Reiki is a holistic healing energy treatment that is gaining mainstream acceptance in the United States after years of dismissal by western medical practitioners. Now, the tide of public opinion has turned in favor of the once-questionable integrative psycho-science.
Therapies that take into account the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – continue to be labeled contemptable bunk by medical associations, providers, mainstream scientists, and religious clerics. The health model that claimed the human body was permeated or surrounded by an invisible, etheric body of “life force energy” was hooted down as absurd balderdash by close-minded followers of symptom-centric allopathy.
Far from being threatening, Reiki is a simple, relaxing treatment. A Reiki practitioner (acting as a conduit) transmits natural healing vibrations through the hands to the body of the recipient. The hands are placed just off the body or lightly touching the body, as in “laying on of hands.”
Reiki can be performed as a form of prayer to invoke long-distance healing. Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese spiritual truth-seeker, introduced the Reiki method of healing to the world in 1922 after a deeply spiritual experience:
“He is said to have begun teaching others after a serious earthquake hit Japan and he felt urged to spread his knowledge.”
People who have received Reiki therapy claim many benefits, including:
- Stress and pain relief
- Induced relaxation
- Released emotional blockages
- Accelerated natural healing
- Balanced subtle bodies energies
- Support for other treatments including traditional therapies
Patients are clamoring for alternative, holistic therapies that acknowledge that mind and emotion can and do influence physical health. Researcher Sita Ananth of Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association (AHA), said:
“More and more, patients are requesting care beyond what most consider to be traditional health services, and hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies. And hospitals are responding to the needs of the communities they serve by offering these therapies.”
According to one AHA survey, Reiki and similar Therapeutic Touch techniques now rank in the top three complementary in-patient therapies in U.S. hospitals, after massage therapy and music and art therapy.
There are five admonitions (instructions for daily guidance) taught by Reiki:
- Don’t get angry today.
- Don’t be grievous.
- Express your thanks.
- Be diligent in your business.
- Be kind to others.
Reiki trainers undertake three levels of mastery. Education and practice are combined with the core attunement or empowerment process. Individual Reiki Masters vary in the way they present the central mind-body teachings of the healing touch energy work.
The first step to becoming a Reiki practitioner is to find an instructor. That person will perform an initiatory ceremony called Reiju (ray-joo) in Japanese that opens and expands the main energy channels of the student’s body, allowing universal energy – called chi (or qi or ki) – to flow more freely and deeply, clearing blockages.
The focus during Level 1 is to open the energy channels on a physical level, enabling the practitioner to connect to (channel) the universal life force energy which flows from the cosmos through the crown of the head (the topmost chakra point) and down to the heart and hands. The beginning Reiki student performs self-practice, for the most part.
The Level 2 attunement in Reiki directs focus onto others and further expands the energy channels. Reiki symbols help the healer to make a deeper connection to the cosmic energy source and provide remote healing to people in other places.
The third Reiki Master Level is regarded as the teacher’s level – someone who has received the energy and knowledge to attune new Reiki practitioners.
After a Reiki session, patients report significant energy changes within themselves and many experience an intense period of profound self-growth.
The International Center for Reiki Training has estimated that there are 4,000,000 people worldwide who have taken at least one level of Reiki training.
Only a handful of scientific studies have attempted to gauge the effectiveness of Reiki on humans. Research from 2006 and 2008 found that lab rats in a carefully controlled experiment all showed significantly reduced stress, anxiety, and depression responses after receiving Reiki treatments. Rats in the placebo group showed no reduction in stress, anxiety or depression.
Humans tested between 1993 and 2006 rated Reiki results from Satisfactory to Excellent. All study participants reported a positive benefit from Reiki treatments in controlling pain levels.
Today, more than 800 American Hospitals offer Reiki education free of charge to speed up the healing process and for pain management.
The Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine & Digestive Center in Maryland offers Reiki to its patients “to create deep relaxation, to help speed healing, reduce pain, and decrease other symptoms you may be experiencing”.
Hospitals are driven to cut costs while improving patient care. Reiki to the rescue as no technology is needed to practice it – and many practitioners charge no fee for their services.
Dr. David Guillion, an oncologist at Marin General Hospital in California’s Marin County, pointed out that the ultimate goal of every healthcare provider is getting results for those who are suffering, even if it means going beyond western medicine’s comfort zone:
“I feel we need to do whatever is in our power to help the patient. We provide state of the art medicine in our office, but healing is a multidimensional process…I endorse the idea that there is a potential healing that can take place utilizing energy.”
Reiki therapy is currently unregulated and those seeking treatment are advised to do their homework to find a reputable practitioner of this healing touch technique.