What is Raiki?
Reiki (pronounced RAY-key), is one of the best known healing touch therapies in use today. It is a powerful relaxation and healing practice that reduces tension and relieves stress. It induces a meditative state while infusing the client and practitioner with life force energy. This energy heals the body, mind, and spirit, and balances the emotions. The Reiki System of Natural Healing was developed in Japan by Mikao Usui starting in 1914.
Karuna Reiki® evolved out of Usui and Tibetan Reiki. It can be used in addition to Usui Reiki during healing and sessions. Karuna Reiki® reduces physical pain, releases negative energies from the past, and transforms bad habits. As it heals, it fills the client with a spiritual sense of peace and love. Kwan Yin’s compassionate action and Saint Michael the Archangel’s healing energy are 2 of the energies called upon during a Karuna Reiki® healing session.
Reiki is a non-invasive technique that is done with the client clothed. Since there is no manipulation of the body the technique is perfectly safe. Rei means spiritually guided and Ki means life force in Japanese.
According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP), “Reiki is a subtle and effective form of energy healing using spiritually guided life force energy… practiced in every country of the world.” While often considered to be spiritual in nature, Reiki is not “affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice.”
Who uses Reiki?
Reiki is increasingly offered in hospital, hospice, and private practice settings, applied to a variety of illnesses and conditions. Those who receive such treatments report relief of symptoms from numerous health challenges, including mental health issues. Research shows that reiki primarily helps in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as relief of chronic pain — the last of which can bring on anxiety and depression, or make episodes worse.
Research shows that gentle touch in a safe environment aids stress reduction and pain relief (for example, Weze et al., 2005). Since Reiki generally involves a similar type of touch, the results of Reiki studies often can be confounded by the known impact of gentle touch vs. the effects of Reiki itself. Studies that include sham Reiki treatment groups, as well as those that involve a distance Reiki group, have been important to help sort out the relative effects of Reiki versus gentle touch – or even the effects of the presence of a “therapist,” real or sham.
Reiki is becoming an increasingly accepted presence in hospitals and clinics. (The Center for Reiki Research website lists 70 institutions at the time of this article that include Reiki in their offerings.) It is seen as an effective and cost-reducing method to improve health outcomes and quality of care. Hospital staff, such as physicians and nurses, are adding Reiki treatments to their work. Scientific validation of Reiki’s effectiveness have helped bring this method to the mainstream, where it is able to aid patients in all realms, including those with mental health challenges.