The 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.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
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.
IS IT SAFE?
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.
WHAT’S IT EFFECTIVE FOR?
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.
WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?
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.