What is Reiki?

25th August 2011

My friends are a pretty straight talking lot and this is the stock question put to me over the years – Reiki: what is it? Admittedly, some of my blunter friends enjoy telling me that it is all a load of bollox, however most are ready to hear what it is all about.

Where to start? Well, there are several aspects to answering this question. Firstly, there is the historical background to the Reiki tradition and its close relations: where did it come from? Secondly, there is the question of what it can be used for and what happens during a Reiki treatment.

The History of Reiki

I am going to give a potted version in the interests of speed. For those interested, you can Google this subject – there are no definitive accounts available as the details on each site I have checked vary. In essence, Reiki is a system of energy healing that originates in Japan. The word “Reiki” has a Japanese derivation and (roughly translated) refers to the energy that sustains all living things. Dr. Mikao Usui had studied the theological texts of several major religions (including Christianity & Buddhism) in order to understand the practice of spiritual and physical healing that is referenced in the religious and spiritual heritage of all cultures. Following a long period of study, he embarked on a 21 day meditation which culminated in, for want of a better word, an illumination. This illumination gave Usui the understanding he needed to practice Reiki and to share it with students. Reiki was not practiced outside of Japan until an American citizen, Mrs Takata, was trained in Japan in the 1930s. Takata subsequently began to train students in America in the 1960s and the system gradually spread from there. It is now practiced internationally and in big cities like London there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Reiki students and practioners.

Just like ice cream, there are now a myriad of different flavors of Reiki, such as Karuna and Angelic Reiki, all of which have built on the foundation of Usui Reiki. What distinguishes the styles are differences in approach, technique and ownership. In some cases, individuals have built up their own brand of Reiki – whilst this makes sense from a business point of view, some Reiki practioners feel that is not in keeping with the ethos of Reiki. In other cases, people have built on the work of Dr Usui to create more developed and refined systems of working with energy. No one system is necessarily better than another; what is most important in each case is the integrity and development of the person working with the energy and the ability of the client to receive the energy during a Reiki session.

Finally, Reiki is just one of many different types of energy healing. I obtained insurance for my Reiki practice at the start of 2010 and was fascinated to see the very long list of complementary therapies that are covered by the insurance provider. A great number of these are variations of energy healing, and this includes: theta healing; crystal healing; spiritual healing; crystal ki; chakra balancing and so on.

What is Energy Healing?

In simple terms, the theory is as follows: you are a system of energy that constantly strives for balance. By “you” I mean the sum of what you are, which includes your body, your emotions, your mind, and (if you want to have one) your soul. You are the sum total of all of these elements and you experience each of these elements to a great or less extent every day of your life. Difficult experiences can create energy blockages in your system. For example, sometimes we are not comfortable experiencing or expressing particular emotions so we repress them. At an energetic level this creates a blockage – instead of flowing, the energy is stuck.

Difficult experiences can also affect us at a mental level by creating (either consciously or unconsciously) a limiting or damaging belief. For example: “I am not loved”, “I am not worthy of (love, success, etc), and so on. These limiting beliefs also create blockages in the movement of our energy, and are often strongly linked to blockages at an emotional level.

How do we know that there is an energy blockage in someone’s system? Firstly, they can tell us that a certain part of their body is stiff or painful. In the absence of an obvious external cause (such as over exertion in the gym or an accident), then prolonged stiffness or pain in one part of the body can indicate an underlying issue which can be explored using Reiki. Secondly, it is possible to sense where energy is flowing in someone’s system and where it is blocked or stuck.

As an example, let’s consider how we are when we experience stress: emotionally, we can be down and prone to worry; mentally we can be on edge and not relaxed; at a physical level we can be tense, stiff and experience stomach problems and other symptoms (headaches; rashes etc). Stress for short periods of time is not necessarily a bad thing, and can be beneficial for people in some situations; however, stress over a long period of time has a corrosive effect on our well-being and this can manifest in ill-health.

So if energy is not flowing smoothly and easily through your system, how does Reiki (or any other type of energy healing) help?  Firstly, it will help your system to release energy blockages. This will happen in the most natural way possible for the person concerned: sometimes very quickly, sometimes more gradually. This is turn will support the physical body. This is because of the connections between our body, mind and emotions.

Secondly, Reiki supports your system’s natural healing mechanisms – the body is very good at regulating and healing itself when it is given the opportunity. However, we usually do not give it the chance because we are too busy, do not get enough sleep, and ingest too many toxins through our food and drink. Reiki accelerates the flow of energy through your system (at every level: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical) and so supports its ability to heal itself, release tension and detoxify the physical body.

So, how does this work in practice? Well, that will be the subject of the next post…..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Mailing List