What is Reiki?
Reiki originates from the Japanese word meaning “universal life force energy”. It is a natural healing practice that helps to restore the body’s balance and to enhance the innate healing abilities of the person.
The practice of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui who was a spiritual teacher in early twentieth century Japan. Reiki is a hands-on treatment that supports the stimulating and releasing of energy. As a healing practice, Reiki promotes balance at all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
During a Reiki treatment, a light touch is given to a fully clothed recipient who is either lying down or seated. Reiki can be calming, reduce stress, or relieve pain and tension. Since many of us are stressed or over-extended in our daily lives, a Reiki treatment is often experienced as relaxing. While some Reiki treatments may help us feel peaceful or energized other treatments can release emotions, clarify feelings or create a greater sense of inner connection.
The Usui System of Reiki is a natural healing art that accelerates the body’ ability to heal and increases the receptivity of the mind and spirit to accept responsibility for seeking balance in one’s life. Reiki is a releaser, a transformer, an activator and balancer of energy. Anyone can learn Reiki. All that is required is a desire to learn, a willingness to care for self and others and a commitment to daily practice. To become a Reiki practitioner, the student must receive the attunements and training from a Reiki Master.
As with other nonmedical therapies, the scientific study of the effectiveness of Reiki is just beginning, but the data so far are encouraging. The data support the usefulness of Reiki treatment to manage anxiety, pain stress and fatigue.
A few studies using Reiki have documented positive physiological changes and improvements in the recipient’s subjective experience in healthy adults. The include decreased levels of stress hormones, improvement in immune indicators, improved blood pressure and decreased heart rate. In a Yale study of inpatients who suffered a heart attack within the past 72 hours, Reiki significantly improved heart rate variability (HRV) and reduced anxiety over both the control group and the participants’ own baseline levels. Chronic stress is linked to a wide range of diseases and degenerative conditions, and HRV is an objective measure of both an individual’s current stress level and the body’s response to interventions to reduce stress.
By balancing the system, Reiki treatment can ease symptoms and help individuals maintain a composed, hopeful state of mind. This is valuable at any time, and especially desirable when people undergo invasive treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery. Individuals and family members can learn to practice Reiki at home to support themselves and one another, reducing healthcare costs and engaging the family in a health-promoting, life-enhancing activity.