I enjoyed reading the Sunday article about medical marijuana, and its use for chronic pain sufferers (

“Medical marijuana: More privacy, fewer controls,”

Oct. 21). 

You’ll get lots of mail on the marijuana aspect — I’d like to clarify two points about Reiki, mentioned as a therapy that Dr. Dustin Sulak uses. 

Your reporter wrote that Reiki “aims to heal through the transfer of energy from the hands of the practitioner.” 

That description, used by many practitioners, is subjective and not clinically proven here in the West, although many traditional Eastern medical practices include the concept of subtle life force energy. 

In a clinical context, it is enough to say that Reiki treatment relaxes the patient, promoting calm, balance and the body’s own capacity for healing. 

Many hospitals agree with this, and have established Reiki programs that are well received by their patients.

Concerning the treatment of chronic pain: People who learn Reiki can self-treat, which gives them another option for managing their pain. 

Self-treatment is rarely mentioned in mainstream articles about Reiki. 

Since your paper has covered opiate addiction and medical marijuana extensively — topics that have at their root the challenge of pain management — and since chronic pain affects an estimated 116 million Americans and costs hundreds of billions a year (Institute of Medicine, “Relieving Pain in America,” June 2011), we should look closely at any therapy that helps in any way to relieve pain, especially if it’s gentle and non-invasive. Reiki is one such therapy.

Jeffrey Hotchkiss

Reiki master and teacher


Supporters of pro-insurer laws should be voted out

In 2011, in an extremely partisan vote, the Republican-dominated Legislature passed laws very favorable to insurance companies. They eliminated and reduced health care for tens of thousands of Maine seniors, children and people with disabilities.

In addition, the law permitted insurers to charge older Mainers up to five times more than younger ones. (That’s a whopping 500 percent more.)

Because this legislation allowed insurance companies to raise rates without oversight, 100 percent of those over 60 were smacked with rate increases, as were 90 percent of small-business policyholders.

On Nov. 6, we have an opportunity to oust the legislators who were responsible for this onerous legislation and replace them with those who will fight for our hard-pressed, struggling families, our seniors and our all-important small businesses — not for the big insurance companies.

Polly Shaw


Same-sex marriage backers bullying those who disagree

We just got done wearing purple to show we are against the bullying of gays, and less than a week later there is a story in the news about a Levant farmer who was bullied to remove his “No on One” sign (“Business and politics can be a volatile mix,” Oct. 28).

It kind of looks like we are talking out of both sides of our mouth when some bullying is allowed.  

Not only that, but trampling on our freedom of speech mocks the sacrifices our military men and women made for that freedom. Our soldiers deserve our respect, and this is no way to show it.

Enough already!

I’m going to send a clear message that bullying and taking away someone’s right to free speech are unacceptable when I vote “no” on Question 1.

Joanne Rand


Don’t let tax hike ire spark rejection of school budget

When I returned from the recent meeting at Saco Middle School regarding the Regional School Unit 23 school budget, I thought: I need to tell people!

The amended school budget was voted on by the citizens present. It passed for presentation on Nov. 6. It was a very informative meeting, well attended by many Saco, Dayton and Old Orchard Beach voters. The presentation was clear and concise.

The bottom line is this: Our Saco tax budget has passed for this year. The 18 percent increase is not changing. No refunds. The school portion of our taxes did not raise the taxes by 18 percent.

This new, amended school budget is bare bones. That being said, if this budget does not pass Nov. 6 and we go back to the drawing board, teachers will be cut as well as services.

The budget cannot be cut again — so I am asking, as a concerned Saco citizen and a grandparent of two children in Fairfield School, for your vote to pass this school budget on Nov. 6.

Our teachers are well-educated, fine instructors and we are lucky to have them. It would be a shame to lose any of them. This is not an idle threat. I saw the numbers first hand.

The RSU withdrawal is a totally separate issue that will continue for a long time. This is just about the school budget. If you are upset by the 18 percent tax increase, please address our mayor and City Hall!

Thanks for reading this letter, and I hope you can get out to vote. If you choose to, spread the word.

Patti Bell


Heterosexual has no fears of gay ‘assault’ on marriage

One of the especially troubling aspects of the anti-equal rights forces on the issue of Question 1 is the violent language they use. Those homosexuals are “making an assault on marriage.” My own marriage must be “defended.”

“The “No on 1” forces are dedicated to “protecting” my marriage.

Will someone kindly explain to me just what is the “assault” by gay people on my marriage? And exactly what must my marriage be “protected” and “defended” against?

My wife and I have been married for 62 years (so far). And we have lived in states where same-sex marriage is legal. Believe me, our own marriage is doing just fine.

For years my wife and I have both worked as educators side by side in organizations like the PTA and in the schools with long-term committed gay couples who are the living models of hardworking, loving parents. The dozens of gay families we have known over the years have been pillars of their communities, stable in their jobs, visible in their churches and excellent as our neighbors.

Perhaps the best parents I ever knew were a doctor and his partner who worked right here in Portland for the school system. These two men adopted five needy children and were the very model of a stable, long-term, loving relationship.

I urge voters to do the fair and compassionate thing and vote “yes” on Question 1.

Robert L. Hobbs