Reiki is a two-factor concept: hand healing and spirituality. Be careful not to mistake spirituality for spiritualism, if I may, Spiritualism “is a system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, especially through mediums.” Whereas spirituality “is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” It is often a vocation pursued by those seeking enlightenment, such as Buddhist monks. I shall try to explain the Reiki concept by separating the spiritual from the hand healing. 

The Spiritual Practice of Reiki

The practice of reiki was discovered by Mikao Usui, it is described as being a spiritual pathway designed for inner growth and was borne out of the Japanese language and culture. 

After spending 21 days on a mountain in a state of meditation, Usui was filled with a vibrant energy and light which he soon discovered had healing properties. 

After Usui's epiphany he described his findings as 'shoufuku no hihoo, manbyo no reiyaku. The mysterious art of inviting happiness, the spiritual medicine for all diseases'. 

He believed that “when the mind is on a healthy path of faithfulness and sincerity, the body becomes well by itself.”[1]

How wonderful to consider happiness to be the spiritual medicine for all diseases. 

The art of Reiki is based upon 4 concepts:
Healing Practice - a series of hand position treatments 
Personal Development - challenging systems and beliefs which do not lead to authenticity
Spiritual Practice - connecting to the spirit within oneself through a disciplined lifestyle
Mystic Order - the lived experience and sense of connection with others seeking authenticity can lead to mystical or unexplained events. 

[1] Arjava, F., 2012. This is Reiki. Lotus Press

Hand Healing

Reiki is practiced in many forms, from strict adherence to specified hand positions through to intuitive placements. Some practitioners become embedded in Western versions of Reiki which many include working closely with chakra and give feedback from any psychic experiences. I prefer to avoid these elements and stick to the traditional. In Japanese homes Reiki is part of the first aid kit, the teaching is to smile and let the energy flow, and this approach suits me well. 

Reiki energy is believed to be intelligent, it finds its way to where it is needed, therefore I work mainly at the head, but can read the body. When indicated I navigate to the area which is calling for my attention. 

The question of what Reiki is still baffles science, although great inroads have been made on understanding the concept. It is known that the effect of receiving Reiki stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system which concentrates on digestion and rest. When active, the heart and breathing rates slow, blood pressure lowers, the immune system calms down. 

Reiki brings about a deep state of relaxation and it is in this space that healing occurs. It makes sense that as a result of the physiological changes which take place i.e. the parasympathetic system becoming active, pain is eased and feelings associated with stress and anxiety are relieved. 

Natural Energy Healing (Applied Reiki)

As Usui pointed out, we need to practise the mysterious art of inviting happiness. When our mind is healthy, then the body becomes well. But how do we do that?

For sure, none of us have to meditate on a mountain for 21 days to achieve the faithful, sincere mind Usui describes. In applied Reiki, together, we shall take the achievable elements of the Reiki practice and introduce them into your life, in the privacy of your own home, at your own pace.

In applied Reiki, I use the following definition for the word spirituality: developing the capacity for generosity and love. Showing gratitude, becoming openhearted, removing ego, and experiencing positivity.

In our ‘gym’, we will exercise the spirit. This word interchangeable with the word soul and you may recognise it more easily if you use the word which you know to be the part inside of you which makes the essence of you. Only you know your deepest emotions, only you can hear the small voice inside of yourself. This is your spirit, or your soul, whichever you prefer. It is this tiny kernel that we will shall work on together. This is done by studying five precepts designed to awaken you, bringing together mind, body and soul.

An initial course of hands on Reiki will bolster the effect of the exercises you do. Once the course is complete, you will have enough experience to know how to get into your ‘Reiki zone’ and how to access healing energy whenever you need it.

How does Reiki work?

“Everything in Life is Vibration,” – Albert Einstein

This is an excellent starting place for understanding Reiki and how it works. There are two important factors to have in your open mind when trying to understand Reiki.

  • Reiki energy is like wi-fi. We know it’s there because when we connect to it, it works, but you can’t see it, taste it, smell it or hear it.
  • When the cells which make up our bodies become deficient in or lose their ability to vibrate, they cease to function. This can lead to disease or dysfunctional systems.

Bodies (animal or human) and inanimate objects comprise vibrational energy; this subtle energy field surrounds everything on earth. Energy fields vibrate and, because of this, it is possible for a transfer of energy to take place. Reiki practitioners are a pipe or conduit through which Reiki energy travels. They go through a process of attunement during their training, which enables them to connect to Reiki energy. Although unseen and intangible, is all around us, just like wi-fi.

During a reiki sessions the practitioner will lightly place their hands upon you or near you, close enough for their energy field to connect to your energy field. A transfer of energy will then take place. However, the flow of energy from the practitioner will not be their own, it will be Reiki energy. Remember, they are just a conduit through which the energy travels.

The Reiki energy will disrupt the receiver’s physiology, bringing about a state in which healing can take place. Research is showing that this physiological effect stimulates the part of the nervous system which reduces blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate.

It is believed in vibrational healing that the receiver's resonant frequencies will change to match the vibrational rate as the Reiki energy. The analogy is like that of an opera singer shattering a glass at a certain pitch. 

All things (animal, vegetable, mineral) are atoms and atoms are ‘simply’ molecules of spinning energy and space, in varying arrangements. We are a vibrating mass of energy, as is everything else around us. Trees, glass, colour music, weather, metal, ice, rubber, etc. are all vibrating, atomic particles. These atomic vibrations have discreet values which are immeasurable to the naked eye, but we have knowledge about them. We know there’s a difference between liquids and solids, and this is because of their vibrational rate. A liquid has a faster vibrational rate than something perceived to be solid. Nothing is actually solid.

Should I ask you to reach your hand out and pet an animal, you will have a shrewd idea of how that feels. The mechanical force–albeit gentle–will touch that of the animal and your brain will interpret the energy exchange as something warm and soft. However, if I ask you to feel the grain of the wooden table under your fingers, you will experience this as something hard and resistant to your mechanical force. This is because its subtle energy or vibrational rate differs from that of the pet. However, what you are feeling is an interpretation provided by your brain as it processes information about the force between your energetic field and that of the table or the cat.

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How does Remote Reiki work?

Remote Reiki, sometimes referred to as absent or distant Reiki occurs when the practitioner and recipient are in different locations. This can be a matter of feet or hundreds of miles. It is as effective as hands on Reiki and is often more convenient and less stressful for those who dislike travel, or who find it stressful getting to appointments. Importantly, if someone is unwell at home or unable to get out, they can still receive and enjoy the benefits of Reiki.

Pinpointing how remote Reiki works is proving more challenging to the scientific world. Some believe its efficacy lies within quantum physics and the behaviour of sub-atomic particles. Whilst not yet proved Reiki may comprise Scalar waves, a type of energy that does not lose velocity over distance, this means that it travels from one location to another at lightening speed and nothing will prevent it from arriving at the recipient nor diminish its strength en route.

This all sounds complex and difficult to grasp, but returning to the analogy of Wi-Fi it is possible to describe how it might work. Wireless connectivity surrounds us, as does Reiki energy. Supposing you and I decide we want to have a Zoom call one evening. We set a date and time for our catch up. I use my phone to connect to the Wi-Fi; you use your phone to connect to the Wi-Fi and we video call each other. We set the intention to chat and we use energy (both our own and electronic) to catch up. Similarly, in Reiki. We set the intention by making an appointment. When that time arrives, you settle down and prepare to receive Reiki. This equates to making sure you connect your phone to the Wi-Fi. I then prepare to connect to the Reiki energy (I connect my ‘phone’ to the Wi-Fi) and when the connection is complete the transfer of energy can take place.

As described earlier, the earth and everything on it is a broiling mass of vibrations. We know that through mechanical, electrical, heat and radiation, energy transfers. Your bottom is affecting the chair you are sitting on, which affects the floor beneath it. Extrapolate this out and it is possible to believe that although two people may be miles apart physically, they are still connected.