Reiki Part One: An Introduction

This is part one of a three part series on Reiki, the parts are:

Reiki Part One: An introduction

Reiki Part Two: What the research says

Reiki Part Three: My personal journey

Reiki & Me

I have received Reiki several times in the past from trained practitioners and always loved the experience.  In the UK this year I received Reiki and Acupuncture at the same time, in a sort of bet-hedging process when I was very sick and anxious.  It did seem to help.

I received some last year here in Perth and the lovely practitioner said – “why not learn?”  I said “indeed why not?”  Nothing else was working well at that point, I was slipping ever lower in both my mental and physical health.

I promised myself to try turning my usual approach upside down – just for fun.   I resolved to not go near the research until I had formed my own opinion on how it works for me.  This was tricky, like putting a chocolate bar in your lap and saying ‘don’t touch it until you feel you don’t want it’.  It also goes against my usual advice of get empowered with (scientific) knowledge and start with what you know works first.  But just sometimes one must throw the rule book in the river – just for fun.

I am now over four months into my Reiki practice.  I do at least 20 minutes almost every day on myself.  I look forward to it.  I enjoy it.  For someone who has been trying to practice various forms of meditation or mindfulness for decades (hell I’m even writing a PhD on it) this was quite a revelation.   I also find it easier than Hypnotherapy (which I have an advanced diploma in).

Thing is, so much meditation is as boring as pig poop.  Poop may be good for your garden and meditation for your mind, but boy digging in the poop and doing the meditation are not up there on my list of tasks I am eager to get amongst.  Surprisingly after all these years of trying different things (and failing to stick with them consistently) – Reiki is something I am enthusiastic to do.

So now that I am officially ‘sold’, I have turned to the research which I will share with you in the next post.  For now …

What is Reiki

Reiki is a biofield energy therapy which is believed to have originated thousands of years ago in Tibet.  It was re-established by Dr Mikao Usi, A Japanese Monk in the 1800s (VanderVaart, Gijsen, de Wildt, & Koren, 2009).  The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words; Rei meaning universal spirit and Ki meaning universal life energy.   Practitioners feel the benefits of Reiki are obtained from a ‘universal life energy’ providing harmony, balance and strength to the body and mind.  The idea is that the practitioner channels this life energy by placing their hands on or near treatment areas. (Lee, Pittler, & Ernst, 2008).    Reiki is used for a number of conditions and even officially recommend by some National Health Service Trusts (in the UK).

Reiki is taught in three stages.   Level one is about unleashing the natural healing skills of the body.  Level two uses symbols and a deeper understanding of energy.   Level three is focused on the practitioners own spiritual development.   To be a Reiki practitioner you must undergo an “attunement” by a Reiki master, which for some is a powerful, spiritual experience.

The five principles

In the same way that yoga is more than just a bunch of crazy looking twists and turns by skinny people on pinterest and Instagram – Reiki is more than the placing of hands.  Reiki brings with it five principles for a life well lived; each with the idea that it is “just for today”.   So Just for today:

Do not be angry

…Do not worry

Be kind to yourself and others

…Express ones gratitude

…Be diligent in work



I am also blogging my way, slowly through these principles.  Which you can link to here.

Stay tuned for a review of the scientific literature on the topic.

References & Resources

My lovely Reiki Trainer – Uli

Lee, M. S., Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2008). Effects of reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. International journal of clinical practice, 62(6), 947-954.

VanderVaart, S., Gijsen, V. M., de Wildt, S. N., & Koren, G. (2009). A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(11), 1157-1169.





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