Tom tries Reiki therapy after years of using conventional treatments with very little relief from his frequent headaches.
Tom’s practitioner invites him to lie down on the table, fully clothed. His head painfully throbs as he listens to her explain the treatment.
Now, he feels her hands gently position on different areas of his head. Warm energy pulsations flow in though her hands. They absorb the throbbing pain. Her hands continue to move on to different areas of his body… always gently placed… always accompanied by the warm pulsations of energy flow.
As he rests quietly in a gentle cloud of relaxation, he hears her softly say the treatment is over. Tom’s headache is gone… his raw nerves now calm.
Surprised to hear that 40 minutes elapsed, he reports on the effects of the treatment. He makes an appointment for the next day, thanks his practitioner, and leaves.
Tom’s experience is but one of a growing number of people turning to Reiki for healing as a part of their natural health plan. Their experiences vary, some experience the treatment as soothing, some feel warmth, and some feel nothing.
It is offered in private one on one sessions, in some hospitals as well as medical and holistic health clinics, and through group sessions were participants learn the practice (for themselves, their family and others). Here are replies to commonly asked questions.
What is it?
The word “Reiki” combines two Japanese words: rei, meaning universal, and ki, meaning life energy. Its practitioners act as conduits to primordial consciousness (life energy) while placing their hands lightly on or just above the person receiving treatment.
Its practice originated from the spiritual teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan during the early 20th century. Its goal is to facilitate the person’s own healing.
It is a part of alternative and complementary medicine, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
What Does Reiki Do?
It helps return balanced functioning at every level of being… physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social. It reduces stress and relieves pain and anxiety. Pamela Miles, a leading US proponent reports:
Recipients commonly report improved sleep and digestion, and a greater sense of well-being. Other benefits, such as feeling more motivated, less depressed, or experiencing relief from side effects of medications, radiation, or chemotherapy vary from person to person.
You do not have to believe in it, you need only to experience it to receive its benefits.
How Do You Become a Practitioner?
Anyone can become a practitioner by attending classes taught by a qualified Reiki master. It does not require a degree or healthcare background. Although, some nurses, doctors, and other health providers use it in their practice.
During the classes, the master provides the initiation, guidance, and supervised practice for students.
Initiation creates alignment of the student’s energy field (the subtle field that surrounds and permeates the body) with the unlimited primordial consciousness (or energy). Miles explains,
The initiations enable the student to carry Reiki potential in her hands that can activate spontaneously according to the need of anyone she touches, herself, or another.
A master must teach the three different levels: first degree, second degree, and master.
First degree prepares the student for practice. Second degree prepares the practitioner to perform distant healing. Becoming a master prepares a practitioner to teach.
Is It Safe?
It has no side effects. “It can only help, it can never hurt,” says Miles. You can’t “overdose” on it.
Unlike energy healing methods such as Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch where practitioners direct energy and treat imbalances based on assessment findings, Reiki practitioners act solely as conduits for the energy.
The flow of energy and how it’s used are determined by the unique needs of the person receiving it. There is no conscious controlling or directing of the energy by the practitioner.
How to Choose a Practitioner?
Depending on your needs, you can choose from three different levels of practitioners: first degree (provides direct therapy), second degree (also provides it at a distance), and master (teaches).
Miles advises that education and experience are more important than the level achieved. A first degree practitioner can be more experienced in providing direct healing than a second degree practitioner or even a master.
Once you’ve identified practitioners, talk to them. Tell them what you’re looking for and find out how much training they’ve had and how long they have practiced. Get a feel for who they are and why they are doing this kind of therapy.
Find out their charges, billing practices, and cancellation policy. Not only is this good information to know, it helps you get a sense of the person.
Chose a practitioner that meets your needs and you feel good about.
Here are some tips for finding a practitioner:
- Ask your doctor, nurse, or other health professional for a referral.
- Check with holistic, complimentary, or integrative medicine providers. They may offer it themselves or know of a good practitioner.
- If in the hospital, simply ask for it.
- Ask your friends. You may be surprised to find one of them provides it or knows of someone who does.
- Check with the International Center for Reiki Training Member Association to find a practitioner or teacher in your area.
- I, also, am a Reiki master. To learn about my practice visit Reiki Therapy.
Reiki therapy offers spiritual healing. It differs from other holistic healing methods in that its practitioners act as conduits of primordial consciousness. The recipient’s unique needs guide the energy’s flow and use.
When choosing a practitioner, their experience and match to your unique needs is more important than whether they are level one, two, or a master.
Do not use it as a replacement for seeing a health care provider for a significant health problem. However, many people benefit by using it along with medical procedures and treatments (such as surgery and cancer treatments).
It does not require your belief, only your willingness to experience it!
Sources and Resources
National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/reiki.
Pamela Miles, Reiki A Comprehensive Guide (New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2006).