What is Reiki?

In Japanese, the ideographic characters of the alphabet are called kanji.The word Reiki is made up of two kanji – Rei and Ki . Reiki is a Japanese word. In Japanese, Rei means Universal and Ki means Energy.

Japanese kanji for Reiki

Thus the word Reiki is often translated as Universal Life Force Energy, electrical excitation or aura. This energy is called chi by the Chinese, prana by Hindus. 

Reiki is also a Twentieth Century Japanese system of natural healing and spiritual enlightenment, introduced to the world by Dr. Mikao Usui. Usui called his system Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho , which means The Usui System of Reiki Healing.

 Dr. Usui traveled all over Japan practicing Reiki healing, and taught over 2000 students in his lifetime. He died March 9, 1926.

Today millions of people around the world have experienced the benefits of Reiki.

Dr. Mikao Usui, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Mikao Usui

Since Dr. Usui’s death, a holistic approach to health has opened Western minds to the ancient arts of Eastern energy healing as practiced in the Ayurvedic, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese traditions.

Yoga, meditation, t’ai chi, martial arts, acupuncture, Chinese and Tibetan herbal medicine, homeopathy and more recently Reiki, have brought us new perspectives on health and wellness.

We now know that the flow of energy in our spine, and throughout our bodies, may be just as important to our health as the strength of our bones and muscles.

“Health, according to the energy model, is the harmonious flow of life energy, while imbalances in this flow (due to unhealthy habits) result in illness,” says Dr. Andrew Weill in his bestselling book, "Spontaneous Healing".

"The prana in the human body flows along subtle channels, known in Sanskrit as nadis," explains Shri Anandi Ma. Ma is a world famous Guru in a Kundalini Maha Yoga lineage, and teaches in America and India along with her husband, Dileepji Patak, who is also a Shaktipat Guru.

"It is said that there are 72,000 nadis in the human system, which extend in every anatomical region," Ma and Dileepji explain in the liner notes to their beautiful CD Healing Mantras. 

Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji Patak in the Swiss Alps

Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji Patak in the Swiss Alps, 2012

"Like branches, they flow into a central "trunk" called the shushumna. The shushmna lies within the spinal cord and runs from the base of the spine to the top of the head. It is the center of the pranic flow in the human system."

"Inside the shushmna are seven major intersections where large groups of nadis flow together," Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji continue. "These seven junctions, known as chakras (literally, 'wheels'), serve to regulate all pranic flow in the human system."

"Nadis and chakras are not physical entities," say Ma and Dileepji, "but subtle structures that are very sensitive to the vibrations of prana."

Reiki practitioners balance and fine-tune this complex system of subtle energy pathways and circuits that nourish the body and equilibrate mind, body and emotions.

Reiki energy replenishes both the physical body and the subtle body, called the aura, with a strong flow of Universal Life Force Energy.

Kirlian Photo of Human Aura, Courtesy Wikipedia

Kirlian Photo of Meditator in Lotus Position
Emmanuel HEREDIA, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reiki energy treatments optimize the chakra system and strengthen the meridians and the nadi system that transmits energy throughout the human energy field and the body, enhancing the flow of energy throughout, improving the body’s immune system and natural healing ability.

Reiki treatments can reduce the imbalances in the flow of prana, and restore a healthy, strong flow of energy throughout the human body and aura. This is the basis for all energy healing, including Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic (Hindu) medicine, shamanic healing, and healings done through the power of prayer and other spiritual practices.

We are available for Zoom consultations and distance Reiki during the pandemic. Click the link to schedule a session.

What Happens in a Reiki Session?

In a typical Reiki session, the client lies down on a Reiki table, surrounded by soft lighting and meditation music. The practitioner tunes into the Reiki energy and the energy passes to the client by a light touch or from the practitioner’s hands at a distance of a few inches over the skin. The recipient draws the energy from the practitioner into his or her body.

Reiki recipients normally experience a warm supportive flow of energy, which can be felt as a tingling in the body, a relaxation of muscles and mind, and a profound sense of tranquility.

Each person’s experience of Reiki is different. Some people experience flashes of insight, perhaps understanding the reason why they chose to experience their dis-ease. Others contact inner spiritual guidance in the form of visions, insights and imagery. Some find old wounds, fears and long-ago memories rising to the surface, followed by a cathartic release.

Those with physical pain may experience a temporary increase in discomfort as the healing process is accelerated. In such cases the problem appears to worsen, but this is a temporary condition, followed by steady improvement.

Many people wonder if they must “believe” in Reiki energy for treatment to be effective. Reiki is not in any way affected by a person’s belief system. Reiki is not a psychological technique.

The Reiki recipient does have an important role to play in the treatment regimen, however. Reiki adjusts itself to the needs of the person, whose intent, conscious and unconscious, helps guide the Reiki energy to do its work. The recipient must first of all ask for the healing, and must have an intent to experience healing. In many cases, the recipient cannot achieve progress if they do not want to let go of their dis-ease, no matter how much Reiki energy they receive.

The medical profession has discovered that Reiki is a beneficial complementary therapeutic modality when used in combination with Western medicine.

 Dr. Andrew Weil, Courtesy Wikimedia

Dr. Andrew Weil discusses breathing techniques, July 1, 2015
MU'ammar makkulawue, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Reiki . . . is most often used as an adjunctive treatment for acute or chronic pain,” explains Dr. Andrew Weill. “One study showed that patients experiencing pain from a variety of conditions found that their pain levels were significantly lowered following a Reiki session. Reiki is also used to reduce anxiety in patients who are preparing for surgery.”

Further research studies have shown that Reiki speeds wound healing time, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and is effective as part of a regimen to manage pain. A recent survey of American hospitals by the International Association of Reiki Practitioners indicates that hundreds of hospitals now use Reiki for its therapeutic benefits both pre and post-surgery, and for those suffering from stress and other disorders.

Reiki can be used to relieve symptoms of asthma, allergies, arthritis, back problems, and migraine, to promote healing, relieve fear and stress, lower blood pressure, and energize depressed patients and those with symptoms of fatigue.

Reiki can also be beneficial in releasing emotional blockages that prevent the healthy flow of universal life force energy throughout body, mind and aura.

Reiki is not a religion, nor is it a New Age practice. Reiki is used by practitioners of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Shintoism, Native American shamanism and Hinduism, and is a spiritual practice and healing modality that can be used effectively by practitioners and recipients of any religion.

Reiki tradition tells us that Tibetan monks, Japanese Zen practitioners and New Age seekers have all used Reiki and similar energy healing techniques to increase the ability to meditate deeply for prolonged periods of time.

Reiki treatments can induce spontaneous recall of past lives and spontaneous contact with inner spiritual guidance. Reiki can also be used to remove unwanted attachments to people who exert a negative influence on us, either consciously or unconsciously.

Click here if you'd like to schedule a session or see a menu of reiki services.

Reiki: A Mountain Lake

Reiki energy can be compared to a beautiful, lucid, clear mountain lake that feeds all beings on the mountainside and in the valleys below.

Adirondack Mountain Lake, photo by Jane Sherry

Adirondacks Mountain Lake, photo by Jane Sherry

Imagine first that your body is a small pond connected to a beautiful garden on a mountainside. Your body is mainly liquid, you know, and you are connected to the Earth, the garden around you. Your existence is interdependent with that of the garden.

Unfortunately, the pond has become polluted by environmental toxins from nearby farms using chemical pesticides, by mud, which has collected in the canal nearby, and by other contaminants in runoff. The pond is not feeding the garden, but poisoning the garden.

Environmental impurities, traumatic events, negative emotions, the residue of unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and the stress of modern life live on in your body and aura in pockets of blocked energy that disrupt the flow of prana necessary for health and wellbeing.

Over time these disruptions in the healthy flow of universal life force energy can create physical, mental and emotional imbalances. The end results can be illness, allergies, chronic aches and pains, malaise and boredom, paranoia, neurosis, negative emotions and mental misconceptions. These imbalances result in problems of all kinds out in the garden of life.

The Reiki practitioner has a pipe connected to the lake of Reiki, which sits high above the garden and the pond. This lake sits on the very top of the mountain. This lake is filled with crystal clear water.

Adirondacks Mountain Stream, photo by Jane Sherry

Adirondacks Mountain Stream, photo by Jane Sherry

The Reiki practitioner pumps that pure water from the lake through the pipe into your pond, flushing out all the toxins that have collected over time inside your body, mind and aura. Now you are filled with the crystal clear water and can feed your garden.

“Reiki not only heals diseases, but also amplifies innate abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy, and thus helps achieve happiness,” says Dr. Usui’s Memorial inscription at Saihoji Temple, a Buddhist temple in the Tokyo suburbs.

Chakra systemChiEnergy medicineLove/compassionOr universal life force energyPranaReiki