Dónal P. O’Mathúna,

- Ph.D., Pharmacist
– Member of the "Irish Skeptic Society"
- Professor of Ethics at the University of Dublin

Complementary & alternative medicine : Where medicine & religion meet


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) incorporates a wide variety of practices, remedies and worldviews. For this reason, CAM is defined many different ways. This can cause difficulties in understanding the field, and especially in seeking to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of CAM. While a concise definition of CAM is not readily forthcoming, four particular characteristics are commonly proposed. These are:

This paper will focus on the implications of the last two characteristics. The first two raises scientific questions and concerns that will primarily be addressed as research provides the sort of evidence needed to make appropriate recommendations regarding these therapies. The emphasis on a holistic approach to health care and the promotion of spirituality lead to the particular concerns that will be the focus of this paper.

CAM has come to include views about spirituality and practices traditionally viewed as religious. Many of these beliefs and practices have been described as part of New Age healing. [i] This movement promotes a fluid "spirituality" rather than any fixed set of doctrines. For example, various sorts of practices that allow someone to tap into esoteric spiritual energies are promoted. These lead to practices like Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and Qigong. More traditionally religious practices have received renewed interest, such as prayer and laying on of hands. CAM includes healing advice that comes from contacting angels, spirit guides, and other spiritual beings. CAM has thus reintroduced religion into medicine and created the sorts of difficulties we will address here.

Healer, Priest, and Medical Man

The connection between spirituality and health is not new. Religion and medicine have been intertwined throughout history. [ii] In ancient Egypt, while medicine included physical practices like massage and enemas, religion and magic were intertwined. The legendary physician Imhotep was eventually worshipped as a god. Mesopotamian cultures made little distinction between religion and medicine. Diagnosis and treatment involved a variety of magical practices and rituals devised by priests to combat the evil spirits that caused disease. Ancient Hebrew Scriptures rejected the use of magic in healing or any part of life. Israelites were encouraged to turn to God who was "the LORD, who heals you." [iii] In ancient Greece, the cult of Asclepius led to sanctuaries that were as much centres of healing as they were of worship. [iv]

Early Chinese society believed that spirits needed to be pacified to avoid disease and chaos in this life. Traditional Chinese medicine uses herbs and physical medicine, but also addresses the spiritual dimensions of health. Buddhism approved of medical and religious approaches to healing, with various branches emphasising one more than the other. Many tribal societies have shamans, medicine men, witch doctors, sorcerers, or holy men. The shaman was the tribe’s healer and priest, gaining knowledge from contacting the spirits of ancestors, animals and demons. The shaman acted as mediator between the spirits and the sick in the tribe to determine how to appease the spirits who had sent illness.

Jesus Christ came to bring healing and spiritual life. [v] The early Christians focused on caring for the sick, not curing them. By the fourth century, the Christian church was actively involved in providing medical care and the first ‘hospitals’ appear. Even then, medicine was tied into religion, with the belief that medicine and medical skills were gifts from God. [vi] Medicine has thus been respected by most religions, with religious people often being the ones most motivated to care for the sick and dying in society.[vii]

Conventional Medicine and Religion

However, things began to change in Europe by the fifteenth century. As modern science developed, medicine became more secular. The Enlightenment period promoted science and reason, not faith and religion. The scientific discoveries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries lead to many health improvements in the Western world. With this came an emphasis on the physical aspects of health and illness and a rejection (or at least a neglect) of spiritual issues during illness.

While medicine was growing in influence, religion was pushed to the periphery of life. The religious answers offered to explain disease—that it was connected to sin or demons—became less tenable in the face of scientific discoveries. Science seemed to show that God was needed to answer fewer and fewer of the important questions in life. An "official wall of separation" had arisen whereby religions "become responsible for the cure of souls while medical professionals are entrusted with the cure of bodies." [viii] Some remain convinced that religion and medicine do occupy distinct realms. A group of hospital chaplains recently commented: "Religion and science, and religion and medicine, exist in different domains and are qualitatively different." [ix] This view has contributed to the dichotomization of medicine and religion.

While religion seemed less relevant to everyday life, people continue to turn to religious ideas and spirituality for help because "religion is one of the most prevalent and powerful ways in which people find meaning and value in experience, including illness." [x] People continue to have deep questions about the meaning of life and what death might bring. These are brought to the fore when people are forced to face illness, disability or death.

In this context, recent interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) arose. Progress in medicine has come at a price. Visits to medical doctors can mean long waits, impersonal interactions, embarrassing gowns, incomprehensible results, and high costs. Conventional medicine pays little attention to lifestyle, relationships, stress, and spirituality. The primary focus seems to be on the body and what’s wrong with it, not on the person with the problem. CAM’s holistic approach is immediately attractive to many. People often feel better after making dietary or lifestyle adjustments recommended by CAM and are then drawn to consider its other recommendations.

When people turn to CAM, they sometimes receive much more than health advice. These therapies often introduce people to other religious worldviews. "Alternative medicines have thus provided many middle-class Americans with their first introduction to exciting new philosophical and spiritual perspectives on life." [xi] The theories and practices, often presented as health-related concepts, introduce people to "a religiously charged interpretation of reality." [xii] Thus, the turn to alternative medicine is as much a religious move as it is a medical move.

Those within the New Age movement "resist any separation between spirituality and physical health or faith and medicine." [xiii] They have wanted to sense the reality of God or the divine working in their lives. Thus, healing techniques that offer people a way to tap into spiritual energies, and use them in tangible ways, have become very appealing. One advantage of the separation between medicine and religion was that people knew what to expect when seeking advice in one area or the other. This is not the case any more. As one advocate put it, "I got more from mind-body medicine than I bargained for: I got religion."[xiv]

Some Examples

Reiki will serve as an example of what is involved here. Reiki is a Japanese therapy said to have been practiced by Buddha and Jesus Christ. [xv] The term Reiki comes from two words, Rei meaning spirit or source of life, and Ki meaning power or energy. [xvi] Ki (also called prana or chi) is a non-physical, unconditional, divine, loving, healing energy.[xvii] Knowledge of the practice was alleged lost for centuries until a nineteenth century Buddhist monk rediscovered it after meditating, fasting, and praying for three weeks on a Japanese mountaintop. Other details have been learned through channelling, a means of obtaining esoteric information by consulting spiritual beings called spirit guides. Until recently, Reiki was carried out in secret ceremonies, with practitioners forbidden to reveal their knowledge to others. Nowadays, Reiki is being openly promoted in popular alternative medicine books and the professional journals of a number of health care professions.

According to Reiki practitioners, when ki energy flows properly in and through a person, health exists. If the flow is blocked, or unbalanced, disease arises. Reiki is done to restore the healthy flow of energy. During therapy, practitioners place their hands on or above the client’s body and attune themselves to the life energy. Practitioners are viewed as channels, allowing the energy to flow through them and directing it towards the patient’s energy field. The energy flow gives patients sensations of hot, cold, tingling, colour, or pain, and after a few minutes, practitioners ‘intuitively’ know to move to another area. A complete healing session can take an hour or more.

Reiki training requires involvement with a Reiki Master in a number "initiation ceremonies" called "attunements." [xviii] These are called "spiritual, sacred, and confidential rituals." [xix] During attunements a Reiki Master calls upon spirit guides to open students’ chakras, or ‘energy centres.’ Before Reiki training, most people’s chakras are believed to be closed which prevents them from detecting the energy. The attunements open the chakras and fill trainees with life energy, often accompanied by sensations of heat in their hands. Trainees also intuitively receive special symbols which later become central to their healing practice.

First degree Reiki practitioners can detect and move life energy in others. Second degree Reiki practitioners learn to use their symbols in treatments, and to send life energy over longer distances. They contact spirit guides and cooperate with them during healings. The third level, or Reiki Master, is traditionally attained after years of training with another Master during which practitioners commit their lives to Reiki, come to embody life energy, and give complete control of healing sessions to their spirit guides. [xx] More recent efforts to introduce Reiki into mainstream healthcare differ here in claiming that all Reiki levels can be attained over a few weekends.[xxi]

During Reiki, people report a variety of experiences that have been described as "liminal." By this is meant a variety of altered states of consciousness, paradoxical sensations (such as simultaneously feeling heavy and weightless), disorientation to time, and sensations of energy. The latter descriptions of people’s experiences with Reiki point to a controversy surrounding its practice. The researchers noted that, "Liminal states of consciousness . . . are frequently associated with profound religious experience and have been linked to ritual healing practices across cultures." [xxii]

Such experiences, coupled with the therapy’s origins, raise concerns that Reiki is more a religious practice than a healing therapy. The International Center for Reiki Training describes Reiki: "It is the God-consciousness called Rei that guides the life force called Ki in the practice we call Reiki. Therefore, Reiki can be defined as spiritually guided life force energy." [xxiii] In contrast, others practitioners claim, "Reiki is not a religion or cult. It is considered a natural spiritual discipline with intrinsic elements of respect, harmony, and compassion." [xxiv]

What is most disturbing is that the religious roots and nature of Reiki are not being revealed to those who are being enticed to experiment with the practice. Several publications about Reiki have appeared in mainstream healthcare journals, primarily nursing journals. These publications describe the practice, yet none mention its religious roots or its overtly occult practices. Few if any discuss the role of spirit guides or the degree to which Reiki Masters are expected to commit themselves to the control of these spiritual beings.

More generally, energy medicine has clear connections to occult religions. Therapeutic Touch is a related healing practice which has gained widespread interest among nurses. The therapist enters a meditative state during which she is able to sense and manipulate a person’s ‘life energy.’ In Therapeutic Touch, this energy is called prana, a Hindu Sanskrit term. Therapeutic Touch was started by a nursing professor, Dolores Krieger, along with Dora Kunz, then President of the Theosophical Society in America. Theosophy is syncretistic blend of ancient and occult religions and philosophies and remains an active promoter of Therapeutic Touch. [xxv] Earlier theosophical books, along with occult and witchcraft books, describe practices identical to Therapeutic Touch, although usually called pranic healing or auric healing. [xxvi]

Krieger admits there is a high occult factor in how therapeutic touch works [xxvii]. She recommends divination to obtain insight for the practice. [xxviii] Another prominent academic nurse who teaches Therapeutic Touch stated: "Using Therapeutic Touch has changed and continues to change me . . . [and] requires a certain philosophy, and this change in philosophy permeates one’s total existence." [xxix] Krieger has noticed that as her students learn Therapeutic Touch, "Sensitivity to others as well as personal psychic sensitivity deepens. . . . many who undergo these changes in awareness feel that they can also communicate with and understand other sentient beings, such as trees, birds, animals, as well human beings." [xxx] She then describes how a very old maple tree once told her "in lucid terms" how to find a lost dog.

The ways that alternative medicine leads people into religious beliefs, and encourage people to accept its religious views, are pervasive. Deepak Chopra, while being trained as a conventional physician, has become a leading guru within alternative medicine circles. He maintains that: "I know myself as the immeasurable potential of all that was, is and will be. . . . There is no other I than the entire universe. I am being and I am nowhere and everywhere at the same time. I am omnipresent, omniscient; I am the eternal spirit that animates everything in existence." [xxxi] Who else but God could Chopra be describing—and claiming that he is God ?

Alternative medicine often seeks to put people in contact with religions or with religious figures. Sometimes this is described in terms of people having the divine within themselves. Dean Ornish is a respected medical researcher, but in one of his books he quotes with favour Sri Swami Satchidananda who said: "Everyone can have company with one’s Self, with the God within." Ornish goes on to add: ""If I can love the Self in [another person], then I can love the Self in me, and then, ultimately, I can see them as one and the same."[xxxii] Even in a book claiming to be a scientific treatise on healing, religious language is introduced. For many, this is part of what makes alternative medicine attractive. One of the significant reasons why many people are drawn to these therapies is that they provide spiritual and religious ways to view the world.

Spiritual Concerns

But all is not positive with this turn to alternative religion. When people are sick and vulnerable, they can be taken advantage of more easily than usual. Health care professionals are in positions of authority, and patients may feel obliged to agree with whatever the professional says. Alternative therapists end up in similar positions. This situation has long been recognised and is the source of the responsibility that healthcare practitioners have to help patients make informed decisions about the healthcare they receive. Patients should be given enough information about the therapies and treatments that they might receive so that their decisions can be truly informed.

When a therapy or remedy has spiritual or religious roots, these should be revealed to the potential recipient. Often this doesn’t happen with alternative therapies. While Reiki is deeply enmeshed with spiritual practices, this was not mentioned in any of the professional articles about the therapy. Articles on Therapeutic Touch frequently claim that there are not religious roots to the practice, in spite of one of its founders, Dolores Krieger, stating that the practice is based on the same principles as Buddhism. [xxxiii]

People deserve to be told of these religious roots. Those who adhere to other religious views will want to know if there is any potential conflict with their beliefs. Many religions commonly encourage their adherents not to engage in other practices that are part of other religious systems. For example, the Bible warns Jews and Christians not to engage in magical practices, contacting spirit guides, spiritism or divination. [xxxiv] Yet many alternative therapies include such practices and don’t reveal this to those considering these therapies.

Informed consent also requires that potential recipients be told of potential adverse effects. As research is conducted into alternative therapies, adverse effects are increasingly being revealed. This is not surprising with therapies like herbal remedies since these introduce into the body chemicals that can have physiological effects. However, life energy-based therapies are also reported to have adverse effects. This has been reviewed thoroughly in the case of Therapeutic Touch. [xxxv]

While it may to difficult to see how moving one’s hands a few inches above a patient’s body could cause physical harm, Krieger and others warn of adverse effects. "It is not enough to channel energy to an ill person; as a matter of experience, it seems that one can actually do more harm than good by simply flooding a weakened person with energy." [xxxvi] More specifically Krieger later stated: "Human energies are not well understood at this time, but we do know that indiscriminate and persistent interaction can overload the human system; a healee can overdose on human energies." [xxxvii] She even described some of the symptoms: "The progressive signs of overload to be aware of include increasing restlessness, irritability, and anxiety that may be expressed as hostility or felt as pain by the healee." [xxxviii] There are no clinical studies to support these claims, and the frequency of adverse effects has not been investigated.

Within older traditions that involve life energy, these sorts of warnings are commonly given. Manipulation of prana is part of occult religions and magical practices. Even when done for healing, proponents warn of, "The dangers incident to working with the fires or with the pranas of the Universe." [xxxix] G. de Puruker was president of the Theosophical Society in America prior to Dora Kunz, the co-founder of Therapeutic Touch. de Puruker cautioned against using any practices that manipulate life energy, which he called magnetism: "I think it is a very dangerous thing for a man, even with the best of motives, to attempt to use his magnetism upon another human being. I know that good can be done. But I also know that evil can be worked. I know there are noble-minded men who do heal; but I think it extremely dangerous. I would not allow it on me. . . . It is playing with fire." [xl] Ironically, de Puruker’s own organization is now a major promoter of these practices, now labelled alternative therapies.

The materialistic focus on recent history sometimes blinds people to considering the adverse effects of such practices. Dr. Brugh Joy, a physician who promotes these practices, points to some of the reasons harm can be caused when he cautions people about involvement with life energies. "Tapping these energies is fire, and the consequences are serious and can be dangerous. . . . The consequences of immature judgment, of toying with the chakra system, can be psychosis, aggravation of neuroses, acceleration of disease processes and suicide." [xli] The adverse psychological effects of some alternative therapies are beginning to receive attention.

Within Traditional Chinese Medicine, a practice called Qigong literally means "energy work." It consists of meditation, breathing exercises, and gentle repetitive movements. The practice was veiled in secrecy until the 1980s, and since then has become very popular in some Asian cultures. Interest in Qigong is growing in Western countries after a concerted effort to promote the practice through international conferences. However, numerous reports exist of people suffering side effects ranging from relatively mild symptoms like headaches, dry mouth, and muscle twitching all the way to hallucinations and psychotic breakdowns. The symptoms appear to stop fairly quickly once Qigong is no longer practiced. With an estimated 5 percent of China’s 1.5 billion people regularly practicing Qigong, specialized clinics have opened there to treat people with adverse reactions. [xlii] The condition is included in the official Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders, listed as "Qigong-induced mental disorders." [xliii]

Even such apparently innocuous practices like meditation are not without concern. Two proponents from Buddhist backgrounds caution: "All too often those who recommend various meditation and visualization practices have no or only limited experience with them, and may have no knowledge at all of their possible negative ramifications." [xliv] They elaborate: "Visualization is never innocuous. . . . What is important to realize in this connection is that ignorance does not always protect us from harm." [xlv] Meditation is commonly recommended as part of alternative medicine. Yet one study found that 48 percent of Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners reported adverse effects from meditation. [xlvi] The most common negative effects in this study were anxiety, depression, confusion, frustration, mental and physical tension, and inexplicable outbursts of antisocial behaviour. These were reported by TM trainers who persisted with the method, not people who gave up on the practice. Other studies report similar findings, with documented cases of adverse effects as serious as attempted suicide and psychiatric hospitalization. [xlvii]

These effects may be due to psychological problems caused by the experiences in meditation, or it may be that some people are predisposed to having certain problems precipitate. However, there is another possible explanation, one that the traditional religions of the world have pointed out throughout their existence. An experienced Buddhist puts it this way. "At the initial state of meditation, a cultivator often experiences emotional instability, physical abnormalities, and hallucinations. . . . The Tendai Buddhist meditation tradition, shikan, calls this the state of "majikyo" (the demonic realm) . . . The Zen-sickness discussed by Zen Buddhism is probably also the same."[xlviii]

The major religions of the world have always taught that the spiritual realm is not just one of white light and pure intention. Just as there is good and evil in the physical world, these religions teach that there is be good and evil in the spiritual world. The New Age version of spirituality that dominates alternative medicine promotes the belief that contact with the spiritual realm and spiritual beings can only bring good. Spirituality is held to be something that can only be good. Thus, caution is thrown to the wind. Calls for discernment are ridiculed. Yet in this way, millions of people are being led into a realm which they know very little about and which human history has consistently regarded as highly dangerous.

Many may not give much credence to belief in the existence of demons and evil spirits. Yet in those traditional cultures where the physical and the spiritual have never lost their connection, the existence of a demonic realm is taken as part of reality—and something against which humans need protection. Judaism, Christianity and Islam accept that just as there is a personal God who seeks to help us, there is a personal devil seeking to harm us. Many of the practices now promoted within alternative medicine have been rejected by these religions because they are believed to be harmful. And yet many people are being blindly led into such practices by advocates of alternative medicine. When adverse reactions occur, they are called "healing crises" and continued involvement encouraged. Thus a person gets trapped in a vicious cycle that has many of the characteristics of a cult. The person is offered something wonderful and starts into the practice. When the results are negative, they are encouraged that further engagement is needed. And they are often warned that they cannot back out of the practice or else things will get even worse.

People therefore need to be told that while some alternative therapies have the potential for good, some have the potential for harm. People need more information before being exposed to those therapies and therapists that bring with them a whole new religious and philosophical worldview. Even within chiropractic, an alternative therapy gaining widespread social if not medical acceptance, Robert Fuller has found that, "A significant minority of chiropractic doctors remain committed to introducing their patients to theories that are steeping in America’s occult and metaphysical heritage."[xlix] He has found that some chiropractors consider it just as important to introduce people to their religious beliefs as it is to give them chiropractic adjustments.

Further research is needed to understand the prevalence and precise causes of these adverse effects. Meanwhile, providers of these therapies should inform people considering receiving them of the potential for adverse effects. This should especially be the case when healthcare professionals recommend these therapies, or carry out research involving them. Yet precisely the opposite often occurs. The U.S. Department of Defense funded a study on the use of Therapeutic Touch (TT) with burn victims. The informed consent given to potential research subjects stated: "There is no risk of injury from the administrations of TT." [l] Yet the researchers also referenced Krieger’s book that specifically warns against using Therapeutic Touch with burn victims. Such blatant disregard for adverse effects needs to stop.


The complete separation of medicine and religion was not a positive development. It led to an overemphasis on the purely physical aspects of health and illness. The way that alternative medicine has helped to re-establish this link is important. Religious beliefs and practices help people cope with illness, disability and death. Numerous studies have shown a positive association between religion and health. [li] Religion has done much to serve the health of humanity, as noted by Henry Sigerist, renown historian of medicine: "It remained for Christianity to introduce the most revolutionary and decisive change in the attitude of society toward the sick. Christianity . . . addressed itself to the disinherited, to the sick and afflicted and promised them healing, a restoration both spiritual and physical. . . . The social position of the sick man thus became fundamentally different from what it had been before. He assumed a preferential position which has been his ever since." [lii]

However, the connection between religion and medicine must be kept in balance. On the one hand, it is degrading for religion to be subsumed as just another therapy to be used for health purposes. Prayer is not just a therapy like Prozac, St. John’s wort or massage. Prayer is communication with God and integral to one’s relationship with him. In the same way, marriage might bring health benefits, but it would be inappropriate to view one’s spouse as primarily an instrument for good health.

On the other hand, promoters of alternative medicine must be cautious in how they recommend their therapies. Their authority sets up a situation where sick people are vulnerable and likely to accept advice they might not otherwise agree with. There is a real danger that much in alternative medicine promotes New Age religious philosophy in the guise of health care. Often New Age therapies not only hide their religious roots, they deny having any. After surveying the growing popularity of New Age nursing spirituality, Barbara Barnum asks some very pointed questions. "Is the practice of the New Age nurse deceptive? Do patients’ weakened conditions simply make them targets of opportunity? If New Age nursing is care of the soul, is it also usurping the field of those perceived to be more prepared for that task, namely, religious priests, ministers, and rabbis? Or is the nurse a representative of a new religion?" [liii]

What is needed is openness and honesty. People should be told about the benefits of religion and spirituality. But practitioners should make it very clear when they are moving from advice about remedies and therapies into metaphysical advice. They should make clear the religious source of their beliefs, and how these might be in conflict with the beliefs of other religions. This is especially the case for clients who are religious and may not learn until it is too late that they have been exposed to practices that they disagree with or which would violate their consciences. Respecting other people’s religious beliefs requires being open about the religious ideas underlying these therapies. Alternative therapists also need to alert people to the adverse effects that may occur with energy therapies. At the same time, people considering alternative medicine must take greater responsibility to investigate the therapies and their therapists. Only then will we reach a situation where religion and medicine can work together for the good of people’s health.

Marseilles March 27-28 2004


[i] Ted J. Kaptchuk and David M. Eisenberg, “Varieties of Healing. 2: A Taxonomy of Unconventional Healing Practices,” Annals of Internal Medicine 135.3 (August 2001): 196-204.
[ii] Harold G. Koenig, Michael E. McCullough and David Larson, Handbook of Religion and Health (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
[iii] Exodus 15:26.
[iv] Arthur K. Shapiro and Elaine Shapiro, The Powerful Placebo: From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).
[v] John 10:10.
[vi] Darrel W. Amundsen, Medicine, Society, and Faith in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1996).
[vii] Harold G. Koenig, Michael E. McCullough and David Larson, Handbook of Religion and Health (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
[viii] Robert C. Fuller, Spiritual, But Not Religious (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 103.
[ix] Richard P. Sloan, Emilia Bagiella, Larry VandoCreek, et al., “Should Physicians Prescribe Religious Activities?” New England Journal of Medicine 342.25 (June 2000): 1913-1916.
[x] Daniel E. Hall, “Medicine and Religion” [Letters] New England Journal of Medicine 343.18 (November 2000): 1339-1342.
[xi] Robert C. Fuller, Spiritual, But Not Religious (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 102.
[xii] Robert C. Fuller, Spiritual, But Not Religious (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 103.
[xiii] Ted J. Kaptchuk and David M. Eisenberg, “Varieties of Healing. 2: A Taxonomy of Unconventional Healing Practices,” Annals of Internal Medicine 135.3 (August 2001): 196-204.
[xiv] Marty Kaplan, “Ambushed by Spirituality,” Time (24 June 1996): 62.
[xv] Diane Stein, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art (Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1996).
[xvi] Diane W. Wardell and Joan Engebretson, “Biological Correlates of Reiki Touchsm Healing,” Journal of Advanced Nursing 33.4 (February 2001): 439-45.
[xvii] Lavina Melwani, “Rx: Reiki,” Hinduism Today (January 1998): 38-9.
[xviii] Sharon L. Van Sell, “Reiki: An Ancient Touch Therapy,” RN 59.2 (February 1996): 57-9.
[xix] Leslie Nield-Anderson and Ann Ameling, “The Empowering Nature of Reiki as a Complementary Therapy,” Holistic Nurse Practitioner14.3 (April 2000): 21-9.
[xx] Stein, Essential Reiki.
[xxi] Nield-Anderson and Ameling, 25-6.
[xxii] Engebretson J, Wardell D. Experience of a Reiki session. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 8 (2002): 48-53.
[xxiii] International Center for Reiki Training. Available at: Accessed October 1, 1999.
[xxiv] L. Nield-Anderson and A. Ameling, “Reiki. A complementary therapy for nursing practice,” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 39.4 (April 2001): 42-9.
[xxv] Sharon Fish, “Therapeutic Touch: Healing Science or Metaphysical Fraud?” Journal of Christian Nursing 13 (Summer 1996): 4-13.
[xxvi] Dónal P. O’Mathúna, “The Subtle Allure of Therapeutic Touch,” Journal of Christian Nursing 15 (Winter 1998): 4-13.
[xxvii] Robert Calvert, “Dolores Krieger, Ph.D. and her Therapeutic Touch,” Massage 47 (January/February 1994): 56-60.
[xxviii] Dolores Krieger, The Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help or Heal (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), 80.
[xxix] Janet Quinn, “Therapeutic Touch: One Nurse’s Evolution as a Healer,” in Therapeutic Touch: A Book of Readings, ed. Marianne Borelli and Patricia Heidt (New York: Springer, 1981), 62.
[xxx] Dolores Krieger, Living The Therapeutic Touch: Healing as a Lifestyle (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1987), 53.
[xxxi] Deepak Chopra, Escaping the Prison of the Mind: A Journey from Here to Here (San Rafael, CA: New World Library, 1992), audiocassette.
[xxxii] Dean Ornish, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy.
[xxxiii] Robert Calvert, “Dolores Krieger, Ph.D. and her Therapeutic Touch,” Massage 47 (January/February 1994): 56-60.
[xxxiv] Deuteronomy 18.
[xxxv] Dónal P. O’Mathúna, “Therapeutic Touch: What Could Be the Harm?” Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 2.1 (1998): 56-62.
[xxxvi] Krieger, How to Use Your Hands, 60.
[xxxvii] Dolores Krieger, Accepting Your Power to Heal: The Personal Practice of Therapeutic Touch (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1993), 169.
[xxxviii] Dolores Krieger, Accepting Your Power to Heal: The Personal Practice of Therapeutic Touch (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1993), 75, cf. 74.
[xxxix] Alice A. Bailey, A Treatise On White Magic: or, The Way of the Disciple, 6th ed. (New York: Lucis, 1963), 565.
[xl] G. de Purucker, Studies in Occult Philosophy (Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1945), 590; cf. 622-3.
[xli] W. Brugh Joy, MD, Joy’s Way: A Map for the Transformational Journey: An Introduction to the Potentials for Healing with Body Energies (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1979), 8.
[xlii] Beng-Yeong Ng, “Qigong-Induced Mental Disorders: A Review,” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 33.2 (April 1999): 197-206.
[xliii] Sing Lee, “Chinese Hypnosis can Cause Qigong-induced Mental Disorders,” BMJ 320 (March 2000): 803.
[xliv] Shakya Zangpo and Georg Feuerstein, “The Risks of Visualization: Growing Roots Can Be Dangerous,” The Quest (Summer 1995): 84.
[xlv] Zangpo, 28.
[xlvi] Leon S. Otis, “Adverse Effects of Transcendental Meditation,” in Meditation: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Deane H. Shapiro, Jr. and Roger N. Walsh (New York: Aldone, 1984), 201-7.
[xlvii] Deane H. Shapiro, Jr., “Adverse Effects of Meditation: A Preliminary Investigation of Long-Term Meditators,” International Journal of Psychosomatics 29 (1992): 62-6.
[xlviii] YUASA Yasuo, The Body: Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), 215.
[xlix] Robert C. Fuller, Spiritual, But Not Religious (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 107.
[l] Turner, Grant Proposal, Appendix A.
[li] Harold G. Koenig, Michael E. McCullough and David Larson, Handbook of Religion and Health (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
[lii] Henry E. Sigerist, Civilization and Disease (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1943), 69-70.
[liii] Barbara S. Barnum, Spirituality in Nursing: From Traditional to New Age (New York: Springer, 1996), 81.