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What is reiki?

Reiki is one of the most ancient healing methods known to humankind. It originated in India and Tibet thousands of years ago and was rediscovered in the twentieth century by a Japanese monk, Dr Mikao Usui.

What is Reiki?

The word Reiki is made up of two Japanese Kanji characters (Kanji is an ancient Japanese writing system). The first character, rei, means spiritual or soul. The second character, ki, means energy, which consists of the vital forces of the Earth and the Universe. Therefore the Japanese meaning of the word 'Reiki' is spiritual or soul energy. However, in the West, the word 'Reiki', is generally understood to mean 'Universal Life Force Energy'.

Reiki is not affiliated with any religion. It is a spiritual system used for self-healing, for healing other people, and for spiritual development. It involves the use of precepts, meditation and visualisation, self treatments and hand positions, breathing techniques, symbols, mantras and initiations (attunement to the Reiki energy).

How does it work?

It is a natural and simple healing method which allows trained practitioners to channel more life force energy. This natural healing energy flows in a powerful and concentrated form through the body and the hands of the Reiki practitioner. The laying on of the hands directs the healing energy into the body receiver.

A typical Reiki treatment lasts about an hour. The person lies on a massage table while the Reiki practitioner lays their hands on various parts of the body. During a treatment, people tend to experience a deep sense of relaxation and typically fall asleep.

What are the benefits of Reiki?

Research shows that Reiki is effective in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression. It has been documented that patients being treated for mild depression and stress showed both immediate and long-term improvements in their symptoms after receiving regular Reiki treatments for a few weeks. In another study involving patients with acute coronary syndrome, physiologic indicators of a significant relaxation effect were recorded when nurses administered Reiki to them (Friedman et al., 2011).

A growing number of hospitals everywhere in the world now offer Reiki as part of patient services. It has been proven that Reiki sessions:

- Make patients more calm and cooperative

- Relieve acute and chronic pain

- Decrease the need for pain medication

- Improve sleep and appetite

- Reduce patients’ time in the hospital

- Accelerate the healing process

What happens after a treatment?

Some people may feel tired for a few days while other may experience an immediate increase in their energy level. Reiki energy works on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels of the person by removing blockages. Indications that the body is integrating the effects of the treatment are sleepiness, low energy, increased thirst, rashes, or a general worsening of the pre-existing symptoms for 2 to 3 days after a treatment. This is referred to as a healing crisis and is a positive sign that things long buried are coming up to the surface to be released. Not everybody experiences a healing crisis but if you do, it is recommended you receive additional treatments.

If you receive regular treatments, you will most likely notice a shift in your life. It can be very subtle and some people don’t really notice it until close friends or family let them know. For others, changes can be more obvious such as improved clarity and energy level. With each treatment, healing goes deeper: it is like peeling layers of an onion.

Reiki is an intelligent energy and always goes wherever it is needed the most, whether it is your physical body or the more subtle bodies. As such, it is not necessary for the practitioner to know what or where the problem is.

Reiki is also easy to learn and to use on oneself or others. If you are interested in diving deeper into the Reiki teachings, do your research before selecting a Reiki Master and don’t hesitate to ask questions to ensure they have the necessary credentials and experience. Although Reiki can be learned online, I personally believe that in person classes are indispensable to create a strong bond student/teacher, which is an essential part of the learning process.

Reiki energy therapy is complementary to conventional medicine, brings harmony, clears toxins, promotes creativity, increases intuition, treats symptoms and the root causes of illnesses. So why not give it a try!

About the author: Sonia Bellon has been practicing Reiki for more than 10 years and is a Reiki and Animal Reiki Master Teacher. She’s also a yoga instructor, tarot reader and teaches people and animal Reiki classes in the Greater Toronto Area and in France.

Check out her upcoming events at

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