The word Reiki is composed of two Japanese words - Rei and Ki. When seeking a definition from a more spiritual context, we find that Rei can be defined as the Higher Intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe. Rei is a subtle wisdom that permeates everything, both animate and inanimate.
Ki is the non-physical energy that animates all living things. Ki is flowing in everything that is alive including plants, animals and humans. When a person's Ki is high, they will feel strong, confident, and ready to enjoy life and take on its challenges. When it is low, they will feel weak and are more likely to get sick. We receive Ki from the air we breathe, from food, sunshine, and from sleep. It is also possible to increase our Ki by using breathing exercises and meditation. When a person dies, their Ki leaves the physical body. Ki is also the Chi of China, the Prana of India, the Ti or Ki of the Hawaiians, and has also been called odic force, orgone, bioplasma and life force.
With the above information in mind, Reiki can be defined as a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy. This is a functional definition as it closely parallels the experience of those who practice Reiki in that Reiki energy seems to have an intelligence of its own flowing where it is needed in the client and creating the healing conditions and creating the healing conditions necessary for the individual’s needs.
The great value of Reiki is that because it is guided by the Higher Intelligence, it knows exactly where to go and how to respond to restrictions in the flow of Ki. It can work directly in the unconscious parts of the mind/body which contain negative Ki-inhibiting thoughts and feelings and eliminate them. As Reiki flows through a sick or unhealthy area, it breaks up and washes away any negative thoughts or feelings lodged in the unconscious mind/body thus allowing a normal healthy flow of Ki to resume. As this happens, the unhealthy physical organs and tissues become properly nourished with Ki and begin functioning in a balanced healthy way thus replacing illness with health.
This non-invasive, completely benign healing technique is becoming more and more popular. As western medicine continues to explore alternative methods of healing, Reiki is destined to play an important role as an accepted and valued healing practice.
What can I expect in a Reiki treatment:
The experience of Reiki is subjective, changeable, and sometimes very subtle. People often experience heat in the practitioner's hands, but sometimes the practitioner's hands feel refreshingly cool. Other common experiences are subtle pulsations where the practitioner's hands are placed or cascading waves of pulsations throughout the body.
People often comment how comforting they find the experience of Reiki to be. An interesting study reported that recipients frequently feel that they are hovering in a threshold state of consciousness, simultaneously aware of their surroundings and deeply indrawn. Some people fall into a deep, sleeplike meditative state. Sometimes the experience of Reiki is dramatic, while for other people, the first session in particular may be uneventful, although they feel somehow better afterward. The most common experience is an almost immediate release of stress and a feeling of deep relaxation.
Reiki is cumulative and even people who don't notice much the first time usually have progressively deeper experiences if they continue. Besides the immediate experience of the Reiki, you may notice other changes that continue to unfold as the day goes on: perhaps stronger digestion, a sense of being more centered and poised and less reactive, and sleeping deeply that night.
What does the session consist of?
Reiki practitioner placing her hands on the shoulders of a client, who is lying downA complete Reiki session is offered to a fully clothed recipient who is lying on a treatment table or sitting comfortably supported in a chair.
Most commonly, Reiki is offered through light, non-invasive touch with the practitioner's hands placed and held on a series of locations on the head and front and back of the torso. The placement of the hands should never be intrusive or inappropriate, nor should there be any pressure.
Additional placements on the limbs can be done as needed (for example, if there is an injury or surgical scar), and some practitioners routinely do so. The Reiki practitioner can hold her hands just off the body if needed (for example, in the presence of an open wound or burn), and some practitioners always offer Reiki in this way.
Proven health benefits of reiki:
1. Helps in stress reduction and promotes relaxation
Stress reduction and relaxation are the best proved health benefits of Reiki. Actually, this Japanese energy healing therapy is designed to trigger your body’s relaxation response and reduce stress. Most ailments today are somehow linked to the stress factor, be it environmental stress, work stress, or emotional stress. In fact, most of the therapy’s health benefits are based on these factors.Stress can lead to irregular heart rhythms that could result in angina or stroke. Stress triggers gastrointestinal problems because common hormones such as leptin and ghrelin regulate the brain and stomach. Eating disorders are a common consequence of stress, since you tend to overeat when you are stressed out, or you have an aversion to food. Mood disorders and many psychological problems arise because of stress. Stress can lead to sexual problems in men.
2. Reduces depression and anxiety by changing your mood
Changes in mood are very much associated with anxiety and depression. A number of studies have demonstrated overall mood benefits with Reiki. The benefits are specific to those with negative mood. The studies showed that once your mood improves, the improvements are accompanied by reduced anxiety. Not only does your anxiety reduce, you can also see significant decrease in depression, anger, and confusion. Your positive energy increases and the loss of vigour that comes with depression also improves.
3. Increases mobility in case of shoulder pain, wrist pain, lower back pain
An interesting study published in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine which compared the effectiveness of improving range of motion through physical therapy and Reiki, found that both showed the same effect in improving the range of motion (ROM) of the affected part. These results suggest that the beneficial effects of Reiki and on ROM may arise from alterations in local joint or muscle structures rather than the pain system.
4. Heals infections and inflammations
A friend of mine went into the hospital for some reconstructive surgery due to breast cancer. After a couple of weeks, I saw her husband and inquired about her health. He was devastated and told me that she had developed a severe infection and had been running a fever of 104 degrees for several days and the doctors did not know where it was coming from. He said they believed her organs could begin her organs could begin to shutdown. I began to send Reiki to her immediately. Upon my arrival the next morning, she looked wonderful! I asked her how she was and she said it was amazing. She woke up that morning and her temperature was completely normal. She felt great! The doctors had no explanation for her healing.’ – As told by Kathleen
This may sound like a miracle, but one intriguing finding reported in the journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed a similar result with Reiki. An obese hypertensive patient was treated for Hepatitis C. The side effect of the treatment was anaemia and neutropenia (severe deficiency of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, leading to susceptibility to infection). Reiki therapy was administered to him to relieve anxiety and to enhance his sense of well-being. Incidentally, the doctors noted that his neutrophil count and hematocrit improved significantly, which in turn improved bone marrow function. So much so, that the patient was infection-free even after one year of treatment.
5. Improves indices of metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions, affects a substantial and increasing percentage of the world population. Physical activity is perhaps the best way you can improve the outcomes of metabolic syndrome, but Reiki too has shown to be equally effective.
‘Many individuals, such as those who are overweight and sedentary and at highest risk for the metabolic syndrome, may be unable or unwilling to participate in conventional types of physical activity such as strength training and gym-based exercises. Mind-body modalities are simple, economical, noninvasive therapies, easy to learn, and can be practiced easily by individuals who may experience potential limitations in mobility,’ according to Joel Anderson and Ann Gill Taylor at Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, University of Virginia School of Nursing, Charlottesville, USA.
Although the researchers did not specifically mention Reiki, they supported the potential clinical effectiveness of mind-body therapies as supportive care modalities for management of metabolic syndrome, especially insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
6. Treats symptoms associated with cancers
Reiki, or for that matter, any mind-body therapy cannot cure cancer. But they can effectively treat associated symptoms of cancer such as depression, pain, and fatigue. For example, in a study published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapy, researchers reported that treatment with Reiki for 5 consecutive days, followed by 1-week no treatment, then 2 additional Reiki sessions, in various cancer patients could significantly decrease tiredness, pain, and anxiety, and improve quality of life.
In the same vein, Reiki relieves pain from migraine, sciatica, and arthritis. It also helps reduce symptoms of asthma, menopause, and insomnia.
7. Enables emotional clarity and spiritual growth
Reiki not only heals you physically, it also heals you emotionally. One of the most endearing effects of Reiki is that it can enhance your capability to love, to empathize as it enables you to deeply connect with people. It can strengthen your relationships. It can heal your personal relationships. Reiki brings about inner peace and harmony, the essential qualities of spiritual growth. It ‘cleans’ and clears your emotions. Reiki is thus fast becoming an accepted presence in hospitals and clinics maybe because the healing approach is non-traumatic and easily integrated with conventional therapies.