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What Is Reiki, And How Can It Help You Heal?

Dr. Patrick V. Suglia
Dec 29, 2007
In a nutshell, Reiki is a healing art that can help people with various types of physical and emotional healing needs. It involves the healer placing his or her hands on or over the client without actually manipulating any parts of the body. You may have seen similar healing modalities such as healing touch and therapeutic touch. But Reiki is not the same thing. Nor is Reiki the same thing between its practitioners. The oldest and most potent form of Reiki is formally known as The Usui System Of Natural Healing According To Hawayo Takata. It is called this because it was discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan and was developed by Mrs. Hawayo Takata. "Reiki" was the word Dr. Usui used to describe his discovery. Since being introduced by Takata to the United States in the 1970s, Reiki has become diluted and intertwined among other "healing" arts and modalities. Some people have even "invented" their own styles of Reiki.

But what is Reiki, really? How does it work? That is summed up in the word itself. "Ki" is the word to describe the universal life force that keeps everything alive and in motion. Ki, or chi, is the force that gives your heart the energy to beat, your lungs to breathe, your brain to think, and for you to become inspired. "Rei" means "movement." Thus, we have the practice of moving the life force energy in order to create a healing effect. We all have the ability to do this to some degree. We always feel just a bit better when we hold our ankle for a while after tripping off a curb. A child feels more soothed and happy when we hold our hand over his or her cut finger. In effect, we are moving energy to create healing. The Reiki practitioner is specially attuned to do this in a much more magnified way, and the magnification of the moving force of energy has many implications. It can help a headache to go away. It can help a deep cut heal without scarring. It can help a person concentrate better while studying. And it can help a person overcome deep emotional hurts. It is a powerful healing force that balances the energies within the body to bring a state of wellness to all of its parts and to the whole.

A complete Reiki session is best performed in a relaxing environment, a quiet studio or office with soft music or sounds that are pleasing to the ear. The client lies on a massage table but is not unclothed at all. The practitioner then places his or her hands on or over different body areas, twelve on the front side of the body and five on the back. Even though no private areas are involved, the client has the right to let the practitioner know on which areas they do not feel comfortable being touched. In that case, the practitioner can hold his or her hands over the area, and the client receives the same healing benefit. A complete session lasts anywhere between sixty and seventy-five minutes, depending on one's specific needs. Personally, the longest session I ever performed was two hours in length. The practitioner will hold their hands over a certain area longer if they sense that more healing energy is needed in that area. During the session, both the client and the practitioner may feel different sensations in different areas of the body, such as extreme warmth, tingling, or a deep relaxation. These sensations are clues as to where the healing energy is needed and indicate that the energy is definitely working. If a person is receiving a session because of emotional or subconscious needs, they may experience feelings of emotional "release" and relief. After the session, one definitely feels that something has changed for the better.

At the Sufletesc Center located in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, I practice the original Usui System Of Natural Healing According To Hawayo Takata. Since I began practicing Reiki in June of 1998, I've taken care of many people who have said to me that they have been to other Reiki "practitioners" but somehow felt an enormously powerful difference between what I did and what they received from others. I then explain to them that there are different types of Reiki out there, and what I do is the unadulterated version. This leads to the discussion of what is involved in the training of a Reiki practitioner. First of all, you CANNOT learn Reiki in an all-in-one weekend that costs only $100. I have had Reiki "Masters" (teachers) ask me about things that I do that they never learned. In the original Usui system, there are three degrees of practice. The First Degree practitioner works with physical conditions. The Second Degree practitioner can take care of emotional and subconscious healing matters and can even perform healing sessions in-absentia (from a distance). Then there is the Master level. While the practitioner is complete in his or her abilities at the second degree, the Master is the one who attunes and teaches others. The cost of training in the original method is $150 for First Degree, $500 for Second Degree (after a three month training period), and, after a three-year period of practice, one can become a Reiki Master for $10,000, which entails a lengthy, detailed apprenticeship.

The most important thing for you to know is that it can help you no matter what ails you, what bothers you, what pent up emotional disturbances you may suffer from, or what strange addictions you may have. It is also beneficial to the person who wants to maintain their state of wellness. Many hospitals offer Reiki to their patients to help them relax before a procedure and to heal faster afterwards. There has even been a study done several years ago at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center in Cleveland, Ohio proving that people who receive Reiki healing do recover faster from open heart surgery. Several other studies have been conducted since that time. When I am caring for a chiropractic patient who is experiencing a tremendous amount of muscle tension and mental apprehension, I place my hands on them for several minutes, if they are willing to accept the treatment. This relaxes the patient, which allows the chiropractic adjustment to be delivered with greater ease and less stress. Reiki has helped me to be a better chiropractor. It can certainly help you to be a healthier person!
About the Author
Dr. Suglia is the owner of The Sufletesc Center in Minneapolis, MN, a wellness center that offers chiropractic care, energy medicine, physical examinations, and consultations & evaluations for people with chronic conditions. He is a member of the American Holistic Health Association, the American Pregnancy Association, and the Holistic Pediatric Association.
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