Reiki – Energy from the Universe

reiki-energy-from-the-universe-heliopolis-june-2001The following article appeared in the now defunct Heliopolis magazine June 2001

‘Reiki’, a Japanese word, meaning “universal life force energy”, is now the fastest growing complimentary therapy in the world. Originally derived from an obscure, and all but lost Buddhist healing system that combined Indian and Tibetan practices, Reiki was rediscovered at the end of the 19th century, by a Japanese lay practitioner of Buddhism, Dr Mikao Usui.

Usui discovered this healing system in a Tibetan sutra, written by a disciple of the Buddha, 2,500 years ago and developed it as a system for the use of anyone of any, or no faith.

Traditionally, there are 3 levels of training in Reiki. The 1st level is the Foundation level and allows the student to gain experience of the healing system, by working on themselves, family and friends.

The 2nd level is the professional practitioner level, which allows students to take on clients for a fee. At this level, through the use of specific symbols used in healing, Reiki treatments can be done at a distance – in absentia. Reiki practitioners claim that it is just as effective as a hands-on treatment.

The 3rd level – the Masters level – is for those who wish to go on to teach Reiki to others.

Traditionally, a Reiki level 1 or 2 class should take 2 days. This is quite a short period of training, but most of the learning with Reiki is experiential, and a good Reiki Master generally offers support and guidance after the class. A level 3 class can take anywhere between 4-5 days and 2 years, depending on the teaching methods, and tradition of the Master.


The focus of Reiki is a ritualistic process, called an “attunement”, performed by a Reiki Master, with each student. Reiki Masters and practitioners regard this as a sacred and mystical procedure, involving the Reiki Master in elevating the energy levels of the students, and the creation of a channel, through which, universal energy can flow.

Underlying many alternative therapies is the principle that there is a biological life force energy, which is said to animate all things. It is believed that in the smallest seed, it is this energy that makes it grow into a tree. This life force energy is what Reiki practitioners claim to work with.

In humans, this energy is said to flow around our bodies through meridians (or pathways), and the chakras (energy centres). When this energy becomes blocked, illness results.

‘Chakra’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘wheel’. There are thought to be many chakras in the body, but only 40 of real significance.

Practitioners claim that, simply by placing their hands on, or slightly off the body, the Reiki energy, is drawn through a channel within the subtle body of the practitioner, by the client. This channel connects through the practitioners Crown, Third Eye, Throat and Heart Chakras, and then via the system of meridians down to the two palm Chakras.

Since Reiki is drawn by the client, and not given, or “pushed in” by the practitioner, it is not possible to overdose on this energy. The body draws exactly what is required for its own healing.

A Reiki treatment works directly on the Chakras and subtle energy channels of the body, as well as the physical organs. This enables the body to become deeply relaxed, thus allowing its own innate healing potential to come to the fore.


There are no known negative side effects of receiving Reiki, and it can be used with great effect in combination with all other forms of therapy, whether conventional or complimentary. In fact, many people engaged in other forms of touch therapy, reflexology and acupressure, are now learning Reiki, as the quality and effectiveness of these disciplines is dramatically improved, with the additional input of this energy.

It is important to be aware, however, that Reiki can instigate, a sometimes-rapid detoxification process. This can take many forms, and can on occasion, be quite uncomfortable, depending on the initial problem, and the toxins stored in the body.

Toxins can take the form of either physical substances, and also as emotional or mental debris. Consequently, where the root cause of a problem is emotional – whether the problem is physical or not – a great deal of emotion can be released, as the body tries to restore its energetic balance.

This detoxification process, or “healing crisis” as it is referred to, rarely lasts for any length of time. This is however, determined to some degree by the severity and type of problem that is being treated. It has been known for a healing crisis to go on for several months. In the majority of cases though, progress out of illness or imbalance, is simply a gradual road to recovery.


No diagnosis, or consultation is needed prior to a Reiki treatment, as all conditions, whether physical or emotional, can be treated with this energy system.

There is a cautionary note however, as regards broken bones. Once Reiki hands are applied to the body, healing begins to take place. Broken bones should always therefore, be set before a Reiki treatment begins. If this does not take place, then healing will begin with the bones fixed into their broken position.


Very little empirical research has been done specifically on the effectiveness of Reiki as a therapeutic process. As a healing system Reiki is regarded generally with a great deal of skepticism from orthodox practitioners in the West. Healing of any kind has had a bad press recently.Unfortunately, nearly all of the evidence for the efficacy of Reiki is anecdotal. There is a mountain of literature now available detailing individual case studies, and cross referencing does provide a strong case for the effectiveness of this healing system. Clearly though, there is a need for a much more substantive look at the claims made for this system of healing, before it will be given more credence by the medical establishment.

Unfortunately, nearly all of the evidence for the efficacy of Reiki is anecdotal. There is a mountain of literature now available detailing individual case studies, and cross-referencing does provide a strong case for the effectiveness of this healing system. Clearly, though, there is a need for a much more substantive look at the claims made for this system of healing, before it will be given more credence by the medical establishment.


About Steve Gooch

Steve Gooch was born in March 1962 in Rugby, Warwickshire in England and grew up there with his two brothers and sister. He moved to Corsham in Wiltshire and attended Bath Academy of Art, where he studied sculpture and printmaking, before going on to work on projects for the artists Joe Tilson and Nick Pope. He also helped with the publication of a limited edition folio of Paul Eluard’s poetry. Steve moved to London to study for a postgraduate teaching certificate and then worked as a teacher of art in the UK. He gained his MA in Education with the Open University and also studied the discipline of Reiki with his Reiki teachers in Newcastle upon Tyne. His daughter Marianne was born in 1994. For a period of time, Steve devoted himself to teaching Reiki in his hometown of Rugby, before moving to Egypt, where he resumed his career as an art teacher, becoming the Head of Art in a prestigious British International School in Cairo. He continued to teach Reiki, introducing the discipline for the first time to Egypt. He also wrote extensively on the subject for various Egyptian English-language magazines. Returning to the UK, Steve’s son Sam was born in 2004. Not wanting to go back into the teaching profession, Steve took a job as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant and wrote his first book ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom’. It was the world’s first book on that particular tradition of Reiki and is still considered to be the standard reference work on the subject. Steve them moved to Sudan, where he was again Head of Art at the prestigious Unity High School, and built an online living history for the school, called 'The Unity High School Archive'. It was in the process of building this archive that Steve uncovered a major scandal involving senior members of the Anglican Church, local dignitaries, and members of the faith communities. As a consequence, he got to know the head of the Secret Police in Khartoum quite well and then promptly left the country. Steve moved back to Egypt and took up a post as Head of Art in a school in Alexandria. Very much involved in the Reiki community in the UK, however, he founded the national organisation ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’ and became the editor of ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’, and then set up the global ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do International’. He also set up the global video-arts project '12seconds for Peace'. The concept grabbed the attention of a number of big names in the peace movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, and threatened to go viral. Circumstances (revolutions and social unrest) put it on the back-burner. Likewise, a major peace initiative called the 'Global Concert for Peace', scheduled for the summer of 2013, which would have been the world's biggest musical event, also went on the back-burner. Steve moved to Saudi Arabia for a little over a year in 2014, before returning to Egypt to take up a senior management position in another British International School in Cairo. Finally, after a year of professional purgatory in which he realised that there is no such thing as a good British International School in Egypt, he decided ‘enough is enough’ and quit the teaching profession for good to focus on his writing, art and Reiki classes. He is currently living in Cairo and writing ‘The Temple of the Djinn’, which is loosely based on the events that he uncovered during his time in Sudan. He is also teaching Reiki and working freelance for a variety of Egyptian magazines. He misses the UK and is looking forward to spending more time in his home country with his children. He'd also like to find time to paint and make sculpture.
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