Reiki (ray-key) is a gentle bodywork method that can help return us to balanced functioning on every level—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, even social—regardless of our age or state of health. The term comes from the Japanese words “rei,” which translates into universal, and “ki,” which means vital life force energy that flows through all living things.
Reiki treatment typically brings rapid stress reduction and relief from pain and anxiety. 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. Unlike conventional medicine, Reiki does not attack disease. Rather, Reiki supports our well-being and strengthens our natural ability to heal by encouraging balance. (adapted from: Miles, Reiki A Comprehensive Guide 8)
Reiki energy flows through the practitioner's hands while they are touching or hovering above the recipient's body. Reiki does not involve physical manipulation, the ingestion or application of any substances. There are no known contraindications associated with Reiki treatment.
Although Reiki research is underway, it is important to note that we are still very much learning how to research Reiki's benifits. That being said, measurable improvements have been shown in heart rate, blood pressure and immune indicators. Participants also reported improvements in well-being, depressive symptoms and functioning. (Friedman RS, Burg MM, Miles P, Lee F, Lampert R. Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology; 2010 Sep 14;56(12):995-6)
Not everything that counts, can be counted
not everything that can be counted, counts.
Reiki can be learned in an eight-hour workshop and is then available for you to use on yourself and others at any time. It does not require any special equipment and can be done anywhere as the recipient remains fully clothed. Although simple to learn and relaxing to receive, Reiki is a powerful tool for balancing the body, mind and spirit.
Plan 90-120 minutes for your first session to allow time for discussion and paperwork of a general nature. Most forms include a disclaimer explaining that Reiki practitioners are not physicians and will not diagnose or prescribe. If you would like, you may let your practitioner know of any current conditions. Please note that this is not necessary, as Reiki energy flows to where it is needed. There are no right or wrong way to experience Reiki and anything discussed during your appointment is kept in strictest confidence.
A full Reiki session lasts from 45–90 minutes, with most running about an hour. During treatment you will remain fully clothed; plan to remove your shoes, eyeglasses and anything else that may be constricting (belt, heavy jewelry). You may lie on a massage table or sit in a relaxed position in a chair. The purpose of Reiki is to promote self-healing through deep, profound relaxation, so it is important that you feel comfortable. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, for any reason, please let your practitioner know.
The practitioner’s hands may be placed lightly on different parts of your body or held slightly above you —before your session begins, discuss your preference as to touch or non-touch treatment. Also, if there are areas you are uncomfortable having touched (i.e. some are uncomfortable having hands near the throat). Breasts and genitals are never touched as part of a Reiki treatment. While standard hand positions are often used to promote balance and relaxation throughout the body, if you have a particular area of concern, hand positions and time spent in each can be adjusted to accommodate your needs.
You may speak during a session and questions are welcome. During Reiki treatment, you may feel a tingling sensation, heat, or soothing cold, and/or experience a deep sense of relaxation. You may enter a meditative state or perhaps fall asleep. In general, you will likely find the Reiki session to be relaxing and invigorating. Some report they felt nothing during the actual session but later tell of insightful dreams or increased vitality. There are many anecdotal descriptions of healings that have taken place during or immediately after Reiki treatment.
At the end of a session, take your time before getting up as you may feel a bit light-headed or sleepy. Just as you might need a little time to get going in the morning, you may also need a few minutes after a Reiki session. It is a good idea to drink some extra water before and after treatment as Reiki encourages body systems toward balance and proper hydration supports bodily function.
Many clients find they prefer to have weekly sessions. For others, monthly or bi-monthly visits suffice. Deciding how often to schedule treatments will depend on your current situation and needs. If you’d like to return, talk with your practitioner about how often you should visit. Talk to your practitioner about booking multiple sessions in advance and ask about pre-pay discounts. Ask yourself: How often do I schedule everyone - and everything - before making time for self-care?
Did you catch this? Dr. Oz did an entire show on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in 2010 - Check out the first of Oz's Orders for that episode!
While Reiki is often performed by nurses, chiropractors and other doctors, it has not been scientifically proven to work. It is important to consult with your personal physician before beginning any new form of treatment or exercise. However, treatment is not harmful and any form of relaxation, including Reiki, is widely accepted as beneficial to well-being in general.