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Durham e-Theses
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An Ethnographic Account of Reiki Practice in Britain

BEELER, DORI,MICHELLE (2015) An Ethnographic Account of Reiki Practice in Britain. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Reiki practice is a hands-on-healing method with spiritual foundations that travelled from Japan to the West in the 1930s. Since that time it has rapidly grown in popularity and has taken root in many countries around the world. This thesis is the result of 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork intended to develop a detailed understanding of what Reiki practice means to participants in Britain. I focus on three groups: Reiki practitioners, Reiki clients and medical professionals. First, I introduce important Reiki terms and concepts. Second, after a discussion of methods, I explore a specific method for researching spirituality and the role that interiority has in this approach. A disciplinary practice grounded in spirituality, Reiki is considered as a technology of the self. I apply a triadic analysis of doing—becoming—being in order to examine the ways in which practitioners processually embody the Reiki practice in their lives. In the following chapters I delve into the meaning of Reiki practice. Central to this is the link between spirituality and well-being. This link is investigated through discussions on how subjective spirituality derives meaning through practise and an ethical imperative for care in Reiki practice. Additionally, as it pertains to the health care market, I critically discuss Reiki practice as a commodity. In maintaining a detailed, anthropological focus, the complex nature and diversity of meaning underpinning Reiki practice in Britain begins to emerge. This comprises of the diverse journeys of this study’s participants, including myself, each aiming for an embodied well-being that transcends common understandings of spirituality and health and is often characterised in terms of a peaceful and harmonious life.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Reiki practice, well-being, ethnography, healing, commodity
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:21 May 2015 10:16

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