking.
Last edited by DJ Droood on 06 Apr 2011, 21:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by skh » 06 Apr 2011, 21:29

When the board is viewed through the "View new posts" link, subforums lose their meaning.

The offer to put a better text in the pink box at the top of the page still stands.

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by skh » 06 Apr 2011, 21:31

... and the attendant thing could be achieved by making this forum visible only to members of a specific user group -- membership of which would be granted on request. You'd lose the innocent bystanders, but perhaps deeper discussions would be possible.

peace /|\
Sonja
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by DJ Droood » 06 Apr 2011, 21:32

skh wrote:When the board is viewed through the "View new posts" link, subforums lose their meaning.
I've learned the hard way to "check twice, post once".

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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by DJ Droood » 06 Apr 2011, 21:33

skh wrote:... and the attendant thing could be achieved by making this forum visible only to members of a specific user group -- membership of which would be granted on request. You'd lose the innocent bystanders, but perhaps deeper discussions would be possible.

peace /|\
Sonja

boo to private membership, Yay to innocent bystanders!
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Re: A rigourous test of the claims of Reiki

Post by skh » 06 Apr 2011, 21:37

DJ Droood wrote:boo to private membership, Yay to innocent bystanders!
Well, then, go and text the mission statement (preferably one that's clear, easy to understand by innocent bystanders, and assumes no previous knowledge of you, any other of the Skeptics, or the history of this message board).

peace /|\
Sonja
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