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What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese word meaning universal life energy.  It is a gentle method of hands-on healing that taps into the energy referred as ki in Japan, chi in China, and prana in India.  The practice of Reiki is based on the teachings of Mikao Usui, who practiced and taught healing techniques in early twentieth century Japan.  Usui was most likely inspired by his spiritual training, including the study of Buddhist healing arts.  Over the next century Reiki spread throughout Japan, and then the world.   

Reiki is not massage, hypnosis or a tool for dianosing illness. Reiki is a techniquw that addresses both chronic and acute conditions, gently and powerfully promoting balance among all the body's systems and the regenerative porcesses of body and mind.   

What is a Reiki Session Like?

To receive Reiki, most people lie on a table fully clothed, so wear comfortable clothing.  Little of no pressure is applied and no oils are used.  The technique is so adaptable that you can recieve it in almost any setting, in a chair or hospital bed, and through casts and bandages.

 Still and focused, the practitioner will simply place his or her hands on or above your head, shoulders, back, chest, stomach, and limbs.  Practitioners routinely follow a series of hand positions, but can place their hands anywhere you would like them to, for example over an injury of other area of discomfort.  The teachings say that universal energy flows, not from the practitioner but rather through the practitioner, to you.  You will receive the amount of energy you need to bring your mind and body into balance.

 Though Reiki techniques appear simple, the effects can feel profound.  Most people experience deep relaxation.  You may also feel tingling, pulsing, a feeling of warmth and comfort, or you may fall asleep.

Results can be subtle.  Some recipients say they feel little during the session, but afterwards enjoy a sense of calm and well-being, and a deep, restful sleep.  It is possible you could experience powerful sensations or emotions during or after a session.  Your practitioner will want to hear about your response to the degree you are comfortable sharing them. 

Reiki in Health Care

Used by a rapidly growing number of hospitals all over the world, Reiki complements medical treatment, psychological counseling and massage therapy.  Reiki is appropriate for patients in any state of health and is eaily practiced in all hospital environments from outpatient clinc to intensive care.

 Reiki is gentle enough to offer support and reduce the discomforts of pregnant women and can help ease the pain of childbirth.  Hospitals such as the Tucson Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Pennsylvania's St. Mary Medical Center have Reiki practitioners available to a range of patients, including those with cancer or recovering from surgery.  Reiki is especially appreciated in hospice care due to its ability to alliviate pain and anxiety for both patient and family members. 

Recent Research

Studies of Reiki show significant reduction of pain, including cancer pain, following treatment.  Patients also report increased feelings of relaxation and a sense of well-being.  One study cited improvement in immune and nervous system function and increased mobility in patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and fibromyalgia.  At Portsmouth Regional Hospital in new Hampshire, surgical patients decreased their use of pain medications, stayed for shorter periods, and reported increased satisfaction with pre- and post- surgical Reiki sessions.