Mind Body Connection Energy Healing Reiki

For the average person, the idea of Reiki, a holistic healing treatment that involves energy transference, may seem a bit like New Age mumbo-jumbo. Similarly, because Reiki practitioners candidly tell patients that anyone can learn the basic “laying on of hands” techniques in just a matter of days, the holistic practice might not seem complex enough to be medically beneficial.

However, this decades-old holistic treatment has millions of devotees around the world who insist that Reiki can aid in the healing of a host of ills, from stress to chronic illness.

History of Reiki

Reiki, which translates to “universal life force energy,” focuses on the energy that each individual emits. Practitioners believe that an entire person must be treated – mind, body and spirit. The idea behind this form of energy medicine is that energy from a higher power flows down onto the practitioner and then through the healer’s hands and into the patient. This “energy medicine” can reap immeasurable benefits, according to those who study the practice.

Developed by a Japanese Buddhist monk who embarked upon a spiritual quest, the concept of Reiki came from the several weeks he spent meditating and fasting on a mountain in Japan in 1922. When he returned, he moved to Tokyo and began practicing and teaching Reiki. Students refined and expanded upon the techniques, spreading the teachings of Reiki healing around the world.

Reiki Training

As part of its evolution, Reiki masters have developed three basic levels of practice:

  • first degree: In first degree Reiki training, generally lasting about two days, students learn proper Reiki hand positions by undergoing a series of “Reiki attunements,” the process by which a practitioner passes energy to the patient.
  • second degree: In second degree Reiki training, instructors impart three Reiki symbols that enhance mastery of the practice and enable distance healing. This course, too, takes about two days and can only be undertaken after achieving the first degree.
  • third degree: Practitioners cannot be considered Reiki masters until they have achieved the third degree. This involves further Reiki attunements and the knowledge of an additional Reiki symbol. Oddly enough, this course of learning can vary greatly in its length, from just one day to a full year, because the teacher and the school determine the intensity of the course.

Distance Reiki Healing

One of the more fascinating elements of Reiki comes from the claim that healers can supposedly practice their alternative medicine thousands of miles away from the patient.

Through advanced Reiki training, practitioners learn three special symbols, one of which is for distance healing. During distance healing, the Reiki practitioner looks at a photo or writes the name of the recipient on a piece of paper, then focuses on that image while “activating” the symbol.

Seeking Reiki Treatment

A basic Reiki session runs from $25 to $100. In some instances, insurance companies may cover all or part of the sessions. The entire treatment can take from less than an hour to an hour and a half.

In a Reiki session, the patient usually lies face down, dressed in loose, comfortable clothing. The practitioner lays his hands either directly on the patient or just above the patient’s body, holding each hand position for several minutes. Usually the hand positions focus on the head and shoulder area, then the stomach and feet.

Reiki enthusiasts report a feeling of deep relaxation during the treatment itself, followed by a sense of increased energy, optimism and “radiance” afterwards.

Who Can Benefit from Reiki

Cancer and heart disease patients report health benefits stemming from Reiki treatments, as do those seeking it for less serious complaints such as stomach problems, allergies, headaches, colds and flu. Reiki can be used alone or in conjunction with traditional medicine.

For chronic illnesses, a healer might recommend at least three visits, with no more than a week between sessions. For more general and preventative treatments, practitioners recommend coming between once a week and once a month.

Because Reiki does not involve muscle manipulation or even vigorous rubbing, masters say anyone can be treated, including pregnant women, babies and even animals and plants! Reiki energy attunes with that of the patient, thus never overwhelming him or her (or it).

The Reiki Session

A Reiki session can take a few different forms, depending on your health goals and your own experience with the technique:

  • group treatments: Group treatments can be as informal as a social gathering of Reiki practitioners who take turns receiving the healing energy of two or more members. A group treatment might also involve a patient who requests the aid of more than one practitioner.
  • localized treatment: If a patient has a specific complaint, the practitioner can focus upon localized treatment. For instance, a back injury could be treated with about twenty minutes of focus on the afflicted part of the back.
  • whole body treatments: Whole body treatments generally take the form of as many as 20 hand positions held either on or just above various body parts, including the head, shoulders, torso, legs and feet.

Proof of Reiki’s Effectiveness

At this point, only a limited number of studies have been done to determine Reiki’s effectiveness. Four out of six found that demonstrable physical and psychological progress had been made to such an extent that it could not simply be explained by the “placebo effect.”

But exactly why and how much Reiki actually works can’t currently be measured in medical or scientific terms. The traditional health care industry, while not dismissing Reiki’s possible effectiveness, does urge patients with serious medical problems to seek help by means of a clinically-proven treatment before exploring holistic healing methods such as Reiki.


The International Center for Reiki Training (2008). Reiki, Questions and Answers. Retrieved April 5, 2008, from The International Center for Reiki Training Web site: http://www.reiki.org/FAQ/Questions