An Introduction to Reiki
Reiki as an Energy Medicine Therapy
Reiki (pronounced "ray-kee") is an energy medicine practice which is said to have originated in Japan. The word Reiki is made up of two Japanese words: Rei, or universal spirit (sometimes thought of as a supreme being), and ki (which is likened to energy).
Thus, the word Reiki means "universal life energy."
Reiki belongs to a domain (area of knowledge) called energy medicine. In this domain, therapies are based on the belief that disturbances in energy cause illness. Energy medicine practitioners seek to improve the flow and balance of energy in a beneficial way.
A Description of Reiki
Reiki is a therapy that the practitioner delivers through the hands, with intent to raise the amount of ki in and around the client, heal pathways for ki, and reduce negative energies. Reiki can be practiced in several ways: on its own, along with other Complementary Alternative Medical therapies, and along with conventional medical treatments.
When a practitioner performs Reiki, usually the client sits or lies comfortably, fully clothed. The practitioner places her hands on or slightly above the client's body, using 12 to 15 different hand positions, with the intent to transmit ki. The hands are positioned with the palms down, fingers and thumbs extended. Each hand position is held until the practitioner feels that the flow of energy has slowed or stopped, typically about 2 to 5 minutes. Some Reiki practitioners believe they are helped by "spirit guides" for proper flow of the energy.
Practitioners perform Reiki most often in offices, hospitals, clinics, and private homes. The practitioner and client determine the number of sessions together. Typically, the practitioner delivers at least four sessions of 20 to 40 minutes each.
Depending on their level of training, people can perform Reiki on themselves as well as on people who are either close by or at some distance away (even at a long distance). In the latter case, Reiki is a type of "distant healing."
About Energy Medicine
Energy medicine seeks to use, for potential health purposes, forces of two types:
* Forces that scientific instruments can measure (for example, forces associated with electromagnetic fields).
* Forces (called biofields or putative energy fields) that some people believe surround and penetrate the human body, but whose existence is not yet scientifically proven. Ki, the life-force energy described in Reiki, is in this second category.
Researchers have been interested in detecting and describing the physical properties of biofields. Some, using certain sophisticated tools, have claimed to detect or photograph differences in study participants before and after energy treatments. However, it is not clear what is being detected or photographed. Others have claimed to detect energy interactions between healers and people they treat. However, these findings have not been validated, and the exact nature of the energies is not clear.
* People give and receive Reiki for various health purposes.
* It is not fully known whether Reiki influences health and how it might do so. The existence of ki has not been proven scientifically.
* The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is sponsoring studies to find out more about Reiki's effects, how it works, and diseases and conditions for which it may be most helpful.