Last Updated: October 15th, 2018

Reiki - healing hand“Reiki” is the Japanese phrase for “universal life energy.” It was developed in Japan by minister Mikao Usui in the early 1920s. After studying Buddhist teachings, Usui went on a mountain retreat where he stayed for 21 days. It was then that the Reiki system came to him in meditation. The “Ki” in Reiki refers to the Chinese “Chi” or “Qi”—the root energy affecting our bodies and emotions. Usui handed down the system in an oral tradition that teaches: 

Just for today, do not worry. 
Just for today, do not anger.
Honour your parents, teachers and elders.
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude in every living thing.

The precepts of Reiki remind us to be mindful in our daily lives, considering the far-reaching effects of both our positivity and negativity. By inviting Reiki into our lives, we become aware of the sacredness of all life and consider our actions, words and thoughts, and their effect on other beings.

Living beings are energy systems. When our life energy stagnates or is blocked in the body, diseases, pains and emotional troubles occur. The entire body is connected through a series of energy pathways. Reiki functions much like the Traditional Chinese Medical approach to the Qi where acupuncture and reflexology points are used to release energy blockages.

Learning Reiki

Reiki is a simple practice to learn because it harnesses the life energy that is naturally present in all of us. It should be learned from a master who you feel comfortable with and trust—through learning Reiki, we make a strong link with the teacher and the lineage of masters associated with them.

It is taught in three degrees:Reiki I– training for hands-on sessions includes four attunements to increase the flow of energy through the practitioner’s hands. Lineage and system philosophy is also taught.Reiki II– increasing focus by means of three Usui Reiki symbols as well as distance healingReiki III – In this master class students develop themselves to access their highest energies. The principles of teaching Reiki are also taught.Degrees are usually taught in full day workshops with the first and second degrees often being taught in one weekend. It’s recommend that students take some time before taking the third degree to gain practical experience.

A Reiki treatment involves the practitioner laying their hands on or above the body in a pattern, or in whatever motion their intuition guides them. Life energy flows through their hands, helping to balance the energy of the receiver. Reiki can also work in conjunction with other therapies such as tuning forks, massage, colour therapy and Tibetan energy work.

Reiki always comes from love and light. It is always the intention of the practitioner to work for the greatest good of the receiver. The practitioner often perceives energy patterns by feeling sensations of heat and cold, tingling, buzzing or air density fluctuations. Sometimes the receiver will also notice these sensations, but overall will be very relaxed.

It is sometimes experienced like a guided meditation, at other times, the relaxation will overcome the receiver and they’ll fall asleep. Reiki is absorbed equally while sleeping as awake, so even if the receiver sleeps through the entire session they’ll get the same benefit.

Reiki can accelerate and strengthen any healing process in the body and is successfully used in many situations where western medicine alone is unsuccessful. A great example of this is my own Reiki master, Hazel. She became a Reiki master shortly before her husband, Dave, was diagnosed with a malignant colon tumour, a disease that doctor’s were surprise to find hadn’t spread to any other part of his body. During his hospital stay, Hazel regularly used Reiki to help relax him, giving his body a chance to heal itself. He was in and out of the hospital in less than two weeks.

To be sure of no other complications, the doctors set him on a course of chemotherapy that damaged his body more visibly than the cancer itself. During his chemotherapy sessions, Hazel used Reiki to help calm his shakes and minimize his discomfort. To help heal the scar caused by his surgery, she ran her hands over the scar in an eraser-like motion. It now looks like a mere scratch instead of the deep wound that it was less than a year ago.

I also have directly experienced the benefits of Reiki. I suffered with unidentified stomach issues for over two years. Most days, I’d recognize the familiar discomfort in my abdominal area later at night and would have a difficult time sleeping once it began. During several Reiki sessions, we worked on calming and healing that area of my body—since my last session a few months ago, the pain hasn’t returned.

These are only a few examples of Reiki’s many benefits. If you find that you’re looking for a way to help along a healing process in your body, if your emotions are causing you distress, if you’re recovering from illness or entering into surgery, or if you’re just looking for a way to relax, you may want to give Reiki a try.

by Laura Underwood

image: Luz (Creative Commons BY)