What is a Reiki?


Last Updated on September 12, 2022

Reiki is a palm healing technique that promotes your body’s health and wellbeing. People who undergo the therapy do it to reduce pain, anxiety, and fatigue. Reiki doesn’t heal health problems directly, but practitioners consider it an alternative or complementary approach to healing.

How Does Reiki Work?

According to practitioners, physical injury or emotional pain causes energy to stagnate within the body. These energy blockages contribute to the body’s response to physical and mental illness.

Reiki treats these symptoms and emotional states. This technique doesn’t achieve this by scientific ways, but by complementary approaches.

Practitioners facilitate this form of spiritual healing by stimulating light touches from their palms to the patient’s body parts. This encourages the body to undergo an emotional and physical healing process, decreasing pain and anxiety and improving general wellbeing.

What Does Reiki Treat?

There are many health benefits when a patient undergoes the Reiki healing process.

1. It Relieves Physical Pain

A 2015 study explained that people with cancer found that distant Reiki, on top of medical care, reduced levels of pain and fatigue. 

Furthermore, a 2018 study showed promising merit to Reiki as a cost-effective solution to back pains. The therapy treatment successfully relieved people with herniated disk’s lower back pain.

2. It Treats Depression

A study by Ph.D. holders showed that Reiki showed improvements in physical symptoms, wellbeing, and overall mood of its participants. They’ve also been reported to feel relaxed and more focused too.

3. It Boosts Mood

A University of London study surveyed people who had six half-hour sessions over two to eight weeks. The results reported that Reiki participants had a much better mood overall compared to non-participants. 

4. It Improves Quality of Life

Researchers conducted a study that showed how Reiki helped improve the quality of life with women battling cancer. There were reports of improved sleep patterns, depression levels, and self-confidence in these women. They felt more calm and relaxed too.

5. It Improves Health Conditions

Reiki could also treat certain health conditions like insomnia, nausea, tension, and migraines. However, more research must be conducted to determine the true effectiveness of the treatment of these health conditions.

Related: What Is Reiki Energy Healing

Is Reiki Backed by Scientific Evidence?

alternative form of therapy

This form of herapy gently taps into the parasympathetic nervous system to ease the mind and body. The parasympathetic nervous system is a crucial part of the entire autonomic nervous system.

See also
What the Bible Says about Reiki

Some people remain skeptical about the unscientific benefits of Reiki, going so far as to call it placebo. But a study by PhD David McManus managed to disprove this. He found that Reiki therapy had higher efficacy in reducing blood pressure and heart rate compared to the placebo effect.

What Do People Say About Reiki?

According to a University of Minnesota study, patients reported a boost in their energy after undergoing a session. Here are some of the things that these patients have said:

  • “I can’t believe how your hands got so hot!”
  • “I think I went to sleep.
  • “My headache is gone.”
  • “I feel more relaxed than even after a massage.
  • “I feel refreshed and can even think more clearly now.”

Individual experiences can be subjective and very subtle. The most common response, however, is the feeling of deep relaxation and a calming release of stress.

The Origins of Reiki

Early Years

A man named Mikao Usui stumbled upon Reiki during the early 1920s. Although its history stretches for many generations, the current version of it is fairly new. 

The Reiki founder Dr. Mikao Usui was born on 15 August 1865 in Gifu Prefecture or near present-day Nagoya. During his early childhood, he was raised like a samurai, through the defensive martial arts technique known as Aiki.

Reiki draws certain resemblances from Aiki through channeling a redirection of energy flow. For Aiki, you negate the power with an absence of muscular tension. With Reiki, you channel your energy towards healing.

In his early years, Dr. Usui was believed to have traveled to many countries, namely the Americas, Europe, and China. There, he pursued further studies of theological and physiological nature, namely Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, psychology, and medicine. 

The Findings

North of Kyoto on the peaks of Mt. Kurama, Dr. Usui trekked for a 21-day practice of discipline and prayer. During that period, he discovered and developed Reiki.

He first used the technique on himself, then he did it for his family too. Against all odds, Reiki miraculously cured his and his family’s ailments.

Soon thereafter, he spread his knowledge to the public. In 1922, he opened a clinic in Harajuku, Tokyo, and treated over two thousand patients over his lifetime. He also hosted many workshops during that time.

A year after opening, the 1923 Tokyo earthquake struck. This compelled more patients from all over Japan to seek after him, spreading the benefits of Reiki alongside it. 

Dr. Usui even traveled to places like Hiroshima, Saga, and Fukuyama to cater to distant clients. Unfortunately, he had a stroke at Fukuyama, dying inPh.D. the year 1926.

He was 62 years old.

Now Dr. Usui’s remains lie in the Usui memorial in Saihoji Temple in the Suganami district in Tokyo.

Etymology of Reiki

Reiki is an originally Japanese term that, when combined, means “mysterious atmosphere” or “miraculous sign”. 

It combines two separate kanji with rei, translating to “universal” and “omnipotent”; and ki (pronounced “chi”),  meaning “air” in a literal sense, and “life force” or “energy flow” figuratively.

What Is “Rei”?

Rei has more additional meanings. According to the Japanese dictionary Jisho, Rei (霊) also means soul, spirit, departed soul, or ghost.

See also
Reiki Sensations and What They Mean?

What Is “Ki” (Chi)?

Ki (気) also means nature, spirit, consciousness, or breath of life etymologically. 

But its meaning has more philosophical depth in East Asian culture.

Ki is a fundamental flow of energy that permeates through everything in the world. It draws its energy from the environment and is the fundamental make up for everything in the universe.

Ki is an unobservable and mysterious force that’s commonly attributed to traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. Although pseudoscientific, this energy has historic roots since the 5th century BCE.

Once a practitioner understands ki flow, they could guide Reiki effectively and provide longevity and stability to their clients.

Where Can I Get Reiki Treatment?

medicine and therapy alternative

As Reiki grows more popular, many hospitals offer it as a form of palliative care. Alternatively, local communities and Gassho centers provide Reiki treatment too. These meetups provide both beginners and enthusiasts valuable steps towards improving themselves through the technique.

However, few regulations exist in this line of work, and anyone can call themselves a Reiki master. As this is the case, do your research and make sure your practitioner underwent proper training and experience.

What is a Reiki Therapy Session?

A normal Reiki session falls anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes.

Pre Screening

You and your Reiki practitioner will meet for the first time. He or she will give you a short brief about the process. They’ll also clear up any questions you have about Reiki.

To make the most out of the session, be genuine and truthful with your problems. Share your symptoms and give them your expectations of the session.

Also, let them know if you have any sensitive areas or injuries that they can’t touch.

Pre Stage

Once you’re finished screening, the practitioner will bring you to a flat surface, usually a body mat or treatment table.

Then, the Reiki practitioner will cover you in a blanket, making sure you’re snug and comfortable.

Usually, gentle and calming music plays in the background to ease your thoughts. The Reiki practitioner won’t initiate any conversation with you at this time. But if you have something that you feel you need to share, you’re free to do so.

Palm Technique

Now, the energy transfer process begins.

The practitioner will move their hands across different parts of your flat body. If you allow them to, they can situate their palms in over 20 different body parts.

For each body part, the practitioner will leave their hand there for 2 to 5 minutes. They may lightly touch you or leave their hands floating above you during this time. 

What You Feel During the Session

As the practitioner performs the therapy, you may experience new sensations in your body. Some common sensations include mild heat and a mysterious tingling. A few people reported having seen unlocked memories, or visualizations of colors and pictures. 

Try not to attach meaning to what arises as this is a normal part of the process. As you feel more connected with Reiki with every minute that passes, these experiences and sensations will deepen even more.

See also
Spiritual Transference: How to Do Spiritual Transfer Through Touch

Sessions can be a one-time thing or run for a series of sessions.

What is a Reiki Crystal?

Crystals for therapy

You can supplement the therapy with crystals or a chakra wand if you wish. These crystals and chakra healing wands add an extra element to help you release emotional, spiritual, and mental blocks. You can also use different Reiki symbols to further open the mind of patients.

Annie Harrington of Chair of the Reiki Federation of the United Kingdom explains how crystals work on Medical News Today: 

“Reiki relies on no other instruments beyond the practitioner. Practitioners do not use crystals, powders or wands as a general rule. However, one of the benefits of Reiki healing is distance healing. This allows many practitioners to use crystals to assist with the energy vibrations.”

Some practitioners claim these crystals assist with the healing process:

  • rose quartz
  • amethyst
  • moonstone
  • topaz
  • tourmaline
  • aquamarine

So if you ask yourself ‘What is a Reiki crystal’, those crystals above are a good start.

Are There Any Health Safety Concerns With Reiki?

Reiki safety concerns are relatively low. As a benchmark, it’s similar to alternative and complementary medicinal practices.

However, be warned. Solely relying on Reiki as a medical substitute for life-threatening conditions may pose danger to your health.

Will Reiki Be A Future Medical Substitute?

Reiki has indeed brought many people to feel in their prime. But to effectively treat illnesses, you’ll need to undergo actual medical procedures instead.

Ann Baldwin is a University of Arizona psychology professor and the author of Reiki in Clinical Practice: A Science-based Guide. She’s an acclaimed researcher with over 120 published articles, a testament to her acclaim in her field. 

Her goal? To bridge the gap between quantitative health science inquiry and complementary healing.

Currently, Baldwin is exploring the health efficacies of Reik connected with the physiological effects of emotional and mental stress.


As a whole, Reiki improves your health and serves as a good alternative treatment for worsening symptoms.

While energy transfer is not a fully accepted concept outside of Eastern cultures, people do heal and benefit from Reiki, even if conducted from afar..

The research shows promise. But there are still many things about the therapy that are yet to fully unpack.

Reiki may help relieve pain and ease symptoms, but it should be complementary to your treatment plan, not a substitute.

If you want to have treatment or therapy, consult your doctor about the best course of action. This is especially true if you have a high-risk medical condition.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Share to...