frequently asked questions about reiki

What is Reiki?

Reiki is originally a Japanese spiritual practice. Reiki can be translated as rei, which means “God’s wisdom,” “Higher Power,” or “universal,” and ki which is “life force energy.” Reiki is primarily known in the West for its healing technique involving “the laying on of hands” to promote relaxation, stress reduction, and healing.  Believing that an energy or life force flows in all of us, practitioners act as a channel for Reiki to flow into another who might be experiencing “low life force energy.” The reasons for this low energy can vary from person to person. However, no matter the reason, when our energy is low, we are more likely to feel the effects of stress, become ill, and so on. By allowing Reiki to flow into us, we boost our energy and are more capable of feeling at peace, happy, and healthy. Reiki healing is aimed at promoting harmony and wholeness and, by doing so, is capable of affecting a person on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. 

Is Reiki a religion/religious thing?

No, Reiki is not a religion. You can receive Reiki treatments no matter your religion, and practitioners can follow the spiritual path of Reiki regardless of their religious faith.  Reiki is spiritual in nature, though. It involves the healing practice that most people associate with it. Still, the other Aspects of a Reiki practice are equally as important and focus on personal development, spiritual discipline, and connection. 

How is a Reiki Treatment Given?

Truth be told, there is no “right way” of giving a Reiki treatment. Part of this is because of the difference between eastern and western Reiki, how the practice has changed over time, and how each practitioner can adapt their approach to how they feel it should be.  The core of the treatment will be the same, no matter which practitioner you work with. Still, the specific details of the treatment may depend on your needs, the practice of the master who taught the practitioner who is working with you, and anything that the practitioner has added to their treatment style along the way.  Generally, a client will remain clothed and lay down on a table (a massage table is typical) but can sit in a chair or even stand. The practitioner, acting as a channel for the Reiki energy to flow from the source to the client, will either place their hands on or hold them just above a series of locations on the client’s body. Many practitioners have incorporated the use of the chakra system and will focus their attention on the seven major chakras; others will use the “traditional positions” first introduced by Mikao Usui, which focus primarily on the head, shoulders, stomach, and feet. Each position is typically held for three to ten minutes, depending on the client’s needs and the practitioner’s attunement level.

Can I replace medications, doctor's visits, therapists, etc., with Reiki?

Absolutely not. Reiki is a powerful tool to assist us in healing, but it isn't always so straightforward. Reiki will always act on us in a way that is for our highest and greatest good, but we don’t always personally know what that is. It is best to allow Reiki to work with whatever other forms of treatment you are receiving and support your goals. It is never advised to seek Reiki as a substitute for anything else regarding your health and well-being. If the reasons for your medications, appointments, and so on seem to improve, you can certainly talk to the licensed professional overseeing the situation regarding altering their course of action or treatment plan.

Does a Reiki treatment have any side effects?

Typically no. Clients will usually feel relaxed when the service ends, and some say they feel energized, uplifted, optimistic, or just good. Sometimes a client might experience a headache, stomach ache, or feel weak, which can happen if the treatment results in some of the client’s stored toxins being released. In this case, the client needs to drink a lot of water, eat clean meals, and get good rest during the week. The body is processing and needs that support. 

How much does a typical Reiki treatment cost?

That can vary depending on a few variables. Primarily where you live and the practitioner’s level of training will factor into the price of the service. It could range anywhere from a suggested donation or bartering for a meal to $300.

Isn't this all a little... woo woo? Or maybe just the placebo effect?

It very well could be, by scientific standards. Although, there are studies that show Reiki is more effective than a placebo for activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which then lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and so on. (This is just one example of how science is ever so slowly "discovering" more and more each day that only confirms what spiritual practitioners have known for thousands of years.)  ​ The problem is that the scientific method wasn't designed to validate anything that is not of the physical world. So using the scientific method to say these things are all hocus pocus is like complaining that you can’t make a grilled cheese out of a swimming pool. It just doesn’t make sense. As for placebo (which coincidentally has been shown to have no scientific basis or explanation either but is arguably a very powerful effect), who can say? Ultimately, Reiki has been experienced by millions of people who have appreciated its healing and rejuvenating effects, so I’m not sure that is the right question even to ask.