Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of healing using light touch and hand
positions. The word reiki comes from two Japanese words - rei,
meaning higher power or universal force, and ki, meaning life energy.
Loosely translated, reiki means universal or spiritually-guided life-force
Practiced for thousands of years throughout Japan, China, Tibet and other
Asian nations, reiki was "rediscovered" in the late 19th century by Dr.
Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk and educator, who used the therapy to heal
the sick. In the 1930s, a Japanese-American woman, Hawayo Takata brought
reiki to the West after she learned the practice from a reiki master in
Japan. Today, reiki is used as a method of healing illness and reducing
stress through light touch or, more commonly, by placing the hands near
or above the body in specific positions or patterns. Through these positions,
a reiki practitioner can correct energetic imbalances in the body, improving
health and restoring a person's energy levels.
How many types of reiki are there?
There are two main forms of reiki - direct-contact and distant. In direct-contact
reiki, treatment is administered with the patient fully clothed, while
the practitioner lightly touches designated areas of the body for approximately
two minutes each. There are 13 standard hand positions in direct-contact
reiki - three on the head, four on the chest and abdomen, and six on the
back. Depending on the level of training, these areas may be subdivided
into specific points of concentration. In distant reiki, a patient is
not actually touched, but a reiki practitioner sends his or her energy
into the patient. Distant reiki can be offered with the practitioner in
the patient's presence, or from great distances.
What's a typical reiki session like?
usual reiki session lasts between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on the
conditions being treated. Reiki is usually performed with the patient
lying on a table, and the practitioner standing behind the patient's head.
While performing hand positions, the reiki practitioner may not actually
touch a patient, but simply hold his or her hands one to two inches above
the patient's body.
Different people may experience different sensations during treatment.
Some patients have reported feelings of warmth, peace or tingling. Others
have experienced cold feelings, or an intense emotional release. Some
patients have even fallen asleep while being treated.
What conditions does reiki treat?
Although there are relatively few scientific studies that have documented
its effectiveness, reiki is used to help treat everything from impotence
to heart disease. In the U.S., reiki is typically used not as a primary
form of care, but in conjunction with Western-based therapies. Most often
it is used to reduce stress and tension as part of an overall wellness
Is reiki a form of traditional Chinese medicine?
Strictly speaking, no. Although reiki was originally practiced throughout
Asia, it was "rediscovered" in Japan, and the characters used to create
the word "reiki" are derived from two Japanese words. However, reiki is
a recognized form of bodywork, and as such, an essential component of
Is it safe?
Yes. Reiki is a noninvasive procedure; at most a practitioner will touch
a patient lightly during a treatment session. Because of its physical
nature, however, a patient needs to find a practitioner with whom he or
she can establish good rapport to get the most out of reiki.
How can I find a reiki practitioner near me?
Several state and national organizations offer directories or information
on locating a reiki practitioner. Among the largest organizations are
the International Center for Reiki Training
and the International Association of Reiki