What is Reiki?
Reiki is an increasingly popular, safe and natural form of holistic energy healing. It can be given and received with or without the use of physical touch and even over vast distances. Reiki is a simple yet powerful complementary therapy that can be used not only to bring relief from complaints of the physical body, but also to facilitate healing to the mental, emotional and the spiritual self.
In essence, Reiki practitioners act as conduits, or tuning forks if you will. Natural universal healing energy is channelled, flowing through the practitioner’s hands and beyond into the recipient. The Reiki seems to know exactly where it is needed and where to go. The effect of this type of therapy is to promote a deep sense of peace and wellbeing, as well as to work towards restoring the delicate balance and flow of the recipient’s energy.
Reiki (pronounced “Ray-key”) is a Japanese word that broadly translates to ‘Universal Life Force Energy’. The word comes from ‘Rei’- soul, spirit, or even the wisdom of the entire universe – and ‘Ki’ – the Japanese word for vital life force. Ki has the same meaning as the ‘Qi’ we see in China and the ‘Prana’ of India.
Energy healing is nothing new and has been around for thousands of years. Eastern healing traditions recognise the flow of universal energy through all living things and are founded on the principle that health and wellbeing transcend the limits of the physical body. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual are all regarded as indivisible parts of the whole, where harmony and balance are key. If an individual’s ‘Ki’ is strong and it flows freely, unencumbered by blockage, then true health and wellbeing are attained. But when energy flow becomes weakened or blocked, we begin to live in a state of dis-ease.
In the West we are used to healthcare systems that rely on the same overarching approach. They seek to provide curative solutions to symptoms and diseases with medication, surgery, and a variety of other therapies at their disposal. An element of prevention is also built into modern medicine with the development and widespread use of synthesised vaccines. We need only consider the dramatic improvements to global human health over the past century to acknowledge how successful modern medicine has been.
But it is perhaps also fair to say that western medicine looks at health and disease as being separate. And there are areas of human health where it appears more and more of us are suffering: anxiety, depression, burnout, insomnia, stress – all exist at unprecedented levels in modern society; alarmingly, touching even our youngest most vulnerable members.
When we begin to pan out from the western view of and approach to health, there is another perspective that regards all physical disease as originating on the emotional plane. In short, dis – “ease” that is left to fester within – for example, a failure to address, to feel and express our emotions – will result in energetic blockages and eventually lead to the appearance of disease in our physical bodies.
Science is beginning to recognise these connections. We’ve probably all experienced the acute effects anxiety and fear can have on our stomachs, not to mention how tension can lead to debilitating headaches and jaw pain. But what of the more serious potential effects of long term, chronic stress and anxiety on our hearts? The deleterious and insidious effect these conditions could have on our immune systems and the ability of our cells to fight potentially life-threatening diseases? And then there’s the poor lifestyle choices we might be more inclined to make in times of mental and emotional turbulence – alcohol, nicotine, drugs, fast food, not moving! – all of which, in turn, are said to play their own part in casting us further adrift from the place of stability and balance where each of us should dwell.
What can Reiki do to help?
Reiki aims to rebalance the subtle energy fields that exist within (i.e the meridians and chakras) and around (i.e the aura) our bodies so that, in turn, our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves can be restored. Reiki energy vibrates at a high frequency and it helps to break down and flush away blockages, and along the way to cleanse and purify the pathways through which our life force flows. All of this is to facilitate and accelerate the body’s natural healing processes, and aid in all aspects of wellbeing.
Many people who receive Reiki report feelings of deep relaxation during and after a treatment. Reiki has also been said to help increase energy levels and focus the mind, as well as to enable recipients to find the tools to cope and come to terms with difficult situations in life. It is a popular therapy for people suffering from a variety of conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Reiki is also used alongside conventional clinical treatments for cancer, or in a palliative care setting. People praise its relaxing effects and have reported anecdotally that Reiki has helped them to get through and cope with their cancer treatment, in terms of its side effects, as well as the physical pain and the emotional stress that accompanied it. But it is important to bear in mind that Reiki does not claim to provide a treatment or a cure for cancer.
What can I expect?
A typical Reiki treatment will last for 60 minutes, during which you will remain fully clothed. To honour the commitment to and investment being made in your wellbeing, as well as to get the most from your Reiki treatment, here are a few suggestions you might like to consider beforehand:
- Pausing to reflect on and set your intentions for what you would like to receive from your Reiki session, and whether there is anything you would like to share with me before we begin
- Eat and drink! Ideally, avoid a heavy meal right before the treatment so that the Reiki energy can flow as freely as possible without the body having to be concerned with the digestion of food. I also recommend trying to refrain from eating meat before a Reiki treatment, given that the body must work harder to digest complex proteins.
- If possible, try to avoid the consumption of alcohol the evening before and on the day of the treatment, as well as stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine immediately beforehand
- Wear warm, comfortable clothes
The treatment will take place in a candlelit warm and cosy room, on a heated massage table. For the first half of the session, you will be asked to lie on your back, supported by pillows and bolsters as necessary for your comfort, before being asked to turn onto your front for the remainder of the treatment. That hour is just for you and so all you need concern yourself with is the business of relaxing: allowing your mind to drift away and wander where it will.
During the session, I will use a combination of hands-on and hands-off positions to bring the Reiki energy to you, working from your head all the way to your feet. When the Reiki treatment is complete, you will be helped to a seated position and encouraged to take some water before we discuss the treatment further. It isn’t uncommon to feel a little spaced out and so the water will help with grounding you until you feel you have fully returned to the room.
How will the Reiki make me feel?
There is no standard response to a Reiki treatment. Just as we are all unique, so too is our experience of Reiki: not just from person to person but each individual treatment is likely to be different to the last, depending on the recipient’s needs at that time.
Many people report physical sensations of tingling, warmth, or even intense heat, and sometimes coolness emanating from the Reiki practitioner’s hands. Feelings of intense relaxation and calmness are often to be experienced, and people sometimes see colours behind their closed eyes or have other visual images spring to mind. Sometimes, people fall asleep. Recipients of Reiki can also experience an emotional response or release. Although this might feel overwhelming, it is perfectly normal within the safety and comfort of the treatment room, since it is indicative of clearing taking place to make way for the restoration of balance and harmony.
After a Reiki treatment…
The beauty of Reiki is that it will continue to work at a cellular level for the recipient’s highest benefit in the hours and days following a treatment. With that in mind, people might experience what is sometimes referred to as a healing reaction that can last for up to three days after a treatment. The effects will differ from individual to individual and some may experience no discernible reaction at all. In any event, all healing reactions are to be regarded as positive even if they might feel uncomfortable, because the Reiki is working to create an environment where self-healing can take place.
Some possible reactions might include: feelings of being energised; headache, cold or mild-flu symptoms but not longer than 72 hours post-treatment; increased need for bathroom visits as the body releases toxins; feelings of tiredness and fatigue along with a desire to rest and withdraw.
To minimise any transitory discomfort during this period, it is highly recommended that the following be observed for the remainder of the day following a treatment:
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water and/or caffeine-free herbal and fruit teas
- Avoid alcohol and other toxic substances such as nicotine
- Try to rest and relax
- Eat a light and nutritious meal
60 min Reiki treatment- £45
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