Cultures around the world have used the healing power of touch.
A popular method of hands-on healing that comes to us from Japan is Reiki (pronounced ray-key). It is a form of energy medicine whose purpose is to activate the body’s natural healing processes. A Reiki master becomes a conduit of energy, healing energy, which flows into the patient by means of touch. This universal life force energy is called Ki in Rei-ki, Chi (chee) in China and prana in India. If our “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress. If it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
Heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, Oprah’s pal and a long-time a proponent of complementary medicine, recommends that Reiki be used pre-op and post-op to accelerate wound healing. His wife, Lisa, a Reiki master, had this to say about Reiki and other forms of energy healing:
“the next wave of medical advances will be when we come to recognize the body as an energetic system.”
I recommend Reiki as a complementary treatment for insomnia because it promotes stress reduction and relaxation. A treatment can feel like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows all around and through you. Reiki treats the whole person: the body, the emotions, the mind and spirit, creating feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.
How is a Reiki treatment given?
The Reiki practitioner first sets a sacred space and connects with the Reiki energy.
In a standard treatment, Reiki energy flows from the practitioners hands into the client. The client is usually laying on a massage table but treatments can also be given while the client is seated or even standing. The client remains fully clothed.
The practitioner places her/his hands on or near the client’s body in a series of hand positions. These include positions around the head and shoulders, the stomach, and feet. Other, more specific positions may be used based on the client’s needs. Each position is held for three to ten minutes depending on how much Reiki the client needs at each position. The whole treatment usually lasts between 45 and 90 minutes.
- What does a Reiki treatment feel like?
- What one experiences during a Reiki treatment varies from person to person. However, feelings of deep relaxation are usually felt by all. In addition, many feel a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and surrounds them. As the Reiki energy encourages one to let go of all tension, anxiety, fear or other negative feelings, a state of peace and well-being is experienced. Some drift off to sleep or report floating outside their bodies or have visions and other mystical experiences. At the end of the treatment, one feels refreshed with a more positive, balanced outlook.
- What conditions can be treated with Reiki?
- Reiki has had a positive effect on many forms of illness and negative conditions, from anxiety and depression to heart disease and cancer. Even the side effects of regular medical treatments (like chemotherapy) can be reduced. Post-operative pain can be diminished and healing rates improved, reducing the time needed to stay in the hospital.
An amazingly simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. This ability is passed on during an “attunement” given by a Reiki master and allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of “life force energy” to improve one’s health and enhance the quality of life. It does not dependent on one’s intellectual ability or degree of spiritual development. Available to everyone, it has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.
While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It is compatible with all religions and belief systems. People of all faiths use Reiki as a system for relaxation and healing. Reiki will work whether you believe in it or not.
Reiki does recommend that we live and act in a way that promotes peace and harmony with others.
- Safe: No one can do any harm with the Reiki energy
- Natural: No tools or instruments are needed besides the Reiki practitioner, who channels the Reiki energy through his hands
- Easy to learn: in just a few classes
- Gentle: Hands are placed softly on the body
- Intelligent: The energy knows where to go and what to do to help you.
- Holistic: promoting wellness and spiritual connection
Think of Reiki as a form of complementary medicine that can improve most disease states. When I see a Reiki practitioners in action, it reminds me of the physician’s credo: “To cure sometimes, to comfort always.”
Dr. Harrison Graves, M.D., FACEP is our expert in holistic medicine, specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, or insomnia. He is heavily influenced by Ayurveda, the holistic medicine of India, and believes that many illnesses, especially those that are anxiety related, can be prevented with Ayurveda, lifestyle changes, and yoga. In his articles for the BoomSpot, the blog of the online store theBoomShop.com, Dr. Graves provides insight on alternative methods of maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. You can learn more by visiting his website, asktheholisticmd.com.