What is Reiki?

After 10 years of being a Reiki Master I’ve just started facilitating a Reiki Circle, so I’m getting this question quite a bit more often.  Here’s the rundown on what it is, how it can help you in the pursuit of wellness and a life lived out loud, and what you can expect during a Reiki treatment or Reiki Circle.

Reiki is an energy healing modality that originated in Japan in the early 20th century.  It is a technique for relaxation and stress reduction which also promotes healing.  The word Reiki is made up of 2 Japanese words; Rei and Ki.  Keep in mind that when translating Japanese concepts (which are multi layered) to English words (which are pretty straightforward), often an exact parallel in meaning is difficult.  Rei can be understood as the Universal life energy.  It flows through and around everything in existence.  It animates and it binds us.

Its pretty much The Force, Star Wars fans.

Ki is the personal life force that flows through our bodies.  Its known as Chi in China, Prana in India, Ti or Ki in Hawaii, Baraka in Islam.  Ki is an extension of that grander Universal force, in the same way that a tidal pool is connected to the ocean; it operates by itself, but highly benefits from regular influxes of fresh nourishing water from the sea.  To continue the metaphor, if that pool were to become blocked completely life there would suffer.  Likewise, because it is a small system, toxins can foul the water also threatening the well-being of our little tidal pool.

Eastern medicine looks at our physical body in terms of Ki/Chi.  This energy flows through our bodies in lines called meridians, and pools in energy centers called chakras.

I know, you are so smart.  You are already saying, “but Em, aren’t chakras an Indian or Vedic concept…not Japanese.?”

True Dat.  Points to you.

The concept of chakras melded with the Japanese philosophy of Rei and Ki, in the same way that Buddhism made its way into Japan and China from India.  Reiki utilizes some other Sanskrit principles, but that is best saved for a more in depth discussion.

So we have these channels and pools of energy.  Eastern Medicine  says that all disease and dysfunction comes from blockages or misalignment in the flow of Ki or Chi.  When you get Reflexology, Acupressure, or Acupuncture, this is what the practitioner is addressing, and seeking to support and restore.  Reiki restores the proper alignment and flow of Ki in a gentle and subtle way.  Like water, it flows to where it is needed.  While most Reiki practitioners are very gifted intuitively, they don’t need to know or even sense what is going on with you.  Reiki energy does all the work and operates independently of the practitioner; compared to the massage/medical modalities listed above where the practitioner is directing  the movements and energy toward a particular outcome.

Okay. So what is a Reiki Practitioner?

All beings on this planet are given the gift to care for each other using the Universal Life Force energy.  This is why, in belief systems throughout the world, there is a heritage of healing by laying on of hands in some form or another.  So you are connected to and can use Reiki right now. In order to ‘Be All You Can Be” though, you would need to get at least one Reiki attunement.   Imagine a radio.  You plug it in and immediately you hear static, maybe the hint of a station nearby on the dial.  This is similar to how the average person receives and transmits Reiki.  Those inspired to be Reiki Practitioners receive a series of attunements from a Reiki Master in order for the energy to come through better – like tuning in a station on the dial.  A Reiki Practitioner is then a better channel for the energy, as they are permanently locked in to that frequency.  Reiki Practitioners can then do better quality healing on themselves and their loved ones as their ‘signal’ comes through clearer than someone not attuned.

You mentioned laying on of hands and world religions back there.  This isn’t Belief-y is it?

Nope.  I personally find it to be a deeply spiritual practice, in the same way that many yogis find their practice spiritual, but you don’t have to have a lick of belief for it to work.  Reiki is not affiliated with any religion or belief system.  You do not have to pray, or have faith, or be prepared in any way to benefit from Reiki.  Being open and receptive is a plus, however.  Reiki works on plants, and animals love it –  they aren’t operating under any belief systems.  I often say that not “believing” in Reiki is like not believing in electricity.  You can doubt it all you want but that doesn’t mean that the light wont go on when you flip the switch.  Quantum Science is showing us all sorts of groovy things about our nature and the nature of the Universe as creations of light and energy. they’ve even shown that particles of matter can actually be in two places at once ?!  I think its safe to say that if we can leave a little space for the possible around our firm beliefs the awesomeness of creation will delight us every day.

So, what is an average Reiki Treatment like?

There is no average really – there is no set time or way to receive.  You can be fully clothed. Seated or lying down.  It could be part of a grand spa type treatment with chimes and aromatherapy, or as simple as someone holding your hand and sending you energy when you are going through a rough time.  A session might begin with some intentional breathing or a guided meditation, but does not need to.  Reiki requires no contact.  A Practitioner will place their hands over you or lightly upon you, with your consent.  You may perceive a subtle warm or cool tingling sensation, or a feeling of floating, or nothing at all.  There are hand positions that may be followed to treat an area or a whole body; but because Reiki always flows to where it is needed, a Practitioner can simply place their hands on your head or shoulders, and you will get the treatment you need.  After a session most people feel deeply relaxed.  Many report feelings of lightness, like they aren’t carrying as much emotional junk as they were before the session.  People who receive Reiki regularly often observe that they way the approach situations and people, and even the way they are able to love themselves, improves.  Many people have experienced actual healing that they attribute to Reiki.  From vanished headaches to disappearing  tumors, there are many accounts of people who credit Reiki with their physical well being.

OK. I’m interested. How do I experience Reiki for myself?

If you feel strongly attracted to this method of energy work I highly recommend booking a session with a Reiki Practitioner.  At some point description fails and this is one of those things that needs to be experienced to be understood.  there is nothing like having a private session with someone who is prepared to care for just you.  If committing to a full session is too big a leap, find a Reiki Circle near you.  There you will find a group of big hearted Reiki Practitioners who feel so strongly about healing the world that they donate their time and talent so people can experience Reiki.  Circles are often free, or operate on donations.  Several people who wish to experience Reiki will be seated in a circle.  There’s often a short guided meditation, to help people get centered and relaxed.  Then the Reiki Practitioners will move around the circle like butterflies to flowers giving each person a chance to experience Reiki.  Depending on the size of the circle, and the amount of practitioners, you may be able to experience more than one Practitioner’s energy.  This is helpful if you are looking to receive treatment, or attunements – you want to find someone you jive with and want to work with.

I hope this has given you some insight on Reiki!  Please comment with any questions or observations. I love to hear people’s experiences with Reiki.  My practice is in Orlando, Florida and I currently host 2 Reiki Circles a month.  It would be my honor to care for you. You can message me here if you would like to set up a treatment, or inquire about the Circles.

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