There are many types of massage. Reiki massage is based on the belief that all of life’s energy force flows through us.
If that energy source is interrupted it can alter how we are feeling and change the course of an illness.
When life’s energy flow is low, we may feel sick, down or stressed. By contrast, when that energy is high we may feel happy and healthy.
What is Reiki?
Derived from two Japanese words, Rei means “God’s Wisdom” or even “Higher Power”. The word “Ki” means life force thus, Reiki is a spirit guided life force of energy.(1)
Picture heavenly hands guiding your masseuse through your massage and you have a fairly good picture of what Reiki is considered to be.
Reiki is a Japanese method of massage to reduce stress and promote healing. It helps people to relax and heal from within. Reiki is done by laying hands on the person and changing the flow of energy.(2)
If a person’s energy is blocked they may feel ill or sick. When that person’s energy is released they will feel healthy and content.
There are five basic principles in Reiki:(3)
As the person is preparing for their Reiki treatment they should repeat these principles to themselves either quietly in their head or out loud.
» Principle 1: Just for today, I will not be angry.
Anger can block a person’s energy. By releasing anger a person is reverting back to peace and restoring harmony within the body.
» Principle 2: Just for today, I will not worry.
Worry dwells on the negative. This also blocks the energy within the body. Releasing worry and giving it over to a higher power restores the harmony within the body.
» Principle 3: Just for today, I will be grateful.
Thankfulness and gratitude restore harmony and help us to be happier. Practice saying “thank you” and practice being grateful even if things don’t work out as desired.
» Principle 4: Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Leading a life of honor and being respectable are far more important to life and happiness than wealth and money.
» Principle 5: Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.
Practicing kindness brings joy to the heart. Honor the elderly, parents and authority. Honor every living thing and restore that harmony to the heart.
Receiving a Reiki massage is different than other types of massage. With Reiki, the students aren’t trained in the traditional masseuse training sense. Instead, the Reiki masseuse has had the ability transferred to them via an attunement (a form of energy medicine).
This attunement is directly from a Reiki master. As students attend a Reiki session the master will tap into their life force energy and the energy is transferred to the student.
There is no requirement for a formal university or college attendance to become a Reiki masseuse. It’s never an indicator of a person’s intellectual ability nor is it dependent upon their spiritual development although Reiki is a spiritual sensation when it’s properly given.
It’s vital to know that although Reiki is spiritual in nature, it’s not a form of religion.(1)
There is no requirement to believe a specific way if a person is seeking a Reiki treatment. In fact, it will work regardless of what a person chooses to believe in.
Many people, however, choose to feel that Reiki brings them closer to God. They feel that it’s a form of religion or a religious experience. This doesn’t put any bearing on whether or not treatments will work however so if a person is seeking an alternative therapy they aren’t required to believe in God or anything higher to be treated.
What Does It Feel Like
Reiki treatments feel wonderful. It’s as if there is a warming and healing sensation flowing through the body and the area surrounding the body. As this sensation flows through the body the person can actually feel the stress and illness leave the body.(4,5)
The key to Reiki is that it treats the entire body, this includes the emotions, the mind and the spiritual portion of the body as well as the physical portion of the body. As the muscles of the body relax, the energy begins to flow freely and the person begins to feel “lifted up” and lighter.
It focuses on helping the patient to relax and get in tune with their innermost being. It focuses on letting the world go and bringing in the light of peace and health.
A Reiki massage instills peacefulness and relaxation into the person’s very being. It’s soothing, healing and relaxing.
Reiki Benefits And Effects
Reiki works alongside modern medicine so it can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as chemotherapy or medications.
Reiki can help to relieve and reduce side effects of other medications that may be required. This makes it an ideal treatment for reducing chemo side effects.(6,7)
Reiki can improve mood disturbances. This makes it an ideal therapy for those who suffer from such conditions as bipolar disorders and other mood-disturbing conditions.(8)
Reiki can also help to relieve menopause symptoms in women who are struggling with the changes in their bodies as they age.
Reiki is soothing and healing. A peacefulness will literally pass over the person as they are in their Reiki session.
Are There Any Scientific Studies About It?
Physicians and scientists alike always do their research on any medical treatment. If asked if Reiki works, many would reply that it works, but not in the same fashion as regular medicine works.
Reiki works by relaxing a patient and allowing their body to heal naturally. It restores balance which in turn may allow a patient’s body to accept modern medicine in a different fashion.
There have only been a few clinical trials with Reiki and the control groups have been fairly small.
To date, these studies have shown that it may be beneficial in reducing stress and stress-related conditions. More studies are underway and results are still pending.
» Reiki for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2008)
Results/ Conclusion: “Neither Reiki nor touch improved the symptoms of fibromyalgia.” (9)
» Reiki improves heart rate homeostasis in laboratory rats (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2008)
Results/ Conclusion: “Reiki is effective in modulating heart rate in stressed and unstressed rats, supporting its use as a stress-reducer in humans.” (10)
» Effect of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Adults: An In-Depth Literature Review of Randomized Trials with Effect Size Calculations (Pain Management Nursing – Journal 2015)
Results/ Conclusion: ” There is evidence to suggest that Reiki therapy may be effective for pain and anxiety.” (11)
» The Effect of Reiki on Pain and Anxiety in Women with Abdominal Hysterectomies” (The Center for Reiki Research, 2006
Results/ Conclusion: ” Reports of pain differed in the first 24 hours postoperatively (3,8 for treatment group vs. 5,4 for control group on the 10-point scale) but not at 48 and 72 hours. Possible shorter surgery duration for patients receiving preoperative Reiki treatments.” (12)
» Symptomatic Improvement Reported After Receiving Reiki at a Cancer Infusion Center (American Journal of Hospice& Palliative Medicine 2012)
Results/ Conclusion: “Reiki results in a broad range of symptomatic benefits, including improvements in common cancer-related symptoms.” (13)
» Effects of reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.( International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2008)
Results/ Conclusion: ” The evidence is insufficient to suggest that reiki is an effective treatment for any condition.” (14)
» Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome (Journal of American college of cardiology, 2010)
Results/ Conclusion: ” Reiki increased HF HRV (Autonomic dysfunction, as measured by heart rate variability) and improved emotional state.” (15)
» The effect of distant reiki on pain in women after elective Caesarean section: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial (BMJ Open, 2011)
Results/ Conclusion: “Distant reiki had no significant effect on pain following an elective C-section.” (16)
» Reiki Energy Medicine: Enhancing the Healing Process (Alice Moore, RN, BS, Reiki Master Hartford Hospital Dept.of Integrative Medicine, Hartford, CT,
Results/ Conclusion: ” The results showed a decrease in anxiety and pain.” (17)
You can find more comprehensive list here:
What Can You Expect in a Typical Reiki Session
After an intake session where the practitioner will ask some typical medical questions, the patient will either sit in a chair or lie on a massage table.
The patient will remain fully clothed.
The practitioner will place their hands lightly on various parts of the patient’s body. The touch will never have pressure or be intrusive and the patient will never be touched inappropriately.(18,19)
The practitioner’s hands may feel hot or cool depending upon the specific session.
As the practitioner places their hands on the various parts of the body the patient may feel a change in temperature, reduced stress, and the patient may feel as if they fell asleep during the process.
Sometimes the sensations are so subtle that the patient won’t feel anything during the treatment however, they may feel results of the session later in the day.
Reiki treatments are an ideal complimentary therapy to go alongside other therapies. They are soothing and relaxing and may prepare the body to accept other medications better.
Ideal for anyone suffering from diabetes, AIDS/HIV, high blood pressure, heart conditions and more. Reiki can work hand in hand with modern medicine and enhance the effects of modern medicine.
Reiki appears to be generally safe but it should not be used to postpone seeing a healthcare professional!
Additional Tips Before Your Reiki Massage
• Repeat the five basic principles prior to your treatment
• Wear comfortable clothing to your Reiki Appointment
• Avoid a heavy meal prior to your treatment
• Go with an open mind and prepare mentally for healing
• Plan some relaxation time after your treatment
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