Reiki is a Japanese healing technique. It is used for stress reduction, relaxation, and to promote healing. reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is a Japanese word meaning universal (rei) life-force (ki) and is a term used to refer to the body’s energy. It is this energy that flows through all living things and can be activated to increase well being.
Asian philosophies believe that ki energy flows within us and is all around us. When our internal ki energy is blocked and not flowing, stagnation occurs and this is when our bodies become vulnerable to illness. The goal of opening up energy in the body is common in many Oriental-healing techniques. In acupuncture needles are inserted at key points in the meridians to encourage energy flow. Reiki works with this exact same energy to balance the life force that runs through all living things
Reiki is an ancient practice dating back approximately 2500 years. Its origins can be found in Tibetan sutras, ancient records of cosmology, and philosophy. The sutras were rediscovered in the mid 1800s by Dr Mikao Usui, a Japanese monk, who found that ancient civilizations believed that there was a life force energy that flowed through the body, supporting optimal development and fulfillment. The sutras described disease as a state of imbalance of energy that caused disruption in optimal functioning of the body, mind, and emotions. reiki practitioners aim to realign and recharge the flow of this energy, stimulating the body’s own natural powers of self healing. Can be safely used to treat any aliment, with no risk of complications.
In a reiki treatment, practitioners place their hands gently on different areas of the body, particularly the head and the torso, with a session lasting from 45- 90 minutes. Energy is transferred from the hands of the practitioner, with the goal of restoring the body’s energy to a state of balance. The patient remains fully clothed and can be standing, sitting, or lying down. Often patients choose to lie down as they find reiki deeply relaxing and many fall asleep or meditate. reiki’s effectiveness does not depend on having any understanding of how it works and as it has no imposing values it can be used by people of any background and faith.
There has been very little research into how reiki works. Independent research in the 1980s suggested that flow within the body’s energy fields is rebalanced by performing reiki. The researchers, Dr Robert Becker and Dr John Zimmermann in the United States, found that pulses of energy were emitted from the hands of practitioners while they were working. These pulses were in the same frequencies as brain waves (0.3-30 Hz). The researchers believed that the emitted waves travelled throughout the body and regulated injury repair and rebalanced systems.
Endorphins are released giving pain relief. A study exploring reiki’s effectiveness as an adjuvant to opioid treatment in the management of cancer pain found a reduction in pain which was highly significant following reiki treatment.. However the study involved only 20 volunteers with pain at multiple sites.
Reiki can invoke a profound relaxation response that lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse. A study looking into how reiki can be used to support surgical patients at a US hospital found that surgical patients who were given reiki had reduced stress levels before their operations and the therapy had a calming effect that helped to decrease the amount of pain relief needed after the operations. Healers believe that the relaxation effect may reduce the effects of stress on the immune system and helps to strengthen it.
Reiki can be used in the community, hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices. A study looking at its effectiveness in hospices concluded that it was a valuable component in supporting patients, enhancing the quality of their remaining days. It is mainly used for stress related conditions such as fatigue, headaches, and anxieties, but can increase concentration and self confidence. Practitioners also help many common complaints, such as menstrual problems and lymphatic and circulatory disorders.
To be able to use reiki you need to be attuned by a Reiki Master. The Master shows how to access the life force energy and use it. It has been compared with a radio being tuned to the right station. Once attuned all you have to do is place your hands on yourself or someone else and the energy will flow. There are three levels of reiki healing: first degree, second degree, and master/teacher, each increasing your personal energy to a higher level.
Reiki is already being used in the medical system. Increasingly nurses, rehabilitation therapists, and midwives are becoming attuned and using it to help manage pain and promote healing. Followers would like to see reiki used as an adjuvant to conventional medicine. It has the support of some surgeons, physicians, and anesthetists in the United States. They hope that reiki will be incorporated into medical courses as part of an integrated hands-on approach to care.