What is Reiki and what can it do?

reiki1People familiar with holistic medicine and massage have no doubt heard of the term Reiki but not everyone knows what it is or why it is used. Basically, Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Also known as the “laying on hands”, Reiki attempts to raise the life force energy in all of us to promote well-being, calm and a healthy physical and mental state. The word ‘Reiki’ comes from two Japanese words: Rei which translates to “God’s wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which means “life force energy”. Loosely translated, Reiki means “spirituality guided life force energy”.

Reiki may be thousands of years old but the spiritual practice is believed to have begun in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist monk Mikao Usui. The practice involves teaching through a Reiki master and three degrees of learning before someone is ready to become a Reiki Master and use their skills to help patients alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and other conditions that may be preventing one from living a healthy and fulfilling life.

As with many holistic practices, Reiki practitioners believe that illness results when the body’s balance has been disrupted and that by transferring universal energy in the form of Qi (vital life force) self-healing can be achieved and the patient will return to a state of equilibrium. Many Reiki practitioners forgo the use of medication or instruments and instead rely on looking, blowing, light tapping and touching to transfer energy from the Reiki Master’s palms to the to the specific meridians on the body that are associated with certain disorders and debilitating conditions. Meridians are also called channels and alternative medicine has identified 71 meridian channels on the human body that can be tapped into to help relieve a number of conditions.

Typical Reiki treatments can last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half and between 12 and 20 positions may be used. The hands are often kept in a position for 1 to 5 minutes before moving to the next position, depending upon the energy that the practitioner feels from the client.  A Reiki Master may use a common fixed set of 12 hand positions or use their intuition as a guide to where treatment is most needed. How effective Reiki is in alleviating stress, anxiety and other conditions often depends on the patient and their willingness to try something unconventional. While energy fields have yet to be proven by science there is no doubting that many people have attributed their recovery and well-being to Reiki.

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