Over one hundred years ago, Japanese healer Mikao Usui, along with his master student Chujiro Hayashi, developed the healing practice known as Reiki, based on the principles of a universal life force or energy referred to as ki. Why Reiki?


Reiki made its way to the United States in the 1930s when Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American woman from Hawaii, returned home to Japan in an effort to find healing from mental and physical ailments that manifested after the loss of her husband. Because of the profound healing, she experienced after Reiki sessions with Chujiro Hayashi, she resolved to return to the United States to dedicate her life to sharing what she learned about the healing art of Reiki.

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Principles of Reiki

The Reiki philosophy, of which Reiki therapy was developed, has a foundation of 5 essential principles that lead to healing by balancing the body’s energy fields. All of the principles are based on being in the present moment rather than the past or future. Understanding these principles is paramount to aligning the body’s energy with the greater universal energy, with the assistance of a Reiki practitioner.

The common thread in the principles is the understanding that the negative thoughts and feelings that impede energy flow throughout the body and mind that interfere with a healthy state, originate from within the individual’s own mind and thought processes. To achieve a healthy state of mind and body, the following principles must be the foundation for healing:

• eliminate anger
• release worry
• experience gratitude
• expand consciousness
• practice gentleness

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How does Reiki work?

Reiki practitioners work as a conduit between the patient and the energy of the universal life force. Energy flows through the healer’s hands to the patient’s body to facilitate the balance of ki within the energy field. This invisible formless flow gives rise to health benefits like increased relaxation, emotional well-being through reduced anxiety and depression.

Although light touch is sometimes used, the Reiki practitioner rarely actually touches the body and instead aligns their hands close to the area of the body that is experiencing the energy imbalance. The hands hover over the area and create slight circular or back-and-forth motions while working to release negative energy or blocked channels. This technique is used while the client is laying restfully on the back and then repeated while lying face down. Because there are so many different ways of practicing the healing art, the technique may vary but mindfulness and intention are essential aspects during a Reiki healing session with the practitioner often visualizing healing throughout the client’s body.

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What are the benefits?

The health benefits of Reiki are numerous, and it has been effective in alleviating all types of physical, emotional, and mental conditions. When correctly practiced, reiki promotes relaxation, stress reduction, and symptom relief to improve overall health and well-being. It can bring on a meditative state that fosters healing after injury or surgery or long-standing physical and emotional duress.

People often report a sense of peace, relaxation, and security after Reiki sessions. Reiki has also been used effectively to minimize chronic pain and discomfort associated with conditions like fibromyalgia and inflammation. People with sleep disorders and anxiety issues have also reported improvement following Reiki’s work. Reiki is also used as a complementary therapy in conjunction with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy to help reduce negative side effects. Reiki can also be employed during hospice to help patients release fear and anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of death.

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What to expect during a Reiki session

Reiki sessions are most often conducted at a practitioner’s location that is quiet and free from any outside disturbances. Soft music or tones may be used for ambiance. Alternatively, Reiki sessions may also be performed at the client’s home or outside in a calm and peaceful location.

Different people have different types of experiences during a Reiki session. Patients may experience energy-related sensations of mild heat, pulsing, and tingling at or near the area where the practitioner has placed their hands to focus their energy. A sense of calm, peacefulness, and relaxation are also common experiences during a Reiki session. Patients also report experiencing a greater sense of self-awareness during and after Reiki therapy. Some clients will become so relaxed that they fall asleep shortly after the session begins. For some patients, no noticeable effects are noticed immediately following a session, but they experience a cumulative effect after several sessions that may include less anxiety, improved stress management, and alleviation of pain symptoms.

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