he practice of Reiki began in Japan in the early 20th century and was founded by Dr. Mikao Usui. Practitioners of the Usui System of Reiki trace their techniques back to Usui and other forms of Reiki have since developed. It is used to reduce stress and to promote relaxation and healing by the laying on of hands. Reiki practitioners first learn to apply the technique to themselves before they use it on others.
Unlike massage, Reiki clients remain fully clothed and the session is conducted either sitting in a chair or lying on a massage table. During a typical session, the Reiki practitioner gently touches the client’s head, stomach, back, and feet. There are no kneading motions of any kind and there is not a lot of pressure applied. Clients may feel warmth, a tingling sensation, or nothing at all.
Reiki for Relaxation
In 2002 researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center published findings that indicated Reiki does indeed aid in helping people to relax. Their findings illustrated what Reiki practitioners around the world already know. However, “For the skeptics, it’s been proven that Reiki causes relaxation,” said Dr. Mary Guarino Kearns, a Washington DC area Reiki practitioner.
It is not difficult to imagine why Reiki has its naysayers. The practice is grounded in spirituality, but not connected to a certain religion. Even without ties to a particular religion, there is something mystical about the idea of the laying on of hands and the healing power of touch. There are many ways to translate the word “Reiki”, and one concise way to render that word in English is “universal life energy.” The International Center for Reiki training defines it as “spiritually guided life force energy.”
All of the participants in the University of Texas study were adults and the study employed the Usui System of Reiki. For this study, the practitioner gently laid hands on the subjects’ faces and abdomens, spending 15 minutes on each area. Researchers gathered quantitative data before and after the Reiki sessions. This included taking the subjects’ blood pressure and getting saliva samples. They also asked participants for qualitative feedback. Combining the medical evidence with the subjects’ thoughts on the sessions allowed researchers to conclude that Reiki is an effective relaxation technique.
From Relaxed to Revived
We all enjoy feeling relaxed, but seldom do we realize that having a more relaxed state of mind is what energizes us. Often we think the opposite: that we must keep going to be productive. Taking a pause for a therapeutic practice such as reiki can help us accomplish more.
Dr. Kearns says that first learning self-reiki helped her to relax and that this helps her to focus and be more centered. And it follows that she has seen the same effect on her clients. “If they come in highly stressed, they leave with more focus and clarity,” she observes.
It may seem counterintuitive to some in our fast paced world, but Kearns thinks that relaxation techniques help improve productivity. From her viewpoint, “Books like The Secret that discuss the laws of attraction leave out the part about stepping back to receive the answer.”
There is power in relaxation and Reiki is one way to tap into the power that comes when you decide to let go.