You’ve probably heard the benefits of reiki and have a loose idea of reiki healing – but what is reiki?
Reiki is a traditional Eastern healing modality, and much like acupuncture and cupping, it impacts the energetic systems of the body to promote healing. Reiki treats the whole person, body, mind and spirit, to achieve balance and restore optimum health.
So, what is reiki? In Japanese, it translates to “spiritual healing” or “spiritually guided life force energy”. More simply put, reiki is universal life energy, harnessed and guided by a trained practitioner that has been attuned to the practice. Once a person has been attuned, their hands become a channel for concentrated life energy that can promote healing and balance in themselves and others.
In the Western world, medicine generally relies on physical intervention, such as surgery or medication, to promote healing. Eastern healing traditions rely on energetic manipulation, and energy medicine remains a part of mainstream healing practiced in hospitals in the East to this day.
How Does Reiki Work?
To answer the question what is reiki? you need to consider the way in which reiki heals.
Reiki works to restore the natural energetic balance in a person’s body. That energetic balance can become disrupted or frayed by stress, injury or illness. Life force energy is responsive to thoughts, feelings, presence and compassion.
In a reiki session, a trained reiki practitioner works to charge the recipient’s energy field with positive energy and help restore a healthy, balanced flow of life energy throughout the body.
Every person responds to reiki differently, because the attuned energy travels to the parts of the body that need it most. Sometimes it is a general feeling, that helps to create relaxation throughout all the body systems for a particularly stressed recipient. Sometimes it will feel targeted, to heal specific areas requiring attention.
Often practitioners and recipients feel a warm flowing sensation, but often, nothing is felt directly. Instead, the body takes the time to incorporate the changes applied by the attuned reiki practitioner. The benefits may not be felt until after a session is complete, sometimes even days later.
All in all, reiki is a gentle healing art that uses an “energetic dance” between the practitioner and recipient to create holistic healing throughout the systems of the body.
What Can Reiki Heal?
Since reiki works with subtle energy throughout the body, it can impact any illness. Reiki is particularly effective for managing stress within the body, both physical and psychological. Since so many different forms of dis-ease have stress as an underlying cause, reiki helps to improve overall physical, mental and emotional health.
Reiki helps the body reconnect with the healer within, and with the guidance of an attuned reiki practitioner, it helps a recipient use their own subtle energy to heal themselves. By nurturing your body’s own natural healing mechanisms, the benefits of reiki transcend the healing session and follow the recipient into their daily life for continued benefits.
Benefits of a Reiki Practice
Understanding the answer to the question what is reiki? You may still wonder why you would practice it. As a spiritual and energetic practice, reiki is beneficial for both the practitioner and recipient. In a way, reiki is a shared meditation that brings mindfulness and tranquillity to both parties, regardless of the specific goals of the treatment.
Most reiki practitioners develop a daily self-reiki practice and add reiki to their toolbox of self-care. As a practitioner, it’s important to use your skills to maintain your own health, because as the ancient proverb goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”. To heal others, self-care is paramount.
Even without a self-practice regime, reiki practitioners experience the benefits of reiki as they use their practice to help others. As a practitioner, you cannot be a conduit for universal life energy without experiencing its healing powers as a side benefit. Practicing reiki heals the healer, even if that is not the explicit goal.
What is Reiki Good For?
Reiki therapy is an alternative healing modality that was developed in 1922 by Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist.
It is relaxing and reduces stress, which in and of itself promotes healing. But there’s more. Practitioners use “laying on hands,” mantras and blessings to clear the energy in the body and increase the flow of life force energy in order to clear the mental and emotional pollutants that interfere with life force energy and cause problems.
If your life force energy is high and its flow through the body is free and unrestricted, life flows smoothly for you. If it is low, or if you suffer from energy blockages, you may suffer from physical and psychological problems and unwanted life situations.
The word Reiki comes from “Rei” meaning God’s wisdom or higher power, and “Ki” meaning life force energy. Combined, Reiki means “spiritually guided life force energy.”
Can you feel the energy when you’re having a Reiki treatment?
Some people do, and some don’t.
If you’re very attuned to your body and the energy flowing through it, you will feel a warm glow or radiance. But, you may feel nothing at all and just go home feeling relaxed.
Reiki is a safe method of spiritual or energy healing. Virtually all illnesses and conditions can be cured or improved using Reiki and it’s a wonderful complement to western medical treatments because it has no side effects and promotes a happy, positive mindset which is essential to healing.
Mindset is critical. The pollutants that interfere with life force energy are emotions like anger, jealousy, feelings of unworthiness, depression, guilt, insecurity or resentment.
The body is more than just a physical object – it is a combination of the physical body and the thinking/spiritual being. Together, that makes up “you.” Reiki works holistically to allow the real you – without the physical and emotional pollutants – shine through.
How Does Reiki Work?
Reiki stimulates energy (Reiki) to move in the body.
You already have energy in the body but it may be blocked and not flowing smoothly. During or after a treatment, you may feel the effects of energy being unblocked.
For a time, physical and psychological symptoms may worsen as the mind/body cleanses itself. This is normal and expected, so if it happens to you, just ride it out and know that the discomfort will pass and you’ll feel much better, soon. It’s important to support your body as best you can to help you move past the cleansing process.
Reiki does not direct the life force energy or manipulate it in any way – it is about clearing out the pollutants that prevent free energy flow.
Can anyone practice Reiki?
Interestingly, the ability to use Reiki is not “taught” but rather is transmitted from teacher to student in a class. The student undergoes an “attunement” that allows the student to feel and transmit life force energy. It is not a religious practice so anyone who desires can learn Reiki without any religious beliefs.
The practice of Reiki goes beyond healing physical ailments. The philosophy encourages living and acting in ways that promote harmony both with others and within oneself. Making the decision and commitment to improve yourself is an integral part of Reiki teachings.
Both the practitioner and the patient must accept responsibility for one’s own healing, and the Reiki teachings are useful guidelines for living a better life. Here is a small sample of what Reiki is all about:
Mikao Usui said:
“Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will be grateful for all my blessings.
Just for today, I will work with honesty and integrity.
Just for today, I will be kind to all living beings.”
This is so wonderful because you aren’t agreeing to be perfect all the time – and you can do any of these for just one day… (and then another, and then another, but if you fail on one day, it’s okay, you can do better the next day).
Reiki Master Advice
As a practising Reiki Master, I’ve had many new students say that they don’t know how best to explain Reiki to their family or friends. If you’re new to Reiki, it can be a difficult thing to explain to someone who’s never heard of it before. Not to mention the fact that you’re likely to be super-excited about your new skill and want to share it with everyone.
When you’re asked about Reiki, bear in mind the person you are speaking to when you give your answer. Let that be your guide to what you should say. For example, some Reiki practitioners go on for ages about life-force energy, spirituality and the history of Reiki, when what a person wants to know is what Reiki actually is. I never mention spiritual energy unless I’m sure a person is spiritually inclined. It has been known for some religious people to be offended by talk of spirit and energy. Keep your explanation short and sweet and tailored to the person to whom you’re speaking.
The best way I have found to explain Reiki, is to say that Reiki is a gentle form of natural healing that promotes peace and relaxation. In that relaxed state, your body’s natural ability to heal itself takes over. I mention that there is no illness that is not made worse by stress (most people can see the wisdom in this,) and that Reiki can help by totally relaxing you from head to toes. It is in that state of total relaxation that their healing can begin.
If I’m further prompted, I’ll also say that Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing method. When we’re ill, our bodies (and our energies) are all out of balance and Reiki works on those energies to bring us back into balance and promote healing on all levels.
You could also explain some of the things that Reiki has been scientifically shown to do, such as decrease pain levels, encourage healing and provide total relaxation for the mind and body. Above all, Reiki is a safe, gentle energy that can be used for the benefit of all.
What Reiki means for me
Mrs Takata used to say, “The best way get an understanding of Reiki, is to experience it.” I think she was right. Let people feel your Reiki energy for themselves and this will bring them to a deeper understanding of just what Reiki is.
People all over the world explain Reiki differently. Because humans add our own lens to information learned so we can make sense of what we just learned.
Different lineages teach different hand positions, different words to describe how the subtle energy is working with the body, different symbols and different explanations of outcome. Each of them is unique to their own lineage. For example, the way my Western Master teacher described how to work with the body when giving Reiki is much different from my Japanese Jikiden Master teacher’s description.
Whether you are giving or receiving Reiki there are some key points to remember when discussing Reiki in general:
- Reiki is a hands on healing approach
- Reiki is spiritual, not religious (spirituality and religion are two separate things)
- Reiki does the healing, not the person giving it
- Anyone can practice Reiki upon themselves once they have learned how to work with the energy
- Some lineages of Reiki put more emphasis on Reiki guides or chakras or crystals or psychic message giving as being a part of the Reiki healing.
- Some lineages stick to a more traditional approach of simply laying on hands and letting the Reiki speak for itself.
In my experience and training, in general, I have found that this is because the East and the West think differently about how subtle energy works. Are either aspects wrong? I don’t think so. They just have different language constructs to discuss what is happening when Reiki flows and the body receives.
Have you considered what lense you are taking? Do you take a more Eastern or Western approach when talking about Reiki? Do you combine elements of the two? Make it clear which is which or that you are mixing the two. For example, a science minded individual might talk with a different lens than someone with Tibetan mindfulness training in their background. Neither are wrong. Simply unique.
Seeking a Reiki practitioner
Know that each person you see is going to “sell the concept” a bit differently. And, no matter how they place their hands or what they say to you at the beginning and end of your session, it is still always the same Reiki. You could receive Reiki from 10 different practitioners in 10 different lineages, and even though it would sound different, it would still be the same exact energy. Simply Reiki.
Only after we have placed our hands on ourselves for self-treatment, or additionally on others for treatment, enough times to begin to notice patterns are we able to describe how Reiki works. Personal experience is ten times more powerful than reading about it in a book or hearing about it from a teacher.
If you are Reiki attuned, get going.
Place your hands on yourself and let the Reiki flow!