Rather than fight bishops, Reiki teacher steps down

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- To Jan Atwood, Reiki is all about healing, not theological battles.

That's why the teacher and practitioner of the Japanese healing technique has resigned from a retreat center run by Dominican nuns after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told Catholic institutions they should not be practicing it.

Atwood will step down Friday, May 1, as coordinator of bodywork at the Dominican Center at Marywood spirituality center. She says she does not want to fight the bishops' claim that Reiki is incompatible with Christian teaching.

"It was a difficult decision to make, but I just felt everything was telling me to move on," said Atwood, who has been providing Reiki therapy at Marywood since the late 1990s. "I don't want to be a part of something that's political. I just want to do the work."

Her departure leaves the Dominicans uncertain whether to continue offering Reiki as an alternative healing therapy. Sisters say they were surprised by the bishops' recently released guidelines.

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