RubmdReviewHow to Master Your Energy and Emotions with Reiki Therapy

How to Master Your Energy and Emotions with Reiki Therapy

Reiki therapy is an alternative healing technique that originated in Japan in the early 20th century. It involves the transfer of universal energy from the Reiki practitioner to the recipient to promote healing and well-being on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

What is Reiki Therapy?

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word representing universal life energy. Reiki therapy is a form of energy healing that originated from the teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900s.

It is based on the concept that a universal life force energy flows through all living things. If this energy flow is disrupted or unbalanced, it can lead to illness and disease. Reiki practitioners can channel Reiki energy into themselves and others to balance energy centers in the body, stimulate healing and promote well-being.

Some key points about Reiki therapy:

  • It involves the transfer of universal life force energy from practitioner to recipient through light touch or hovering the hands just above the body.
  • It balances the energy flow to restore health and wholeness on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
  • It is a holistic therapy that can enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
  • It is non-invasive, gentle and safe with no known side effects.
  • It can promote deep relaxation, relieve pain and anxiety, speed healing and complement other therapies.

Brief History of Reiki

The system of Reiki healing was rediscovered in the early 1900s by Mikao Usui during a spiritual retreat on Mount Kurama in Japan. Usui claimed he had a spontaneous awakening and was given the gift of energy healing, along with sacred symbols to empower it.

He then spent several years refining the system and opening a clinic to offer Reiki treatments and train practitioners in Tokyo. One of Usui’s students, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, continued his work and standardized the Reiki techniques still used today after Usui’s death.

Reiki was introduced outside Japan by Hawayo Takata, one of Hayashi’s students. She brought Reiki to America and other parts of the world from the 1930s onward. Takata trained 22 Reiki masters before she died in 1980. Her granddaughter Phyllis Furamoto carried on her work.

Today there are an estimated 1 million Reiki practitioners worldwide and Reiki has become an increasingly popular form of holistic healing and stress reduction.

What Happens During a Reiki Session?

Reiki treatments are done by certified Reiki practitioners who have gone through training to learn proper techniques to channel universal energy. The sessions involve the transfer of energy by light touch or with hands held just above the body over a series of locations along energy meridians.

A typical Reiki session will involve the following elements:

  • Intake discussion – The practitioner will discuss the client’s needs, intentions and any information relevant to treatment such as medical history or specific issues to address.
  • Relaxation period – The client rests or meditates to relax the body and mind while the practitioner prepares the space and themselves to channel the Reiki energy. Soothing music may be played.
  • Reiki energy transfer – The client lies fully clothed on a massage table or sits comfortably in a chair. The practitioner places their hands lightly on a series of meridian points along the head, front and back of torso, limbs and feet while channeling Reiki energy for 3 to 5 minutes per position. The hands may also be held just above the body without touching. The whole session typically lasts 45 to 90 minutes.
  • Grounding period – At the end of the session, clients are eased back to full awareness over 5 to 10 minutes while the Reiki energy is grounded. This allows the body and mind to adjust. The client may feel refreshed, relaxed, light or even emotional after treatment.
  • Discussion – The practitioner checks in with the client about the experience and any sensations noticed during treatment. Guidance may be provided about self-care as needed.

Follow-up sessions to continue balancing energetic flow are often recommended. Some people find the greatest benefits from a series of treatments over a period of weeks or months.

What Does Reiki Treatment Feel Like?

Reiki is generally very gentle and relaxing. The experience of Reiki energy varies by person and session but commonly includes:

  • Feelings of heaviness or warmth in treated areas as the energy flows in
  • Coolness, tingling, pulsating, subtle vibration or other mild sensations where the practitioner’s hands are placed
  • Relaxation response with release of mental and physical tension
  • Mood elevation – feelings of peace, calm, joy, healing, optimism
  • Drifting into sleep or entering dream-like meditative states
  • Emotional releases, crying, laughter, memories
  • Changes in breathing rate, effort or depth
  • Body warmth or coolness, muscle twitching as energetic blockages release
  • Enhanced or shifted awareness of body and energy
  • Improvements in pain level, range of motion, digestion, sleep quality and more
  • Euphoric and blissful states in deep treatment

The sensations vary widely based on what the client needs during each session but are usually quite subtle. Some feel a lot of activity while others feel little to no perceptible sensations. The Reiki energy works whether the client feels any particular sensations or not.

What are the Benefits of Reiki?

Reiki therapy has demonstrated a broad range of holistic health benefits for both serious illnesses and mild issues when used alone or alongside conventional medical treatments.

Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Many studies show Reiki significantly reduces markers of stress like cortisol levels and blood pressure. It also alleviates anxiety, depression and fatigue. The deep relaxation response Reiki facilitates allows the mind and body to come to rest and restore depleted reserves.

Pain Relief

Research indicates Reiki can reduce acute and chronic pain from surgery, cancer, arthritis, injuries and more while reducing need for pain medications. It seems to act by triggering the body’s natural painkillers. Migraine headache intensity may also be decreased.

Support Cancer Care

Many hospitals now incorporate Reiki as part of integrative care for cancer patients. Studies show it can help reduce side effects of chemotherapy and radiation while improving mood and quality of life. It may also enhance immune response.

Speed Healing from Surgery/Injury

Several clinical trials show patients receiving Reiki after surgeries like hysterectomy or bypass procedures heal faster with less pain and need less medication than control groups. This is likely by reducing inflammation and stress.

Help Heart Disease and Stroke Victims

Both immediate and long-term Reiki treatments may accelerate recovery for cardiac and stroke patients. It helps them cope with trauma while supporting metabolic balance.

Improve Mental Health

Reiki shows promise as therapy for resolving grief, trauma and emotional distress. It helps people access inner wisdom and guidance to support emotional healing and spiritual growth.

Enhance Wellbeing

For healthy individuals, Reiki boosts wellbeing by reinforcing positive lifestyle habits that improve body, mind and spirit holistically. It supports healthy aging and enhances purpose in life.

Is There Research Supporting Reiki Therapy?

In recent decades, a growing body of academic research has demonstrated the safety and measurable therapeutic effects of Reiki in clinical settings. There have been hundreds of studies examining Reiki treatment benefits, mostly focused on psychological symptoms, pain, healing, heart rate and blood pressure changes and patient satisfaction.

Some of the most reputable studies supporting Reiki therapy benefits include:

Pain and Anxiety

A 2017 meta-analysis in Explore Journal looked at data from 205 human trials and more than 12,000 participants using Reiki, Tai Chi or Qigong. The Reiki studies showed “strong effectiveness for reducing pain intensity in both healthy persons and persons experiencing chronic pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia or other causes.” Reiki also showed moderate ability to reduce anxiety.

Healing Touch for Cardiac Surgery

A 2013 study in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery found that heart bypass surgery patients treated with healing touch (similar to Reiki) after surgery showed faster wound healing, better immune response and faster release from the intensive care unit.

Quality of Life in Cancer

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a 2015 review finding Reiki provided clinically meaningful improvements in health-related quality of life for individuals undergoing cancer treatment over time frames ranging from 45 minutes to 12 weeks. It improved patient confidence, comfort, mood, stress response and capacity to heal.

Anxiety and Depression

A small 2006 NIH-funded study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine demonstrated Reiki significantly reduced both depression and anxiety in hospital employees over the course of 4 weeks compared to those receiving only relaxation response training. The Reiki group also showed positive changes in salivary IgA immune marker.

Stress Reduction

Biological Research for Nursing published a 2018 randomized controlled trial of 66 healthy volunteers examining biofield healing vs relaxation response vs control group over 3 weeks. The biofield treatment group (which could include Reiki) showed substantial reductions in psychological distress, anxiety, depression and cortisol levels compared to relaxation and control groups.

So while more large studies are still needed, the existing body of evidence supports Reiki as a meaningful complementary therapy for reducing pain, anxiety and side effects while speeding healing across a range of conditions.

What is a Reiki Session Like?

Reiki sessions are meant to promote deep relaxation and stress reduction that can initiate or accelerate the body’s self healing abilities on mental, emotional or physical levels.

The sessions are generally carried out by trained and certified Reiki practitioners. The sessions involve the client lying down or sitting comfortably fully clothed as the practitioner places their hands either directly on or just above a sequence of energy centers and locations on the body.

A session typically proceeds as follows:

Pre-session Consultation

The client first discusses reasons for seeking treatment, any medical or emotional issues to be addressed and what they hope to get out of the session to guide the practitioner’s approach.

Energy Transfer

The client relaxes in calm setting as the room is prepared by dimming lights, arranging crystals, burning incense or essential oils if desired. Quiet music may be played. The Reiki practitioner centers themselves through breathing, meditation or intention-setting and then moves through a series of hand positions corresponding to major organs, endocrine glands, nervous system areas, circulatory system areas, lymphatic areas and energy centers along the midline and limbs. Each position is held for 3 to 5 minutes with a very light touch or with hands hovering just above the body. The whole session lasts 45 to 90 minutes based on need.

Grounding Period

After working through all hand positions, the practitioner rests their hands in their lap for several minutes as they meditate and allow any excess energy to dissipate back into the earth. This allows the client to gradually transition back to full waking consciousness.

Discussion and Closure

The practitioner checks in with the client about sensations, emotions or visions experienced during the session. They may provide additional guidance about aftercare, self-Reiki or recommend follow-up sessions as needed.

The effects of Reiki vary widely but most commonly include sensations of heat or tingling in treated areas, shifts between wakefulness and sleepiness, mood lifts, emotional releases, energetic blockage releases (twitching, crying, yawning, burping, coughing), heaviness and warmth. The benefits emerge during days and weeks after as clients notice pain reductions, healing acceleration, clarity of mind, motivation shifts and spiritual insights.

Finding a Reiki Practitioner

There are now abundant resources for locating experienced Reiki energy healers online and in most communities around the world. It has become an increasingly mainstream complementary therapy offered in holistic care centers, palliative care units, pain clinics, spas and private practices.

The best way to find a suitably qualified Reiki practitioner is through seeking accredited training lineages, professional member associations and client reviews or testimonials about their treatment experiences.

Some resources to find properly certified Reiki practitioners include:

Reiki Membership Associations

Most areas have associations holding directories of accredited Reiki Masters/Teachers who have completed accredited training programs meeting certain standards for competency and ethics. These include the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP), Reiki Association of South Africa (RASA) and more.

Hospital Integrative Medicine Programs

Many hospitals now have integrative health programs that screen and hire certified Reiki practitioners to offer services alongside conventional care units like oncology, cardiac care, emergency, hospice, neonatal intensive care and surgery recovery.

Spa/Wellness Centers

High end spas, retreat venues and wellness centers oriented around holistic therapies often carefully vet bodyworkers and energy healers like Reiki practitioners. These centers have economic incentives to offer authentic services so clients return and provide good reviews.

Reiki Training Schools

Most accredited Reiki schools keep directories of the practitioners they have trained and certified including their location, training lineage style, specialty areas of focus and contact details. They may recommend their most experienced graduates if contacted.

Online Directories and Reviews

There are now large directories like allowing clients to search for practitioners near them alongside ratings, reviews and areas of specialty.

Checking practitioner background, training style, client reviews and professional affiliations is important for finding the best fit for your wellness needs and goals. An introductory discussion is also wise before committing to an ongoing relationship or treatment package.

Is Reiki Right for Me?

Reiki therapy is generally appropriate for anyone interested in enhancing their overall health, vitality and wellbeing in body, mind and spirit. It can also serve as a meaningful complement to treatment of diagnosed medical conditions.

Good Candidate Conditions for Reiki include:

  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia or IBS
  • Serious diseases like cancer, chronic pain or heart disease
  • Help coping with side effects from surgery, chemotherapy, other biomedical treatments
  • Recovery acceleration after injuries or trauma
  • Support for major life transitions – grieving processes, career changes etc.
  • Pain syndromes like arthritis, migraine headaches or neuropathy
  • Fatigue including from autoimmune disorders
  • Women’s health issues – menstrual problems, fertility challenges, menopause
  • Addictions, behavioral problems and emotional distress
  • Spiritual development, self discovery and purpose cultivation

Reiki is very gentle and subtle in it’s effects, even while profoundly supportive. It is one of the safest complementary modalities available and can enhance efficacy of standard medical treatment plans. People often feel shifts toward calm, positivity, insight and accelerated healing during and between sessions.

Some Important Considerations before trying Reiki therapy

  • Time commitment – Typically a few sessions close together works best to jumpstart the self-healing process before spacing out periodic maintenance sessions. Each session requires about 90 minutes.
  • Expense – A full session often ranges from $60-150 based on geographic area and practitioner level of experience. Packages or sliding scale payment can reduce costs.
  • Travel logistics – The best practitioners may not be right around the corner so expect to commute, although some offer distance healing options.
  • Skepticism adjustment – For more analytical people unfamiliar with energy work, an openness to unfamiliar mind-body phenomena is helpful to allow the Reiki experience to have optimal impact.

Reiki can provide supportive holistic healing at any age or state of health. It is very commonly used to reduce suffering and side effects from surgery, cancer treatment, injuries or chronic disabling illnesses. Even the busiest professionals use it to manage life stress better. And it can enhance spiritual development through all stages of life.

Bottom Line on Reiki Therapy

Reiki has emerged as one of the most popular and well researched biofield energy healing techniques provided by alternative medicine practitioners worldwide. It involves transferring life force energy to balance and strengthen the recipient’s body, mind and spirit holistically through light touch or hovered hand positions along energy meridians.

Hundreds of studies now validate Reiki as a meaningful complementary therapy for alleviating psychological distress like anxiety, grief and trauma. Reducing physical pain from any cause, optimizing recuperation from medical interventions, supporting cancer care and heart health and more. The pronounced stress reduction and accelerated healing from Reiki treatments comes from triggering the relaxation response for parasympathetic activation alongside releasing energetic, emotional and mental blockages limiting wellbeing.

Reiki is very safe, gentle and subtly powerful. People often feel shifts toward inner peace, calm and positivity. That catalyze accelerated healing between sessions as much as during the treatments themselves. It is a phenomenal tool for tapping into our innate self-healing abilities.

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