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What is Reiki?

Reiki is a form of energy healing invented in Japan by Dr. Mikao Usui. The name comes from the Japanese words ‘rei’ and ‘ki’, which mean ‘universal’ and ‘life energy’. It involves the manipulation of qi to bring healing, much like acupuncture but without needles. The practitioner will lay their hands on the patient, or let their hands hover a short distance above the skin and move through set patterns. The Reiki practitioner can sense the energy of their patient, thus feeling where the areas of blockage are, where energy is stagnant, and where energy flows freely. It is these blockages or areas of stagnancy that attract the attention of the practitioner, who will work to un-block them.

To become a Reiki practitioner, one must first receive an Attunement, so that they can feel the energies involved. Only a Reiki Master can provide an Attunement, but anyone can receive an Attunement. After this Attunement, the training process involves learning about the energy, learning the forms and patterns with which to move the energy, and the ethics of working with clients. There are three levels of mastery, the Attunement granting the First level. Those who reach the Third level are considered Masters and may Attune others.

Primarily, Reiki requires no tools or props, outside of a space in which to operate. A typical session will be performed in a dimly lit room, perhaps with soft music or candles, depending on preference of both practitioner and patient. The patient will lay on a massage table or on a mat on the floor, with padding, pillows, and blankets where appropriate for maximum comfort. The patient may close their eyes, and perhaps even fall asleep. No conversation is required, though again, that is between practitioner and patient. The patient may wish to express their experiences, and the practitioner may want clarification on what they’re feeling. Some practitioners use crystals to enhance their practice, and may place crystals around the room, near the patient, or in the patient’s hands.

Reiki has been gaining popularity of late, with many hospitals, massage clinics, yoga studios, and spas hiring practitioners. Though it has attracted a lot of negative attention, there is no harm in receiving Reiki. As there is no physical interaction, or very little, there is no risk inherent in Reiki, and there are no drug interactions that other forms of Complementary healthcare have to watch out for. Anyone can receive Reiki, but in order to reap the greatest benefits, one must keep an open mind.

Studies have shown that Reiki can bring wellness and healing to those suffering from cancer, depression, stress, and the after-effects of surgery. When used alongside traditional medicine, Reiki can boost the patient’s ability to heal or recover. Perhaps the ancient masters are right, and we are luminous beings in a physical body, and perhaps it’s merely a placebo effect, but scientific studies don’t lie. Reiki can bring relief from pain, ease the symptoms of depression, and strengthen the body against the ravages of chemotherapy.


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