By Myra Oney, RMT Myra is an active volunteer with Sharp Again Naturally and has been a Reiki Master for 18 years.
Reiki is one of the fastest-growing and most researched of the energy healing modalities, and is now being recognized in traditional Western medical settings. Over 60 major US hospitals offer Reiki to their patients, and over 36,000 nurses have been trained as Reiki practitioners. It is most extensively used in maternity and cancer wards, and in hospice care. Recently, the Mayo Clinic announced a major new study on the effect of Reiki on hematology/oncology patients.
Perhaps you have heard of Reiki, but what is it?
Reiki originated in Japan as a spiritual art for self-healing. It is not a religion or affiliated with any religious practice. The word means “Universal Life Force Energy,” the energy that flows through all living things. Reiki practitioners believe that when the energy is free-flowing, we are best able to maintain a state of health. When it is blocked, we can experience emotional and physical imbalance.
Possibly the biggest effect people have from a Reiki session is a feeling of peace and calm. This release from stress activates the parasympathetic (or “rest and digest”) nervous system. Like being in a deep sleep, it creates an optimal environment for healing on all levels. Just a one-hour session can have huge benefits. This can be especially important for caregivers who may be struggling with maintaining their health while dealing with the stress of caring for a loved one.
Receiving a Reiki session is simple. The client lays fully clothed on a massage table or seated in a chair. The practitioner activates the Reiki energy flow and, intuitively guided by their client, places their hands lightly on their body (or in the energy field if he/she prefers not to be touched), allowing the energy to flow to that area. When the practitioner senses that an area has received all the energy it needs, they move to the next area. Depending on the practitioner’s training and background, they may utilize guided meditation, essential oils, crystals or other healing tools. This is discussed at each session.
As with all healing modalities, Reiki is most effective when used as preventative “medicine,” a tool in the self-care toolbox to maintain mental, physical and emotional balance.