Reiki: What it is and Whether it Works

Reiki is an energy-based healing system originally intended for self development and awareness, although it’s now more widely used as a complementary therapy. Reiki has been taught in the West since the 1970s.

To put it simply, Reiki is just a form of energy, and a practitioner will have been taught by a Reiki Master exactly how to channel this energy, which is said to be constantly flowing all around.

How Does Reiki Work?

Being a Reiki practitioner can be compared to being tuned in to a radio. Everybody is born with the ability to use Reiki energy to heal themselves, but most people are no longer ‘tuned in’ to it. Having a Reiki treatment is supposed to intensify vibration of the molecules within the body, and dissolve any blockages that could be causing disease or imbalance. The level at which your molecules vibrate is thought to be lower when you are suffering from emotional or physical stress or illness. Reiki speeds up the rate of vibration and works to help your body heal faster. It’s said to be suitable for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems.

Any practitioner will tell you that Reiki is not meant to be a cure all, and shouldn’t be used in place of conventional medicine. It’s a gentle therapy which helps to restore balance and also supports the body in healing itself.

Reiki is not a religion, so there’s no need for any kind of belief system. Some people say that when they are having a treatment they can feel warm and relaxed, or sometimes experience tingling sensations. Some people even see’ images or vivid colours while being treated.

The Five Principles of Reiki

There are five core principles of Reiki, which practitioners are supposed to incorporate into their lives. These are:

  • just for today; do not worry
  • just for today; do not anger
  • honour your parents, teachers and elders
  • earn your living honestly
  • show gratitude to every living thing.

What Happens in a Reiki Session?

You won’t need to undress for a Reiki treatment, you’ll sit, or more often, lie comfortably while the practitioner places his or her hands in a series of positions over your body, which will transmit the energy to different chakras. Reiki has been used in major clinics and hospitals, and doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health professionals have been trained to use it as part of their practice.

Is There Evidence That Reiki Works?

As with some of the more unusual therapies, the jury is out on the effectiveness of Reiki. There have been studies carried out that do seem to confirm that it has some effects, for example a small sample study carried out by Natural Standard alongside Harvard Medical School came to the conclusions that Reiki has an effect on the central nervous system, which has a knock on effect on heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. It was also found to be good for stress or depression, and pain relief. These studies were small scale, and the scientists stressed the need for larger scale trials before any firm conclusions could be drawn.

Another study in 1997 looked at a group of chronically ill people who had a weekly hour long Reiki session, every week for eleven weeks. They had no other treatment during this time, either conventional or complementary. All patients reported a reduction in pain and an increased feeling of mobility and relaxation.

Finding a Reputable Practitioner

Reiki is an unregulated profession, which means that anyone can call themselves a Reiki Practitioner. The Reiki Association is one of the main professional associations for Reiki practitioners, working towards regulation. If your practitioner is a member of the association they will have had thorough training and be insured. The website also features a list of Reiki Masters available which you can order on CD Rom.

Reiki is a gentle, effective therapy, which can have impressive results on some people. Added on to conventional treatment it can relax or invigorate you.

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