Reiki is a Japanese technique for promoting health as well as bringing peace and relaxation to the body through touch. Reiki therapy is commonly described as "placing of hands" or "palm healing". A Reiki practitioner/healer hovers his/her hands over a client’s body to transfer healing energy into client. The word “Reiki “itself is a combination of the Japanese characters“rei,” which means spiritual or divine, and “ki,” which represents the vital life energy that flows through all of nature (including us). If a person has low life force energy, then they will be more likely to get sick or suffer from stress. If a person’s ki is at a high level, they are better able to fulfill their life purpose, be happy, and vigorously pursue their goals.
One of the fundamental concepts of Reiki is that this vital life energy (ki) is channeled by the Reiki healer during a Reiki treatment, which assists the body’s own natural healing processes. This universal ki energy raises the personal ki level in the client, fundamentally empowering the healing of the body and the mind.
The Origins of Reiki
While the exact origins of Reiki is a subject under dispute, most people agree that the practice of Reiki as a healing method was developed in the late 1800s and heavily influenced by the teachings of a Japanese monk named Mikao Usui. His healing methods are rooted in ancient philosophies collected from various traditional Asian healing techniques.
At the center of Reiki is the concept that disease and distress of the body is caused by an imbalance of vital energy that flows through our bodies. It’s believed that shifting this imbalance promotes wellbeing for the body and spirit. Mikao Usui is said to have refined and rediscovered ancient techniques to draw from the infinite source of ki present in the universe to promote healing. Reiki masters can teach others their methods through a series of teachings called "attunements." Through 1-on-1 instruction with a previous Reiki master, a series of attunements are given to students of Reiki to open them up to this universal energy and the ability to channel it (first directly, then over a large distance). The final attunement in the series results in the student becoming a Reiki master.
In the late 1930s, a Japanese-American woman named Hawayo Takata popularized the practice of Reiki to the Western World after her return from Hawaii after an extensive stretch of Reiki training in Japan. Since then Reiki has spread across the globe like wildfire and has helped bring peace and health to countless people.
How Reiki Works
Reiki energy will flow from a practitioner’s hands into a client. For standard treatments, the client will lay on a massage table, but Reiki can also be done while sitting or standing up. Clients will remained fully clothed as the practitioner places their hands directly on or very close to the client’s body in a variety of specific hand positions. Common positions include placing hands around the head, shoulders, stomach and feet. There are a variety of other positions used depending on what the client’s needs are. Each position is held from anywhere between 2 to 10 minutes based on the specific goals of that session. The entire treatment will typically last between 45 and 90 minutes.
The energy transferred during a Reiki treatment is known as “subtle energy” that is distinct from other types of energy. Reiki energy is believed by many to come from a higher life force, e.g. – the Universe, or Nature, that exists on a greater plane from the limited world that we can see and touch. Consider for example that there is much more to light – infrared wavelengths, ultraviolet wavelengths, etc, than the very small range of wavelengths that we can actually perceive with the naked eye. The same is true of the types of energies that can affect our minds, bodies, and well-being – there’s much more to it than just electricity, chemical reactions, and other physical energy. The “subtle energy” of Reiki is a part of this as well.
Those who are sensitive and can observe Reiki energy often note that it seems to flow from above and enter into the practitioner’s head before it enters their body and flows through their hands. This particular image is the best way we have to describe it, but the fact is that the true source of Reiki energy is drawn from the abundance of ki that is omnipresent. This energy is harnessed and used for healing.
What Is a Typical Session Like?
Recipients of a Reiki healing session commonly report that their treatment brought them deep feelings of relaxation across the board. Many feel like they are enveloped in a blissful, glowing radiance that can surround the entire body. The energy transferred in a Reiki treatment can help a person shed all feelings of tension, anxiousness, fear, and other embedded stressors that can block the desired state of peace and happiness. Many people drift off to sleep within minutes, or feel like they are floating outside of their bodies. Others may have dreams or visions that cause feelings of transcendence. When the Reiki treatment is over, clients feel refreshed, balanced and positive.
What Does Reiki Treat?
Reiki has been known to benefit people in many ways including healing all forms of negative energy and the manifestations of negative energy in the body and mind. As you can imagine, this can include many different types of problems, including: fevers, colds, flus, high blood pressure, headaches, migraines, stress, anxiety or improving symptoms of heart disease, chronic fatigue, cancer and other illnesses and conditions. There are virtually no side effects except for temporarily lowering blood pressure - a natural result of the feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. In fact, Reiki has been reported by many people to help remove or reduce side effects of other treatments such as drug therapy, and is commonly used as an adjunct to chemotherapy. People all over the world also use Reiki to reduce symptoms of post-operative soreness, imbalance, depression, and other pervasive illnesses. The healing energy transferred during sessions can increase the rate of recuperation and reduce time spent in the hospital.
As a rule, a Reiki treatment is a good way to address negative states of mind whatever the cause, including feelings of disgust, disempowerment, rumination or “spinning your wheels”, depression, or any other unhelpful and unhealthful state that may be preventing you from enjoying your life in that moment. This is because the effect on one’s spirit can be one of the most significant benefits of Reiki treatment.
No matter what, Reiki treatment can only offer advantages to those who seek it. There are rare cases where people have been completely healed of their condition after Reiki treatments. Of course this is not a guarantee, and you should never use Reiki as a replacement for your doctor or other standard medical care, but you always expect reduced stress and some physical as well as psychological improvements to a wide range of conditions.
Conclusion & Common Misconceptions About Reiki
Reiki is not a religion, though it is sometimes confused as such because many discussions of Reiki contain talk of spiritual undertones and discussions of ancient Eastern religious practices. However make no mistake - there is no belief system involved in the practice of Reiki whatsoever. It is accessible to anyone at anytime.
You don’t have to stop seeing your physician to receive treatment, and you’re encouraged to do more of your own research. Since Reiki attunements are given 1-to-1 from master to student, it’s generally advised to take a practitioner who has had a 1-on-1 teaching lineage that links directly back to the founder, Mikao Usui, in order to take part in the benefits from traditional attunements.
Many people dispute the healing effects of Reiki as pseudoscience, but if you have a healing session for yourself with a reputable healer, you can be your own judge. There is only good that can come from this kind of care and treatment, no matter how much of a skeptic you are in the power of Reiki, the explanations behind the techniques, or even the existence of Reiki. I like to think of Mikao Usui as the Bruce Lee of healing. He combined a number of ancient methods to create a very effective system – in this case, of a system of healing through treatment. Try a Reiki healing session out today and see what people have been raving about for over a century.
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing.