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The Psyche of Reiki


ReikiReiki (pronounced Ray-key) is a form of spiritual healing using what is known as “universal life energy,” channeled from the practitioner to the patient, to bring harmony to the recipient’s mind, body, and spirit.  Its origins can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Tibet, and the practice was rediscovered and revived in the 19th century by a Tendai Buddhist priest, Dr. Mikao Usui (1865-1926).  Hawayo Takata, an American of Japanese descent, introduced Reiki to the West in 1937, and he has acquired millions of devotees around the world, becoming increasingly popular in recent decades.

The International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) defines Reiki as a “subtle and effective form of energy healing using spiritually guided life force energy… practiced in every country of the world.”  It is used to address a variety of medical conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, stomach problems, back problems, asthma and other respiratory problems, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and sinus infections.  Reiki is not to be used in lieu of medical treatment but instead as a means to compliment modern medicine and sustain good health.

Reiki is performed by a trained practitioner while the patient is fully clothed and either seated in a relaxed position or lying on his or her back.  The practitioner places his hands on or near the receiver’s body, and there are between 12 and 15 different hand positions used during a session.  Each hand position is held for two to five minutes, depending on the “energy flow” of the recipient, and lasts until the energy flow has been steadied.  The session ends with the practitioner discussing the receiver’s experiences during the process.  Treatments typically last an hour.

According to the website, the practice of Reiki has no belief system attached it, and does the following:

  • Promotes natural self-healing
  • Balances the energies in the body
  • Balances the organs and glands
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Treats symptoms and causes of illness
  • Relieves pain
  • Clears toxins
  • Adapts to the natural needs of the receiver
  • Enhances personal awareness
  • Relaxes and reduces stress
  • Promotes creativity
  • Releases blocked and suppressed feelings
  • Aids meditation and positive thinking
  • Heals holistically

Numerous peer-reviewed studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of Reiki in treating various ailments and promoting physical and mental health.  Research has been performed on both humans and animals to eliminate bias and design control among Reiki recipients.  Results have shown that Reiki produces changes in heart rate and cellular signs of stress-related damage, and was particularly effective in producing relaxation and stress reduction.  One study showed significant improvements in patients suffering from mild depression and stress after six weeks of treatment.

Reiki has also been shown to lessen depression and anxiety in people suffering from chronic pain, though it remains unclear whether this is due to pain reduction or some other phenomenon.  Among cancer patients, Reiki helped alleviate pain, anxiety, and depression, and improved sleep, increased relaxation, and produced a greater sense of well-being.  The effect was greater among men than women, and the benefits remained for several months after treatment concluded.

As Reiki becomes a staple of clinics and hospitals throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world, more studies can be performed and the positive qualities of the practice will become better known.  For now, at least, the judgment seems to be that Reiki is an effective, low-cost means to improve mental and physical health and can be an invaluable source of preventative care.



  1. “What is Reiki.”  na.  Web.  30 August 2012.
  2. “Usui Sensei 1865 – 1926.”  na.  Web.  30 August 2012.
  3. “The History and Origin of Reiki.”  The Halls of Reiki.  na.  Web.  30 August 2012.
  4. Rand, William Lee.  “What is the History of Reiki?”  The International Center for Reiki Training.  na.  Web.  30 August 2012.
  5. Bier, Deborah.  “Reiki Healing and Mental Health: What the Research Shows.”  PsychCentral.  20 August 2012.  Web.  30 August 2012.

Dann, T. Lynn.  “The Reiki Touch.”  LynnDannReiki.  Word Press.  06 December 2011.  Web.  30 August 2012.


By Greg L.

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Filed under: Life, Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: anxiety, asthma, depression, Eastern, energy, energy flow, harmony, headaches, healing, health, holistic, life energy, mental health, Pain, physical health, PMS, Reiki, relaxation, self-healing, sleep, spirit, stress, stress reduction, toxins, well-being

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