What is Reiki?


reikiThe answer to the question “What is Reiki?” is both simple and complex. Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is a form of energy healing. The word Reiki can be translated as “universal life force energy”.

In treatment, Reiki, the universal life force energy, is transmitted through the Reiki practitioner directly to you, the client or patient. The life force energy of Reiki is used to bring balance and harmony to your own energy, or Qi.

When your Qi is balanced and in harmony, your body is better able to function, which reduces illness and disease. You are healthier, happier, and more energetic.

Reiki can be used as a complimentary, or alternative, healing technique or treatment and may be used to enhance traditional western medicine practices. It is a very relaxing and soothing treatment and can heal individuals on an emotional level. When emotions are balanced and in harmony, the physical part of your body is also balanced and in harmony.

Reiki Healing Effects Work on the:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Spirit

Seems pretty simple. It is, if you accept the notion of a universal life force energy, which is where most people get stuck with Reiki and other forms of energy healing. Otherwise, it gets pretty complex as understanding that the body, and all that surrounds it, is made up of energy and is connect to everything via that energy, is a pretty big leap of faith.

Reiki Therapy – How it Works

yin yang1Traditional eastern medicine is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made of energy. This energy is continuously flowing in, around, and throughout all things, both living and not. Yin and Yang are part of the life force energy and provide balance with their opposing forces (light/dark, hot/cold,  positive/negative, etc.).

As such, the human body is itself, an energy field. When that energy is out of balance, when the opposing forces of Yin and Yang are out of balance, the body reacts in unhealthy ways and the body suffers. Correcting the imbalance in the energy field helps to correct the disease or illness that is causing suffering.

With this in mind, the Reiki practitioner is not “providing” the energy; they are simply acting as a conduit. Think of the transfer of Reiki as being transmitted as though it is coming from the universe, through the practitioner’s hands as though they were a straw or a piece of bamboo.

During a Reiki treatment, you may feel tingling, feel hot or cold sensations, or possibly nothing at all.  Each response is unique and appropriate. There is no right or wrong as to what someone feels, simply levels of understanding and interpreting what is happening.

The practitioner uses specific Reiki hand positions to guide the energy to key locations in the body. Many of these locations are along the body’s meridians and chakra points. When giving a Reiki healing session the practitioner may not necessarily use all of the prescribed hand positions.

Because Reiki is simply energy at work, it knows where it needs to go. The use of the prescribed hand positions may get it to the target faster, but is not necessary. For instance, if the patient is feeling pain in their elbow even if the practitioner places their hands on the knee, if the elbow needs more than the knee it will help the elbow.

History of Reiki

Reiki was re-discovered, developed and popularized in the late 1800’s in Japan by Dr. Mikau Usui. Following tradition, Dr. Usui began a 21 day retreat which included meditation and fasting. At the end of that meditative retreat, he was struck with an intense energetic power that has become known as Reiki energy healing. He returned to his hometown and opened his first Reiki clinic. His reputation of healing dramatically increased after a big fire in Tokyo caused by an earthquake in 1923.

Dr. Usui trained and initiated sixteen teachers including a man named Dr. Hayashi. Dr. Hayashi later initiated a woman named Mrs. Hawayo Takata who began the practice of Reiki in the United States at her home in Hawaii in 1938. It is reported that in addition to treating many Americans using Reiki, Mrs. Takata initiated twenty-two Reiki Master-Teachers in the United States.

Learning Reiki Therapy

Reiki TherapyReiki is taught in a multi-tiered system as Levels One and Two. The advanced levels are sometimes referred to as Level Three and Teacher Level or simply as Master Teacher training. Reiki is passed to the student using non-traditional teaching methods.  Reiki energy is transferred to a student through a process called an Attunement. The Reiki Attunements are often powerful spiritual experiences.  This is enhanced by traditional western methods of teaching history, hand positions, and the like.

When learning Reiki therapy, one should first practice on themselves. This should become a part of the daily habit or routine. One more effectively helps another when they are first in balance themselves. Upon attaining the 1st level of Reiki a person may practice on another, but it is common for them to offer that service without charge until they have completed the requirements given in a second, more advanced, level class.  A therapy session when given to someone could include the patient lying on a massage table or sitting in a chair. The practitioner may place their hands directly on the client or may hold their hands four to eight inches above the client to transmit the Reiki energy healing.

Reiki energy is very flexible and flowing. It treats each situation with a unique response and works freely with other healing methods and modalities. Reiki can begin a cleaning process within the physical body as well as with the mind and emotions. Toxins may be released and with that release feelings that are no longer useful may be released as well. It is important to stay well hydrated after giving or receiving Reiki to help flush out the toxins that have been stored in the body and to release the energy that was tied to them.

Reiki is not a religion and has no religious background. It may become a very spiritual practice though. It may feel like a very meditative practice. As a part of self-practice, the simple act of placing hands upon our own bodies in key positions provides a relaxed and meditative awareness.

What Is Reiki as it Pertains to a Life Practice?

Another powerful benefit of allowing Reiki to become a part of your life, is the practice of the five Reiki principals, or Ideals, which are:

  • Just for today, I will not worry
  • Just for today, I will not be angry
  • Just for today, I will be grateful
  • Just for today, I will do my work with honor and integrity
  • Just for today, I will be kind to all things

It is refreshing to see how peaceful life could be when simply living by these standards. Reiki energy healing is beneficial to people on a personal level, but if everyone lived their life using these five ideals, the world would be a much happier and healthier place to be.


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