One of the most common questions I get when I have tables at events is "What is Reiki?" Many people have heard of it, or know someone who gets Reiki treatments, but they don't really know anything about it. Today, I want to share a little bit more about what Reiki is and what it can do.
Basically, Reiki is a form of energy therapy. The Reiki practitioner helps to facilitate your healing by affecting you energy and energy centers rather than manipulating muscles and tissue like in a massage therapy session. Reiki originated in Japan, and has since spread all over the world. Reiki is pronounced like "ray-kee", and comes from the Japanese Rei- meaning spiritual and Ki- meaning energy. The kanji pictured at left are how the Japanese write the word Reiki.
What does a Reiki session look like?
When you arrive for a Reiki session, your practitioner may or may not ask you about any problem areas. Some practitioners like the client to guide them to areas where they are concerned while others prefer to see what they find themselves. If a client mentions certain problem areas, I will generally try to focus my attention there, but will also work on other areas that present themselves.
Most Reiki sessions are done with the client lying on a table, usually face-up. In a Reiki session, the client stays fully clothed unless other bodywork modalities are being used. Occasionally someone will ask about a massage/Reiki session, in which case, a client would disrobe to their comfort level and lie under the drape just like for a massage.
In a Reiki session, the practitioner works by lightly laying their hands on the client, or holding their hands above them. Different people feel the work in different ways. Some people feel tingling, some people feel the movement of the energy, some feel warmth, while others don't feel anything at all. If you don't feel anything, it doesn't mean that nothing is being done. What you will look for is how you feel after the session and throughout the next few days.
Sometimes, a practitioner will use tools to help them. Two of the most common tools used are crystals and sound. Crystals may be laid on or around the client, while sound therapy can mean ringing gongs, playing singing bowls, using tuning forks, or playing music. Each crystal and each tone have vibrations or frequencies that can affect different parts of our bodies. I will talk a little bit more about how that works in the next section.
Reiki is a very non-invasive form of therapy. It is great for people who are uncomfortable with touch, or worried about having to take their clothes off for a massage. You will stay fully clothed and there can be little to no touch depending on what you are most comfortable with.
How does Reiki work?
For many people, the laying on of hands and using crystals and sound to aid in the healing process sounds like something for hippies, or the "New Age" crowd. Reiki is often marketed toward that group of people, and they are often more quick to accept it. However, while some may consider me to be lumped in with that group, I am also very analytical and I like when things can be proven and explained to me, so I also like to talk about Reiki from a more scientific approach.
Reiki is all about energy. It is a scientifically proven fact that all things have energy, and that everything vibrates at a it's own rate or frequency. Humans and many other living beings have several frequencies. Different organs, or body parts vibrate at different rates. We are made up of many different kinds of tissue doing many different things. We also know from basic physics that when something is producing a frequency or sound waves, those waves can be affected by other frequencies or waves. So, when we interact with other humans and living beings, or objects with strong frequency rates, they can affect us. This is why listening to different kinds of music can affect our moods, or petting animals can make us calm, or interacting with other people can affect our moods.
Normally, our bodies are in a sort of harmony, but occasionally something affects our frequencies in a way that throws things off balance. It is kind of like listening to music where one or two instruments or voices are out of tune or slightly off pitch. When everyone is in sync it can be very pleasant, but if one or more elements are off, it can make you slightly on edge. Reiki practitioners find those areas where something is slightly out of tune, and guide the vibrations back into harmony with the rest of your body.
What can Reiki do?
Reiki can help with a variety of physical, mental, and emotional concerns. It is a great option for people dealing with grief or loss, depression, anxiety, or other emotional concerns.
Reiki can also:
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.