There's a growing number of people turning to reiki for healing, and while their experiences vary (some experience reiki as soothing, some feel warmth, and some feel nothing), there's still some uncertainty as to what it is and what it can do for individuals.
People's experiences with reiki can vary greatly. Image credit: rhythmuswege/sxc.hu
Reiki is certainly becoming more readily available and more commonly used as an alternative therapy. Even a growing number of hospitals offer it as a complement to other therapies.
So what is it exactly and how do you know if can it help you?
The word itself combines two Japanese words: 'rei,' meaning universal, and 'ki,' meaning life energy. Those who practice reiki essentially act as conduits of this energy by placing their hands lightly on or just above the person receiving treatment.
Reiki is designed to bring an ultimate balance to all aspects of a person's being, helping them achieve an ultimate balance. Image credit: Ove Topher/sc.hu
The goal of the treatment is to facilitate the person's own healing by bringing balance to every level of the recipient's being - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social.
It is also thought to reduce stress and relieve pain and anxiety, as it's common for recipients to report improved sleep and digestion, and a greater sense of well-being.
Other benefits, such as feeling more motivated, less depressed, or experiencing relief from side effects of medications, radiation, or chemotherapy, vary from person to person.
Anyone can become a reiki practitioner by attending classes taught by a qualified reiki master. Although this practice is becoming more popularly used by nurses, doctors, and other health providers, it does not require a degree or healthcare background.
The practice of reiki is safe and has no side effects. It can really only help rather than hurt as it's impossible to 'overdose' on reiki. The flow of reiki and how it's used are solely determined by the unique needs of the person receiving it. There is no conscious controlling or directing of the energy by the practitioner.
Choosing a practitioner is easy if you focus on the education and experience of the practitioner. If you're interested in finding a practitioner, ask your doctor, nurse, or other health professional for a referral.
It also helps to check with holistic therapy providers as they may offer it themselves or know of a good practitioner.
You might also be surprised to find that your friends or family may have utilised a practitioner or can suggest one. Once you've found a practitioner, tell them what you're looking for. Ask about their training and length of time practising. Get a feel for who they are and why they are doing reiki. Find out their charges, billing practices, and cancellation policy. Not only is this good information to know, it helps you get a sense of the person.
Chose a practitioner that meets your needs and you feel good about. Reiki therapy should not be a replacement for seeing a healthcare provider for a significant health problem, although, many people benefit by using reiki along with medical procedures and treatments.
Remember reiki does not require your belief, only your willingness to experience it!