What is Reiki and how does it work?
Many people will have heard of Reiki without actually knowing and understanding what it is and what it involves, let along how it might help people on a day-to-day basis.
It's one of those New Age, hippy treatments you might join in with on team-building trips and have a good giggle about afterwards, right? Well actually, Reiki is an ancient technique that has helped many people and continues to do so, even if they are not particularly spiritual in the first place.
What exactly is Reiki?
So, what is the basis of this ancient practice? It is based on the belief that human beings have a life force flowing through them that nourishes the organs and cells to support them in their functioning. Rather than being a physical substance such as blood, it is more akin to a pulsating energy.
However, negative thoughts, feelings and events can disrupt this energy flow, causing blockages and leading to dips in wellbeing and perhaps even physical illness.
For example, we knew one Reiki recipient who had suffered the loss of a close family member, then went on to experience two separate injuries and a particularly nasty bout of illness, all within a year. Of course, this may have been coincidental, but it does seem to suggest that the build-up of pent-up grief had disrupted her immune system and led to weaknesses in particular parts of the body.
Reiki flows through the body and causes the energy flow to vibrate, resulting in the negativity being broken up and carried away. This clears the pathways and allows the person's life force to flow naturally again.
Where does Reiki energy come from?
To clear up this matter straight away, Reiki is not a religion and you don't need to worry about your beliefs being affected by having a session. The energy simply comes from a higher power than our physical world and can be channelled by an experienced practitioner.
In addition, contrary to popular belief that it is linked to the dark arts, Reiki can never do harm. It simply enters the recipient's body, adjusts to their energy field and then leaves again. They are never negatively affected, nor is the practitioner; indeed, quite the opposite, as both should feel a sense of wellbeing afterwards.
Reiki also will not clash with existing medical or psychological treatments. Of course, that's not to say that it is an alternative to either of these – unfortunately, Reiki's efficacy is not so strong that it can act as a sort of ray-gun against cancerous tumours or other serious illnesses. However, it's perfectly OK to have a few sessions while you're undergoing existing therapies.
It might even help you to deal with any side effects or issues with wellbeing that you're experiencing as a result of these.
How exactly does Reiki work and what happens in a session?
When you book a Reiki session, you can either go to the practitioner's home or they can come to you. In some cases, you might also be able to have a session from a distance, although this is usually easier if you have met your practitioner before.
You will usually lie on what looks like a beauty therapist's table, but Reiki can also be performed while you are sitting or standing.
The practitioner – who is actually referred to as a Reiki Master – will then place their hands just above your body in a series of set positions to correspond with your chakras. There is no need for them to actually touch you – simply having their hands near you is sufficient.
Each position is maintained for between three and ten minutes while the energy flows from the Master's hands into your body. The length of time depends on your individual needs – the Master will know when it's time to move on.
How does it feel?
The effects of Reiki are typically very subtle, so don't go into a session expecting to feel as though you have been electrically charged. However, you should experience a sense of serenity and an improvement in your general wellbeing.
It is sometimes possible to feel the negativity flowing from you at a certain point. Returning to the recipient we mentioned earlier, she reported feeling a tingling sensation in her feet as the Reiki Master worked on her lower body – could this have been the negativity associated with the injury leaving her body?
The Master will usually report any areas which felt particularly 'clogged up' after the session is over and it's amazing how often these are uncannily accurate, even if the recipient has not notified their Master to start with.
As negativity is banished and positivity is restored, the recipient should leave feeling deeply relaxed, peaceful and more balanced in their outlook on life.
Where can I find a Reiki Master?
There will be many Reiki Masters in your local area, so take a look in classified ads and ask around in alternative lifestyle stores. Make sure they have received attunement from their own tutor first and always check factors like price before you attend a session.
Some Reiki Masters will work for free, while others are not really Masters at all and are simply out to take people for a ride. Avoiding these should ensure you have a positive Reiki session and leave the treatment room feeling the many benefits it can offer you.