What is Reiki?

What is Reiki? Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It was re-discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in the early 1900s. Mrs. Hawayo Tanaka brought Reiki from Japan to the West in 1938. Reiki is given by the “laying of hands” that has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, the basis for modern-day Reiki may have started in Tibet more than 2,500 years ago.

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words – Rei and Ki. The word “Rei” means higher knowledge or spiritual consciousness. The word “Ki” means life energy. This is the same meaning as in Chi (Chinese), Prana (Sanskrit) and Ti/Ki (Hawaiian). Life energy plays an important role in everything we do. Reiki harnesses that life energy to promote healing, relaxation and a sense of peace.

Everything is made up of energy – including us humans. When the energy paths of the body are blocked or disturbed, the result can be illness, weakness, and pain. Reiki balances and strengthens the flow of energy within the body, which may decrease pain, ease muscle tension, improve sleep, and generally enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. Energy flows through a Reiki practitioner’s hands to the recipient. Reiki activates or enhances a person’s natural healing processes.

Eastern medicine has utilized energy healing for many centuries. This includes cranial sacral therapy, kinesiology, Shiatsu as well as Reiki to name a few. In Japan, Reiki is a course of life that is followed until the end of one’s life. It is believed that Reiki heals physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. There are three Reiki levels or degrees. In Level 1, an individual learns how to heal themselves. In Level 2, they learn how to assist in the healing of others. In Level 3, they learn how to teach others. All three levels are required to become a Reiki Master. Some individuals choose to enhance their Reiki experience by moving through the various degrees while others just receive Reiki from a qualified practitioner and opt never to take classes. The good thing about Reiki is that you have that choice!

In the West, Reiki has been gaining traction over a number of years. Society has been fascinated with any scientific evidence that proves or disproves Reiki. New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Campus conducted one of the first studies ever performed to determine the effectiveness of Reiki treatments on the autonomic nervous system. Their results showed a lowered heart rate, respiration and blood pressure for individuals participating in the study. Today, many hospitals across the U.S. have brought in Reiki practices to help their patients to relax and heal. The Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian includes Reiki as part of their Integrative Therapies Program for children with cancer. The National Institute of Health (NIH) even recognizes Reiki as energy medicine.  This shows that Western society is becoming more open to the benefits of Reiki.

As for me, I knew absolutely nothing about Reiki ten years ago.

Amazing how things can change.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!