Archived Article: Public Announcement About Energy Work

This archived public announcement was originally written in 2007 and still contains pertinent information.

 Spirituality is an important aspect of health, healing, and pain relief. Spirituality also invokes powerful psychological processes in the brain which can and have been proven effective to benefit overall well-being. Mankind's propensity for religious/spiritual belief is even theorized by some to have developed from the process of natural selection. Spiritual beliefs are most important in the palliative care setting. 

While medical science does not support energy-based healing methods, the psychological mechanisms behind faith cannot be discounted. 

An Important Message Regarding the Discrimination of Practitioners of Energy Work
Reiki and other forms of Energy Work, such as Therapeutic Touch, have long been established within the nursing and hospice community as legitimate healing techniques.  However, because the presence of the human energy field is not something that can be easily proved or measured by the scientific community- it is often misunderstood by people who are unfamiliar with holistic healing.
The availability and accessibility of this kind of energy work is most important in regards to the medically frail and their right to receive compassionate touch.  Often, when a person is seriously injured or ill, traditional massage cannot be performed on them because it could lead to injury.  Examples of this would include: burn victims, medically frail geriatric persons, and some cases of advanced medical diseases and illness (such as advanced stage HIV/AIDS or a cancer patient undergoing aggressive medical treatment).
In the past, I have volunteered my time at retreats and nursing homes and offered this kind of therapy free of charge.  I also include it in my massage services when clients are interested and request it.  I consider this modality to be part of my holistic massage service, and my clients pay the normal fee based on the length of time that I have spent with them.
Recently, I have had my application rejected by a company that approves massage therapists for participation in some health insurance co-pay programs as providers.  This company feels that massage techniques that do not involve direct manipulation of the clients tissue are not therapeutic, and  therefore, harmful to the client.
All therapists who are associated with anything that is referred to as "energy work" are labeled as "harmful to the public."  I take serious offense to this gross categorization and the professionals that mistakenly support it.  This company did not even bother to find out the context in which my business incorporates energy work and the ethical considerations that are taken into account when charging for these services.
The main issue at hand is that this policy neglects the entire population of medically frail clientele who are in dire need of compassionate touch. 
In order to have my company placed on a referral list to be provided to health insurance companies- they require me to agree to never associate my business with the practice of what they refer to as "energy work."  I consider this request to be unethical, and I refuse to compromise my beliefs by adhering to their policies.  Although I understand that funding restrictions limit what can and cannot be covered under insurance, this should have no bearing on the techniques that are performed on non-insurance clientele.  
Bio-energetic theory, in my opinion, is the foundation for all massage therapy.  You CANNOT perform a massage without affecting the client on an energetic level, therefore, ALL MASSAGE is considered to be energy work.  This is regardless of whether or not there is firm pressure, light pressure, or no pressure at all.  It is essentially impossible to perform a therapeutic massage that does not involve the transference of energy.
My own research into evidence regarding the effectiveness of energy work has found numerous small-scale scientific studies that indicate energy work has many positive effects.  There has even been one large scale study that has proven energy work has benefits to health, such as lowering stress, lowering pain, and increasing feelings of general well-being. It is my firm belief that although much work still needs to be done in the scientific community to establish energetic healing, the proven psychological effects are enough evidence to defend the legitimacy of professional practitioners- especially in palliative care settings. For more information, please visit the Pubmed database  and search for "reiki" or "therapeutic touch". There are many peer-reveiwed studies to refer to.
I am greatly saddened to learn that energy work does not fall within the practice standards of this company, and I will continue to fight for my beliefs regarding this issue.  It is imperative for all massage therapists to stand together for their rights as therapeutic massage becomes more accepted in the medical and insurance communities. 
Thank you for your time in reading this.
-Sonia Beauchamp, LMT

(I would also like to add that this statement reflects my own personal and professional point of view and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other therapists in our office building.)
Reiki energy work can be learned and performed by anyone who has the desire to heal. I would like to offer my services to teach others- free of charge, for donation only.  Please contact me for more information.
If you are already a Reiki practitioner and would like to assist me in forming a Reiki Healing Circle- please contact me if you are interested.
If you would like to help me establish the legitimacy of energy healing within the medical community- or know of a way that I can become involved, please let me know.