Reiki and the placebo effect

Do you know what woo-woo means? Here is the definition:


Derogatory • informal
noun: woo; noun: woo-woo

  1. Unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine.
    "some kind of metaphysical woo-woo".

adjective: woo; adjective: woo-woo

  1. Relating to or holding unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine.

"quartz crystals that were so popular with the woo-woo crowd"

1980s: probably in imitation of a wailing woo-woo sound traditionally attributed to ghosts and humorously associated with mysticism and the supernatural.

Well, I am reading an amazing book called Why Woo Woo Works and it’s about the science behind meditation, Reiki and other complementary practices. I have never heard of ‘Woo Woo’ so it is another learning curve for me, and realising that at last science is listening to all our alternative ancient practices. 

Of course we already know that ‘mind over matter’ helps us when  we are told we will get better or our life will change for the better, nine times out of 10 it does because we are looking at the positive not the negative. Many scientists developed clinical trials and were amazed at the results, drugs of course need to be used but not all the time. The placebo (not a real drug) effect in many trials was incredible, tests were done on volunteers and some were given drugs and some were given placebo. Those given placebo found their condition improving.  Apparently the changes in the brain impacted on the body and changes occurred.

So, in ancient practices when there was no medical help, the folk relied on mystical cures. But were they ‘mystical’ or were they placebo? 

The mind over matter theory is still being researched, meditation is a prime example. Meditating or being ‘mindful’ takes us to a much deeper dimension, the mind is relaxing without any effort even if it’s just for a few moments. Those moments are strengthening, filling us with love, kindness and compassion, our thoughts fall into deep relaxation. Now it is accepted as healing the mind and body, which in turn helps us to understand our true nature. This is being accepted also by the medical fraternity, before it was called mumbo jumbo, or ‘up with the fairies’ or even ‘Woo Woo!’ which, as spiritual and sensitive people, we know that narrative was always ridiculous.

Reiki was also one of these so called mystical practices, we practitioners know of course, there is nothing mystical about Reiki. Healing is within us, the connection to the universe practicing Reiki is both physical and emotional, we don’t ‘make’ that happen. The simplicity of ‘just being’ motivates us to heal ourselves. Our organs are energised so they work as they should, no-one is making that happen, the energy within us and around us is a natural force. There is no ego or power involved, just simplicity. Is this placebo? 

We are scratching the surface, there is so much to understand, we as humans are not the most important people – nature and meditation teach us to become humble, kind and compassionate. When we feel these elements we feel happy.

Being 'happy' in life changes our brain patterns to one of contentment and peace. Reiki is all of these things, Reiki is meditation, Reiki is pure, Reiki is honest and true. Reiki embraces our mind and bodies, Reiki is not mystical, Reiki energy is there for all of us, placebo or not!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Therapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Corsham SN13
Written by Jenny Newman, Connect With Reiki Reiki master/Teacher
Corsham SN13

Jenny Newman is a graduate teacher of the International House of Reiki and has been teaching for 20 years. Jenny continues to study every year with her teacher Frans Steine, and through this study and research, she has gone to a very deep level within the system of Reiki, teaching the ancient and traditional Japanese esoteric practices.

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