Reiki - a beginner's guide

Literally translated, the word 'reiki' means 'universal life force' in Japanese, where the therapy originated. A natural method of energy healing, reiki works with the body's energy to relieve stress, promote relaxation and restore balance, and the practice is thought to boost the body's self-healing ability.

reiki for beginners

What will it do for me?
Reiki is not just about physical wellbeing, but the health of mind, body and spirit. It is often used to relieve stress and promote relaxation as well as heal. Some people find that it eases the symptoms of various health issues, including anxiety, insomnia, back pain and arthritis, and it can be used in conjunction with more traditional medical techniques to aid in the recovery process. Many find they leave a reiki session with a sense of peace, relaxation and a warm radiance.

How does it work?
Negative thoughts or feelings are believed to diminish the organs and cells from functioning properly. Reiki works by flowing through the negatively affected areas, charging them instead with positive energy. A practitioner uses his or her hands, either on or close to the body, to increase the vibration of the energy field in these affected areas, breaking down the negative energy and restoring the body's natural energy pathways to allow the life force to flow again.

What should I expect?
During a reiki session, the practitioner may use one of two methods - the hands may be lightly rested on various areas of the body, holding the position for a couple of minutes, or they may work 'absently', where the hands are held away from the body. Some patients report feeling heat from the hands during this process, even where no physical contact is made.

Treatment takes place where the client is comfortable, either sitting or lying, and they will remain fully clothed. Though you may be asked questions as to your general health, reiki is not about offering diagnoses or advice. Most importantly, it cannot harm the client as it is entirely non-invasive, though some people can become very emotional during or after therapy. However, it is always a good idea to tell your practitioner if you are suffering from any medical conditions or are pregnant.

Where can I find a practitioner?
Reiki healing is not yet widely available on the NHS, but there are many practitioners throughout the country. The best place to start is The Reiki Council, the lead advisory body in the UK, which can provide more information about the techniques used, research into the effectiveness of reiki, and provides a list of affiliated practitioners.

Have you tried reiki? Did you experience positive results? Leave your comments below...