Health & Wellness

Introduction to Reiki: Tapping into Healing Energies

Disclaimer: This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

If you’ve ever pondered the healing potential of the subtle energies surrounding us, you may be attracted to the practice of Reiki. An age-old practice from Japan, Reiki explores the realm of energy healing.

Let’s explore everything you need to know about the basics and benefits of Reiki.

Ancient Practice in a Modern Context

Derived from the Japanese words “rei” (universal) and “ki” (vital life force energy), Reiki, founded by Japanese spiritual teacher Mikao Usui in the early 1900s, is an energy healing technique. Reiki is believed to channel universal energy, known as “ki” or “chi,” throughout the body, fostering relaxation, natural healing processes, and emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. The non-invasive practice centers on using gentle touch to induce relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance overall well-being.

What sets Reiki apart is its gentle nature, involving no pressure, massage or manipulation, distinguishing it from other touch therapies.

Reiki sessions, which typically last around 50 minutes, see clients fully clothed on a massage table. Practitioners employ specific hand positions, adjusting the duration at each position based on the energy flow. Sensations during a session may include heat, tingling or pulsing, leaving individuals feeling relaxed and peaceful – some even drift into a restful sleep.

Hospitals around the world have begun integrating Reiki into more traditional treatments, recognizing its potential to complement conventional healthcare practices. More information about the practice is available here:

Potential Health Benefits of Reiki

Reiki supports overall health and wellness in the following ways:

  • Relaxation and Meditation – Reiki encourages a meditative state, which promotes mental calmness and relaxation. This can be invaluable for those grappling with stress-related issues.
  • Tissue and Bone Healing – Post-injury or surgery, the practice of Reiki may stimulate tissue and bone healing, supporting the body’s natural recovery processes.
  • Immune System Support – By optimizing energy flow within the body, Reiki practitioners believe they can enhance the immune system, contributing to overall health and well-being.
  • Natural Self-Healing and Pain Relief – Reiki is associated with promoting natural self-healing and providing relief from pain and tension. Reiki also can be a supportive element for those undergoing conventional medical treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or dialysis. Many patients report that Reiki can help ease side effects often associated with these more traditional therapies.

Reiki’s holistic nature means it can potentially aid in various healing processes, spanning physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms. And although not tailored to specific diseases, Reiki has shown positive outcomes for patients dealing with health conditions including cancer, heart disease, anxiety, chronic pain, infertility, Parkinson’s disease, psychological distress, stress-related illnesses and even preparation for surgery.

What Does the Science Say?

While Reiki’s popularity has surged in recent years, the scientific community remains divided on its clinical benefits.

Some studies suggest that Reiki induces relaxation, reduces pain, accelerates healing, and improves symptoms, especially in anxiety and depression. However, the overall quality of research is generally considered inconsistent, with a shortage of high-quality studies.

In addition, regulatory authorities occasionally have challenged the claims of Reiki practitioners, emphasizing adherence to legal standards. And while Reiki itself is non-contact and generally safe, the risk lies with individuals choosing Reiki as the sole therapy for severe health issues instead of proven medical interventions. Current recommendations center on using Reiki only in combination with other therapeutic approaches, and not as a stand-alone option.

Where to Access Reiki Therapy

Reiki services are now available in more than 800 U.S. hospitals. And some hospice providers in the United Kingdom offer it free of charge as part of palliative care.

You may also access Reiki therapy through private practitioners. But private Reiki sessions, ranging in price from $25 to $100, may not be covered by insurance. Keep in mind that there currently are no formal regulations around requirements for Reiki practitioners. When seeking a qualified partner, make sure to ask about their training and experience, and try to get recommendations from current clients if possible.


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