Reiki pronounced 'ray-key', is a system of energy healing originating from Japan. The word Reiki itself translates to 'universal life energy' and is based on the belief that life energy flows through all living things. When this energy becomes disrupted or blocked, it is believed that stress and disease follow.
Reiki practitioners use the universal life energy they have been attuned to, to promote natural healing. On this page we will explore Reiki healing in more depth to establish what it can help with and what you should expect from a Reiki session.
What is Reiki?
In a similar vein to many traditional eastern therapies, Reiki works on the premise that 'life force energy' flows through all of us. If this energy becomes unbalanced, low or stuck, it is believed that we are more likely to become stressed and unwell.
Reiki is carried out by practitioners who have been attuned to the Reiki energy. This attunement involves a Reiki master who acts as a mirror to help the student adjust to the energy. This creates a channel between the practitioner and the universal life energy, so they can access and use the energy to help others.
Using their hands, Reiki practitioners use this energy to help balance clients' energy. The nature of Reiki is holistic, meaning that it addresses the body, mind and spirit. While Reiki is considered spiritual, it is not a religion. There is nothing specific you need to believe in, in order to benefit from Reiki healing.
This method of energy healing promotes relaxation and well-being. Its aim is to help reduce stress and stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. Mikao Usui founded the practice in the early 20th century. Dr Usui described the five principles of Reiki for practitioners to consider, which are:
- Just for today, do not worry.
- Just for today, do not anger.
- Honour your parents, teachers and elders.
- Earn your living honestly.
- Show gratitude for every living thing.
"As running water smoothes the jagged edges of a rock until it is small enough to roll away, Reiki flows to the areas of need, soothing and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself."
Any treatment that works with energy typically falls under the energy healing umbrella. Each provides similar rebalancing and relaxation benefits. Having said this, there are differences in the theoretical foundations and how practitioners are trained.
Energy healing tends to use touch techniques that require healing powers from the therapist themselves. Therapists will then channel energy into the recipient to bring about healing. Energy healers (sometimes referred to as spiritual healers) may believe they are more vulnerable to other entities, picking up negative energy from the person they are working on. They therefore need to carry out steps to protect themselves. Reiki healers are believed to be protected by the attunement process.
What can Reiki help with?
The relaxing nature of Reiki makes it beneficial in many situations. It can be especially helpful for those who may be feeling disconnected, isolated or overwhelmed. Reiki can help to bring about a sense of peace and centeredness, helping you feel better able to cope with challenges.
The calming effect of a Reiki treatment is also beneficial to pregnant women, supporting them on their journey. Children and even animals can benefit from Reiki as it relaxes and soothes.
Promoting a sense of well-being, many find Reiki encourages and supports positive lifestyle choices. Some even say it helps to reduce the need for alcohol and tobacco.
When used in conjunction with medical treatment, rebalancing energy can help to manage symptoms of anxiety, fatigue and pain. Reiki can be used for short-term problems or in an ongoing capacity to promote overall health and well-being.
Remember, Reiki is a complementary therapy. If you have a health concern, visit your doctor and seek medical advice. Reiki should not be used in place of your doctor's recommendations; it should be used alongside your treatment to aid healing. Because Reiki is a natural treatment there are no contraindications, meaning it is generally safe to use for everyone. You are advised however to discuss your medical history with your Reiki practitioner in case they need to take extra precaution.
A typical session
Before you begin your treatment, your Reiki practitioner will explain to you what the treatment involves. During this consultation, they may ask you why you are seeking Reiki and details of your medical history. Providing as much detail as possible here ensures that they treat you safely and to the best of their ability.
After this consultation you will be asked to sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You do not need to remove your clothing for Reiki healing. For comfort you may wish to remove constricting layers, shoes and/or glasses.
The treatment itself involves the practitioner placing their hands gently on the body, or slightly above the body, in a predetermined sequence. The position of the hands is non-intrusive and should not cause any discomfort. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, let your therapist know. The amount of time spent in each position will depend on the nature of your concern. The touch should be gentle and light, Reiki is not supposed to manipulate or massage.
How will I feel?
Everyone will respond differently to Reiki depending on their individual circumstances. Some people say they feel sensations during their Reiki healing, while others do not. Some feel heat or tingling during the treatment and some report seeing colours. For some, the experience brings up an emotional response. The most common response however is a feeling of calm, relaxation and well-being.
After the treatment you may feel very relaxed, or you may feel energised. There is no right or wrong way to experience Reiki. Some people say after the treatment they encounter a 'healing reaction', like a headache or flu-like symptoms. If you are concerned about any reaction, speak to your practitioner.
How many sessions will I need?
This will vary from person to person. It is important to remember that Reiki healing is a process, and therefore may take a number of sessions. Generally, the more chronic and long-term the concern is, the more sessions it will require.
Your practitioner may recommend a number and/or the spacing of your sessions. You should however feel free to make the decision about the spacing of your treatment yourself.