Developed nearly 100 years ago, reiki is a pseudoscientific approach to natural healing that remains popular in many parts and cultures of the world.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a form of alternative medicine that employs hands-on healing or palm healing to channel or redirect “qi”, the Eastern form of the life force, to improve health and wellness. While there are very few recognized organizations or experts who claim that reiki is an effective remedy for medical concerns, it has become a very popular practice in the past century. It has spread beyond its roots in Japan and there are now countless practitioners around the world.
Reiki is a combination of massage, blunt acupuncture, and psychological treatment that blends physical and mental treatments that improves health. That all being said, this practice has been approved or scientifically verified as effective by very few medical professionals. It should be seen as a complementary therapy to other, more formal solutions to your health needs.
How Does Reiki Work?
In theory, reiki works best when a practitioner – one who has been trained by a master – is helping your body by replenishing the energy pathways through certain parts of the body. The qi is your life force, traveling on pathways called chakras or meridians within the body. When the fundamental flow of energy is disrupted, a reiki practitioner is allegedly able to re-set or re-guide your life force to the parts of the body that require it.
This is a highly spiritual practice and is as much mental as physical. People who don’t believe in the power of reiki often don’t experience any benefits. This type of pseudoscience can be difficult to argue for or against; the formal medical community considers it an unproven alternative therapy, while anecdotal evidence strongly supporting its efficacy in treating many health problems.
How to Do Reiki?
There are many different forms of reiki that you can practice, both under the careful hands of a practitioner or when performing it on yourself. Learning how to practice reiki can take years, but if you want to try these approaches on yourself, there are certain tips and guidelines to follow. The most important thing to remember is that this practice is an intensely personal, introspective, and relaxing practice. Some people will only require a session or two to enjoy the benefits, while others may require regular sessions for months.
When practicing on yourself, it is best to clear your mind in a meditative way, and then begin by focusing on the different parts of the body, slowly releasing the tension, beginning in your toes and then moving up through the body. A full session of this therapy can last for hours, and learning proper techniques can take years.
Reiki Health Benefits
The most important benefits of this practice relate to promoting harmony and balance within your body and mind, which can help to relieve depression and soothe mood swings. An in-depth research paper published in the Pain Management Nursing Journal revealed that reiki can work as a complementary therapy to ease pain and anxiety. However, researchers suggest that health claims need to be verified with a well-designed study of a larger sample size. Also, a 2017 study by David E. McManus, Ph.D., Australasian Usui Reiki Association, Australia, suggests that reiki, being a safe and gentle complementary therapy, can help in relieving the fear and anxiety related to the diagnosis of cancer.
Reiki Side Effects
Despite the many benefits, there are some potential side effects of reiki that should be considered, such as the following:
- Diarrhea: Since this therapy is intended to detoxify the body, it can cause stomach upset as many of those unwanted compounds to enter the gut to be excreted.
- Tiredness: Some people also complain that immediately following a treatment, they will be more susceptible to infections and cold.
- Cold and fever: The powerful relaxation also tends to make people feel sluggish or drained of energy following a session.