A Japanese Healing Technique: The Essentials of Reiki Energy Therapy

From quantum physics to Eckhardt Tolle, universal energy has become the buzzword of a new generation of seekers. So, let’s talk about Reiki—an ancient understanding of energy.

Recent advances in science have turned our view of the universe topsy-turvy. It is mind-boggling enough to think that there are billions of galaxies other than our own in the universe, but now we are told there may also be many, many more universes other than our own as well and that we live in a multiverse of infinite possibilities!

The sea of energy in which we and everything exists is a constantly shifting world of seeming contradiction and magic. The theories are many, but there seems to be one thing agreed by all – the importance of energy in the makeup of the many universes, galaxies, solar systems, planets and the various rocks and plants and animals (including us humans!) that inhabit this vast world.

So, what does this have to do with Reiki? Read on.

A Brief History of “Ki”

Young woman relaxing during bioenergy therapy session

In the West, we know it as chi, but it goes by many names. For the Taoists of China it is chi, in India it is known as prana, mana in Polynesia, the Greeks spoke of pneuma and for the iKung of the Kalahari Desert it is referred to as num, the boiling energy, the vital life force that is called forth in elaborate dance ceremonies. That vital life force, which is also the “ki” in Reiki, is recognised all over the world by innumerable cultures and has been a part of the human belief system for millennia.

The idea is that we are energy, that we live in an energy field and, in fact, everything is energy. When that energy is out of balance—think Yin/Yang imbalance—illness and emotional problems are allowed to take root in our bodies and the world in general. Reiki is a method to balance that energy, to bring it into harmony and, therefore, relieve the pain that imbalance can bring.

Rei, the first part of the word reiki, can mean divine or guided. Although precise translations are extremely difficult, reiki, simply put, is divine life force that is channeled through the hands of the practitioner for the purpose of healing and relaxation.

Religion, Philosophy or the Ultimate Science?

Masseur holding her hands over the head of the client to concentrate some energy

When I first heard of Reiki energy, I thought it was just some sort of new-age philosophy. It seemed interesting, if somewhat esoteric, so I decided to dig a bit deeper to learn more about this healing art.

What I discovered was a wisdom that was neither new nor obscure. It is a system of touch healing that uses the universal energy that surround us for spiritual, emotional and physical healing and for just plain relaxation.

The system as we know it today was developed by Mikao Usui (1865-1926, Japan), but the idea of reiki energy goes back thousands of years. Mikao Usui believed that the vital life force that surrounds us, that we are a part of, could be channeled by anyone, and the ability to channel this energy is not special to one person or even to a special group of people. It is available to all and the technique can be learned by anyone through attunement by a Reiki Master.

The concept of “laying on of hands” is not unique to Reiki. Many of us have surely heard of or even seen the practice with family or friends, in churches and ceremonies both christian and non-christian.

We, as humans, love touch. It is soothing and calming and always welcomed. Proponents of Reiki believe that the Universal Life Force that is in and around us can be intentionally channeled to bring about healing and relaxation as well as spiritual growth. Although it speaks of the spirit, Reiki is not attached to any particular religious system, so it is not a religion.

It is a belief, but is it science? Well, most scientists deny the existence of this energy field—the vital force so important to Reiki—but quantum physics has put the cat among the pigeons. In a system such as quantum physics, where all is possible, it becomes easier to see that ki, chi, prone, num, pneuma, etc. can also be part of those possibilities. Some believed the ancients sensed what we are now on the verge of discovering.

Unfortunately, ‘ki’ cannot be seen. (Yet!) So, how does one explain something that cannot be seen?

How Does One Describe the Wind?

Young woman in reiki session

You know the wind exists – you feel it in your hair, you feel it as it caresses your cheek, you see its force as it moves the branches on trees, as it blows away petals on flowers and sometimes even destroys fields and homes in its sometimes more violent passages. We cannot see it, but we can feel it and see its effects. So it is with Reiki, but on a much more personal level.

A reiki session lasts for about an hour or even longer depending on the practitioner and the needs of the client. During a session, the practitioner uses a series of hand positions held for varying lengths of time to channel energy to the client.

Each person is different of course, but many people feel heat or movement within their bodies; some experience dreams and visions and others just gently fall asleep only to wake refreshed. To know reiki, you must first experience it. Like the wind, you will know it by its effects. Try it and see.

And, if you find yourself drawn to this wonderful, gentle technique, you might consider being attuned. Because reiki is first and foremost a self-healing system, once attuned you can easily give yourself daily energy boosts as well as offering reiki to your family and friends. A simple search on the internet will lead you to many reputable organizations that perform attunements.

What about you? Any stories to share or questions to ask? I would love to hear of your experiences with Reiki or any other energy healing system.

Disclaimer: As with all alternative treatments, Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment.

About the author

Gwen Sampe

Singer, composer, dancer , Reiki master and magician, I live in an enchanted world of sound and movement. From my ledge of space I make music and choreograph a life filled with friends, loves, family, good food and drink.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment