For fuck's sake.
Look at the functional aspect of Reiki. Acknowledge the suffering of others. Help them relax. Pay attention to them. Get them to pay attention to their own bodies. Create a somatic feedback loop. Encourage their positive feelings. All of this has been shown to improve the mental and physical health of patients.
PLEASE NOTE NONE OF THE ABOVE NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED BY PHANTOM MYSTICAL ENERGIES, NONE OF WHICH ARE EVEN BOTHERED TO BE EXPLAINED OR EVEN TESTED BY SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES, CHANNELED BY A GURU THAT COST SHITLOADS OF CASH.
It's kind of weird I have to explain that.
Yes, I hear your pain.
also if you weren't too pissed off to actually read it I did say
Actually I've been thinking about this whole "woo" thing and the thing that really makes me
[edit for emphasis] REALLY
uncomfortable is if there actually needs to be "woo" to make the effect work. If that turns out to be the case then I guess all bets are off
Thing is not everybody sees the world in the way you do. I don't suppose I need to point out to you that you live in a country where somewhere in the region of 80% of your compatriots have an invisible friend who they turn to for succour and relief and who they believe takes an up-close and personal interest in everything they do. The whole "woo" thing is so tightly wound into the structure of life that to try and compartmentalise "woo-based" therapies seems to be like trying to swat a ladybug while there is a hornets nest in the middle of the room.
My mother was a radiographer, my father was an industrial chemist, my cousin is a GP, my uncle was a medical photographer, 3 of my sisters in law are nurses of various specialisms, my aunt was a senior nursing officer involved in hygiene research, I originally trained as a therapeutic radiographer and later as a behavioural scientist. OK, none of us ever tried to knock some scientific sense into Dubya's administration but we are not by nature or training a "woo based" family. Point being, I think you have a tendency to not listen when the whole "woo" thing comes up. So, no, you don't have to explain the scientific shortcomings of reiki, I get it, I hear what you are saying and on some level I totally agree with you. However unless and until we understand the placebo effect the book cannot be closed on these sorts of practices. Or trance healing, or psychic surgery, or the vast range of other weird shit that people believe.
And I think that that is why I call myself discordian. I can look at things with wonder and be intrigued by them without feeling the need to believe in them. I think in the long run that is a pretty sound basis for dealing with the unbelieveable amount of unbelieveable things people have generated