Reiki is defined as a holistic wellness technique based on the idea that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, or non-touch, techniques to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
HOW DOES REIKI WORK?
How exactly does Reiki healing and Reiki massage release tension and help the body heal? That question has yet to be definitively answered. Although there is increasing research evidence documenting the effects of Reiki (such as lowered heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones; increased immune strength), we have only broad theories as to what causes these effects or the pathways through which the healing occurs.
The multilevel, rapid response to how Reiki works suggests a complex process that engages many body systems, simultaneously or in quick succession, shifting the body from the "fight or flight" (stress) response to the relaxation response, and supporting the body's own healing mechanisms. Some researchers theorize that Reiki's physical, mental, and emotional healing effect is triggered on a sub-physical level.
The more traditional response is that we all have 7 energy centers within our bodies called chakras that help facilitate the flow of energy throughout our body. Over time, these chakras can move out of alignment, causing physical or emotional stress. Reiki is a process that can help re-align these energy centers, helping to facilitate overall relief.
HOW CAN REIKI HELP ME?
PEOPLE USE REIKI TO:
relax and strengthen their overall well-being;
reduce pain, anxiety, and fatigue;
help manage symptoms;
reduce side effects of medications;
support recovery after injuries or surgery
help stabilize heart rate
help stabilize blood pressure
increase immune strength
Reiki is a good therapy to use alongside more traditional therapies because people generally start feeling better very quickly with Reiki. As anxiety and pain lessen, and people feel hopeful about regaining their health, they feel more able to incorporate other needed health interventions or make needed lifestyle changes. Reiki therapy often clears the mind, enabling patients to better evaluate the sometimes conflicting medical information being offered by various specialists, so they can make important treatment decisions with greater confidence. In this way, Reiki can help people become more actively involved in their own health. According to a national survey published in 2007, 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of an energy therapy such as Reiki in the previous year.
TODAY, REIKI IS COMMONLY USED BY THREE GROUPS:
The lay public at home, for themselves, family and friends
Reiki professionals offering therapy in their offices or other wellness and healthcare settings
Nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, dentists, massage therapists, and chiropractors who integrate Reiki into healthcare during office visits or inpatient care in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, and other healthcare facilities
WHAT DOES RESEARCH SAY ABOUT THE TRUE EFFECTS OF REIKI?
n order for physicians and other healthcare practitioners to recommend a treatment or healing practice to patients, they need evidence that it is safe and effective. With respect to safety, there have been no reported negative effects from Reiki in any of the research studies. This is understandable given that no substance is ingested or applied to the skin, and Reiki touch is non-manipulative (and can be offered off the body when needed).
THAT LEAVES THE QUESTION: IS REIKI EFFECTIVE? OR MORE PRECISELY, FROM A RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE, WHAT IS REIKI EFFECTIVE FOR?
To date, the primary outcomes studied in Reiki resarch have used measures for pain, anxiety, and stress, including heart rate, blood pressure, salivary cortisol, as well as measures for job burnout and caring efficacy. More specific measures have been used to evaluate outcomes for stroke rehabilitation, depression, and other chronic health conditions. Measures that incorporate quality of life, patient satisfaction, and stress reduction may have the greatest potential for demonstrating the benefits of Reiki practice.
Research into Reiki is just beginning. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) has completed five studies looking at Reiki's ability to benefit people with diabetes, advanced AIDS, prostate cancer, fibromyalgia, and stress.
Other published studies have looked at the effect of Reiki on measures of stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, and immune responsivity, and on subjective reports of anxiety, pain and depression: subsequent results support the ability of Reiki to reduce anxiety and pain, and suggest its usefulness to induce relaxation, improve fatigue and depressive symptoms, and strengthen overall well-being. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews contains a review on the use of touch therapies (including Reiki) for pain and a protocol for use of Reiki for psychological symptoms.
Reiki has been increasingly offered as part of workplace wellness programs to address burnout and improve skills in healthcare and other industries, as well as in university wellness centers.
HOW LONG HAS REIKI BEEN IN USE?
Reiki, as it is practiced in the U.S. today, dates back to the teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1920's. Usui was a lifelong spiritual aspirant, a lay monk with a wife and two children. In Usui's time, various lineages of Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto practices coexisted as the dominant themes in Japanese spirituality and culture.
Usui's intense spiritual practices culminated in a profound revelation that led to the practice now commonly called Reiki. This realization occurred in 1922.
Usui traveled widely in Japan during the last four years of his life, offering his spiritual teachings to more than 2,000 beginning students, but training only 16 as Reiki masters. One of his master students, Chujiro Hayashi, was a retired naval officer. Hayashi worked with Usui to excerpt the healing practices from Usui's larger body of teachings so that they could be more widely disseminated. The 1980's saw a strong resurgence of this modality, thanks to the work of Hawayo Takata, a first generation Japanese-American. Reiki has become very popular and is now practiced around the world.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN A TYPICAL REIKI SESSION?
In some ways, there is no typical Reiki session. I conduct my sessions in a quiet office, with soft music during the session as a way of masking ambient noise. My clients lie face up on a comfortable table and I hover my hands over various areas of the body (the energy centers, or chakras). A typical session lasts about 20-30 minutes, after which I briefly gather feedback of their experience from my client. The experiences of each of my clients vary; some say that they felt "tingling sensations" in certain areas...some report relief from minor aches and pains...others simply fall into a blissful sleep! I, personally, have never had a client report a negative Reiki experience.
WHO WILL PERFORM THE REIKI SESSION?
I am a Master (Shinpiden) Level III Reiki Practitioner and clinical counselor who has been facilitating energy work for almost 10 years! I am looking forward to assisting you.