What Reiki Is

Reiki is a simple, gentle, hands-on therapy that can help the body-mind in its own natural healing ability. It is a form of spiritual healing in which universal healing energy is channeled through the practitioner into the client. In order to channel Reiki energy, the practitioner needs to have received the necessary attunements.

The word REIKI comes from two Japanese words, REI and KI. REI means “universal”, but in a deeper sense it also refers to spiritual consciousness and higher wisdom. KI refers to life energy, the vital force -- similar to the Chinese CHI. Therefore, a Reiki practitioner is essentially channeling universal, spiritual, life-force energy.

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A Typical Reiki Treatment

During a Reiki treatment, the client is lying fully dressed on a treatment table. Reiki energy will even go through a cast. The practitioner’s hands are placed on or above the different areas of the body receiving treatment. Reiki treatments help to release blocks and to release a person’s own essential life energy.

As the healing energy is channeled, it is effortlessly drawn in by the client and is directed by the higher wisdom to wherever it is needed. The practitioner simply lays hands on the client, opens to the higher energies with intention and love, and stays out of the way. The practitioner therefore does not feel depleted or weakened by the treatment, and, since the energy is moving outward only, the practitioner does not take in any of the client’s energy.

As the channeled healing energy begins to flow, clients may experience tingling or warmth flowing into their body. Or clients may simply experience feelings of relaxation and peace.

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What Reiki Does

Reiki works on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, bringing healing and integration to all these aspects of the person. A Reiki treatment may alleviate physical and emotional pain, decrease stress, stimulate the healing of injuries and illness, or bring about a creative solution to a problem. If the practitioner has had the required attunement, it can also work across space and time -- sending healing energy at a distance, as well as addressing past traumas and future events.

Reiki works well with other forms of treatment. Western medicine, chiropractic, and acupuncture are all enhanced when Reiki is used in conjunction with them. I frequently use Reiki with sound healing. Reiki is not a substitute for medical or psychological treatment. It simply channels universal life-force energy to the person, thereby helping to facilitate health and well-being.

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Reiki Classes and Attunements

The ability to channel Reiki energy is passed from a Reiki teacher to a student by a series of attunements. An attunement prepares the student’s energy channels for the Reiki energy to flow, and to bring him or her into contact with its infinite source. The teacher serves as a channel, and only a channel, so the attunement energies can flow into the student by means of the attunement ceremony. Anyone can learn Reiki.

In addition to the attunements, Reiki classes consist of information about the history and evolution of Reiki, Western and Japanese Reiki techniques, discussion, and hands on practice with other members of the class.

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Origins and Dissemination of Reiki

Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist monk, was the creator of the Usui system of Reiki, known in the West as simply “Reiki”. According to the story, in the early 20th century, following a solitary 21-day retreat of meditation and fasting, Usui experienced a great light coming into the top of his head. He recognized this as healing energy and that he had been given a great healing power. He had received an attunement, which he realized he could pass on to others. He then developed his system of healing, and started a school where he could teach others.

In the years since its inception, Reiki has spread to many parts of the world. People from all different religious groups and nations are practicing Reiki. More and more doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are adding Reiki to the services they provide for their patients. Reiki is offered in a growing number of hospitals. There is a growing body of evidence that is validating the positive effects of Reiki.

Pamela Harris, M.A., MT-BC

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