Written by Libby Barnet and Maggie Chambers, this book sets out to do something that's both very far reaching, and very needed. The authors have set out to introduce Reiki to a medical audience and show how it can be used in medical settings of all kinds. It was one of the first books of its day (1996) to try and position Reiki with a role in medical settings, in hospitals and otherwise. Since then Reiki has made its way into many medical institutions.
Much of the book is spent on topics typical to introducing Reiki itself. There is a brief history of Reiki, an overview of its use, an overview of learning Reiki and so forth. All topics you find covered on this web site and in many other books about Reiki. Their writing is very heartfelt and conveys a cozy warm feeling in the reader.
What's different is how they approach the topic of "energy medicine".
All through the book are pictures of various medical settings, with captions indicating that the picture shows Reiki being used in that medical setting. This includes typical patient care, interactions between pracitioners, people sitting at desks, and more, all involved with using Reiki. Overall it indicates how benign Reiki is, and how easily it can be incorporated into any activity.
In the last half of the book is a discussion of using Reiki in medical settings. For example they say:
Most nurses to whom we teach Reiki use it in routine patient care. Nurses report that certain shifts in patients' conditions are common following Reiki treatment. These shifts include the following:
- Patients "pink up" (i.e. circulation increases)
- Hands and feet warm up
- Patients sleep calmly and for extended periods
- Relaxation response is elicited
- Less time is needed to calm patients following a stressful event
- Patients have a more positive attitude
- Patients are more cooperative
- Patients report decreased pain
In general this is presented anecdotally. Very little in terms of "scientific research" showing benefits. One study is referenced that showed increases in oxygenation of the blood from Reiki, which only validates half of the benefits reported above.
I found the title misleading because of the typical meaning for "energy medicine". Normally that phrase refers to the whole field of healing through using subtle energy techniques, and Reiki is just one form of energy medicine. In this book the phrase seems to mean the use of Reiki in medical settings. For that meaning the book does an excellent job of giving an overview of Reiki in medical practice, and at least anecdotal evidence of its usefulness.
In all, this is a very nice book. It is probably a very good book to give to a medical professional to give them an understanding of Reiki. Just make sure they understand the book won't go very deep nor give them solid proof of any claim.