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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.


Description Reiki

Basic treatment

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.


This web site is intended for your own informational purposes only. No person or entity associated with this web site purports to be engaging in the practice of medicine through this medium. The information you receive is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have an illness or medical problem, contact your health care provider.


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