WHAT IS REIKI?
Reiki is a form of energy healing that originated in Japan in the early 20th century. Reiki is an energy healing technique in which a Reiki master (who has undergone formal training in this healing art) uses gentle hand movements with the intention to guide the flow of healthy energy (what is known in Reiki as 'life force energy') through the client's body.
It's based on the idea that we all have an unseen “life force energy” that flows through our bodies. A Reiki practitioner gently moves their hands just above or on the client’s clothed body, with the intention of reducing stress and promoting healing by encouraging a healthy flow of energy.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF REIKI?
A survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 found that 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children in the United States had received energy healing therapy like Reiki in the previous year. Reiki is now used by a growing number of individuals who believe it helps with relaxation, anxiety, pain management, and depression.
Reiki is linked to a range of physical and emotional health benefits, including better sleep, improved mood, and pain relief in published studies. Research suggests Reiki helps the body return to a state of relaxation, which allows it to potentially better heal from damage brought on by stress, injury, or disease. There’s evidence that Reiki, used as a complementary therapy with conventional or mainstream medical care, can help people better recover after surgery and manage symptoms affiliated with conditions such as cancer and fibromyalgia.
Studies have found that Reiki can have measurable benefits when it comes to lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, lessening anxiety, and reducing pain. (Some of those studies have been done in specific groups, like people recovering from surgery, and others have been done in healthy individuals). Keep in mind, however, that Reiki is mostly seen as a complementary therapy by mainstream medicine and is intended to be used alongside standard medical care — not in place of it. If you’re unsure if Reiki can fit into your therapy plan, ask your doctor for advice.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A REIKI SESSION?
During a session, a Reiki practitioner will gently move their hands above, hovering close to the body, or with gentle touch in a series of positions. Each hand position focuses on a different part of the body — including the head, shoulders, stomach, and feet — and is held for roughly 3 to 10 minutes, depending on the person’s needs. For example, the practitioner may gently place their palm on your forehead or they may place their hands at the sides of your face. There is very little to no talking during sessions, which typically last between 60 and 90 minutes. An essential piece is the presence and state of being of the Reiki practitioner, whose training also includes ways to support their own “grounding.”