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Reiki is the Japanese name for “Universal Life Force Energy,” which is the life-giving energy present in everyone. The best way to understand Reiki is to view it as our “experienced sense of being alive.” Reiki therapy is a gentle touch therapy that involves the placing of the therapist’s or patient’s hands on various locations on the patient’s body to promote relaxation and a sense of calm.
Reiki has its roots in ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine. Since the early 1990s, Reiki therapy has been used with greater regularity in healthcare settings. Over 900 U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems use Reiki as a complementary therapy. Reiki is not harmful to patients in any way, and it is safe to use Reiki in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation, and medications used in the medical treatment of cancer.
Reiki is used in healthcare as a complement to—never as a substitute for—patients’ regular medical treatment and medications. Reiki supports the body’s natural healing abilities. This is an important point to remember.
What happens in a Reiki Session
Reiki is best held in a peaceful setting, but it can be carried out anywhere. The patient will sit in a comfortable chair or lie on a table, fully clothed. There may or may not be music, depending on the patient’s preference.
The practitioner places their hands lightly on or over specific areas of the head, limbs, and torso using different hand shapes, for between 2 and 5 minutes. The hands can be placed over 20 different areas of the body.
If there is a particular injury, such as a burn, the hands may be held just above the wound.
While the practitioner holds their hands lightly on or over the body, the transfer of energy takes place. During this time, the practitioner’s hands may be warm and tingling. Each hand position is held until the practitioner senses that the energy has stopped flowing.
When the practitioner feels that the heat, or energy, in their hands has abated, they will remove their hands and may place them over a different area of the body.
What are benefits of Reiki
Relieves pain, anxiety, and fatigue
According to a review of randomized trialsTrusted Source, reiki may help to reduce pain and anxiety, though more research is needed. It may also help to reduce fatigue.
A 2015 studyTrusted Source found that people being treated for cancer who received distant reiki in addition to regular medical care had lower levels of pain, anxiety, and fatigue. These levels were significantly lower than the control group, who only received medical care. Participants had 30-minute sessions of distant reiki for five days.
In another 2015 study, researchers looked at the effects of reiki on women following cesarean delivery. They found that reiki significantly reduced pain, anxiety, and the breathing rate in women 1-2 days after having a cesarean delivery. The need for and number of analgesic pain killers was also reduced. Reiki didn’t have an effect on blood pressure or pulse rate.
A 2018 study Trusted Source compared the use of reiki to physiotherapy for relieving lower back pain in people with herniated disks. Both treatments were found to be equally effective at relieving pain, but reiki was more cost-effective and, in some cases, resulted in faster treatment.
Reiki treatments may be used as part of a treatment plan to help relieve depression. In a small 2010 study, researchers looked at the effects of reiki on older adults experiencing pain, depression, or anxiety. The participants reported an improvement of their physical symptoms, mood, and well-being. They also reported more feelings of relaxation, increased curiosity, and enhanced levels of self-care.
Larger, more in-depth studies are required to expand upon these findings.
Enhances quality of life and overall Wellness
The positive benefits of reiki can enhance your overall well-being. Researchers in a small 2016 study found that reiki was helpful in improving the quality of life for women with cancer. Women who had reiki showed improvements to their sleep patterns, self-confidence, and depression levels. They noted a sense of calm, inner peace, and relaxation.
Larger studies are needed to expand on these findings.
Reiki may help to improve your mood by relieving anxiety and depression. According to results from a 2011 study, people who had reiki felt greater mood benefits compared to people who didn’t have reiki. The study participants who had six 30-minute sessions over a period of two to eight weeks showed improvements in their mood.
May improve some symptoms and conditions
Reiki may also be used to treat:
The relaxation response that happens with Reiki may benefit these symptoms. However, specific research is needed to determine the efficacy of reiki for the treatment of these symptoms and conditions.