The NHS has been condemned for recruiting a Japanese energy healer despite health chiefs admitting there was no evidence to support the practice.
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is advertising for a “spiritual healer/reiki therapist” – with band four roles paying up to £26,000.
The job ad says the successful candidate will “activate the healing process” in cancer patients by harnessing “energetic principles”.
Experts told MailOnline that the health sector appeared to be supporting “quackery in the midst of a financial crisis”.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation and healing. Healers claim to do this by channeling patients through their palms.
The practice is said to be popular among several Hollywood stars, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie.
The role in Manchester is funded by the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, a charity which trains ‘healers’ to offer Reiki alongside mainstream NHS treatment.
However, NHS England admitted there was “no scientific evidence” to support the practice.
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is advertising a Reiki Healer role which requires them to ‘activate the healing process’ using ‘energetic principles’
The job advert closes on 25 August and pays up to £26,282 a year.
The ad says: ‘The reiki healer’s responsibilities include treating clients using energy principles, preparing client histories and activating the healing process.
“Being successful as a Reiki healer requires a calm demeanor, good teamwork skills and excellent customer service skills.”
The doctor will work on cancer patients in the palliative care unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Japanese therapy that uses “energy”: What is Reiki and does it really work?
Reiki, pronounced “ray key” which means “universal energy” in Japanese, is a type of complementary therapy in which the practitioner places hands lightly on or near your body.
It is a Japanese healing art developed by Mikao Usui in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century.
One of the main aims is to help you relax and relieve stress and tension by changing and balancing the ‘energy fields’ in and around your body to help on a physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual level.
Some people with cancer can use Reiki along with treatment, and some people say they feel better after using therapies like Reiki.
There are no reports of harmful side effects from Reiki, although there is no scientific evidence to show that Reiki can prevent, treat or cure cancer or any other disease.
However, some health professionals embrace Reiki as a complementary therapy that can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and reduce pain.
Source: Cancer Research UK
They see up to six patients per shift, including people suffering from terminal illnesses.
Healers are told to use an “empathic, client-centered approach that focuses on the patient’s strengths and needs.”
The advert says: ‘This may involve the handling of sensitive information relating to a patient’s medical or social status.’
Reiki practitioners move their hands over a person’s body and are said to transfer “healing energy” to areas associated with various ailments.
Experts have criticized the reliance on the introduction of “revealed” alternative therapy, saying it does little more than provide a placebo effect.
Professor Edzard Ernst, chair of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, told MailOnline: ‘It is difficult to think of an alternative therapy that is less credible than reiki.
“It has been debunked many times and does not work beyond placebo.
“That’s what the NHS should do.” [endorse] such quackery in the midst of a financial crisis is frankly appalling.”
Michael Marshall, project director of anti-pseudoscience charity the Good Thinking Society, said reiki was “totally anti-science”.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “There are no energy fields around the human body that can be manipulated by Reiki practitioners or anyone else.
“That’s not how the human body works and the NHS should not be supporting it, even indirectly through a charity, because it could put some people at risk.”
Mr Marshall said patients could get the same emotional support provided by reiki healers elsewhere without having to deal with someone who believed in magic.
The NHS has admitted that the provision of Reiki in healthcare has no scientific support
A spokesman for NHS England said: ‘There is no scientific evidence to support the use of reiki as an effective clinical treatment in the NHS.’
But Angie Buxton-King, co-funder of the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, insisted there was “a lot of patient evidence that the NHS cares deeply about”.
Mrs Buxton-King, who set up the charity after her son Sam died of leukemia in 1998 aged 10, said NHS trusts saw hiring reiki practitioners as “thoughtless”.
The therapy is offered as complementary medicine rather than alternative, meaning it does not replace traditional therapies.
She said reiki is “very well thought out” by hospitals that have been using it since 2006.