Patients such as Doran are more than willing to verify the effectiveness of alternative treatments, at least Reiki. "I can use a computer," he said. "I can play golf and hold a golf club with two hands, not one. I can go to a batting cage and hit baseballs."
Doran's not alone, and as more experiences like his are reported, more mainstream medical centers are beginning to offer Reiki treatments.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation and the promotion of healing. The name comes from two Japanese words - Rei, which means "God's wisdom" or "higher power," and Ki, which means "life force energy." Translated literally, Reiki means "spiritually guided life force energy."
The technique is based on the concept that unseen "life force energies" flow through us; when these energies are low, a person is more likely to be sick or stressed. Practitioners use a "laying on hands" technique to manipulate a patient's energies.
Some 2,000 Reiki treatments are given annually at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, NH, primarily as preparation for surgical procedures. Manhattan's Beth Israel Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center both employ Reiki to help manage patients' pain and anxiety. Reiki treatments have also made the rounds at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.