What is Reiki and how does it work?

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The name “Reiki” is made up of two Japanese words “Rei” (pronounced Ray) and “Ki” (pronounced Key). The nearest simple translation is “Universal Energy”. 

Rei: “The wisdom and knowledge of all the universe”, “higher spiritual consciousness” or “atmosphere of the Divine”. The higher intelligence that guides creation and harmony.  

Ki: The life-force energy which flows through all living things.

It is possible that these words derive from “Raku-Kei” which is the art and science of self-improvement used by Tibetan monks, dating back thousands of years. Raku represents vertical energy flow and Kei or Ki horizontal energy flow.

Reiki healing is a natural and simple type of hands-on healing, whereby the practitioner acts as a channel for vital life-force energy. The recipient may absorb this energy wherever it is most needed. A Reiki treatment is thought to help clear energy blockages and balance our energy, thereby promoting healing and harmony in all the body systems and on every level. It works with the whole person and therefore is believed to help heal the root cause of imbalances as well as alleviate symptoms.

Reiki works with people of any religious faith or spiritual belief or none. It may benefit people of all ages and help with many physical conditions. I have found it helpful in relieving pain, in maintaining a healthy immune system and general well-being. It can also simply be enjoyed for relaxation. There is increasing scientific research showing the impact of this kind of healing on the human energy field and at cellular level.

A Reiki treatment encourages the body to relax deeply, which in turn supports any healing process. The energy is drawn in by the recipient’s higher self, therefore you cannot give ‘too much’ Reiki and it depends on someone being willing to receive it (whether consciously or unconsciously). Reiki always works for the recipient’s highest good, therefore it cannot be harmful. Another benefit over some other systems is that the practitioner is simply channelling healing energy and therefore it does not deplete his/her own energy. In fact the practitioner also benefits from the flow of energy! Reiki practitioners can also learn to use this energy to protect themselves from energy depletion.

‘Ki’ (also known as Chi or Qi) is the vital life-force energy that flows through all living things. Many forms of healing and health-enhancing exercise use Ki. It is the non-physical energy that can be accumulated by the body and guided by the will. As far as we know, Reiki is a special vibration of this energy which in most people can only be attained through the attunement process (see Reiki Course Levels).

Reiki treatments are given by the practitioner placing her/his hands gently on the body or just above it. Recipients remain fully clothed and covered by a blanket (the Reiki will pass through).  A full treatment session takes between 30 and 60 minutes. However, Reiki can also be given to specific areas for much shorter periods of time. Every Reiki treatment is unique and people may feel very different sensations – such as heat, cold or tingling - at different times. Many people fall asleep as it is so relaxing.