The word “Reiki” means “mysterious atmosphere, miraculous sign.” It comes from the Japanese words “rei,” meaning universal, and “ki,” meaning life energy.
Reiki is a type of energy healing. According to practitioners, energy can stagnate in the body where there has been physical injury or even emotional pain. In time, these energy blocks can cause illness.
Energy medicine aims to help the flow of energy and remove blocks in a similar way to acupuncture or acupressure. Reiki practitioners believe that improving the flow of energy around the body can enable relaxation, relieve pain, speed healing, and reduce other symptoms of illness.
Mikao Usui developed Usui Reiki Ryoho, the most current form of Reiki, in 1922. However, people have practiced Reiki for about 2,500 years.
People also refer to Reiki as palm healing or hands-on healing.
Practitioners will typically give Reiki treatment in a peaceful, private setting. However, the treatment can take place anywhere. During a session, the client will sit in a comfortable chair or lie on a table, fully clothed.
The practitioner will then place their hands lightly on or over specific areas of the client’s head, limbs, and torso. They will typically keep their hands in these positions for 3–10 minutes.
If there is a particular injury, such as a burn, the practitioner will hold their hands just above the wound.
Advocates state that while the practitioner holds their hands lightly on or over the body, an energy transfer takes place. During this time, the practitioner may report that their hands feel warm or are tingling. They will hold each hand position until they sense that the energy has stopped flowing.
When the practitioner feels that the heat, or energy, in their hands has gone, they will remove their hands and place them over a different body area.
According to practitioners, Reiki channels universal energy known as ki, pronounced “chi.” This is the same energy involved in tai chi exercise.
This energy supposedly permeates the body. Reiki experts point out that although this energy is not measurable with modern scientific techniques, many who tune into it can feel it.
Reiki allegedly aids relaxation, assists in the body’s natural healing processes, and develops emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. However, no studies have conclusively shown this to be true.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that it may induce deep relaxation, help people cope with difficulties, relieve emotional stress, and improve overall well-being.
It is important to note that Reiki should never take the place of medical treatments.
However, people living with certain health conditions may be interested in trying Reiki alongside their regular treatment. For instance, some people with cancer may find Reiki beneficial as it may help them relax. The gentle nature of Reiki therapy may have a soothing effect on patients who find that they become overwhelmed with invasive therapy, fear, and stress.
Individuals report different experiences. Some say that the practitioner’s hands become hot, others report cooling hands, and some feel pulsating waves. The most common reports are of a release of stress and deep relaxation.
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