Reiki, is rooted in Japanese healing practices which have existed and been passed down since antiquity. The word “Rei,” in Japanese means universal, while the word ‘ki,’ means simply life energy. The premise behind Reiki is that a practitioner can channel abundant life energy to restore the balance and energy in a patient, therefore restoring health and wellbeing.
According to early holistic practices, when the human body becomes sick – the energy transmitted from the point of illness (or pain) is blocked off and must be restored to restore well being. So, essentially, Reiki practitioners utilize a number of different techniques to find these energy blockages, and then use the healing modality to stream life energy (ki) through their hands to parts of the body that need restoration and healing.
Estimates suggest that in the United States alone, around 1 million people have had Reiki sessions. Additionally healing centers that involve Reiki are beginning to pop-up, in mainstream hospitals and are often used to help people deal with pain and other health issues. As chiropractic, care continues to breakdown barriers into an accepted form of ‘medical’ treatment, so do many energy-healing techniques such as Reiki and acupressure.
But is Reiki for real? Is it truly possible for people to work magic in the department of human health and healing through the visualization and utilization of energy that invisibly exists? Does Reiki work to truly heal, or is what these people experiencing quite simply a suggestion of mind over matter – otherwise known as the placebo effect?
Over the years, there have been many studies done trying to earnestly answer this exact question.
Every study, whether done at the prominent Johns Hopkins University or by a team of doctors in Australia seem to come to the same conclusion. Yes, Reiki can work to heal the body. Many people, after being studied have had drastic health changes after Reiki treatments that seemed to improve their health. Additionally, a wide array of scientific studies and testing modules have hooked up Reiki patients to monitoring equipment which indicated healthy drops in blood pressure and lowered heart rates after sessions, leading doctors to believe that it does have a positive reaction on stress and emotional distress found within the human body.
And yet, these studies also show that there are millions of people who walk away from Reiki sessions with nothing. In the end, science has bowed to the possibility of Reiki working wonders on the human body, while remaining vague about whether it is for real or not?
Another Reiki study done at the Helfgott Research Institute at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Portland, Oregon, showed that “Reiki has a measurable effect on the immune system!” The study examined white blood cells counts for people that were divided into three groups. One group received Reiki while another group simply spent time in a relaxed state. The third group neither relaxed nor got Reiki. Blood for the purpose of this scientific study was drawn before treatment, immediately after and then again several hours later. In the patients that received Reiki, white blood cells counts at both intervals were greatly improved – as opposed to those of the others, whose white blood cell counts remained the same.
Since Reiki is considered ‘energy healing,’ you would also have to consider the quantum physics behind the claims that Reiki is a valid form of healing. The Institute of Reiki Research says that,
“String theory (which says ALL living things (and matter) are made of minute fibers of immeasurable energy) is the first mathematically sound theory that reconciles the world of the infinitesimally small, with the world we know at large. It unites Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with quantum physics and offers a potential explanation for the Big Bang.”
This essentially translates into the theory that human beings are made up of these tiny strings of energy in every singular cell, and that in order for health and wellbeing to be in order – the energy must remain undisturbed. When a disturbance occurs – simply harnessing more strings of infinitesimally small energy, metaphysically available to all ‘matter’ in the universe simply ‘fixes’ the problem. If you are having a hard time grasping this idealism, think about the connections of an electrical current. If the cord is kinked, the appliance shorts out. Unkink the cord, and you have power again.
Debating the truth about Reiki would also not be complete without ‘harnessing the energy,’ from physicians who feel that they are in the ‘real’ business of healing people. One prominent doctor who speaks outwardly and often about holistic healing, says this.
“In 1922 Mikao Usui (JSG) fasted on a mountaintop in Japan and “received” the revelation of reiki. In other words, he made it up. Of course, the concept of qi was not foreign to Japanese culture, so it’s not like he made up the very idea of life energy, just the entire system of so-called energy healing. Still, life energy as a concept is a horrid anachronism, dating back to a time before we understood biology. There is no such thing as “life energy”. Since it is immeasurable, unobservable, and exerts no measurable effects, it is almost by definition non-existent”.
And of course, psychologists have long believed in the power of mind over matter. Believing MAKES it real, and the placebo effect theory of Reiki is born. Even outside of Reiki healing, major medical studies have found that when patients expect positive results from procedures or healing modalities, they normally receive positive results. So, when people believe in Reiki – (or ghosts, or UFO’s or miracles), they are simply creating the openness in their psyche to make it real for them. And for them, Reiki is real and Reiki works.
In conclusion – the truth is that Reiki works for some people and doesn’t for others. The reasons why are inconclusive and while the studies in Reiki’s favor are certainly creating a buzz about connecting with our innate being to heal ourselves, the beauty of Reiki, will certainly always be in the eyes of the beholder.