Evolution of Reiki

Reiki, which is performed through a technique similar to the laying on of hands, effectively treats physical, emotional, spiritual or mental disease. Reiki was supposedly developed during the early 20th century by Mikao Usui in Japan.

The Term:

The name Reiki comes from the Japanese words ‘Rei’ (meaning ‘soul’, ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost’), and Ki (meaning ‘life force energy’). Common translations of the term Reiki are “aura” and also “soul energy”. English speakers have adopted the Japanese noun Reiki for use as a verb or adjective. Japanese speakers commonly understand the term as describing a generic “supernatural power” and not referring specifically to the Usui Method of Reiki Healing (in Japanese – usui reiki shiki ryoho). Ki is also the Japanese term for Qi or Chi in Chinese; both refer to Universal Energy.

The Technique:

Ever since its emergence as a practice, its technique has remained unchanged. Practitioners use a technique similar to the laying on of hands in which they claim that they act as channels for Reiki energy – which they say flows through their palms to specific parts of the body in order to facilitate healing. Most of the explanations of the technical aspects of Reiki rely upon the existence of “subtle energies” and “auras.”

The Practice:

Some schools believe that Reiki energy enters the practitioner through the 7th (crown or Shasrara) chakra, goes through the 4th chakra and then flows through his or her hands (secondary chakras) into the body of the recipient. It is also taught that Reiki energy enters through the 1st (root or Muladhara) chakra at the base of the spine, fills the aura, becomes centered in the 4th (heart or Anahata) chakra, and flows out through the practitioner’s hands. Most schools teach that the Reiki energy is an “intelligent” energy, which “knows what to do,” or “where it is needed the most.”

Thus, Reiki adherents say, if the recipient needs it and is ready to heal, the Reiki energy will go where it needs to for healing. They also maintain that if, on the other hand, the intended recipient does not accept the energy on some level, and the energy will not be absorbed. Some schools teach that Reiki “spirit guides” keep watch over Reiki energy and assist the practitioner. It is said by them that any intention to do harm will block the flow of Reiki energy.

In a Reiki session, the practitioner asks the recipient to lie down and relax. The practitioner then purports to act as a channel for Reiki energy, theoretically allowing “Reiki energy” to be channeled through the practitioner to wherever the patient is believed by them to require it. Usually the practitioner moves their hands close to or on various parts of the recipient’s body. Some patients report feeling various subjective sensations: heat, tingling, cold, pressure, etc. Practitioners of Reiki attribute these sensations to Reiki energy filling energetic deficiencies in the body and aura of the recipient, repairing and opening their energy channels (meridians or nadis), pulling out “negativity,” and dissolving the blockages of “stale” energy.

Some claim that practitioners can also channel Reiki energy through other parts of their bodies (for example, their eyes or their breathing) if they wish. According to practitioners, intention is the primary method for directing the flow of the energy. Reiki healers say that their energy can be used for healing either in physical proximity or from a distance. Furthermore, many Reiki healers claim that the ability to share Reiki comes only after a “Reiki Master” performs an initiation or “attunement.” It usually costs $150 to be “attuned” to reiki level I or level II. To become an official, recognized reiki master, one pays about $500 for the “attunement” process and also learns to teach and give attunements to others.

Emergent Popularity of Reiki:

Though Reiki has no scientific basis, a study published in Alternative Therapies in 2002, which revealed that there were over one million U.S. adults who have had one or more Reiki “treatments” itself signifies its popularity. While Reiki is comparatively rare in Japan today, it flourishes in the West and has gained a small following worldwide. Many scientists, health care workers and others dispute the effectiveness of Reiki, because studies have shown that it does not facilitate healing beyond that expected from the placebo effect. Reiki has been gaining some popularity worldwide within hospitals. The UK NHS (National Health Service) as part of its CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine) program uses Reiki and other CAM therapies as part of day care patient programs.