The United States has become a place where people are quick to pop a pill for everything that ails them. There seems to be a pill for every imaginable (and unimaginable) ailment or ache. According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, more than 70 percent of Americans take some sort of prescription drug, with 20 percent taking at least five different pharmaceuticals (Mayo, 2013). The healthcare community and pharmaceutical industry are major contributors to this drug-centered approach to health.
Alternative Healing: Exploring the Root Cause
Regrettably, this pop-a-pill approach often treats symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of an illness. Homeopathy, naturopathy, and eastern-style medicine are gaining ground, however, and becoming more mainstream. Popular alternative therapies include meditation, acupuncture, acupressure/shiatsu, yoga, and reiki, among others.
What Exactly is Reiki?
Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is a hands-on healing technique that harnesses the power of energy within the universe and guides it to the recipient. Reiki works down to the cellular level to help heal and balance. Other terms used to describe reiki are white light, universal energy, and love.
Every living being has chakras, or energy centers, within the body, and reiki energy runs through those chakras. The chakras include, from the seat to the top of the head: root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Reiki is given by placing hands on the receiver’s body in specific positions aligned with the body’s chakras. There are twelve universal hand positions associated with reiki.
The Origins of Reiki
Modern day reiki was founded in Japan in the late 1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui, a scholar and teacher who studied Christianity and Buddhism. Dr. Usui was particularly influenced and inspired by a Zen Buddhist abbot. After studying and meditating at the abbot’s monastery, Dr. Usui embarked on a 21-day retreat at a mountain near Kyoto. On the final day of meditation, Dr. Usui was struck by a powerful light; upon waking, he experienced a clear light consciousness. He was fully awakened with reiki energy, and he was empowered with the gift of healing to share with others. During his 17-mile descent from the mountain, he experienced the four reiki miracles.
[Note: There are still some discrepancies surrounding the precise history of reiki, though the details provided here reflect the most commonly-accepted story of Dr. Usui’s journey.]
What are the Benefits of Reiki?
Reiki helps harmonize the body, mind, and spirit. It can be used with many ailments and can be used in conjunction with Western medicine practices. It offers support during post-surgery recovery and during treatment for cancer and chronic diseases, with depression, anxiety, pain or trauma (acute and chronic), stress, insomnia, and myriad other conditions. It aids mental and emotional clarity, which can help with everything from interpersonal relationships, work, and family, to everyday decision. Reiki also mediates fatigue and encourages general wellness. Recipients often feel extremely relaxed and sleep better after receiving reiki.
Reiki: Giving Universal Life Force Energy
As with all therapies, the experiences of reiki recipients are deeply unique and personal. Common sensations felt during a reiki session include hot and/or cold, tingling, visions, vibrations, and calm. It is important to approach your reiki session with an open mind. You can make an intention for how you would like to use to energy, but should not have specific expectations.
Reiki is considered an intuitive healing process. When practitioners give reiki by placing their hands on the recipient, they are sending universal life energy. The healer is a “conduit,” harnessing energy from the universe and transferring it to the recipient; it is the recipient’s responsibility to use this energy for the greatest good.
It is a common misconception that the reiki practitioner “takes on” or “gives” energy. On the contrary, the practitioner channels energy. Reiki can be given to others, one’s self, animals, and even plants. Have you ever hugged a tree and felt something? That is reiki! Universal life force energy is present in all beings.
My Personal Wellness Journey
My personal journey with reiki began about seven years ago when I was seeking alternative therapies for depression. Having endured depression off and on my entire life, I’ve tried various treatments. At this point in my life, my depression was acute due to an unhealthy job situation.
After some research, the Universe guided me to Peg Doyle, M.Ed., CHHC, reiki and shiatsu practitioner and certified nutritionist. Seeking a reiki practitioner is like looking for a new therapist or doctor—you should conduct research, check background information, and explore treatment philosophies. It is critical for me to work with someone I connect with and trust. My union with Peg was guided by a higher power, and I have benefitted greatly from it. (I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right connection for you!)
Reiki has helped me in many ways. However, because my experience with reiki is personal, I am selective about what information I share. It has been a highly spiritual journey, filled with intense emotional highs and lows. After several years of receiving reiki (and shiatsu), I decided I wanted to learn more. I attended a reiki certification workshop and was attuned in the practice by Peg. I am now a first degree/level-one certified practitioner and hope to help and inspire others as I have been inspired. [Note: To become certified, individuals must complete appropriate training and be attuned by a Reiki Master Teacher.]
This post is written by Melissa Salce. Melissa is a writer, editor, and crafter with more than 15 years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animal rights and the planet, she launched Don’t Worry, Be Earthy as a way to help others help the world. Her work has appeared in Interior Design magazine, Shore Line Times newspaper, and various newsletters and trade publications.
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Take Prescription Drugs, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center Find, retrieved from http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/nearly-7-in-10-americans-take-prescription-drugs-mayo-clinic-olmsted-medical-center-find/
Vennells, David F., 2013. Reiki For Beginners: Mastering Natural Healing Techniques. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn.