Healing the whole person has traditionally been seen as part of a co-ordinated programme of treatment. However, the scientific approach has tended to separate the treatment of the symptoms from the treatment of the cause. Science does not recognise the common factor uniting all the traditional medical approaches, i.e. the vitality or spirit of the client. The vital force and spirit can be equated with Chi in Chinese medicine and Shakti in Indian medicine for example.
Healing energy is central to complementary medicine. Most practitioners also having an interest in and being trained in healing, whether spiritual healing or Reiki healing.
The healing process is not usually very fast. It is important for the client to realise that where illness took some considerable time to develop – so it will take time for the body to remove it. Recognising the possible cause of the illness is useful. However, it is better to look at today as being the first day of the rest of your life. By living in the present, it is possible to focus on a programme of healing which will build for the future or provide a better quality of life and acceptance as life draws to a close.
Reiki healing originates from Japan and has been taught in the West since the 1970s. Reiki works on the principle of working with and channelling energy. The intention behind energy techniques is that if you can harmonise your energy system, you are putting yourself in the best possible position to heal yourself on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Reiki healing can be used to self treat or to treat others.
The Japanese characters making up the word Reiki are usually translated in the West as meaning Universal Life Energy.
Reiki practitioners are attuned to ancient Japanese symbols which are believed to connect the practitioner to an unlimited external source of healing energy. Reiki was developed by a man called Mikao Usui. Born in 1865, Mikao grew up in a Tendai Buddhist family. As a child, he entered a Tendai Buddhist monastery where he would have practised kiko, the Japanese version of Chi Kung to an advanced level. From the age of 12, Usui trained in a martial arts known as Yagyu Ryu, reaching the highest level of proficiency in his 20s. In addition to his background in kiko and martial arts, Usui also took Zen training and these studies may have contributed to the system he developed.
According to his memorial, Usui was a very well-known and popular healer. Usui would give his students empowerments so that they were connected to Reiki permanently. This would enable them to treat themselves in between appointments with him or to develop their healing through an open ended programme of training in his system. His teachings were very popular among the older generation who saw them as a return to older spiritual practices.
In 1922, Mikao Usui opened his first ‘Seat of Learning’ in Tokyo, in what is called a leaderless method. The idea was to ensure that no one person could lay claim to the method and ensure that it would be available to everyone.
Some of Usui’s students who were Imperial Naval Officers who had difficulties in experiencing the healing energies. Usui and his senior student Eguchi introduced the ancient Japanese symbols into his system, which are familiar to Western Reiki practitioners.
After Mikao Usui died in 1926, some of his students, including Dr Chujiro Hayashi, a founder member, set up a memorial society known as the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.
After he completed his training, Hayashi opened a clinic with eight beds and 16 healers. It was here that Hawoyo Takata came to suffering from a number of serious medical conditions which were resolved through Reiki. Mrs Takata decided she wanted to learn Reiki for herself and Hayashi decided to teach her to Master level. In 1938, Dr Hayashi gave Mrs Takata permission to teach Reiki in the West, which she did in the U.S.A.
Between 1970 and her death in 1980, Mrs Takata taught 22 Reiki masters. The original 22 teachers have passed on the Reiki tradition and Reiki has spread to many parts of the world.
Just as Dr Hayashi modified the practices of Reiki as they had been taught to him by Miako Usui so too did Hawayo Takata, in order for Reiki to be acceptable to the Westerners she was teaching.
Dr Hayashi would teach Reiki First Degree over a five day structured course, with each day’s training taking 90 minutes. Students would receive his more complicated attunements on four occasions during this training, by way of echoing Usui’s weekly empowerment sessions. Dr Hayashi trained 17 Reiki masters and produced a manual which contained the hand positions for different ailments. This manual was devised through the records kept at Hayashi’s clinic where a particular set of hand positions were employed to deal with specific ailments / conditions.
What does a Reiki treatment feel like?
The session begins by lying down on a treatment couch, fully clothed, listening to gentle, soothing music to aid deep relaxation. Your Reiki practitioner will gently rest their hands upon you, non-intrusively in a series of positions from the crown of the head to the feet.
Each hand position is held for a few minutes and during this time, healing energy will flow into you, balancing your energy system, releasing stress, soothing pain and promoting your body’s natural ability to heal itself.
As the energy flows, most people will feel warmth, heat or tingling from the practitioner’s hands. It is usually deeply relaxing and some people fall asleep. Other sensations may include seeing coloured lights or a sensation of floating. Sometimes people have an emotional release as turmoil is brought to the surface and dissipated.
The effects of receiving Reiki treatments include calmness, reduced stress and more ability to cope. It can boost energy levels, raise spirits and make you feel more positive about things, bringing the body back into balance.
The benefits of Reiki healing
- helps to reduce stress, tension, anxiety and related symptoms
- helps to combat sleeplessness
- reduces depression, low spirits
- combats feelings of being unable to cope, emotional turmoil and discord
Whilst Reiki is very effective, it is not a miracle cure and the effects of Reiki treatments build up cumulatively. To experience the full benefit of Reiki, four to six healing treatments are ideal to relieve stress, tension, anxiety, sleeplessness and emotional problems, with physical problems tending to take longer.
Reiki generally produces long-term beneficial changes so you do not need to keep booking in for endless sessions. However, some clients elect to have regular treatments from a preventative point of view and for the relaxation it confers.
Levels of Reiki
There are three levels of Reiki, the First Degree, Second Degree and a Reiki Master. Reiki healers are taught to use Reiki symbols on the Second Degree course. These symbols are seen as an integral part of Reiki. You can only channel Reiki when you have been attuned to the symbols and they only work for you because you have been attuned to them.
There is no standard way to attune someone to Reiki. It has developed and evolved in many ways as Reiki has been passed on from one teacher to another in the West. No matter what variety of attunement is used, they all revolve around putting the symbols into the student in some way, into their crown, their heart, their hands.
Students in the West are taught many different ways of working with the symbols when they treat and send distant healing, so there is no one standard way of using the symbols. The distant healing symbol is viewed by Usui’s surviving students as a symbol that elicits oneness within the practitioner. Oneness is a state that allows you to transcend time and space, where you realise that there is really no distance between yourself and the recipient and there really is no distinction between yourself and the them.