The word “reiki” combines two Japanese characters or kanji: “rei” means spiritual or transcendent, and “ki” means energy or vital force. It is most simply translated as “spiritual energy,” and is intelligent, self-organizing, and accumulative in its effects.
Reiki also designates a system of vibrational or spiritual healing that promotes homeostatic balance and greater overall well-being. The Reiki system is gentle and non-invasive, and a practitioner uses a soft, light touch to focus and infuse vibrations into areas on or above the body.
Unresolved or chronic stress is acknowledged as the underlying cause of most physical and psychological challenges. Reiki vibrations induce a reorganization of the physical body system and the bio-field in and around the body. This results in a “relaxation response” that allows the mind-body continuum to adjust and rebalance itself—either immediately, or over time with regular sessions—depending upon the client and their individual concerns and needs.
Reiki sessions are not a replacement for any treatment prescribed by a doctor, licensed health care practitioner, or mental health professional. However, Reiki supports and accelerates such prescribed treatment.
Reiki began in Japan around 1915, founded by Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk, who originally taught Reiki as a system of spiritual development. It was out of this spiritual development that the practice of hands-on healing gradually evolved.
As the word of Usui’s spiritual development and healing practice spread in Japan, he attracted more and more students, some of whom were medical doctors. Through the efforts of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who became a Reiki teacher, codified Usui’s teaching into a system of spiritual healing practice with hands-on techniques and protocols. This is what we know as the Reiki system in the West today.
Most people find Reiki system sessions deeply relaxing—whether in body, mind, or spirit. Reiki accelerates the body’s natural healing processes in trauma situations, and supports general prevention and wellness. Regular Reiki sessions can help reduce stress, alleviate or ease pain, improve immune system functioning, calm emotional distress, soothe mental disturbance, as well as enhance clarity and creativity. Many people choose Reiki sessions to facilitate their personal and spiritual growth.
Reiki sessions are commonly structured in three segments—initial consultation, hands-on segment, and concluding consultation or follow-up.
The length and content of the consultation at the beginning and at the conclusion of a session vary from practitioner to practitioner. The hands-on portion of a session is given on a massage table with sheets, coverings, pillows, and bolsters for client comfort. The atmosphere of the treatment room is typically enhanced with music and special lighting. Clients always remain fully clothed.
There are two basic styles of administering Reiki system sessions or treatments depending upon the training the practitioner received: (1) the practitioner follows the same protocol of hand positions in every session, or (2) the practitioner intuitively combines protocols and techniques, and the hands-on portion is different from session to session.
Not if it’s a genuine Reiki session. Although many Reiki practitioners are experienced in other healing arts, if the session includes or incorporates other healing arts, tools or implements, this should be clearly communicated to you verbally, as well as on a website or in any promotional materials. You can also simply ask if they combine other healing arts with Reiki—and to ensure that your session is a dedicated Reiki treatment, specifically request that of the practitioner.
Your experience can differ from session to session. Sensations that you may feel in, on or around your body while receiving a Reiki session are heat, coolness, tingling, pulsation, wave-like movement or flow. Healing responses during a Reiki treatment may include kinesthetic reactions in your body, emotional release, or an increase in the activity of your thoughts. You may experience a sense of uplifting and spiritual connection.
Reiki first came to the West in 1936 through Hawayo Takata, one of Dr. Hayashi’s students. She practiced and taught in Hawaii, British Columbia, and California from 1936 until her death in 1980. Her dedication and commitment opened the door for the Reiki system to expand and reach people all over the world.
Reiki is increasingly available in hospitals as an adjunct to allopathic treatment to help manage side effects, support the transition from curative to palliative care, as well as sustain patient adherence to advice. Additionally, Reiki is often offered as part of staff care to reduce stress and burnout.
Hospices include Reiki treatment to improve quality of li8fe and ease the end-of –life process. And many not-for-profit organizations that support specific populations, such as cancer, HIV, and disabilities, offer Reiki treatment as part of their services.
Elements of Reiki hands-on practice, rather than full sessions, are often combined with psychotherapy, massage therapy, many bodywork and movement modalities, chiropractic, acupuncture and other traditional non-traditional health care.
In personal practice, the Reiki system if often used in conjunction with meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices, as well as for self-care, and with family and friends.
The four primary areas or emphases in the practice of Reiki are: (1) personal practice, (2) professional practice, (3) public practice, and (4) teaching.
Personal Practice is the use of the Reiki system by an individual exclusively for themselves through daily self-treatment, along with spiritual centering practices. They may also offer hands-on Reiki treatment to family and friends.
Professional Practice is the practice of Reiki system treatments or sessions for a fee in a professional, private setting. Professional practitioners usually have trained in more advanced session/treatment techniques, and in professional skills such as business and practice management, ethics, public speaking, and professional development. Professional practice includes personal practice, and many practitioners in professional practice are also in public practice.
Public Practice is the practice of Reiki in a public setting, such as a hospital, clinic, or hospice, with or without a fee. Public practice includes the same training in professional skills mentioned above under professional practice. However, standardized and simpler hands-on protocols are utilized due to the limited amount of time and access with patients in a hospital or clinic setting. Public practice includes personal practice, but not all Reiki practitioners in public practice are in professional practice.
Teaching Reiki is the fourth primary area of Reiki practice. Reiki teachers are usually skilled and experienced in all areas of Reiki practice—personal practice, professional practice, and public practice—and offer training in the Reiki system.
Anyone can learn the Reiki System—the entry level of training is open to anyone. As someone progresses in their personal practice of Reiki, they may decide to go on to professional and/or public practice. A few will go on to become full-time Reiki teachers, in addition to maintaining a personal, professional, and public practice.
In Reiki system training, (1) an individual’s natural ability to receive and transmit spiritual energy is amplified and enhanced, (2) spiritual centering practices for personal growth and spiritual development are provided, and (3) hands-on techniques and protocols for self and for others are taught.
The Reiki system is about “receiving” spiritual energy rather than “doing” healing. Therefore, daily self-care and spiritual centering practices are an integral and essential dimension of “Reiki training at all levels and in all areas of practice.
Standards and length of training vary widely in Reiki—there is no one national or international standard of training recognized by all schools or teachers. Since standards very from school to school, teacher to teacher, titles such as “Reiki Master” may be the same, but the standard of training can be quite different.
When selecting a Reiki practitioner or a Reiki teacher, research and ask them about their training (how long, how many hours, what level of certification, etc.), credentials, practice, and their years of experience.
Ask them the following questions about their Reiki training, credentials, practice, and years of experience:
When and where did you do your Reiki training?
Over what period of time (start to finish)?
How many hours were required at each level of your training?
Did you receive a certificate? Will it be possible for me to see it?
What were requirements for certification at each level of your Reiki training?
How many years have you been in professional practice?
Do you teach? And how many years have you been teaching?
Who did you study with and what is their Reiki lineage?
Could you describe your personal practice of the Reiki system for me?
How did you get started?
Feel free to ask any other questions you might have about their background as practitioners and/or teachers. Answers to the above should be clear, specific, direct, and provided at the time you ask them. If the practitioner or teacher cannot answer any of above questions and/or is unable or unwilling to provide you with the information, you may want to reconsider using their services.
All Reiki system trainings include Reiki 1, Reiki 2 and Reiki Master. Some trainings have additional levels, such as Advanced Reiki or Advanced Practitioner after Reiki 2 and before Reiki Master. Reiki Master training is sometimes divided into two or more levels, such as Reiki Master Practitioner and Reiki Master Teacher.
There are three general approaches to training in Reiki: (1) an individual apprenticeship with a teacher, (2) structured program with coursework and requirements, and (3) programs that combine structure, coursework and requirements with individualized mentoring.
Legalities vary from state to state, but most states do not require a license or registration for the following reasons: the Reiki system is spiritual healing, has no known contra-indications, Reiki practitioners do no diagnose, and recipients of Reiki remain fully clothed.
In the State of New York, the Reiki System of Natural Healing is classified as spiritual healing and does not require a license to practice. If you are practicing or wish to practice in another state, you will need to research that state’s requirements.
The Reiki system enhances the natural healing processes of the body-mind continuum. It is not a replacement for any treatment prescribed by a doctor, licensed health care practitioner, or mental health professional. However, it supports and can accelerate such prescribed treatment.