Reiki: an Overview

Reiki is my favorite ?alternative? healing method.? I have been practicing it for nearly a decade, and am currently certified as a level II. practitioner.? I will be pursuing my master level certification at the end of next month.

Even though Reiki?s popularity is rapidly growing, many people do not know what it is.? Even those who have read bits and pieces about it on the Internet, or who have heard testimonials from people who have received it are still somewhat confused by what it is and how it actually works.

The thing to understand with Reiki, as with many other Eastern and complementary healing practices, is that it heals the mind, body, and spirit.? These three aspects of the whole self are all interconnected.? If one is ill, unbalanced, or just out of whack, the whole self is affected.

When dealing with anything not physically tangible or measurable (although many people, including myself, will dispute that), there will be skeptics and cynics.? My message to these people is this: just because something is not visible to the eye, and cannot be physically touched, smelled, tasted, or measured does not mean it does not exist.? I find that one receives more good things and blessings in life with an open mind rather than a closed one.? Think about that before you automatically shoot down the possibility that Reiki can help you.

What is Reiki?

The word ?Reiki? is Japanese, and the symbols are written in Japanese kanji.? There are many different translations, depending on the source of the translation.

For the ?rei? part, I have seen definitions such as ?spirit rain?, ?universal spirit or soul?, and ?energy of the universe?.? I believe it refers to all of the healing energy in the universe.

The ?ki? part is a concept that is perhaps easier to grasp, since more people are aware of it from their own spiritual traditions.? Ki is known in other languages and traditions as:

???? Chi or Qi in Chinese
???? Light of God or Christ to Christians
???? Prana in Hindu
???? Bioplasma in Russia
???? Mana to Hawaiian Kahunas
???? Orgone Energy to Wilhelm Reigh
???? In English, it is commonly referred to as Breath of Life, Vital Life Force Energy, (or simply, ?The Force? if you are into Star Wars), Ectoplasm, and Bio-Energetics, to name a few*.

Do any of those terms ring a bell?? According to the late reiki master teacher Joyce J. Morris, MS, CADC, Reiki is essentially a ?balance of heaven, earth, and humanity?*.

Although it is very spiritual in nature, Reiki is not a religion or belief system of any kind.? It will not magically appear whether you dance around a bonfire, or kneel down and pray for it in a church.? You do not have to ?believe in? Reiki for it to help you.? Reiki is kind of like matter in the way that it can neither be created nor destroyed.? It just is, has always been, and will always be.

How does it heal?

Reiki flows through a person who has been attuned to receive and channel it.? It flows through the practitioner into the person who is receiving it.? Although practitioners use several different Reiki hand positions at the chakras or chi points, and along the meridians of the body (similar to where acupuncture needles or hot WullStones would be placed); ?Reiki energy seems to have an intelligence of its own, flowing where it is needed in the client and creating the healing conditions necessary for the individual?s needs.?

This flow of energy helps restore the body?s innate ability to heal itself, removing physical and emotional blockages, and thus balancing all aspects of the body: physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.


What does a Reiki session feel like?

This varies per person, as we all feel and sense things differently.? Most people feel a sense of complete calmness and relaxation; some fall asleep while others may feel invigorated.? Some more sensitive people can actually feel a tingly or vibrating sensation as the energy flows through them.? Personally, I feel a sense of peace, warmth, relaxation, and happiness.

What can Reiki do?

Reiki can be used alone, or as part of a holistic healing regimen to relieve stress, pain, minor ailments, and chronic disease.? It is completely non-invasive and can cause no harm.? The body only receives the amount of energy that is needed.? Once balance has been restored, it kind of ?shuts off? (for lack of a better term).? Therefore there is no risk on overdoing it.

Although Reiki is a healing modality that deals with energy, there have been many scientific studies measuring its positive effects.? More studies are currently underway, due to Reiki?s growing popularity.

Dr. Mikao Usui

Can I learn to do Reiki?

I encourage each and every one of you to experience a Reiki session, whether you have a specific ailment or not.? If you like it and want to learn more, there are plenty of books and helpful websites available, but please understand that you cannot “learn” Reiki from reading a book.? Reiki is “an initiation into a specific healing energy lineage that began in Japan with Dr. Mikao Usui. Only Masters who are in the direct lineage are initiating students into the true Reiki energy current. It is recommended that you research your perspective Master?s lineage to ensure that it is true Reiki, if that is what you want.” That being said, anyone of any age, background, or tradition can be attuned to Reiki energy.? Once you are attuned, the gift is yours for life.? You can use it for yourself or for others.? It could change your life.

This really was a just a brief overview of Reiki.? There is much more to learn about its history and symbolism.? If you want to learn more, definitely do some research, but the best way is to experience it firsthand in a Reiki session or receive an attunement from a Reiki master teacher. For now, I will leave you with this:
Dr. Usui’s Five Principles of Reiki
  1. Just for today I will not worry
  2. Just for today I will not be angry
  3. Just for today I will give live in gratitude
  4. Just for today I will do my work honestly
  5. Just for today I will be kind to every living thing

*Morris JJ and Morris WR. 1996, 1999. Reiki: Hands That Heal. York Beach, ME: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC; 7-8.


4 thoughts on “Reiki: an Overview”

  1. I have to write an essay about alternative therapies. I’m starting to consider what I might write about, and didn’t know anything about Reiki before reading this post. It was interesting, but I’m still a little in the dark as to what it actually involves. When you have a Reiki session, what is the procedure? You said how it could make you feel and sort of mentioned energy flow and hand positions, but otherwise I still have no idea what really happens???

    (Also, how do you pronounce it?)


  2. I’m happy to clarify! Reiki is pronounced “ray-key”, slight accent on the first syllable.

    During a Reiki session, the client typically lies down on a massage-type table face up (although that is up to the client). The room is usually dimmed and there is relaxing music played. Sometimes, depending on the practitioner’s background, incense, essential oils or herbs may be used aromatherapeutically, and other healing methods like crystals, tuning forks, etc. may be used. The client is encouraged to relax, and is usually asked what their specific concerns are, what’s going on in their lives that brought them there, like stress or pain, or loss, etc. The practitioner may either lightly lay his or hands on the client at the various positions, or the hands may hover slightly above the client’s body (I prefer hands on). The practitioner moves to each position and channels the energy until the client’s blockages have been cleared. The practitioner knows when this has happened because like I said, the energy sort of “shuts off”.

    Reiki can be done on its own, or can be incorporated into another healing, therapeutic, or spa service. Although it is ideally done on a bed or table, I have given it to people on the go while they sat in a chair; I have given it to my children while holding them, etc.

    Was that helpful to you? Do you have anymore questions?

  3. Very helpful, that clears it up, thank you 🙂 No more questions at this point as I still haven’t decided which ATs I’m going to write about, but if anything else comes to me then I’ll be back! Thanks again 🙂

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