Reiki – A therapy rooted in Eastern traditions
Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing, a type of alternative medicine.
Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing through which a “universal energy” is said to be transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.
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Origin of the Reiki practice
Reiki is a traditional therapy with its roots in Buddhist and Eastern traditions. It is described by Miles and True as an indigenous healing system, which rebalances the human biofield and supports self-healing and resistance to stress. Japanese in origin, Reiki is translated as Universal Life Energy.
It is described as being 2500 years old, and that it was Dr. Mikaeo Usui who rediscovered it in the early 20th century who then taught Dr. Chujiro Hayashi who standardized it.
Overview of the Reiki practice
Reiki’s foundations are within a holistic perception of the person and of health being based on integration of mind, body, and spirit.
It is now an established complementary therapy in which practitioners must receive both training and attunement from established masters in the tradition, and thus cannot be learned from a book . It is a form of light touch which transmits essential life force, “chi,” “ki” or Tao.
In traditional Chinese culture and the East Asian cultural sphere, qi, also ki or ch’i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity.
Literally meaning “vapor”, “air”, or “breath”, the word qi is often translated as “vital energy”, “vital force”, “material energy”, or simply as “energy”.
Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts. The practice of cultivating and balancing qi is called qigong.
Reiki’s teachings claim that qi is physiological and can be manipulated to treat a condition.
However since the existence of qi has not been established by medical research, reiki is classified by science as a pseudoscientific theory based on metaphysical concepts.
Singing Bowls in Reiki practices
Reiki practitioners sometimes use a singing bowl or a gong as a complementary therapy to enhance the Qi with vibrations.
The tune of the singing bowl varies according to its size. Different tunes will produce different vibrations.
During this kind of therapy the participant is lying down on the floor, with the bowls in one of several configurations:
- on different points on the body
- around the body
- around the room (if there are multiple people doing the therapy)
The practitioner will then use mallets to strike or circle the bowls in a particular sequence, creating sound and vibrations.
The benefits of Reiki
Clinical research does not show reiki to be effective as a treatment for cancer or diabetic neuropathy therefore it should not replace conventional medical treatment.
It does not claim to specifically manage emotions, but emotional balance and healing is part of its holistic effects.
The aim is to rebalance the vibrational field of the individual at the subtlest level, which enhances health and immune function and is also associated with an increase in endorphins.
As endorphins enhance positive mood as “nature’s happy chemicals,” the release of endorphins could be one of the ways in which Reiki might benefit emotional wellbeing.
Other ways it might enhance emotional balance and wellbeing might include through the reduction of stress, and the reduction of the impact of stress on the body.
The singing bowl therapy more generally can reduce the production of stress hormone cortisol. When the levels of cortisol are lowered the participant might feel more relaxed.
Glossary of terms
This is as glossay of terms related to the practice of Reiki.
Reiki share, also known as Reiki circle or exchange, is a gathering of Reiki believers who participate in group Reiki treatments on each other. The main purpose for the Reiki share is to give and receive Reiki in a casual atmosphere of friendship, honor, positive energy and devotion. Reiki shares usually last a few hours or they can be all-day events. The gatherings are often free or the host may ask for a small donation.
The seven rays is a concept that has appeared in several religions and esoteric philosophies in both Western culture and in India since at least the sixth century BCE. They are also known as chohans or angels from heaven.
The Critical Eye
The Critical Eye is a Discovery Science Channel documentary series examining pseudoscientific and paranormal phenomena. The eight-part documentary series aired from October 2002 through February 2003 and was hosted by actor and scientific skeptic William B. Davis.