• Description
  • Background
  • Theory
  • Research

Reiki practitioners conduct sessions with the intention to heal specific ailments or to improve overall well-being. Treatments involve the systematic placing of hands in 12 to 15 varying positions. Hand positions are held for approximately 2-5 minutes each. Hands may be placed directly on a clothed patient or held one to two inches above the skin.


The practitioner's hands are positioned palm-side down with the fingers and thumb extended. The standard positions may be modified if deemed necessary by the practitioner. The timing of the hand positions may be cut short if the practitioner believes that he or she senses energy flow. All of the body systems can be covered with the hand positions within 30 to 90 minutes. The number of sessions varies from patient to patient based on the judgment of the practitioner. Acute issues may be treated faster than chronic conditions.


Patients have reported feeling different sensations during Reiki sessions such as warmth, tingling, sleepiness, relaxation, or invigoration. Practitioners have reported tingling in their fingers, heat, cold, or pulsing while administering Reiki.


Sometimes a technique called "sweeping" is used prior to starting the formal healing session. Sweeping involves the practitioner aiming to pass hands through the patient's energy field. This technique is said to allow the practitioner to more easily detect areas of energy disruption, imbalance, or blockage and to cleanse patients of negative feelings, emotions, or physical burdens.

Reiki is an ancient healing practice that is approximately 2,500 years old. The name "Reiki" is derived from two Japanese words: rei meaning universal spirit and ki meaning life energy. Mention of Reiki can be found in the Tibetan sutras and in ancient records of cosmology and philosophy.


Hichau Mikao Usui, a Japanese physician and Buddhist monk, revitalized the practice of Reiki in the 19th Century. It is said that after 21 days of fasting, Reiki was presented to Usui on Mt. Kurama, a Japanese mountaintop near Kyoto during a spiritual experience. By this account, light struck him upon the forehead opening up a "third eye" possessing the highest source of power in the human body. Usui passed down his teachings, and Hawayo Tokata, a Japanese Hawaiian, introduced Usui Reiki to the West in 1930.


In modern times, multiple styles and historical accounts of Reiki are taught and practiced. In general, there are three levels of certifications/attunements associated with the practice of Reiki. A Level I degree often involves a weekend course that teaches the potential practitioner to transfer "universal life energy" to him/herself and to others. Students are trained in the concepts and hand positions of Reiki. Four ceremonies (attunements) are performed with the goal of opening students' inner healing channels to engage them in the flow of energy. The Level II degree includes an initiation ceremony that aims to enhance the practitioner's ability to interact with the flow of energy. Other training may include distant healing, teaching of symbols, and enhancement of mental/emotional/spiritual healing. In some cases, practitioners receive a Level II degree after 'intuitively' receiving Sanskrit symbols from spirit guides that are believed to increase their healing powers. The Reiki Master degree (Level III) takes years of close training with a Reiki Master and allows the practitioner to teach Reiki to others.


Principles taught in Reiki include: "just for today do not worry", "just for today do not be angry", "just for today give thanks for your many blessings", "honour your parents, teachers and elders", "earn your living honestly", "be kind to your neighbours and every living thing", and "show gratitude to everything."

Reiki practitioners believe that therapeutic effects of this technique are obtained from a "universal life energy" that provides strength, harmony, and balance to the body and mind. Life energy is thought to be transferred to patients when practitioners place their hands on or directly above treatment areas. This life energy is thought to vitalize organs and cells and to release trapped negative energy. Practitioners do not view themselves as the sources of life energy.


Reiki practitioners believe that human energy flows through meridians (or pathways) in the body that can be sensed by trained individuals. A disturbance in the flow of this energy may be caused by physical illnesses or negative emotions. Reiki practitioners aim to channel life energy to problem areas where the patient's energy flow is sensed as being disrupted.


Practitioners believe that Reiki can treat symptoms and enable patients to feel enlightened with improved mental clarity, well-being, and spirituality. Reiki is sometimes administered to patients who are dying with the goal of instilling a sense of peace.


It has been proposed that Reiki can lower heart rate and blood pressure, boost the immune system and endocrine (hormonal) systems, stimulate endorphins, or affect skin temperature and blood haemoglobin levels. However, these properties have not been well-studied or clearly demonstrated in scientific studies.


Reiki has been used or suggested for the management of many conditions. However, Reiki is not well studied scientifically. There are several challenges to conducting high quality research on techniques such as Reiki: there are different styles of practice with variation from practitioner to practitioner; it is challenging to design studies with "placebo" Reiki; and there is no widespread agreement on how best to measure outcomes. Better research is needed before a recommendation can be made either for or against the effectiveness of Reiki for any specific condition.


The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.


Addiction, adjunct in surgery, alcoholism, allergies, anemia, anger, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bone marrow transplant support, breast cancer, brain damage, broken bones, burn pain, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular risk reduction, carpal tunnel syndrome, cellulitis, cervical dysplasia, chemical burns, chronic pain, connective tissue disorders, convulsions, dementia, dental procedures, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic wound healing, emotional problems, emphysema, epilepsy, fatigue, fibromyalgia, fractures (wrist), gallstones, grief, guilt, Guillain-Barre syndrome, headache, heart attack, hemophilia, hemorrhoids, hernia, herpes zoster, hiccough, high blood pressure, hysterectomy, impotence, labor, mental problems, migraine headache, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, neonatal disorders, nervous system function, neuropathy, nosebleeds, post-operative pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, pregnancy, promoting healing, prostate problems, psoriasis, radiation sickness, rash, recovering from anesthesia, reduction of adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiation, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, relaxation, rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia, sinus congestion, spinal cord injury, suicide prevention, systemic lupus erythematosus, trauma, tremor, ulcers, varicose veins, venereal diseases, warts, wound healing.

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Note: MojoGuru does not recommend any treatment, therapy or particular provider. We do not recommend that you self-diagnose. If you are suffering from a health condition and before starting a new treatment or therapy, we do recommend that you first consult a GP. More