Reiki is based on the premise that healing is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experience. A physical body may be cured of an illness, but can leave a person emotionally and mentally exhausted. The purpose is to heal the person on every level through the power of spiritual energy.
What is Reiki?
Reiki originated in Japan and was used as a spiritual healing technique. Reiki (pronunciation: Ray Kee) consists of two words: Rei and Ki. Rei is translated from Japanese as “the wisdom and knowledge of all the Universe”. It refers to the divine and the universal. Ki is the life force energy that flows through every living thing – plants, animals and people. It is even said to be present in inanimate objects around us in some form. Together they form Reiki – a “spiritual energy”, or a “universal life force energy”.
A Reiki practitioner serves as a channel for spiritual energy and passes it on to the recipient with a light touch or even intention, as it can be performed from any distance. In the sessions, the practitioner uses various hand postures and symbols to balance the energy.
History of Reiki
The history of Reiki and its expansion to the West is crucial to understanding why there are so many different practices and methods found today.
Reiki in Japanese is used to describe healing with spiritual energy in any sense, but in the Western world, Reiki is the name of a practice created by Dr Mikao Usui. He was a Japanese Buddhist priest who compiled his spiritual learnings and founded Usui Spiritual Energy Healing Method, which he later passed on to Dr Chujiro Hayashi.
After Dr Usui’s death, Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic, where he met Hawayo Takata – a young woman from Hawaii who was suffering from a serious illness. Impressed by his methods of healing, she decided to stay and learn from him. After learning Reiki while working alongside Hayashi, she went back to Hawaii and started teaching Reiki healing techniques. Her students formed the first official Reiki association that helped spread the practice across the US and further.
The practice that Takata taught was considered the original one at the time, as it was believed there were no other Usui’s students left in Japan. It was only later that the word spread about other practitioners in Japan, who practised a slightly different form. The original Reiki is considered the one using Usui’s techniques, although many other variations were created from Takata’s teachings.
Anyone with some degree of training in Reiki can successfully transmit the energy to the recipient, however, there are some distinctions between levels of training. This information can be helpful for anyone interested in Reiki treatments.
Practitioners usually get training at three levels:
- Shoden – Level 1
- Okuden – Level 2
- Shinpiden – Level 3
Practitioners with first-degree training are equipped to perform on themselves and others and usually obtain the second degree shortly after the first one. The important difference between the two is that level 2 practitioners can offer distant healing among other techniques. The third level is known as the Master level and only Reiki Masters can teach other practitioners.
Reiki cannot be taught like other forms of healing practices, through books or lectures. The healing abilities are transferred from the master to the student through attunement. To attune means: “to bring into the harmony with”. The process of attunement or the “initiation” opens the energetic pathways and the spiritual force is flowing freely, connecting the student to the energy channelled by the master. When the student is attuned to the energetic frequency of Reiki, they can quickly develop the ability to heal. The ceremony of attunement is sacred and the process is kept secret until the Master level, where students learn how to initiate new practitioners on all three levels.
5 principles of Reiki
Dr Mikao Usui used Reiki principles (also called ideals or precepts) to teach his students how to live a more fulfilled life. There are different translations of the original document written by Dr Usui and alternative variations, but they are all based on similar ideas. Dr Usui advised his students to recite the principles every morning and evening.
The original version of principles:
- Just today:
- Do not get angry
- Do not worry
- Show appreciation
- Work hard (on yourself)
- Be kind to others
The version taught by Ms Takato in the Western Reiki:
- Just for today, do not anger.
- Just for today, do not worry.
- Honour your parents, teachers and elders.
- Earn your living honestly.
- Give thanks to every living thing.
“Just for today” means we should only focus on what we can control and let go of what happened in the past or what will happen tomorrow. Living in the present allows us to appreciate and experience any given moment.
The benefits of Reiki
Modern science is yet to explain how Reiki works. The theory is that the healing takes place through the human biofield – the energy and vibrations that surround the human physical body. It refers to both the measurable electromagnetic energy and subtle energy or Ki. Some benefits of Reiki as a complementary health therapy are:
Reiki has been proven to be effective in reducing stress after long and stressful working hours. This study suggests educating the medical staff about Reiki to help them reduce burnout levels at work. Another study was conducted on mental health practitioners, who often suffer burnout due to emotional exhaustion – the results showed positive effects and the possibility of Reiki reducing stress and improving overall emotional health.
Reiki is increasingly used in hospital settings to complement conventional therapies. One of the groups most commonly affected by pain and anxiety from hospital procedures and the illness itself are cancer patients. A number of studies tried to examine the effect on their physical and emotional well-being and the results suggest that Reiki could ease the pain. A study from 2015 showed positive results of distant healing on oncology patients, decreasing their pain, anxiety and fatigue levels.
Better quality of life
Reiki sessions connect you with spiritual energy and help improve your overall quality of life. According to the study from 2011, people receiving treatments reported positive effects on mood. People generally leave sessions feeling comforted, relaxed and refreshed.
What is a typical session like?
Reiki sessions are carried out in a peaceful setting, usually lasting about 60 minutes. The practitioner will explain the process, ask a few questions and play music to set the mood. If you have some health issues or concerns, share them with your practitioner.
The person receiving is usually in a comfortable lying or sitting position, fully clothed. The treatment is done by moving hands around the body, just above or lightly touching it. There should be no pressure, and it shouldn’t feel intrusive or inappropriate.
The experience varies from person to person. You may feel sleepy and calm after the session, although the change in mood can be subtle. The effects like deeper sleep or improved focus can become obvious later during the day or after a few sessions.
How to find a Reiki practitioner?
The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council offers a list of trusted Reiki associations. You can find the experienced practitioner through one of the listed associations. Keep in mind different levels of training when choosing the practitioner, especially if you wish to receive distant healing.
From spring 2021 you can find practitioners in your area by visiting our website. Search and book your next treatment directly through our online marketplace.