What is Reiki?
Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Reiki is the practice of using energy, believed to be the life force of all living things, to relax and heal the mind and body. The practice has its roots in Japanese culture, and the word itself can be broken down to give meaning to the practice. The word Rei, in Japanese, means “universal life”, and Ki, means “energy” - together “universal life energy” is the basis for the art of Reiki.
Reiki is not a massage, or a meditation, but rather a transfer of energy between a practitioner and a receiver through handwork.
Maybe you are wondering, “But what does this mean?” Stay with me…
Reiki is a spiritual practice by nature, but it is not associated with religion. Reiki has no dogma, nor is there any defining belief you must uphold to be able to receive or practice this form of alternative healing.
However, those deeply defined by their religion, find that Reiki further feeds their beliefs and puts them more in touch with their religious experience.
But because Reiki is energy, it is open to interpretation. Call it God, a Higher Power, or simply energy. The idea is that you are able to find a space within yourself to tap into the idea of an energy that is bigger than you - the energy shared with every other living thing in the universe.
According to Usui’s practice, the purpose of Reiki is to help show people how to heal their own spirit by making the conscious decision to do so. It is the receiver’s active participation in a Reiki session that helps to determine the success of the treatment.
Healing yourself sounds pretty cool, right?
Next, how Reiki came to be...Reiki...
During a Reiki session, energy flows from the practitioner’s hands to the receiver. The receiver remains fully clothed, and it is standard practice to have the receiver either lying down or seated.
The practitioner will then place their hands on or near the receiver’s body in a series of hand positions around the head, shoulders, stomach, feet, and sometimes other extremities. Each hand placement will be held over a specific area for 3 to 10 minutes at a time, with a full treatment lasting between 45 and 90 minutes.
Now let’s look at how the energy transfer works with the body’s chakras.
Chakras refer to energy centers located throughout the body. In Reiki, 7 chakras, or energy centers, are used to guide the practitioner over the receiver’s body to help clear any stored energy so that it is able to flow unimpeded throughout the body.
The chakras run along the spine in relation to the body’s nervous system, and each chakra is said to correspond to an organ and bodily function, as well to certain feelings and emotions.
Whenever there is an upset in one or more of the body’s chakras, then the mind, body, and spirit are believed to be out of balance. Reiki works to restore that balance.
Next up, the chakras, and how they line up along the spine…
The 7 Chakras
The seven chakras in the body each relate to a place in the body and a feeling. Sometimes they also relate to an earth connection and color.
Here are the seven as they relate to Reiki:
1. Root - located at the base of the spine and associated with survival, body connection, and a sense of security.
2. Sacral - located at the lower abdomen, lower back, and below navel and is associated with sexuality, emotional stability, adaptability, and movement.
3. Solar Plexus - located between navel and base of sternum and is associated with personal power, independence, energy, and metabolism.
4. Heart - located at the center of the chest and is associated with feelings of love, and self-acceptance.
5. Throat - located at the base of neck and is associated with creativity, expression, communication, language, and sound.
6. Third Eye - located between the eyebrows and is associated with intuitive insight and conceptual awareness.
7. Crown - located at the top of the head and is associated with spiritual connection and higher consciousness.
The Reiki Experience
The experience of receiving Reiki is not universal, because each session depends so much on the energy from and within the receiver, but in general, feelings of deep relaxation are typically felt by all.
Some receivers have expressed a feeling of radiance that flows within the body and around it. While others have even reported sensations akin to out-of-body, or even mystical experiences.
Because the practice of Reiki encourages the release of tension, anxiety, anger, and all other negative feelings, a state of peace and overall wellbeing often attends the treatment.
Reiki is not a cure for disease or illness, but rather a complementary practice in addition to other treatments or alternative practices. It is believed that by stimulating the energy within the body, and helping it to remove negative energies, the body is then primed to work on healing itself.
Reiki is a great addition to health and wellness maintenance and care by helping the body to accelerate healing, cleanse toxins, balance the flow of energy, and to help the client discover the healer within them self.
Anyone is welcome to receive reiki treatments, and to practice Reiki…
It is common practice in a Reiki session to begin with an intention and end with an affirmation.
It is believed that by setting your intention, you create a safe, loving, and healing environment. Your intention might be to be open and accepting of the energy you are about to receive, or maybe is that you are open and inviting to any healing that is taking place. Whatever your intention is, say it out loud or to yourself before your session, and really try to feel connected to it.
As for the affirmation at the end, you are closing your energy session by further directing good energies forward after practice, so think of what you want to carry on with you for the rest of your day.
And as you now know, in Reiki tradition, we close with an affirmation. This one, of course comes from Reiki master, Mikao Usui:
“Just for today, I will let go of anger. Just for today, I will let go of worry. Today, I will count my many blessings. Today, I will do my work honestly. Today, I will be kind to every living creature.” -Mikao Usui
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