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Reiki is a holistic healing art form that originated in Japan and was brought to Westerners by Dr. Mikao Usui, who founded the Usui System of Reiki that is commonly practiced today. Reiki involves the channeling of energy by a qualified practitioner to a recipient for the purposes of stress reduction and healing.
In her book, "Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide," Pamela Miles points out that Reiki is a form of vibrational healing which began in early twentieth-century Japan by Mikao Usui. Usui, who lived from 1865 to 1926, is considered to be the father of Reiki. On a spiritual retreat in 1922, he experienced vibrational energy above his head and felt that this awakened his healing power. He channeled this power through laying on of the hands, first by using it on his friends and family. He then began the process of initiating other healers in Japan, and this practice gradually spread. One of his students, Dr. Hayashi, initiated Hawayo Takuta, who brought Reiki to the Western world in the 1930s.
The function of a Reiki treatment is to heal energy blockages in the chakra system of the body. Chakras are subtle energy body centers. The chakras are often imagined to look like a spinning wheel, and are found in a meridian down the center of the body. According to the International Center for Reiki Training, Reiki heals people who have disruptions in these energy centers by helping the energy flow more freely.
Reiki comes from two words: "rei" and "ki." According to the International Center for Reiki Training, "rei" is generally defined as "ghost" or "spirit," the higher power or energy in the universe, and "ki" as non-physical energy. Reiki, therefore, is thought to be an energy healing which is guided by the higher power in the universe. It is non-denominational energy, and you don't need to believe in any type of organized religion in order to practice or benefit from a Reiki treatment.
During a Reiki treatment, the client lays, fully clothed, on a table or other surface. The practitioner places her hands on strategic parts of the client's body, generally over the chakras. The practitioner acts as a medium through which ki flows, not directing the flow but acting as a channel for the energy.
The effects of a Reiki treatment can be powerful. It can vary from person to person, but according to the International Center for Reiki Training, it is generally relaxing, and can provide a release of tension or anxiety. Some people have visions or report out-of-body experiences. In her book, Pamela Miles reports that many people with serious illness have experienced dramatic improvements in their condition.
Reiki Master Pamela Miles points out that Reiki does not attack disease but rather supports well-being by strengthening the body's ability to heal through better balance. Reiki may not always bring about a cure, but it can bring about a spiritual healing through restoring energy flow and providing a sense of well-being.
Article reviewed by Roman Tsivkin Last updated on: May 7, 2010