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What Is Reiki And How Does It Work

Updated on May 20, 2013

What Is Reiki?

Have you ever heard the term “Reiki”? It’s quite popular within esoteric and New Age community, but often, the term is misunderstood. To help you out understand what Reiki is, and how can you use it, I’ve prepared this article. I will try to answer some most popular questions regarding Reiki.

First of all, what is Reiki? Some people think that Reiki is a method of energy healing. Well, this is partially true. Technically yes, Reiki is the term that describes energy healing, but in reality, there’s a lot more than this. Reiki in reality is the energy of the Source - some people call it the Zero energy, or God. It’s the energy that keeps the universe together and it can be used for many different things - including energy healing.

But don’t be mislead, Reiki itself cannot heal anyone completely - it’s only a support method, that should be mixed with more classical methods of healing, like these of Western medicine.

Two Paths - Same Goal

Reiki is a method of spiritual healing that originates from Japan. Today, we often say that there are two primary paths of Reiki.

  • Reiki as a form of therapy - a complementary therapy that is used to support healing of illnesses. Practitioners of Reiki offer healing sessions, in which the energy is being channeled through hands to those in need.
  • Reiki as a spiritual path - in which we heal ourselves, thus we grow spiritually. On this path, Reiki practitioners meditate and work with the famous Five Reiki Principles to heal their own life.

In the end, Reiki is a method of healing that promotes wellness ideas. It promotes inner peace, meditation, healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.

Five Reiki Principles

Practitioners of Reiki, but also everyone who wishes to do so, follow the Five Reiki Principles, a simple set of phrases that is meant to heal life. The five principles are:

Just for today:
Do not worry.
Do not get angry.
Work honestly.
Be kind to people.
Be grateful.

Five Reiki Principles
Five Reiki Principles

How Does Reiki Works?

Reiki works in quite simple way - first, the person using Reiki must “ask” for it to flow down from the source - wherever it is. In reality, it’s not really about asking about anything, but about pure intention, so the energy will start flowing. Reiki then flows, and it is being transformed into Ki (or Chi, if you prefer Chinese term), and in this form, it’s used by Reiki practitioner - to heal, cleanse, support, or even seek inspiration in the time of trouble.

Why do Reiki works? Because we all operate on Chi - the life energy that keeps our bodies together. If we lack Chi, we get ill, sad, depressed. Lack of Chi is responsible for most illnesses we experience. Stress, bad diet and things like that drain our Chi. Reiki practice simple gives us additional burst of energies, thanks to which we can live normally. When the energies are balanced, we feel good. This is the principle of Eastern medicine - don’t threat the symptoms, threat the source of the illness - lack of energy balance.

Recommended Book

History of Reiki

How did Reiki became so popular around the world?

In the beginning of XX century, a Japanese man called Mikao Usui was miraculous healed from terrible illness, yet many years later when a member of his family wasn’t healed in the same manner, Usui decided to search for answers, for ultimate healing method. Despite many sources, he wasn’t really Catholic priest - he was a Buddhist. One day, during meditation he experienced Satori, the illumination, and have received the gift - the knowledge of how to use Reiki. It wasn't anything given to him by God or some disembodied entity. For many years he was studying ancient Buddhist texts, and during his meditation, he connected the facts and knowledge into one system that proved to work.

Then, he begun to help people, and with time, he gathered many students around himself. One of the students has initiated a woman named Takata, and she emigrated from Japan to United States, where the myths of Catolhic priest and Usui travels was born. From the United States, Reiki teachers spread around the world, and today you can find Reiki practitioners all around the world. This history is of course a very short version of the much more complex historical background behind Reiki. But it gives you the basic picture of how Reiki became popular.

How To Learn Reiki

Despite many sources which you can find online, you cannot learn Reiki by yourself. You need to be initiated by Reiki teacher, who uses energy work to prepare your energy body for Reiki energies. Then, you can use additional books to learn more about Reiki school of thought, but course and initiation is the mandatory element in becoming Reiki practitioner. From that, you can move further - as Reiki opens you the door not only to healing, but also spiritual development.

But attending a class or workshop is the first step. Use Google or ask friends for recommendation (if any) to find a teacher. Then, participate in the workshop and become attuned. Then, you'll be ready to work with Reiki. There are three degrees in the classic Western Reiki.

  1. Shoden - the first degree.
  2. Okuden - the second degree.
  3. Shinpiden - the third degree.

When you're ready, and you're a Shinpiden practitioner, you can also become a Reiki teacher and attune others into this art of healing.


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