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What is Reiki Healing? And How does it work?

by | Dec 9, 2016

What is Reiki Healing and more? Reiki healing is a form of alternative medicine otherwise known as healing touch therapy, palm healing, or hands-on-body healing. It is completely non-invasive, with no use of herbs or medicine, and no application of pressure on the body. Reiki originated from Japan, and officially founded in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui.

Reiki’s healing benefits range from treating common headaches to chronic pain and promoting overall well-being. This brief and comprehensive guide on this natural healing therapy will tell you everything you need to know about what Reiki is, what science says about it, and what to expect in a typical healing session.

What is Reiki Healing?

Reiki comes from a blend of Chinese and Japanese words: “rei” being spiritual or supernatural,” and “ki” meaning vital energy. Reiki therefore, is commonly known as “Universal Life Energy.”

The basic concept used by the therapy method is the notion that humans have a specific “chi,” or energy throughout the body. When the chi is disrupted or blocked, it causes negative consequences that manifest through illnesses and mental or emotional problems. The causes of chi being blocked can range from anger, anxiety, stress, bacteria or parasites, toxins, destructive relationships, or bad lifestyle habits.

Reiki works by unblocking the specific chis that are causing the illness or mental problems. A Reiki practitioner either places their hands over your body without literally touching you, or they do touch the body but without any force or pressure. The healing occurs through the transfer of energy from the practitioner’s hands to the specific part of the body that needs treatment. This vital energy is said to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

What is Reiki Healing

What are the Benefits of Reiki Healing?

The main health benefit of this natural healing practice is stress reduction and relaxation. When the body is relaxed, it triggers its natural healing capacities, and therefore, health is maintained and recovered.

The benefits of Reiki include:

☯ aids better sleep patterns
☯ reduces blood pressure
☯ accelerates body’s ability to heal itself
☯ relieves acute physical pains such as headaches or joint pains
☯ gets rid of toxins
☯ supports the immune system
☯ improves vitality
☯ slows down the aging process
☯ promotes spiritual growth and emotional healing

Long-term practice of Reiki have been known to restore the general condition of the body and overall well-being. Reiki is also known to improve the effects of other forms of alternative medicine such as acupuncture and the use of natural herbs and extracts.

What Should You Expect in a Typical Reiki Healing Session?

Reiki practitioners either have their own clinics or they can come to your home. Either way, a designated room must be used for your session. A room with little to no noise or distractions is a must, as you and the practitioner must be focused and relaxed during the entire time.

For sessions held in hospitals, a session may range from 15 to 20 minutes while private practitioners may require a 90-minute


Before you begin, the practitioner will ask you about your medical history and current condition. If you have any special needs such as having pain when you’re lying down, or have difficulty breathing when you face down on a bed, or any conditions that you may have, you must inform the practitioner before you begin. If you are not comfortable lying down, sitting on a comfortable chair can be an option.

A practitioner may play calming music to promote relaxation and mask outside noise, but silence is also preferred by many.

A complete Reiki healing session is then offered with the patient fully clothed and lying down or sitting on a chair. Breathing exercises are also encouraged to promote relaxation.

The experience is subjective, with patients reporting to feel warm or cool sensations as the practitioner’s hands are placed over their body. Some feel a comforting presence, while others feel an immediate release of stress.

Here are some tips to make the most of your Reiki healing session:

Reiki Therapy

☯ If you are shy about being touched, you can ask the practitioner to show you the hand placements before beginning the session so you know what to expect.
☯ Use the restroom to relieve yourself so the session will not be disrupted as you go along.
☯ While most people report to feeling refreshed and relaxed, some people have reported of being tired. This is a typical reaction of the body to healing.

Forms of Reiki Healing and Reiki Symbols

Reiki Self-Healing and Distance Reiki Healing are forms of the therapy that are practiced today. Let’s discuss each of these forms:

1. Reiki Self-Healing

This involves placing your own hands over parts of your body that need treatment. There are 3 major techniques of Reiki that form the foundation of the therapy method, which are: Kenyoku Ho, which is a cleansing technique; Joshin Kokyu Ho, which is a meditation technique with the use of breathing; and Seishin Toitsu, which is a technique that unifies the mind through meditation.

Basically, you practice Reiki by cleaning your body simply through brushing parts of your body with your hands. Joshin Kokyu Ho is practiced through conscious breathing, and lastly, Seishin Toitsu is practiced through focus and meditation.

2. Distance Reiki Healing

There are 3 basic Reiki symbols that takes the form of Japanese writing. The first symbol is Choku Rei, which is the power symbol; the second is Sei He Ki, which is the mental or emotional symbol, and the third is Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, which is the distance symbol.

To use these symbols, Reiki practitioners make the Japanese signs over the body that needs the specific benefit of the symbol. For example, individuals who need spot-on treatments for eczema will benefit from a practitioner who makes the sign of Choku Rei or the power symbol over their skin, and respectively, those who need some emotional break or guidance will benefit from a practitioner who makes the sign of the emotional or mental symbol, Sei He Ki.

For the distance symbol, it is used for practitioners and patients who are not physically present in the same room. A practitioner from Japan, for example, can practice Reiki healing over a patient in the US through Distance Reiki Healing: which involves sending energy, as well as teaching the patient to visualize the symbol of Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen.

Energy Healing

How Effective is Reiki Healing?

There have been conflicting scientific studies about the healing therapy. There are those who say Reiki healing is pseudoscience, while others believe it has concrete health benefits.

Studies that have positive results include an animal study by Baldwin, Wagers, and Schwartz in 2008, which showed subjects showing clear signs of reduced stress as proven by the animals’ biological and autonomic changes.

A study with nurses who suffered from “burnt-out syndrome,” conducted in 2011 by Diaz-Rodriguez, et.al., showed biological indications of significant relaxation response to Reiki treatment.

Another study (Shore, 2004), revealed significant results of a group of individuals who were treated for mild depression and anxiety. The research showed that 6 months to one year after these individuals received Reiki treatment, they benefited from significant immediate and long-term improvements with their stress levels, hopelessness, and overall depressive symptoms.

Reiki Meditation


Reiki Healing as been practiced since 1922 but the concept of hand healing has been around for centuries. The concept that all living things have an energy field and that it can be transferred is a belief associated with many forms of alternative medicine. Reiki healing allows the body to reach a state of relaxation that helps several biological processes to function properly, and thus, helping to promote overall well-being.

Writer Judita Tanko

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