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What Is Reiki? All Info [Meaning & Explanation]

What Is Reiki? All Info [Meaning & Explanation]

What is Reiki, how exactly does it work, how did it originate and what about scientific evidence? In this article you will find a meaning and an explanation about Reiki. Read along…

What exactly is Reiki?

Reiki is a form of alternative therapy usually referred to as ‘ energy healing ‘ or simply ‘healing’. Energy healing has been used in various forms for centuries. Proponents say it has an effect through the energy fields around the body.

It originated in Japan  in the 20th century and is said to allow the transfer of universal energy through the palms of the practitioner to the patient. It is also referred to therein as palm healing or hands-on healing.

In Reiki, the practitioner transfers energy by placing his hands over or on the patient.

Some facts about Reiki

  • Reiki is a form of energy therapy.
  • It is about the transfer of energy by placing hands on the body.
  • Proponents say it can treat many ailments and emotional states.
  • Small studies show that Reiki can slightly reduce pain, but no research has shown that it is effective in the treatment of diseases.
  • Some hospitals in America and Europe offer Reiki, but insurance rarely covers it.
  • The word “Reiki” means “mysterious atmosphere, a wonderful sign”. It comes from the Japanese words “rei” (universal) and “ki” (life energy).
  • Despite skepticism in some quarters, its popularity is growing. A 2007 study found that in the United States, 1.2 million adults tried Reiki or a similar therapy at least once in the previous year. More than 60 hospitals in the US are said to provide Reiki services to patients.

The origin of Reiki

reiki explanation

Energy healing has been around for thousands of years. The current form of Reiki was first developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui, who is said to have taught the Reiki method to 2,000 people during his lifetime. The practice spread to the US via Hawaii in the 1940s, and then to Europe in the 1980s.

How exactly does Reiki work?

Energy blockages can develop in the body after physical injury or emotional pain. Over time, these energy blockages can cause illness.

Energy medicine aims to help this flow of energy flow again and remove blockages in a similar way to acupuncture or acupressure.

This can allow relaxation, reduce pain, speed healing, and reduce other symptoms of illness.

What Happens in a Reiki Session?

Reiki is best performed in a quiet environment, but it can be performed anywhere. The patient will be seated in a comfortable chair or on a table, fully clothed. There may be music or not, depending on the patient’s preference.

The practitioner places his hands lightly on or over specific parts of the head, limbs and trunk using different hand shapes for 2 to 5 minutes. The hands can be placed on 20 different parts of the body.

If there is a particular injury, such as a burn, the hands can be held just above the wound.

While the practitioner holds his / her hands lightly on or over the body, the energy transfer takes place. During this time, the practitioner’s hands may be warm and tingly. Each hand position is held until the practitioner feels that the energy is flowing enough.

When the practitioner feels that the heat, or energy, has diminished in his hands, he / she will remove his hands and place them over another part of the body.

Some Reiki techniques

reiki meaning

The techniques in question have names such as:

  • Centering
  • Beaming
  • Clearing
  • Removing harmful energies
  • Bringing in new energies
  • Smoothing and raking the aura

What is Remote Reiki?

Some Reiki practitioners will make use of crystals and chakra healing wands, as they believe these tools can facilitate healing or protect a home from negative energy.

However, Annie Harrington, President of the Reiki Federation of the United Kingdom told Medical News Today:

“Reiki does not rely on any instrument other than the practitioner. We do not use crystals, powders or wands as a general rule. However, one of the benefits of Reiki healing is remote healing (where Reiki is sent over several kilometers), many practitioners use crystals to help with the energy vibrations ”.

How long does Reiki last?

Sessions can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes. The number of sessions can vary depending on what a client wants to achieve. Some clients prefer one session, while others take a series of sessions to work on a particular topic.

Health benefits

Reiki may contribute to relaxation, aid in the body’s natural healing processes and develop emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

People who receive Reiki describe it as “intensely relaxing”.

It is also said to help people deal with difficulties, relieve emotional stress and improve general well-being.

According to practitioners, these healing effects are achieved by channeling the universal life force energy known as qi, pronounced “chi”. This is the same energy that is involved in, for example, tai chi practice. This energy would permeate the body.

Reiki experts point out that while this energy is not measurable by modern scientific techniques, it can be felt by many who tune in to it.

Reiki’s Healing Power: What is the Evidence?

reiki what is it

There is some controversy about Reiki as it is difficult to prove its effectiveness by scientific means. However, many people who receive Reiki say it works – so there is anecdotal evidence from personal cases.

As Reiki grows in popularity, questions remain.

Reiki claims to allow relaxation, reduce pain, speed healing, and improve some symptoms, but few research findings support specific health benefits. Reiki has been criticized for claiming to cure illness without scientific evidence. Some have described the claims as fraudulent.

Critics say Reiki contradicts our current understanding of the laws of nature. Proponents answer that the benefits of wellness and less stress are real, but difficult to measure with a scientific study.

Scientists note that high-quality research on the effectiveness of Reiki is lacking. No research to date has shown it to be more effective than a placebo.

Meanwhile, a study published in BMC Nephrology  has suggested that patients can benefit from using the “healing touch” and that it may be worthwhile, especially when offered for free by volunteers. Pain relief may be mild, but it is harmless and makes patients feel that they are doing “something” themselves to relieve their pain.

Is Reiki Harmful? Can Reiki Be Dangerous? Are there any side effects with a Reiki treatment?

The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that Reiki “has not clearly demonstrated that it is useful for any health-related purpose.” However, they add that it does not appear to have any harmful effects.

The main concern seems to be that people with serious health problems would choose Reiki and other complementary therapies instead of the crucial modern medicine they sometimes need. However, using Reiki alongside other treatments is unlikely to be  dangerous.

Reiki is not an alternative treatment for medical problems, but a complementary therapy that can aid in healing and increase a sense of well-being. It is always best to discuss alternative therapies with a doctor first.

Reiki experiences

According to the University of Minnesota, patients who have undergone a Reiki session can say:

  • “I feel very refreshed and I can think more clearly.”
  • “I can’t believe how hot your hands got!”
  • “I feel even more relaxed than after a massage”.
  • “My headache is gone.

Cancer patients with Reiki say they feel better afterwards. This could be because it helps them relax. According to Cancer Research UK, another reason could be that the therapist spends time with the patient and touches him / her. This has a calming effect on patients who may be overwhelmed by therapy, anxiety and stress.

The 5 Reiki Symbols

Reiki hand positions poster

On Pinterest you can find different posters with the 20 hand positions of Reiki.

Reiki treatment costs

There are no universally determined costs for a Reiki treatment. It can already be done by volunteers or by Reiki practitioners who charge 30 to 500 euros per session.

Reiki courses: this is how you can learn Reiki

Within Reiki there is a fixed curriculum that is divided into a Reiki 1 course and a Reiki 2 course.

The first Reiki degree is a course full of energy that teaches you how to use Reiki through the laying on of hands for yourself and others.

Most students also follow the second degree, in which you continue to grow with Reiki by working with the symbols. With this you can also give Reiki from a distance, and apply the healing energy consciously and powerfully to blockages.

On your luck!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!

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