Understanding Reiki

June 10, 2010
The word Reiki comes from the Japanese for ‘spirit guided’ and ‘natural force’ often referred to as ‘universal life force’. Although the therapy was revived by a Buddhist monk, anyone can deliver or receive treatment; it is not necessary to subscribe to a particular belief system. The therapy involves a practitioner’s hands being put very close to, or on the patient to boost natural, invisible, energy fields.


The theory behind Reiki is that universal energy supports the body’s healing powers. The practitioner seeks to access this force, removing any blockages, allowing energy to flow and assist healing.

In Reiki the patient is relaxed, normally lying down on a couch. The therapy can also be given in other positions for those who are not able to lie flat. It is not necessary to undress for the treatment, other than removing shoes and restrictive items such as belts and jewellery. Reiki is a holistic treatment, the whole body is treated, not just those areas which are symptomatic. The practitioner gently positions his or her hands in a sequence of a dozen or more positions which cover the whole body. Each of these hand placements lasts several minutes. Some practitioners use set placement patterns; others act empathetically, altering the placement of their hands responding to the patient’s condition and reaction to treatment. The treatment does not involve massage but the patient may experience sensations such as heat, cold or tingling. It is possible that the patient will experience phantom sensations in areas of the body other than where the hands are placed.

A Reiki treatment lasts an hour, to an hour and a half; during that time patients may fall asleep whilst others feel energised. Following treatment patients may feel relaxed, or find their emotions have been heightened; some patients may experience headaches or flu like symptoms.

Depending on the severity of a patient’s condition, whether their symptoms are acute or chronic; the length and frequency of a course of treatment will vary. It may be suggested that treatments are given close together, for example four treatments over four consecutive days.

Reiki practitioners do not diagnose or provide a prognosis. The practitioner will base their treatment on descriptions the patient provides of symptoms and other details about their wellbeing.

Reiki is used for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It can be used to complement other treatments or therapies and to relieve the side effects of other forms of medical care.

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