Reiki is a form of energy therapy that originates in Japan. The practice involves the laying on of hands in a process called attunement, which aims to balance the patient’s energy and facilitate the body’s natural healing process, according to ResearchGate. Reiki practitioners believe that the patient naturally draws the energy they need through attunement, and that patients actually heal themselves once the energy in their body is balanced.
- Everyone has the ability to channel reiki, but that ability does need to be activated, according to an article by Healthinomics
- Volunteers set up a reiki station at Ground Zero to treat firefighters and first responders after 9/11
- About 4 million people worldwide have received at least one level of reiki training, according to the International Center for Reiki Training
In 2006 and 2008, anxious lab rats received reiki treatments and demonstrated a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression responses. While more research on humans is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment, no studies have found negative side effects of reiki so far. According to an Atlanta-based reiki practitioner, reiki’s healing properties can:
- Relieve stress and pain
- Induce relaxation
- Release emotional blockages
- Accelerate natural healing
- Balance subtle body energies
- Support other medical modalities including traditional therapies.
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What Does a Reiki Session Look Like?
According to the Healing Place Energy School, reiki sessions work best in a peaceful, comfortable setting. The reiki recipient is fully clothed during the session, and most commonly, reiki is administered through “light, non-invasive touch with the practitioner’s hands placed and held on a series of locations on the head and front and back of the torso. Practitioners place their hands lightly on or over specific areas for between 2 and 5 minutes. The hands can be placed over 20 different areas of the body.”
Some recipients feel a warm, tingling sensation during the process, while others report a refreshing cooling sensation. The practitioner maintains each hand position until they sense that the energy has stopped flowing, at which point they’ll move onto a different position on the body. A reiki session can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, and many recipients report a feeling of deep relaxation and calm after the session is finished.
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The Origins of Reiki Healing
Reiki dates back to late-1800s, when a man named Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered a set of healing practices during a 21-day retreat on Mount Kurama, in Japan. Dr. Usui was born into a wealthy Buddhist family in 1865 and spent his early life studying from a variety of academic and faith traditions, according to the International Association of Reiki Professionals. He was particularly interested in medicine, psychology and theology.
After holding a number of jobs, he decided to retreat from public life and join a Buddhist monastery, where he focused his studies on different forms of healing techniques. In order to gain greater spiritual clarity, he took a 21-day retreat of fasting and meditation in a cave on Mount Kurama, where he studied ancient texts that form the basis of reiki. After a profound spiritual experience in the cave, he decided to devote his life to healing. He opened a clinic in Kyoto for healing and teaching his techniques. Dr. Usui eventually founded his first reiki clinic and school in Tokyo in 1922.
Reiki quickly gained popularity in Japan and was brought to Hawaii by a Japanese-Hawaiian named Hawayo Takata in the mid-1930s, according to ResearchGate. It spread to the US mainland in the 1970s, and has grown in popularity since.
How Can Reiki Improve Your Wellbeing?
Reiki practitioners believe that stagnant energy in the body needs to flow freely. When a patient experiences an energy imbalance, it can manifest in emotional and physical distress. By encouraging the free movement of energy, reiki sessions are meant to help the body heal itself. According to Medical News Today, some studies have suggested that reiki is effective in reducing pain, but no studies have demonstrated that it’s effective at curing disease. That said, research is still lacking, and doctors may have a clearer picture of reiki’s healing effects after more studies take place.
In the meantime, a reiki session may be an excellent addition to a patient’s conventional treatment plan. The relaxation benefits of reiki, as well as the pain alleviation properties, can be beneficial to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and anyone experiencing high levels of pain or stress. For many people battling a serious disease, conventional medical care can be exhausting and at times impersonal. The individualized attention, as well as the warmth and comfort of the practitioner’s touch, can make the patient feel soothed and relaxed.
For more information about finding a reiki practitioner near you, or developing a reiki practice of your own, you can consult the International Association of Reiki Professionals website.