Thursday, July 20, 2006

Clinical trials underway to evaluate Reiki

Several clinical trials are being funded by the government to investigate the efficacy of Reiki.
Details can be found in the above link.

Cleveland Clinic received 371,500 for a study involving Reiki and prostate cancer.

My favorite is the 1.8 million study at the University of Michigan studying the effect of Reiki on diabetic patients with numbness in the feet and legs.

This is an interesting endeavor. Since there is no way to test for or measure the transfer of the Reiki energy which purportedly is the basis for the healing, a controlled trial was devised.
One arm will involve treatment administered by a person claiming to have the power to heal by manipulating a undetectable energy force (the "real" Reiki master) and the other arm involves someone who claims to be someone who claims to have the power to heal by manipulating an undetectable energy force (the "fake" Reiki master). Money well spent.

Another NIH sponsored trial is the " Efficacy of distant Healing in Glioblastoma treatment". In this trial "healers"-who come from various schools of distant healing will received a photograph of the patient and will send "mental intentions for healing and well being" for one per day for three days per week. Apparently, here there is no control arm in which fake healers would pretend to send a mental intention.

Dr. Steven Barrett was quoted in a Medscape book review of an IOM report on CAM:

"Methods that are plausible should be tested with well-designed clinical trials. The rest should be discarded"

Can someone explain why the NIH is funding such trials?

1 comment:

Skeptyk said...

This waste of money and time in the name of, but opposing the intention of, evidence-based medicine is compounded by fake "balance" in any science reporting in the common media, and why we have such tragedies as the Abraham Cherrix case in Virginia. I am not weighing in on the issue of whether one 16 year old can refuse treatment, but on the myth that the kid is making an informed choice. Many folks seem to think there actually IS some legitimate therapeutic alternative that the boy is using. Why? Because the ignorant fallacy of "balance" has led to pandering a false equivalency. The same lazy journalist's dodge that allows them to pretend a few "maverick" scientists balance the consensus on human contributions to climate change, or that a couple of retired physicists pontificating about "intelligent design" deserve airtime. That's why Hoxsey's snake oil is getting all this free advertising, because the me-too, oh-so-earnest android TV "news" stars love to gaze into Abraham's eyes and tell him how brave he is to buck the Man, rather than turn their faces away in shame at how well they have encouraged ignorance.

Sorry about the rant there, but I am so annoyed at the waste of money and lives and the promotion of faith-based (i.e., pretend, magical thinking) "medicine".