The technique was developed by a Japanese spiritual teacher, Mikao Usui, in 1922.
Reiki is an example of an alternative medicine, which has found a large popular audience.
It consists in using one’s hands, and more precisely the palm of one’s hands, to channel and transfer a form of healing energy.
Its purpose is to strengthen the mental and physical being of the patient who receives it. Reiki is founded on the concept of what its practitioners describe as a ‘universal energy’, although it doesn’t have an empirically verified existence.
What Does Reiki Claim To Treat?
Reiki does not claim to be able to treat specific medical conditions directly. There have been studies conducted about its benefits, but there isn’t a consensus yet about the results obtained so far. Therefore it wouldn’t be advisable to substitute Reiki for well established medical treatments.
It may be compared to placebo, in other words, its main effect may be more psychological than physiological. The conditions for conclusive studies have not been quite established yet.
The name ‘Reiki’ does have an interesting etymology. In Japanese, it means: ‘atmospheric mystery or ‘miracle’. The prefix ‘rei’ means ‘spiritual, celestial, mystical’. ‘Ki’ on the other hand, means ‘living breath’, ‘primal energy’, ‘vitality’, or ‘mind’.
Its is a multi-faceted symbol for an individual’s emotions and state of mind; it describes the fundamental state of someone’s personality, tendencies and main character traits and how they can be influenced by the physiological energy that surrounds them.
Mikao Usui, as mentioned earlier, was the founder of the practice and he trained up to 3,000 people while he was alive. Usui had been trained in several spiritual and shamanic Japanese schools in his early days. He travelled extensively to Europe, America and South East Asia during his life time, where he learned about philosophy, psychology, traditional and modern medicine as well as history.
Metaphysical and philosophical concepts are the basis from which ‘Reiki’ springs forth. ‘Reiki’ is postulated to be the founding principle of the Universe, a sort of mystical energy which would permeate all reality.
An Unseen Energy
Practitioners gradually learn to acquaint themselves with this unseen energy, and its principles before they can apply their knowledge to help others. Although the validity of its use is still regularly debated, many more hospitals are including the practice of Reiki as a complimentary treatment to meet increasing patients’ demand for it.
Reiki is not attached to any specific spiritual tradition or movement. It is not to be confused with massage therapies, or with the various schools of auto-suggestion which can be found in the alternative medicine world.
It rests on the idea that a subtle form of ‘aural’ energy emanates from human beings, and can be channelled to improve an individual’s well being.
For the experienced practitioner, ‘Reiki’ is simply the vital ‘life force’ which animates all living organisms.
The idea is that all human and living beings can come into contact with this energy field, and then make use of it to improve the mental and physical states for one’s self and others.
During a ‘Reiki’ session, the aim of the practitioner is to help the patient to relieve any kind of tension and discomfort they may be experiencing. Its aim is multi-levelled, and aims to provide an improvement for the patient on the physical plane, as well as the spiritual and psychological planes.
When Did Reiki First Appear?
The practice is said to have existed since the 13th century in Japan, It was however revived through he efforts of Mikao Usui who dedicated his life to bringing ‘Reiki’ to a wider audience. He personally supervised a group of grand masters who in turn, passed the original teaching down several schools which were disseminated across the world.
One system in particular stands out among the many traditions which are practiced nowadays, which is the Mikao Usui System of Natural Healing.
How Long Does A Reiki Session Last?
A ‘Reiki’ session in general, tends to last no longer than an hour. During the course of a preamble conversation, the practitioner and the patient establish areas of the patient’s well being which they want to explore. It is important that the patient formulates what they are expecting from the session. It is their own personal needs, which will lead the pace and direction of the sessions.
Once the direction has been established, the patient can rest on a mat or a table used for relaxation. The difference with a massage session is that clothes need not be removed, although it is preferable to wear loosely fitting comfortable outfits. Light manual contact with areas that need to be re-energised is possible. although not necessary.
There is a number of standard ‘Reiki’ hand positions that can be applied to the various parts of the patient’s body which need to be eased from discomfort.
The calming energy is then diffused gradually from the head, all the way down to the patient’s feet. Reiki has found great popularity over the years as a beneficial tool for overall well being, relaxation and the reduction of stress.
It is important to emphasize that ‘Reiki’ cannot be used of as a substitute for modern medical practices. It can however facilitate the creation of a mental and physical space, conducive to setting up an environment where relaxation is easier to attain.
How Does It Compare To Other Therapies?
In 2018, a study was conducted to evaluate how ‘Reiki’ would compare against other therapies, such as physiotherapy. The goal was to establish which methodology would be more successful at relieving pain in patients who had sustained long term back injuries such as hernias.
It turned out that both treatments produced the same levels of satisfaction for patients. However, the advantage of ‘Reiki’ was its cost-effectiveness compared to other therapies, and it was also faster in producing results. Few medical doctors however would fully approve of any kind of treatment which would be solely based on ‘Reiki’.
Are There Any Side Effects?
It is also useful to know that this well-being technique doesn’t have any negative side effects. The training to become a ‘Reiki’ master is readily available and is usually conducted under the supervision of a fully-accredited ‘Reiki’ master.
The process is called an ‘attunement’, and its purpose is to open up the trainee ‘Reiki’ instructor body to also be able to ‘transmit’ regenerative energy to a patient.
The positive effects of Reiki’ for an individual’s well-being are well documented through the many independent communities of trainers and practitioners who have adopted it.
There are many courses available for anyone to learn how to Reiki either online or offline and Udemy is a great place to start.