Reiki is a form of integrative medicine that activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system to help heal the body and mind through gentle touch.
While massage requires a deeper manipulation of body tissue, Reiki practitioners barely touch their clients, and instead, channel a flow of “life force energy” through the gentle laying of hands. Reiki massage is a form of massage where the massage therapist incorporates Reiki techniques to enhance healing energy within the session.
Quick Facts About Reiki and Reiki Massage
- Reiki is a Japanese form of healing (pronounced ray-kee).
- Reiki is considered a safer natural therapy as it happens through gentle touch.
- Reiki and Reiki massage sessions can last anywhere from 20-120 minutes.
- Reiki and Reiki massage sessions should transpire within a peaceful, relaxing setting.
- Typically, clients lie down on a massage table when receiving Reiki.
- Reiki stimulates the flow of “life force energy” rather than the practitioner’s energy.
- Reiki-certified massage therapists incorporate energy work into their practice.
- Reiki was developed by a Japanese Zen Buddhist named Mikao Usui in the 1920s.
- Reiki practitioners have evolved Reiki from its original form throughout the years.
- Practitioners study multiple “levels” of Reiki training to become Reiki “masters.”
- Only a few scientific studies currently evidence healing benefits of Reiki.
- Reiki is increasingly offered as a complementary therapy in top hospitals in the U.S.
What is Reiki?
Reiki can be difficult to understand within the Western medicine paradigm since energy in the body is not typically studied, nor included as a factor in healing or disease.
In Eastern medicine, however, every living thing is understood to have an energy field, known as Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, (pronounced chee) or Prana (pronounced prah-nah) in Ayurveda. Both ancient modalities consider energy to play a foundational role in overall health.
As we live and experience injuries, trauma, toxins, and unhealthy habits, our energy, or our qi can become low, imbalanced, and stagnant. To increase qi and clear blockages, Reiki massage allows a healthy flow of universal life force energy into the body while activating the parasympathetic system, promoting balance, homeostasis and reducing illness.
What is “Life Force Energy?”
While it may sound esoteric, “ life force energy” simply refers to energy in the universe.
Science underscores the energetic nature of the universe. Quantum physics suggests that nothing is solid, but rather, waveforms of energy. Electromagnetic energy is found in the body and the earth itself. In Ether and the Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein wrote, “the elementary particles of matter are also, in their essence, nothing else than condensations of the electromagnetic field…”
Additionally, many cultures around the world acknowledge the existence of an intangible energetic biofield. Common names besides prana and qi are ki (Japan), Mana (Polynesia), Ruach (Hebrew), Baraka in Islamic Countries, the “light” or the “holy spirit” in Christianity, and many different names in Indigenous cultures.
Regardless of your beliefs, the healing benefits of Reiki massage can be accessed without any particular spiritual or philosophical understanding.
What are the healing benefits of Reiki Massage?
Reiki promotes a healthy flow of qi within the body, which can assist in clearing blockages, cleansing toxins and accelerating healing within the body, mind, and spirit. When this type of energy healing is regularly experienced, the body has a chance to rest and restore within a peaceful setting, promoting healthy energy flow. Although there is little scientific evidence to support the healing benefits of Reiki, many health care professionals accept Reiki as a complementary treatment that can promote overall well-being.
Below are a few conditions commonly addressed with Reiki in conjunction with Western medicine.
- Back Pain
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Disconnection from self and life
What does science say about Reiki?
Although it is difficult to conduct medical studies on Reiki due to challenges in creating controlled environments and documenting the biofield, recent studies have proven the healing benefits of Reiki beyond placebo.
In one study of 13 suitable, peer-reviewed clinical trials, 8 demonstrated Reiki as more effective than placebo and concluded, “Reiki is a safe and gentle “complementary” therapy that activates the parasympathetic nervous system to heal body and mind.” Another study concluded, “there is evidence to suggest that Reiki therapy may be effective for pain and anxiety.”
In a research study on the effects of Reiki done at Hartford Hospital:
- 86% of patients reported improved sleep
- 78% of patients reported reduced pain
- 80% of patients reported reduced nausea
- 94% of pregnant women reported reduced anxiety during pregnancy
Over 70 of the nation’s top hospitals are finding success in offering Reiki as a complementary therapy, including Johns Hopkins, New York Presbyterian, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Duke University Hospital and others. Finally, Reiki is listed in the Holistic Nursing “Scope and Standards of Practice” as an accepted form of care.
Are there any risks associated with Reiki?
Because Reiki is such a gentle therapy, there are no reported risks associated with this type of energy healing.
With that said, Reiki can be dangerous if people suffering from serious illnesses (such as cancer) rely solely on Reiki to heal them of their disease, rather than using it as a complementary therapy.
How can I find a good Reiki massage practitioner near me?
There are few prerequisites to becoming a Reiki practitioner, so check in with your community and trusted health care providers for recommendations.
There are 4 levels of Reiki training. Level 2 allows practitioners to practice with others; Level 3 certifies them as “Reiki Masters” and Level 4 allows them to teach others how to practice Reiki.
Find a practitioner who is certified in Level 2 and above. Also be sure to consult with 2-3 practitioners before choosing the one who works best for you. As with energy healing and many alternative healing modalities, feeling safe and connected with your practitioner can help allow healing to transpire.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive network of trusted Integrative medicine practitioners, then you’re in the right place. Explore TelMD!
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