There was a time when alternative therapies were met with skepticism. Some used to consider these forms of healing as pseudoscience, others saw them as a mere placebo effect. But through the years, people finally understood the value of alternative therapies which are now being perceived as the natural cure for the mind, body, and soul.
One form of energy healing that has been generating interest is Reiki (pronounced as ray-key) which utilizes the body’s own life force. It was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. According to Oxford English dictionary, the term comes from two words rei (higher power/soul/ spirit) and ki (life force energy/ vital energy). In essence, it means spiritually guided life force energy. It is said that ki is the non-physical energy that flows to all living things. This specific life force is what separates us from inanimate objects, and it can be increased through exercise, good diet, positivity, music, prayer, meditation, and happiness. We can also get it from the air that we breathe, food that we eat, sunshine, and sleep.
Energy transference is the basic of Reiki practice. Practitioners usually do palm healing or hands-on-body healing to their patients as part of the holistic treatment of the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. A session usually lasts between 45-90 minutes, and patients are asked to lie on a table or sit on a chair, fully clothed. Reiki energy flows from practitioner to the patient, as the former’s hand move over the patient’s body in certain positions.
According to practitioners, Reiki has a positive effect on every known disease and negative condition. But while it is considered generally safe even for pregnant women, it should not replace the conventional care for severe or long-lasting symptoms and health problems that require urgent care.
Energy medicine and its effectiveness has been a constant subject of clinical trials since the mid-1990s. The general conclusion, however, is that further studies are still needed.
For instance, in a 2011 study titled A Randomized Controlled Single Blind Trial of the Efficacy of Reiki at Benefitting Mood and Wellbeing, about 40 university students with depression and anxiety were given Reiki sessions in a span of five weeks. Results showed that the overall mood of those with high depression and/or anxiety had improved significantly while no changes had been recorded for those in the control group.
In 2017, Kramer D wrote an article titled "Energetic Modalities as a Self-Care Technique to Reduce Stress in Nursing Students", stating that through therapeutic touch and subtle energy interactions, nursing students reported to have experienced a reduced physical pain and stress, increased energy level, enhanced self-care behavior, and a much-improved concentration, academic performance, productivity, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal relationships. They also said to have reached a higher degree of self-awareness and, at the same time, gained a greater appreciation of their clinical experiences and the world around them.
When combined with music therapy, Reiki can do wonders to our sense of well-being, according to a study called Effects of Reiki with Music Compared to Music Only Among People Living with HIV. The study, co-authored by Bremner MN, stated that “Significant improvements in relief of pain and stress in those receiving RMG (Reiki Music Groups) were found. At the 6-week assessment, semi-structured interviews were conducted with all participants. Evidence-based data regarding the effectiveness of Reiki will help nurses help patients better manage HIV-related symptoms.”
Aside from depression and stress, Reiki can also be used to treat these conditions: post-operative pain after tooth extraction and surgical operations, cognitive impairment in older patients, and chronic diseases. It also provides patients with pre-operative relaxation and even improves the well-being of Reiki practitioners.
Reiki as a therapy
The human energy field or biofield is the term adopted by medical science to describe the intricately layered vibrational energy field that surrounds and penetrates the physical body. This energy field can be manipulated and channeled. Also, its innate vibrations are in total sync with the earth, emanating a steady, calm, and rhythmic melody. However, this calm rhythm can be converted by violence, stress, loud noise, hatred, and negativities into sharp fast frequencies that make us more aggressive. This is why biofield is said to have a huge influence on our emotions, reactions, and even physical conditions.
The biofield, also commonly referred to as the aura, determines our health level in such a way that it causes dysfunction and illness when the person entertains negative thoughts and feelings as these restrict the flow of ki. On the other hand, it amplifies when a person expresses love and compassion.
In her book Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart wrote that intention has the power to manipulate energy. A negative intention or vibration fuels a negative response which, in turn, creates disease. Nevertheless, the disease can be reversed through positive intention. Relating this to Reiki, it is said that it works well on four aspects of human life— physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual— because it triggers the natural healing abilities of our body. In fact, its effectiveness has been validated by over 1,200 science researches, not to mention the 2000 sessions, conducted in 2005.
Our body heals itself— for how else would the species survive and evolve for thousands of years even without the established protocols of conventional medicine? In Reiki, the practitioners are guided with these five ideals developed by Mikao Usui:
Just for today, do not anger
Just for today, do not worry
Just for today, be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work
Just for today, be kind to people
As they practice positivity and peace, Reiki practitioners share the same vibrational energy to the client. And in very subtle ways, the biofield shared reminds the client’s body of its innate ability for self-healing.