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Author/s: Rebecca J. Frey
Reiki is a holistic alternative therapy based on Eastern concepts of energy flow and
the seven chakras (energy centers) in the human body. Reiki was formulated by a Japanese
teacher, Mikao Usui, around 1890, but incorporates meditation techniques, beliefs, and
symbols that are considerably older. It is distinctive among alternative therapies in its
emphasis on self- healing, its five spiritual principles, and its accreditation of healers
through a system of initiation.
Purpose of Reiki
The purpose of treatment is the healing of emotional and spiritual, as well as
physical, pain through the transmission of universal life energy, called ki in
Japanese. It is believed that ki flows throughout the universe, but that Reiki
connects humans in a more direct way to the universal source. Reiki is used for the
healing of animals as well as people.
Although Reiki involves human touch, it is not massage therapy. The patient lies on a
table fully clothed except for shoes while the practitioner places her or his hands over
the parts of the body and the chakras in sequence. The hands are held palms downward with
the fingers and thumbs extended. If the person is in pain or cannot turn over, the
practitioner may touch only the affected part(s). Silence or music appropriate for
meditation is considered essential to the treatment.
Reiki healers practice daily self-healing, in which they place their hands in
traditional positions on their own bodies.
Group and distance healing
In group healing, two or more practitioners place their hands simultaneously on the
patient's body. Distance or absentee healing involves visualizing the patient, his or her
illness, and the Reiki symbols.
Preparation for Reiki
Reiki healers are initiated into three levels of practice through attunements, which
are ceremonies in which teachers transmit the hand positions and sacred symbols. Reiki I
healers learn the basic hand positions and can practice direct healing on others. Reiki II
healers are taught the symbols that empower them to do distance or absentee healing. In
Reiki III the healer makes a commitment to become a master teacher.
Although Reiki is not a religion, healers affirm five spiritual principles attributed
to Mikao Usui:
- Just for today do not worry.
- Just for today do not be angry.
- Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
- Earn your living honestly.
- Be kind to your neighbors and every living thing.
Risks of Reiki
Reiki is considered a positive force that works only for good without violating the
human will. Patients can choose to block the energy flow, but cannot be harmed in any way.
Reiki is used in conjunction with Western medicine or homeopathy; patients are not asked
to change their religious or scientific convictions.
Normal results of Reiki
Because Reiki healers regard themselves as energy channels, they may experience warm or
tingling sensations in their hands during a treatment. Patients' experiences vary, since
it is believed that Reiki energy will flow to wherever it is needed in the patient's body
or psyche. Healers do not promise to cure a specific disease. Patients have, however,
reported relief from pain, general relaxation, faster healing of injuries, emotional
calming or release, lowered blood pressure, and easier childbirth.