Reiki, the healing therapy created by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui over a hundred years ago, is based on a simple spiritual principle: We’re all guided by the same invisible life force, and it controls our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When the energy flows freely, we can tap into unknown reserves of power. When it runs into blockages (often said to be caused by negative thinking, unhealed trauma, or stress overload), we function at a suboptimal level.
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 few 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 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. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that it may induce deep relaxation, help people cope with difficulties, relieve emotional stress, and improve overall well-being.
Conditions that people have used Reiki to help treat include:
- heart disease
- chronic pain
- neurodegenerative disorders
- Crohn’s disease
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.