Pronounced as ray-key; from the Japanase words Rei = spirit, and Ki = life force energy.
An occult, new age healing technique developed by Japanese Buddhist monk Mikao Usui Sensei, based on Sanskrit sutras believed to relate to cosmic symbols used by the Buddha for healing. Sometimes described as a form of Shinto/Buddhist Qigong.
Healing energy is said to be channeled into a patient’s body by laying on of hands. However, generally, no contact is made with the body. Practitioners claim the healing energy can also be applied long-distance (e.g. on mailing lists, people are sometimes asked to "send Reiki" to someone).
Buddhist also use the practice to help transcend the ego, and to see "Reality."
Reiki is not a religion, but rather a religious practice. Popularized in the West as a New Age, alternative healing technique. Reiki practitioners say that Reiki is not taught, but rather "transferred" by a Reiki Master.
There is no evidence that Jesus used Reiki, as many Reiki books and teachers assert. Jesus, being God the Son, did not need a technique, but healed because His nature was the same as God’s (which is what being the “Son of God” signifies), and God is the Healer and Giver of life […].
– Source: Reiki: Healing with the force, Marcia Montenegro
The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine describes the basic philosophy of reiki as follows:
The basic concept underlying reiki is that the body has an energy field that is central to its health and proper functioning, and this energy travels in certain pathways that can become blocked or weakened. This idea of energy flow in the body is also a central concept in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.
Reiki practitioners believe that everyone has the potential to access the universal life energy, but that over time most people’s systems become blocked and the energy becomes weakened in them. A reiki practitioner is trained to be able to detect these blockages, and practitioners will use their hands, thoughts, and own energy fields to improve the energy flow in a patient.
Reiki is one of the more esoteric alternative medical practices, because no one is sure exactly how it works on the physiological level. Practitioners claim that it works on very subtle energy levels, or possibly works on the chakra system. The chakras are the system of seven energy centers along the middle of the body believed to be connected with the nervous and endocrine systems, as defined by yoga and Ayurvedic medicine.
Reiki masters claim that healing energy can even be sent to a person from far away, noting that reiki works on the same principles that enables praying to work for some patients, although a practitioner needs advanced training to be able to send energy from afar.
According to the original principles of Usui, patients must also have a proper attitude for reiki to work most effectively. Patients must take responsibility for their own health, and must want to be healed. Furthermore, when energy is received from a reiki healer, patients must be willing to give back energy to others, and to compensate the healer in some way, as well. Finally, Usui claimed that a healing attitude was free from worry and fear, was filled with gratitude for life and for others, and placed emphasis on each person finding honest and meaningful work in his/her life—all this, in order to complete the picture of overall health.
– Source: Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, p. 1719
The Encyclopedia also notes that “Reiki has been used in major clinics and hospitals as part of alternative healing practice, and doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health professionals have been trained to use its gentle touch techniques as part of their practice.”
To date, the little scientific research that has been conducted with reiki implies that its techniques bring about the relaxation response, in which stress levels decrease, and immune response increases. Reiki practitioners claim that the most important measurement of their technique is whether the individual feels better after treatment. They also claim that science cannot measure the subtle energy changes that they are attempting to make.
– Source: Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, p. 1720
Some terms you may hear in relation to reiki:
Life energy teaching given by a Reiki master to a student.
The Reiki attunement process is how one becomes a Reiki practitioner. Being attuned to Reiki gives one the ability to easily access the Reiki (Universal Life Force) energy, for the purpose of healing a person or situation. Attunements can be given only by a Reiki master and can be given for either the purpose of training one in Reiki, or for simply giving someone a larger experience of Reiki than usually experienced in treatments.
The attunement procedure is a ceremony of spirit. In this ceremony the Reiki master uses the Reiki symbols and other gestures in a prescribed way. This ceremony creates an energy pattern around the recipient of the attunement which entrains (or attunes) their energy field to the energies represented by the symbols. The attunement is permanent, thus making the recipient a Reiki practitioner, only if the master uses the symbol for the “subconscious”. If this symbol is not used the entrainment is temporary only.
– Source: David Herron, The Reiki Attunement Process [Pro] Last accessed Tuesday, August 10, 2010 – 6:56 PM CET
The body’s response to relaxation techniques,during which metabolism and stress levels decrease and immune response increases.