What the Heck is Reiki Anyway?

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What is Reiki and How it May Assist in Your Health and Overall Well Being?

So, what exactly is Reiki?  This is the question I’m asked on numerous occasions and at times it’s easier to experience than explain; however, I want to take a moment to discuss and share what Reiki is and how it may bring overall wellness into your life.

Reiki is:

A Japanese healing modality using the art and science of activating, directing and applying natural, universal life energy to promote energy balancing, healing and wholeness as well as preventing disorders to maintain a state of positive wellness.* Studies show that Reiki speeds wound healing time, (including major surgeries) assists in better sleep patterns, lowers blood pressure and is effective in reducing pain.

Let’s Break Down the Word:

REI – means universal and KEI – means life force energy. Therefore, the word Reiki translates to universal life force energy.

Life Force Energy

When speaking at an event, I was asked, What is life force energy?  Great question.  It’s not always easy to describe what you may innately know; something that cannot be seen or heard and yet, you feel it intuitively in your core being.

The best definition I discovered is this: life force energy is what flows through us, within us and around us activating and animating our own life form (the body) as well as all living beings.  It’s a part of who we are and everything around us.

How Does it Work?

A Reiki practitioner activates this life force energy (through training and technique) and this energy moves from the practitioner’s hands through the individual being healed.  As the energy flows through the body and its centers, (known as chakras) it creates balance and wellness.  Reiki is non-invasive practice, it is not affiliated with any religious denomination and depending on the needs of the individual, sessions can range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Balance means different things at various times to different people.  Here are a couple of examples: if you are feeling exhausted, you begin to feel refreshed and filled with vigor, strength and vitality.  If one is feeling anxious or stressed, one starts to experiences serenity and a sense of peace.  This it what it means to balance energies within and around the body.

Some Benefits of Reiki include:

  • Alleviates stress and anxiety
  •  Decrease in depression
  •  Increase in energy / vitality
  • Release of core wounds
  • Reduce/eliminate chronic pain
  • Aids in the grieving process

What Does One Feel in Reiki a Session?

The experience of Reiki is highly personal and varies for each individual.  Here are a list of a few examples on what you may experience during a session:

  • Deep relaxation / calmness
  • Subtle variation of warmth or coolness
  • A comforting sensation – sometimes felt in the body as “tingling”
  • A sense of feeling “lighter” and more at ease

A Brief History 

The founder of modern day Usui Reiki is Mikao Usui.  Also know as Usui Sensei, Usui was a Buddhist who spent most of his adult life in Kyoto studying ancient Buddhist medical and healing texts. In 1888, Usui Sensei had a near death experience when he contracted cholera; an epidemic that was ravaging Kyoto and other nearby areas. He miraculously recovered and this experience caused him to reassess his life and where he developed a keen interest in the esoteric science of healing.

The Discovery of Reiki

It was in the late 1890’s when Usui Sensei discovered Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts dating back to the seventh century where he found the keys to healing.  Soon thereafter, Usui Sensei traveled to the holy mountain, Kurama Yama where he would test and validate the power of this healing.  After considerable contemplation, visions, meditation and finally confirmation, he decided to share the discovery of this healing, which he would later call Reiki, with others.

The Five Principles

Usui Sensei also taught five principles supporting his work in Reiki.  He believed strongly in the power and impact of these principles.  There are several variations, I’ve listed mine below.

Try reciting these five Reiki principles as affirmations to start your day.

Just for today,

Do not anger, choose love.

Do not worry, choose trust.

Be filled with gratitude,

Devote yourself to your work, (on yourself and in service to others)


Be kind to all living beings.

Ancient Egypt

There are some scholars and researchers who believe energy healing dates back to ancient Egypt. In fact, some say the Pyramids were healing centers used for energy and sound healing.

Here’s one article discussing the energy of the Great Pyramid of Giza along with experiments and healing forces found within the pyramid.  A wellness center in Bali called the Pyramids of Chi replicated the Pyramid of Giza and uses this structure for ancient sound healing to promote relaxation and vitality.  Many visitors experience lasting healing effects.  Check out this video from their website that shows the blood health of participants before and after a gong sound bath healing.

Integration of Modern Medicine and Reiki Today modern medicine and hospitals are incorporating Reiki and other holistic healing modalities into wellness programs for their patients.  The well known surgeon, Dr. Oz is a champion of Reiki and uses Reiki practitioners in his operating room while performing major surgery on various patients. Recently I posted this article on how Aboriginal healers are using their indigenous healing practice (described as similar to Reiki) in local hospital and clinics in Australia.

I find many of my clients are searching for a more integrated approach to their health.  Reiki can be a lovely compliment in addition to western medicine practices depending on your health issues.

Here’s to Your Health!

Reiki is a wonderful healing modality for anyone wanting a more holistic approach to their overall wellness and health regiment. It’s effective on all levels (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and can even be performed at long distances.

If you would like to receive more information, feel free to contact me here.  Ready to begin?  Great!  Book a consultation via the Schedule a Session icon so we can discuss your goals and personalize your session.

Thank you and here’s to your continued vibrant wellness and health!

Peace, love and abundant blessings,


* From my personal Reiki Manual lovingly given to me by my Reiki Master Teacher, Elizabeth de Vries

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