What is Reiki?
Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a form of energy healing used to reduce stress, manage pain and promote healing. This form of hands-on healing originated in Japan in the 1920s and was first introduced to the west by Hawayo Takata in 1937. The name Reiki roughly translates to “universal life energy.”
How does Reiki work?
Like other forms of energy healing, Reiki manipulates the body’s vibrational field to promote overall energy balance. Based on the premise that all living things are connected by a “life force,” Reiki practioners seek to balance the seven chakras, or energy centers, when one or more becomes blocked; which, oftentimes, contributes to the development of physical or emotional maladies.
Recipients of Reiki treatment generally lie down (usually on a table) or are seated in a chair. The Reiki practioner gently places his hands just above or on the person, focusing on areas where symptoms are manifesting, such as on the neck, arm or leg.
One common specialized form of Reiki healing is craniosacral therapy. Also known as cranial balancing, this type of energy medicine utilizese light touches to the head (namely the face and jaw), pelvis and spine. According to practitioners, there are “tides” of energy that flow from the base of the spine up through the crown of the head. These tides control the production and growth of cells, as well as the flow of cerebral-spinal fluid. So, for instance, individuals with maladies affecting the head or spine may benefit from craniosacral therapy.
Generally, Reiki sessions may last anywhere from 10 minutes to more than one hour.
Reiki Symbols & Reiki Attunement
Depending on the practitioner conducting the healing, Reiki symbols may be used. Usually either visualized or drawn in the air (above or near the area intended for cleansing) by a Reiki healer, there are three basic symbols used:
- The Power Symbol (Choku Rei pronounced Cho-Koo-Ray) – used to increase Reiki power or for protection
- The Mental/Emotional Symbol (Sei He Ki pronounced Say-Hay-Key) – used to unite the mind and body and to draw out and release mental/emotional blockages
- The Distance Symbol (Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen pronounced Hon-Sha-Zee-Show-Nen) – frequently used in distance healing
Historically speaking, the use of Reiki symbols has been reserved for those who have undergone Reiki attunement, or initiation, to become a Reiki master. However, with the prevalence of online information, it is not difficult for Reiki practioners to discover, learn and incorporate the use of Reiki symbols in their practice.
That being said, a more sacred set of symbols, known as Usui Reiki, are only passed down to those initiated into the Second and Third Degree of Reiki study. Although they sound mysterious, Usui Reiki symbols are quite simplistic. When written out long-hand, the symbols are a combination of Sanskrit and Japanese characters. Why Sanskrit? That element was introduced by Japanese Buddhists who often used a combination of the two languages when transcribing sacred texts.
Benefits of Reiki
Considered a soothing treatment for nearly any and all maladies that affect the human body, the most common benefits associated with Reiki healing include:
- sharpened mental focus
- shortened healing time
- pain relief
Unlike other forms of energy healing, there aren’t any known, pronounced adverse effects associated with the use of Reiki healing.
Reiki Energy in the Mainstream
Since its introduction to the west more than 70 years ago, Reiki has become a widely accepted brand of alternative medicine, or energy healing.
The Center for Reiki Research reports that according to a 2007 study, conducted by the National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 1.2 million adults and more than 100,000 children received Reiki healing in 2006 alone. According to the American Hospital Association, Reiki healing has become a standard part of offered services in more than 800 hospitals across America.