What is Reiki?
As someone who teaches Reiki as well as delivers Reiki treatments, the most frequently asked question I get is, "What is Reiki?" In the western world Reiki is commonly defined as universal healing energy. A more accurate definition, taken from the meaning of Reiki in the original Japanese language, where Reiki originated would be soul energy with 'Rei' meaning soul and Ki meaning energy (above is the origional way of writing Reiki in Japanese kanji characters). Reiki is a safe and natural healing approach using healing energy through our hands as well as a way of living that is commonly referred to as a therapy. How most people experience Reiki, is where a practitioner channels healing life energy, believed to be the basis of all life and vitality, to the person receiving the treatment. This is achieved by the practitioner placing their hands onto the person receiving Reiki, with the energy being absorbed as needed by the person receiving the Reiki treatment.
Reiki originated in Japan with a man called Mikao Usui in 1922, who organised Reiki into the system of healing we know today. The Reiki practitioners ability is in their technical understanding, perception and interpretation of the signals the recipients body is presenting them as to where the areas of disruption, stagnation and tension are in the body and where the need for healing is. Each persons patterns of imbalances or disruptions in their flow of energy can come from various sources including: their physical challenges, emotional loads, fears and stressors which all go to create a persons individual energetic signature. So each persons needs and benefits differ, but everyone can benefit from Reiki.
The benefits of Reiki are on many levels. Some levels people can be aware of, others are more subtle but no less important to personal growth, healing, health and wellbeing. Although many have found Reiki has helped them with specific conditions, it can be helpful to view benefits in a holistic way, with key benefits of promoting relaxation, dissipating stress, reducing anxiety, promoting balance and inner calm, supporting the body's natural healing mechanisms, as well as a persons personal growth as a whole. During a Reiki treatment many report sensations of heat, or tingling. Immediately after the treatment many report improved sleep patterns, feelings of greater calm, clarity in thought, or feeling very relaxed.
The Reiki practitioner is a vessel of transfer for a higher level energy beyond his or herself, rather than having direct individual healing abilities themselves. So rather than being a healer in the truest sense of the word, they could be described as a facilitator in the healing. Sometimes the term healer is used in conjunction with Reiki, however it is the energy doing the healing.
Someone can channel Reiki energy after a period of study and crucially after a series of specific 'Reiju' when the existing channel/ connection in all of us is cleared allowing a person to then channel Reiki energy, this being conducted by the persons Reiki teachers in person. The word attunement is commonly used for this event in the western world, however Reiju is the correct term (attunement suggests something is out of alignment, which it is not the case, it is more of a clearing). In the application of Reiki as a therapy, with a practitioner delivering a Reiki treatment to a recipient, the influence of Reiki energy is believed to be within a person's whole being: their body, mind, spirit, viewed as one interactive entity, rather than separate functioning systems. Within the Japanese language the word for body and mind are the same, as they understand there is no separation between the two. Eastern systems of medicine have understood this for thousands of years, understanding that we live in a world of energy, which flows through all life. The balanced flow of energy within a person is considered to be the foundation of health and well-being.
Reiki is believed to work by stimulating the clearance of both stagnation and disruptions to energy flow, as well as supporting the effective function of the body's natural healing mechanisms to promote balance. Receiving Reiki also builds a reservoir of this life energy within a person, which is believed to support vitality. The smooth uninterrupted flow of this Ki energy is the basis of health and well-being from an eastern view of medicine which believes that nature has equipped our body with mechanisms and its own wisdom to cleanse and hold a point of balance. However in the modern world the increased total loads on physical and psychological well-being have lessened these abilities as a result of what the body is exposed to in terms of stress, pace of life, pollution, nutritional toxicity, mental and emotional stresses, as well as a migration away from nature and increased challenges on the mind and happiness living in the modern world. Reiki offers a practical mechanism to support the body's natural cleansing processes to promote the body's migration towards a state of balance, well-being and greater happiness.
Reiki in its original application was as a path of growth and development of oneself, with a focus on ones mind. A person would receive Reiju and thereafter have the ability to channel Reiki themselves. In addition to the benefits already listed, as a student of Reiki you would have the potential for further progress in personal healing and development of thinking and character. As a student of Reiki there is also a focus on living with gratitude, helping others, being present, with a focus on dissolving anger and worry, migrating to a place of peace in mind, contentment and happiness. The potential positive effects on a person at this depth of Reiki are even deeper than receiving Reiki treatments alone. Learning Reiki is available for those who wish to benefit from the greater potential this level of involvement in Reiki has to offer. Reiki is independent of any religious system yet can benefit a person of any religious or spiritual belief system. You do not need to have spiritual beliefs to receive the benefits of Reiki. People are drawn to Reiki at a time that they are ready to receive it, or at a time they are in need of it. With many the actual benefit gained from Reiki can be more subtle, such as calming their mind and allowing their own intuition to be heard to guide them in decisions in their life.
About the author, Shaun Mckeown: could be labeled as a performance strategist, or coach, or a life balance specialist. In essence Shaun is a strategic, creative problem solver, with a holistic view. He has over 15 years professional experience helping people with health, well-being, sport performance, reducing stress and life balance. He has a BSc.(Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Science, as well as experience coaching and teaching in exercise conditioning, holistic lifestyle and nutrition, sport performance and Reiki. So has both science and holistic perspectives.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Shaun Mckeown, disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.
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