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How Reiki Works – The Benefits Of Energy Healing

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There are innumerable practices in the wellness world that are becoming increasingly popular with the masses, one of which is called Reiki. This energy healing practice has become an absolute hit; wellness practitioners and health gurus alike rave about the benefits of Reiki, and even celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow have explored this alternative healing method.

Although it has become a relatively new fan favorite, this energy balancing technique existed long before it became a 21st century obsession. Reiki was developed by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan and is based on the theory that the process of channeling one’s energy can restore the general well-being of an individual.

How exactly does Reiki work? Because of its theoretical foundation, many people find it difficult to understand the basics of Reiki and if you are one of those people we are here to help.

To meet your need for answers, we consulted two Reiki specialists, Anna Toonk and Valerie Oula, co-founders of The Soul Unity, who are both experts on the subject.

Let’s start with the basics, What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese energy technique that refers to the use of channeling energy to align the body, mind and spirit. It is not to be confused with massage, however, as massage requires significant pressure, while Reiki requires just the opposite. “By lightly touching the hands on and off the body, Reiki practitioners can promote balance in the body,” says Valerie Oula. “Everything has an energy field that can be measured in terms of frequency. Reiki creates subtle shifts in the energy field to create a balance.”

Woman receives a head massage from a masseuse a Buddha statue sits in the background horizontal shot

Dean Mitchell Getty Images

How does Reiki work and what is the exact method?

The Reiki method relies heavily on a practitioner’s intuition regarding the needs of their client. In other words, there is no strict protocol when it comes to practicing Reiki. “It depends on how my client walks into the room – if he’s very scared, I start grounding him and work my way up to his head,” says Anna Toonk.

“As a practitioner, I don’t give you my energy, I allow the universal neutral life energy to move through me, flow through my hands and channel through your body. In Reiki, it is channeled energy, so you have to open up to let that energy in. Ideally, you want the energy to flow through you as if you are a channel.”

While there is some degree of flexibility in how energy specialists can perform Reiki, there are some universal basics that they need to follow in order to ensure that the Reiki session is effective. “As a Reiki practitioner, you have to be as neutral as possible,” says Oula. “The body of the recipient draws what it needs through the practitioner from the universal energy field. In Reiki we work with life energy, which is also called Prana or Chi and flows through everything and everyone. There is no exchange of personal energy.”

What are the benefits of Reiki?

Since Reiki focuses on channeling energy, most of the benefits are related to improving the mental state through the relief of stress or anxiety. “One of the strongest things about Reiki is that it allows us to really receive and be really present in our body,” says Toonk. “Reiki can be very powerful in relieving anxiety because its presence allows us to get to the underlying root of what is causing these feelings. Reiki specialists are not therapists, but we can offer a sense of support.”

One important note, however, is that relieving anxiety is not synonymous with eliminating bad energy. “I often hear clients ask if Reiki can help eliminate bad energy, but it’s not really about good versus bad,” says Oula. “I do not subscribe to the concept of good or bad energy. Everything we feel and experience is valid and valuable. I like to remind my clients that Reiki helps you become more grounded and helps you create clear boundaries around you give you an increased feeling of energy not to accept it. “

Who should use Reiki?

While Reiki is a useful tool for those struggling with anxiety and even depression, it is not limited to that function. “I would recommend Reiki to anyone – even babies or pets – because it’s such a gentle, calming, and empowering practice,” says Toonk.

“We all carry a lot of different emotions, and I like to think of those feelings as glaciers in our body. Reiki helps break up these glaciers so that parts can float to the surface and we become aware of them. Many of us avoid silence because we think it will be painful, but Reiki does the opposite, it calms us. “

Woman lying down and relaxing with wellness massage from professional therapist in wellness spa salon

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What are the Reiki Principles?

Dr. Usui has developed five main rules to help Reiki practitioners, and although there have been variations on these principles over time, Toonk explains that there is a general overview: “Just for today I don’t worry, just for today I won’t be angry, only for today will I be grateful, only for today will I do my work honestly, only for today will I be kind to all living things.”

Oula notes that although these principles are used in Reiki practice, they can also be used as daily mantras that relieve stress and welcome a sense of peace, e.g., the first precept, saying to yourself – Just for today, do not worry.

Can I practice Reiki?

According to Toonk, technically you could be giving yourself Reiki at that moment. However, in order to be an experienced Reiki practitioner, a certain level of skill must be achieved through learning. “I am a Reiki master, the highest level you could be,” explains Toonk. “As a practitioner, you get what is called [an] attunement, and this process enables you to channel energy more efficiently.”

If you just want to start practicing the simpler elements of Reiki, there are certainly ways to do so. Oula believes that the best approach to learning Reiki is to develop meditation skills. “Through meditation you can begin to discover more subtle things – with Reiki we work with subtle energy and subtle energy requires a different way of listening and speaking,” she says.

Purchase Niamo’s book on Reiki here or on Amazon (digital version).

Here’s another Reiki giver’s video on distance healing.