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£205,000 of lottery money spent to provide “voodoo” healers through NHS

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The National Lottery has given £205,000 to fund a two year research project which will make spiritual “healing therapies” available on the NHS. 

The project, led by charity Fresh Winds, is designed to identify the effectiveness of a Buddhist “healing” technique (called Reiki) by testing the method on 200 patients suffering from bowel disorders at NHS Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield.

The National Lottery will brief the NHS on the research findings next year “to inform their decision whether to introduce elements of complementary therapy into the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.”

The controversial therapy, which has been termed by critics as another form of ‘voodoo,’ involves the running of hands over the patient’s body (without touching) to radiate “healing energy, ”which allegedly works “like a gentle set of jump leads” and relieves symptoms of pain.

Sukhdev Singh, the Gastroenterologist who is leading the research, claimed that Reiki had shown“good results” in the past, and offered a solution where “conventional treatments do not provide the complete answer.” 

Healthprofessionals, on the other hand, have been quick to reject the technique for its lack of scientific basis, branding the project as a waste of time and NHS resources. 

Simon Singh, author of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, emphasised that there was “no worthwhile evidence at all that spiritual healing works in any way, shape or form other than the placebo effect – when the patient feels better just because they are getting some attention.”

He commented further that “the £200,000 should have been spent on much better causes,” and that “to use Lottery money on this is to introduce voodoo into our health service.” 

The Christian Medical Fellowship have warned of both the physical and spiritual effects of the Buddhist technique from a Christian perspective, commenting that:

“Reiki claims to be a spiritual path leading to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual atonement, harmony, good health and happiness.

“As a holistic therapy with Buddhist roots, it clearly has serious spiritual implications but does not and cannot supply answers for the basic spiritual sicknesses of mankind such as sin, guilt, fear and the need for forgiveness and salvation.”

The report comes at a time when Christian doctors and nurses have been banned from sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with their patients. 

Christian nurse, Caroline Petrie, was suspended for offering to pray with an elderly patient, whilst Dr Richard Scott, a Christian doctor of 28 years, was reported to the General Medical Council for discussing his faith with a patient.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“It is ludicrous that so much money has been spent on a Buddhist healing technique with little evidence base, not only at a time when the NHS is struggling financially but also when Christian doctors and nurses are often prevented from practising their faith in the workplace.”


Daily Mail

Dr Peter Saunders (blog)