There are many books, papers and working groups around the world contributing to such definitions and descriptors. The following should therefore be regarded as ‘Work in Progress’:
Reiki as defined by the Oxford English dictionary is:
A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the client by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the client’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
It is however, also widely accepted that Reiki can be given and received equally effectively hands-off or via distant healing.
The Japanese word Reiki literally translates as universal life force energy. This system of healing was developed by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century. It is a non-invasive complementary therapy that has been taught and used in the UK since the late 1900s, but Eastern medicine has for thousands of years worked with this energy, recognising its flow through all living things. Reiki supports orthodox medicine or can be used alone but is not a replacement for traditional medication or treatments. It is not based on any belief, faith or suggestion, yet, scientific research using quantum physics is starting to help us to understand how Reiki may work to benefit the individual. It has been suggested that in years to come it may be known as energy medicine based on scientifically measurable energy emitted from the healers hands.
Reiki is given fully clothed in a quiet environment and is safe for adults, children, mothers to be, babies and animals. However in the case of animals with health issues, owners should confirm that the animal has been seen by a veterinary surgeon to obtain a diagnosis. Reiki practitioners must not diagnose the health problem.
It is highly recommended that practitioners are members of recognised a professional organisation with strict Codes of Ethics and hold Practitioner Insurance.
Scientific research findings may help us to understand how Reiki works
There is much to learn and more research is necessary before a definitive explanation can be given, but research is producing very interesting results:
When giving Reiki, practitioners have been shown to emit electro-magnetic or bio-magnetic energy from their hands. The frequencies of the energy emitted vary from one moment to the next; but many appear to correspond to those that medical researchers have identified as being the optimum frequencies for stimulating the healing process in tissues, bones and other body parts so far investigated.
The bio-magnetic energy (or field) flowing from a practitioner’s hands has been shown to induce current flows in the tissues and cells of individuals who are in close proximity but this pulsing energy is not produced by non-practitioners of energy healing techniques.
Two ways in which these pulsing magnetic fields may stimulate repair of bone and other tissues include:
- A cascade of reactions takes place from the cell surface to the cytoplasm and on to the nucleus and genes, where selective effects on the DNA have been documented.
- A phenomenon called amplification, in which a single hormone molecule, neurotransmitter or photon of electromagnetic energy has been shown to trigger a cellular response; and in fact very tiny fields have been shown to produce the best effects, suggesting that living tissues are much more sensitive to external fields than previously considered possible.
NB: A bio-magnetic field can also be created by passing electric currents though living tissue as has been used for medical diagnoses and treatments for almost a century for example in ECG & MRI scanning.
Reiki is often referred to as an intelligent form of healing. It is suggested that this and similar energy therapies may be valuable in the prevention and remission of some serious diseases that are so costly in terms of human suffering and likely to be more expensive to health care in the future.
One theory is that energy healing works by opening up the communication channels that enable cells in the body to talk to each other, and opening up the terrain through which cells are able to migrate to places where they are needed to initiate repair or to fight diseases. Another is that these methods help to calm the person so their immune functions can operate smoothly.
Reiki is activated by intention and requires practitioners to calm their minds and thus open up their communication channels to understand where healing is most required on the body and for how long to caringly help the person or animal concerned.
Visualisation techniques can also be embodied as an element of Reiki treatments at a professional practising level, which also creates measurable electrical and magnetic fields and so can enhance its effectiveness.