Reiki has become increasingly popular in the last 30 to 40 years, even famous TV personality Doctor Oz has espoused the benefits of Reiki energy healing to those seeking a healthy lifestyle. With the continued rise of this simple and accessible healing modality, the use of Reiki has made its way into hospitals, massage, breathwork and other centers for health.
Reiki energy healing creates harmony and relaxation in the body, helping those with stress, anxiety, depression and more. This technique from Japan has been a boon to humans as well as animals and continues to gain in popularity within the mainstream health field.
What is Reiki Healing?
Reiki is a healing technique in which the therapist channels energy into the client, to activate the natural healing processes of the client’s body which can restore physical and emotional well-being. Reiki can be done by touching the client or by the practitioner holding their hands about 1 inch from their body.
History of Reiki
Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a subtle energy healing work developed in 1914 by Mikao Usui, a Japanese therapist. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. Usui Reiki is the form of Reiki that most Westerners are familiar with, though there were Reiki practitioners working before Mikao Usui developed Usui Ryoho Reiki.
Dr. Usui climbed Mt. Karuma to fast and meditate when he had a mystical experience. He felt the presence of Reiki energy over him and received an understanding of how to help others with this healing modality. After experiencing positive healing results on himself and his family, he felt called to share with the world.
How Does Reiki Work?
Reiki healing involves the transfer of qi (or chi) through a practitioner’s palms, usually through direct touch or placing their hands a couple of inches from the client’s body. In Eastern medicine, qi is the energy life force that flows through all living things. This is the energy that is worked with in acupuncture and martial arts.
Because Reiki is universal life force energy, practitioners say that the energy knows where it needs to go to be of best support to each client. Reiki healers can set the intention to focus on specific parts of the body as well, with the intention of creating healing for a myriad of issues.
Although Reiki is not linked to a particular religion, it promotes a spiritual outlook on life. Reiki Masters and Practitioners follow some basic principles passed down from Dr. Usui:
- The first Reiki Principle relates to anger and the need to understand it. Anger is not considered a creative force. The center of this principle is: “Just for today, I release angry thoughts.”
- The second Reiki Principle relates to the power of thought and suggests that worrying only creates more chaos. This principle is built around the centering thought that: “Just for today, I release thoughts of worry.”
- The third Reiki Principle relates to gratitude: “Just for today, I’m grateful”. This encourages practitioners to see the beauty in everything and to be present for the blessings in their life.
- The fourth Reiki Principle is strongly related to mastering one’s craft and it encourages everyone to work hard in expanding their consciousness. The centering thought of this principle is: “Just for today, I expand my consciousness”
- The fifth and last Reiki Principle is to approach human existence and everything in it with grace and kindness. The centering thought is: “Just for today, I’m gentle with all beings”.
Benefits of Reiki
Reiki healing can support our bodies in numerous ways, including creating more harmony and relaxation. Reiki is a powerful way to alleviate stress, calm the mind, and relieve pain. The calming aspects of Reiki can be a support to those with anxiety and depression. Reiki has also been used to bring peace to those who are dying.
As a conduit for universal life force energy, which flows through all of us, Reiki supports our own body’s ability for self-healing as well. It is said to help clear the mind, create focus, improve sleep, and be a compliment to other healing therapies.
What to Expect in a Reiki Session?
In a Reiki healing session, the client is fully clothed and lying down. Reiki practitioners use specific hand positions in order to channel qi through their hands and into the client’s body. Generally, a practitioner begins at your head and makes their way down the front of the body to the feet. Then the client lies on their stomach as the practitioner works their way down the body once again, channeling life force energy with the intention of healing and relaxation to best support the client.
Sometimes, during a Reiki session, a client feels tingling sensations or warmth in their body. Responses can vary for each person, but most people leave a Reiki healing session relaxed and restored. In the healing session, the body goes into a restorative state in parasympathetic mode, which allows the activation of the body’s own self-healing response.
Reiki healing practitioners also work with special symbols that Dr. Usui passed down to his students and are only taught in a Reiki training.
Despite the lack of extensive studies on the effectiveness of Reiki healing, hospitals in the United States have begun incorporating Reiki and a form of Reiki called Healing Touch. A full list of hospitals that use Reiki in the U.S. includes The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Reiki and the Chakras
Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheel or vortex. There are seven major chakras in the human body:
- The Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine
- The Sacral Chakra, located near the navel
- The Solar Plexus Chakra, located in the center of solar plexus
- The Heart Chakra, in the middle of the chest
- The Throat Chakra, in the throat area
- The Third-Eye Chakra, located in the center of the brow
- The Crown Chakra, located at the crown of the head
Reiki practitioners can work with the chakras through flowing Reiki healing energy into these different areas of the body. This allows the clearing and cleansing of all chakra energy centers, which in turn creates better energetic flow for the client. It’s also a great way to practice linking in with the subtle energies of the body and gain awareness of how the energy is moving.
Reiki for Animals
Chi is energy that flows through all living things, which includes plants and animals. Animals are said to be incredibly receptive to Reiki energy, especially dogs, cats, and horses, and can receive the same benefits that humans do.
You can even use Reiki on your houseplants. If you have a plant that isn’t doing well, flowing Reiki healing energy can offer the opportunity to help your plant perk up and thrive.
The benefits of meditation are well documented. As more people turn to Reiki healing for support, the blending of Reiki with Meditation has become a new way to amplify the healing energy, while also calming and centering the body.
Learning to Self-Heal
The beauty of Reiki is that it is incredibly easy to learn and integrate into your life. Once you’ve learned how to do Reiki, it’s a healing tool to use on yourself and others. Using specific hand positions and Reiki symbols, practitioners can support their own personal healing as well as support their community, if they choose.
Reiki healing has taken off in the West as a gentle and accessible adjunct to other healing protocols. What was once only taught to a small group of students in Japan is now shared around the world. Reiki practitioners are becoming more and more common, as Reiki healing shows itself to be a gentle healing support for all.
Bloom Post is a freelance writer, ceremonialist, teacher, and author of the books Shaman’s Toolbox: Practical Tools for Powerful Transformation and Plant Spirit Totems. For more information: www.BloomPost.com