Reiki is becoming more popular in the U.S. then it has ever been before. However, there seems to be some skepticism on its effectiveness on patients and also a lack of knowledge on what Reiki actually does. To understand the fundamentals of Reiki, one must understand the history and distinguish from the different point of views, both opposing and supporting. While these are addressed in this paper, it is important to understand how people can benefit from Reiki. This paper will explore the different forms of Reiki, how to find a local Reiki practitioner, the effects of Reiki and what ailments it is specifically used for.
But first, to understand the different forms of Reiki, the history must be understood. Reiki’s vague past started on Mt. Kurama, a mountain North of Kyoto Japan, where Japanese monks would find enough peace and serenity to meditate. And it was the year of 1914 when an educated Japanese Doctor named Mikao Usui decided to look for answers to new methods of healing. He ascended Mt. Kurama and gathered twenty-one stones in which he stacked on the ground where he sat near the base a small waterfall. There he fasted, chanted and prayed, throwing one stone away each day to keep track of time. On the twenty-first day, famished, tired, and weak, he started to hallucinate. As he hallucinated, he envisioned Sanskrit symbols in which sparkled and glittered in front of him. When he awoke, he felt rejuvenated and strong.
Dr. Usui then walked down the hill side and upon the descent he stubbed his toe. He immediately reached down and grasped his foot in agony. After moments of pain, he released his foot and found that the bleeding had stopped and the pain had subsided. When he reached the base of the hill, he found a stream but the water had been tainted with harmful organisms. Parched, Dr. Usui clasped water in his hands for a moment and then drank. His journey was almost complete when he reached an Inn. He had then demanded breakfast. The Inn Keeper had warned about eating such a large meal after fasting, but Dr. Usui did not listen. Dr. Usui took his bowl and prayed over it. He ate with no side effects.
Dr. Usui was just about to leave when he noticed the Inn Keeper was in pain. He walked up to her, clasped her jaw with his hands and within seconds, she had suffered no more tooth ache.
It was these four miracles that Dr. Usui preformed which sparked the Reiki tradition.
The tradition was almost lost, however, when only a few students had learned his secrets. Dr. Usui had provided care for a majority of people in Japan, including the city of Kyoto and surrounding towns. Dr. Usui, however, did not teach his gift to many students; but out of the handful of students, one by the name of Chujiro Hayashi who later became a great teacher and master.
Chujiro Hayashi was a Japanese Naval physician who found Dr. Usui and began to learn Reiki. He became Dr. Usui’s most dedicated student and later decided to open a clinic of his own. He developed techniques of hand placements and eventually started to teach others his gift.
That is when, by a little bit of fate, a woman by the name of Hawayo Takata wondered into his clinic in Tokyo, Japan in the early 1930’s. At that time, she had been suffering from several ailments including emphysema, appendicitis, and gastrointestinal problems.
Under Dr. Hayashi’s care for four months, she became well again. That is when Hawayo Takata began to inquiry about the treatment that saved her life. Dr. Hayashi was hesitant for two reasons. First, Takata was female, and healing was traditionally a male occupation; second, Takata was only half Japanese and her home country was in the U.S. Reiki had been considered a sacred practice in Japan and it was not intended to journey and be practiced anywhere else.
After a long time of persuasion, Dr. Hayashi gave in to her wishes and in the spring of 1936, Takata became his thirteenth and last student. Dr. Hayashi taught Takata everything that he had learned and developed throughout his years of mastery. After two long and grueling years, Takata finally graduated. In 1938, she had moved back to Hawaii, taking all that she had learned with her. Sadly, she was the last student Dr. Hayashi would teach; for in winter of 1940, Dr. Hayashi passed away opening up the spot for Takata to take Reiki Grand Master in 1941.
Takata was the only Grand Master for many years. She had opened a clinic in Hawaii where she practiced for thirty years. During which, she had taught many students the art and history of Reiki. She did not, however, teach anyone advance Reiki, nor how to become a Reiki Master successor.
Before Dr. Takata’s death in December of 1980, she realized that it was time to train someone to become her successor. She charged a whopping $10,000 for the class and hand picked only twenty two students; of which, none were to be named essentially Grand Master. And subsequently, only a few traveled to the mainland and opened up their own clinic. Reiki’s existence in America hung on a thread.
But Reiki soon caught on.
“With the raising of consciousness in the West, Reiki is growing in popularity; more and more people are becoming aware of it and are using it.” (Barnett & Chambers p. 6)
Slowly, the clinics sprung up across America and throughout the East, eventually merging into Europe and on to other continents as well. Today, Reiki clinics can be found in every major metropolis in every major country around the world. Practitioners have incorporated technology, metaphysics, and other alternative healings into their techniques. Reiki branched out and there are now numerous forms of Reiki; from animal Reiki, Herbal Reiki, Stone Laying Reiki, Spiritual Revival Reiki, to Reading & Reiki, among many others. With each practitioner, the length of treatments, their rates, even their methods are all individual.
Some states, however, heavily regulate the practice; they now regard Reiki as a medical practice and require all practitioners to become licensed. Some states restrict how the Reiki sessions are preformed, and other states restrict the tools used during treatments and the recommendations given afterwards. Such tools include message oils or herbal spreads, while the recommendations, (viewed as a prescription by some state legislatures) may be a simple suggestion that the client drink an eight ounce glass of water immediately after the session.
Despite the regulations, Reiki still thrives in much of the U.S. and there is strong evidence to conclude that it has been well discussed by many people of all nationalities and creeds. On the other hand, it has been argued that Reiki is an occult practice, viewed to be a source of unknown powers. Some religions prohibit energy work such as Reiki and an underlying fear keeps some people from even learning about or even what it can do for them.
What many people do not realize is that Reiki is very beneficial and may help them in ways they never thought possible. To understand the benefits, Reiki must first be explained. Reiki is an energy work, it works on multiple levels of health, including physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological. Although being a very spiritual technique, it is not a religion nor does it conform to any one type of religion. An individual does not have to believe in any particular belief to benefit from Reiki. The energy work specifically comes from ‘Ki’ or the life-force from the ‘Rei’ or soul. In specific terms, a practitioner focuses on fusing and adjusting a patient’s soul’s energy.
Consequently, since it works upon multiple levels of health, there are many benefits from it. Some of the benefits include balancing, focusing, provides stamina, de-ages, it provides pain relief, organ repair, stress relief, and it calms, it rejuvenates, it improves memory, heart function, cardiovascular health; along with depletes cancer cells or tumors, repairs ulcers, improves bone density, and eliminates depression.
The best part about Reiki is that unlike medication or surgery, Reiki is non-evasive and does not have any known risky side effects. Multiple sessions are recommended but not mandatory. And along with one treatment, a multiplicity of healing happens; meaning that a certain ailment would be worked on along with the cause and the symptoms. Such similar treatment is hard to find that will cure all three (ailment, cause, and symptoms) in a short amount of time.
It is also important that a trustworthy Reiki practitioner is chosen. How to choose a practitioner is simple if these guidelines are adhered to: First, locate one by obtaining a local metaphysical newsletter (found in bookstores and coffee shops) or by going online to find one in your local area. Second, make a phone call to the practitioner and ask about his or her license (if necessary), the length of time in practice, what kind of tools or aids does he or she use, for how much and how long does a session last. Third, if satisfied thus far, ask for a tour the clinic. Be sure to ask questions. Most Reiki practitioners will understand and should not pressure anyone into a session, nor make an individual feel uncomfortable in any way. The practitioner should feel warm, welcoming, and inviting.
But, how does one decide if Reiki is right for them? It is important to understand that Reiki might not be for everyone. It is important to sit down and create a list of both expectations and questions that you might have. If you are still unsure of the treatment, then it is wise to forgo the treatment until you are ready.
Since Reiki is an intense energy work, it may be overwhelming for beginners. Often times, the energy brings up old wounds, whether emotional, physical, psychological or spiritual, and may be hard to cope with for the short amount of time it rises to the surface. It is important to understand that the energy focused on such damaging wounds that were suppressed by will over long periods of time, and thus Reiki will painfully bring them up before it is able to clear the pain away.
It also might be wise for a patient to have ample time to recover from the energy work. Length of time varies on the patient, so it would be wise to ask the practitioner for guidance. It is also recommended that a patient should refrain from driving or other stressors right after a session.
Now, based on this given knowledge of the history and benefits of Reiki, one could make an educated decision on whether it is right for them. With the many benefits from Reiki, it would be hard not to seek a practitioner for everything from mild heartburn to cancer. Reiki does not replace medical care, but it does enhance therapeutic effectiveness. Perhaps someday, everyone will utilize Reiki for the overwhelming amount of benefits it happen to provide.