Reiki is a Japanese energy healing practice and complementary approach to medicine, which attempts to transfer universal energy in the form of ki
through palm-healing techniques. Ki
is the Japanese version of qi
, the life force energy that sustains our existence, and rei
is the Japanese word for spirit. Thus, reiki means “spirit life force.”
Similar to acupressure, Reiki is centered on the idea that an imbalance of ki results in a higher susceptibility to illness. Practitioners of both methods aim at alleviating illness via energy healing, but acupressure therapists attempt to unblock the energy pathways while Reiki healers simply attempt to channel energy to the patient. In other words, “all healers use life force or ki, but not all use Reiki.”
Instead of manipulating the physical body, these healers manipulate the energy field penetrating the body, positioning their hands lightly on or above the patient so the energy of the universe may be channeled through one body and into the other. The method is comparable to meditation in this regard, as both are noninvasive therapies grounded in self-healing.
In 1922, Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui completed a 21-day meditation and fast on Mount Kurama-yama. It is believed that during this time, Usui developed the traditional Japanese Reiki. He delineated his method by a set of five underlying principles, known as the Five Reiki Precepts:
- Do not be angry.
- Do not worry.
- Be grateful.
- Work with diligence.
- Be kind to people.
Usui allegedly taught this technique to over 2,000 individuals, 16 of whom reached the masters level (Shinpiden), before his death in 1926. Chujiro Hayashi, one of said masters-level students, worked to synthesize his mentor’s method into a more accessible practice. After receiving approval from Usui, Hayashi founded a Reiki clinic in Tokyo, Japan.
There is no formal training program available to aspiring energy healers. Rather, the ability to channel energy from the universe to another person is passed on by a Reiki master during an “attunement,” a process through which the heart, crown and palm chakras are opened. Immediately thereafter, the student is able to perform Reiki.
It’s significant to note the difference between Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki, a system attributed to Hawayo Takata. Although they are almost identical, the former relies on intuition for hand placement, and the latter utilizes a set of hand patterns for treatment.
Energy healing techniques are known to balance the energies and chakras, strengthen personal awareness, promote self-healing and boost the immune system. They are often used to release repressed emotions and encourage positive thinking. Reiki may also alleviate stress, anxiety, headaches and back pain. In The Reiki Handbook, published in 1992, Sandra Nevins and Larry Arnold claim this holistic practice is effective for treating diabetes, cancer, brain damage and venereal diseases.
Source: Reddy, Kaya Niranjan Kumar. The Ultimate Guide to REIKI. 18 Dec. 2005. Web.