What is Reiki?
Reiki is an alternative healing method that focuses on the root cause of many physical conditions; emotion. It is delivered through the transfer of conducted energy from the practitioner to the recipient, stimulating the body’s own natural ability to heal the mind, body, and spirit. When used in conjunction with other treatments, both physical and emotional balance in the body can be restored.
Reiki was developed in 1922 by a man named Mikao Usui (1865-1926), who, after fasting for three weeks during a period of meditation on Mount Kurama in Japan, claimed to have the ability to “heal without energy depletion” through his hands.
How does it work?
Reiki is subjective in that it will affect everyone differently; because of the core-level on which reiki functions, some recipients may experience an overwhelming sense of emotional release which can be beneficial to the recipient in relieving stress and inducing a relaxed state. Reiki treatment works on the theory that the recipient is healed through the hands of the practitioner by placing them in a number of positions. Contact between the two individuals can occur, although it is not always necessary as reiki can work by the practitioner holding their hands a centimetre or two above the treatment area.
What can it treat?
Reiki is not a treatment that enables its benefits to simply be listed in bullet point format, as there is no specific targeted conditions that it treats, as it is a holistic treatment that aims to harness the body’s own natural ability to heal the mind, body and soul. Despite this general overview of its effects, it is still a powerful healing tool and its benefits are generally far reaching. Describing the physiological effects of treatment is not an easy task; reiki is something that an individual must really experience for themselves in order to fully understand its effects.
What can I expect from a treatment session?
During a treatment session, the recipient will be asked to lie down and relax. Traditionally, a treatment will occur with a hands-on approach, where the practitioner will physically place their hands upon the recipient, however reiki can also be performed by the practitioner holding their hands a very short distance of a centimetre or two away from the body. It should be noted that loose clothing is best to be worn for a reiki treatment, and it is not necessary for the recipient to remove any items of clothing.
Treatment areas include the head, front and back of the torso, knees, and feet. A total of 12 to 20 positions are used, spending 3 to 5 minutes at each location on the body, up to a total treatment time of anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes.
Efficacy is the ‘capacity to produce a desired effect or result’, in other words, the effectiveness of something; and the efficacy of reiki is in serious debate…
A systematic review of randomised clinical trials conducted in 2008 did not support the efficacy of reiki or its recommendation for use in the treatment of any condition.
Reiki teachings claim that by way of an attunement process, carried out by a reiki master, anyone can gain access to an inexhaustible, universal “life force” spiritual energy, that can be used to induce a healing effect. However, claims for such energy have no known theoretical or biophysical basis.
The National Council Against Health Fraud suggests that any clinical effect of reiki may be due to suggestion (the placebo effect), and reiki has been labelled as a “feel-good” therapy, where recipients themselves do not expect any significant healing effects.