Reiki: Where Spirit Meets Science
Teresa L. Frisch, RN, Reiki Master / Teacher
This image presents several key elements as we continue our study of biofields and bioelectromagnetic-based therapies, specifically Reiki. This human appears to be encased in a bubble of shimmering light, sometimes referred to as auric sheaths, or the aura. The chakras, derived from the Sanskrit “spinning wheel,” are seen from coccyx to crown, as well as in the palms and elbows. The flow of universal energy, Rei-ki, is activated by the practitioner and circulates via the conduit of the Hara Line.
Chakras are depicted as lotus flowers, vortexes, trumpets or funnels that can be felt by both client and practitioner once the sensate association and understanding have been made. Each chakra is associated with a specific concept, color, musical note, and bodily organ or system.
The seventh chakra, known as the crown, or ethereal chakra is the designated spiritual center, seen here as the lighted funnel at the top of the head. Our opening, historical Reiki narrative below is written by a practicing Reiki Master / Teacher, and the spiritual tone is evident. A heartfelt thank you to my Reiki Master / Teachers, Sandy and Mike Bonamassa for permitting me to share it with you.
The first, or root chakra, is located in the sacrum, grounding us, and is a fitting base for the scientific explanation of current thoughts and research about Reiki at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The National Institute of Health updates the site frequently and per the notice at the bottom of each page, encourages frequent visits and duplication of content.
Additional information can be found on several websites, including The International Association for Reiki Professionals, (IARP) and Mr. William Rand’s The International Center for Reiki Training. I would also recommend Essential Reiki by Diane Stein
The History of Reiki
Mike & Sandy Bonamassa
Center of Light & Serenity
The Five Principles of Reiki
Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings. Just for today I will not worry. Just for today I will not be angry. Just for today I will do my work honestly. Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and to every living thing.
“Reiki is a recent version of the ancient method of spiritual attunement through the laying on of hands. Reiki, as presently taught, originated in Japan in the mid 1850's from Dr. Mikao Usui who was Dean of a small Christian University in Kyoto. Dr. Usui had converted to Christianity during a period of great change for Japanese society. Japan was greedily adopting Western philosophies and technologies that were being introduced by Western diplomats, businessmen, and Christian missionaries during this period. Japan was rapidly becoming an industrial and military giant rivaling many in the West.
Dr. Usui had become a Christian being converted by Christian missionaries. One day, during a discussion with his students, he was asked if he believed literally the Bible. He replied that he did. A student asked him about the healings that Jesus performed and why they were not being performed presently. They read the verses in the New Testament where Jesus states, "You will do as I have done, and even greater things." and the command to go and heal the sick and raise the dead. If all this is true they asked, please teach us how to do it. Dr. Usui was stunned. Unable to reconcile his inability to answer his students with his duty as a teacher to teach, he resigned his position that very day.
He set out to discover the answer he had been unable to provide. He traveled to America and begin his search at the University of Chicago in the theological seminary. After a period of study and still unable to find the answer, he returned to Japan to study the teachings of Buddha who also had been able to heal. Dr. Usui approached the abbots of various Buddhist monasteries and asked if they knew of any information regarding the Buddha healing others. Their response was that while the Buddha healed, the present day focus was on the healing of spirit. He came to a Zen monastery, where for the first time, the abbot encouraged his search. He told Dr. Usui that, "Whatever was possible at one time, can be accomplished again." Dr. Usui was greatly encouraged and stayed at the monastery and began a study of the Sutras in Japanese and later Chinese. When the answer was not forthcoming he began a study of Tibetan Sutras in Sanskrit. After completing his study of the Tibetan Lotus Sutra, he felt he had found the answer he had so long searched for.
Believing he had found the key to healing he returned to the abbot and asked his advice on how to receive the needed empowerment. After meditating the abbot suggested that Dr. Usui should go to Mount Kuri Yama about 17 miles from Kyoto and commence a 21 day fast and meditation.
Dr. Usui journeyed to the mountain and found a spot facing east and gathered a pile of 21 stones which he would use as a calendar. He fasted and meditated for 20 days without success. On the early morning of the 21st day there was great darkness all around him. Suddenly in the darkness appeared a flicker of light that began to grow larger and larger and rushed toward him. Usui became frightened and had the urge to rise up and run away, but he was unable to move. He braced himself for impact as the intense light struck him in the middle of his forehead. He thought he was dying. Millions of rainbow-colored bubbles appeared around him and suddenly turned into white glowing balls each one containing a three dimensional golden Sanskrit character. When he had memorized each character he awoke from his trance and was surprised to find that he was in broad daylight.
Dr. Usui returned to the monastery and reported to the abbot the preceding events. At that time the abbot was in great pain from a bout with arthritis and Dr. Usui laid his hands on the arthritic areas and the pain soon disappeared. The abbot was amazed and encouraged Dr. Usui to continue his healing activity.
Dr. Usui entered the Beggars Quarter of Kyoto and set about healing all who came to him. After almost seven years of this work, Dr. Usui noticed that the same faces were coming back for further healing. One man who looked especially familiar, drew his attention. He asked, "Don't I know you?" The man replied that he was one of the first he had healed. Dr. Usui asked him what had happened. He replied, "Well I did as you said, and got a job and eventually married and had children. But I was unhappy with the responsibility and decided to return to begging." Startled Dr. Usui turned away in despair. What had he done wrong, he wondered.
Why were they not grateful for the healing they had received? After meditating he formulated the five principles of Reiki. He left the Beggars Quarter and began to teach throughout Japan. From that time he only healed those who came to him and asked to be healed, and each one had to demonstrate gratitude for the received healing.
So to the present time the Reiki practitioner must be approached and asked for a healing treatment and there must be an exchange of energy between the practitioner and the patient. Traditionally money is offered for the treatment, but this has not always been the case. And my personal feeling is the giving of a "Love Offering" is appropriate or if the individual is unable to give money, a thank you is enough.
The Reiki tradition has been passed on through the years to others. It is best to seek out your Reiki master to find the one that is most compatible with your path. Healing is a spiritual work and only those who are in tune with the Divine Presence can truly performed this work and pass it on to others.”
He rushed down the mountain to inform the abbot of his success when he tripped and stubbed his toe quite badly. Reaching down to grab it, he was amazed that the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided after a few minutes of cradling it. Dr. Usui then came to a roadside inn and ordered breakfast. The proprietor's granddaughter, who served Dr. Usui, was in great pain from a severe toothache. Dr. Usui offered to help and she agreed. He laid his hands on the sides of her face and her pain and swelling soon subsided. When Dr. Usui asked to pay but the proprietor refused his money and gave him thanks for healing his granddaughter.
Introduction To Reiki
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) October, 2009
Reiki is a healing practice that originated in Japan. Reiki practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above the person receiving treatment, with the goal of facilitating the person's own healing response. In the United States, Reiki is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This fact sheet provides a general overview of Reiki and suggests sources for additional information.
People use Reiki to promote overall health and well-being. Reiki is also used by people who are seeking relief from disease-related symptoms and the side effects of conventional medical treatments.
Reiki has historically been practiced as a form of self-care. Increasingly, it is also provided by health care professionals in a variety of clinical settings.
People do not need a special background to learn how to perform Reiki. Currently, training and certification for Reiki practitioners are not formally regulated.
Scientific research is under way to learn more about how Reiki may work, its possible effects on health, and diseases and conditions for which it may be helpful.
Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
“ The word "Reiki" is derived from two Japanese words: rei, or universal, and ki, or life energy. Current Reiki practice can be traced to the spiritual teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan during the early 20th century. Usui's teachings included meditative techniques and healing practices. One of Usui's students, Chujiro Hayashi, further developed the healing practices, placing less emphasis on the meditative techniques. An American named Hawayo Takata learned Reiki from Hayashi in Japan and introduced it to Western cultures in the late 1930s.
The type of Reiki practiced and taught by Hayashi and Takata may be considered traditional Reiki. Numerous variations (or schools) of Reiki have since been developed and are currently practiced.
Reiki is based on the idea that there is a universal (or source) energy that supports the body's innate healing abilities. Practitioners seek to access this energy, allowing it to flow to the body and facilitate healing.
Although generally practiced as a form of self-care, Reiki can be received from someone else and may be offered in a variety of health care settings, including medical offices, hospitals, and clinics. It can be practiced on its own or along with other CAM therapies or conventional medical treatments.
In a Reiki session, the client lies down or sits comfortably, fully clothed. The practitioner's hands are placed lightly on or just above the client's body, palms down, using a series of 12 to 15 different hand positions. Each position is held for about 2 to 5 minutes, or until the practitioner feels that the flow of energy—experienced as sensations such as heat or tingling in the hands—has slowed or stopped. The number of sessions depends on the health needs of the client. Typically, the practitioner delivers at least four sessions of 30 to 90 minutes each. The duration of Reiki sessions may be shorter in certain health care settings (for example, during surgery).
Practitioners with appropriate training may perform Reiki from a distance, that is, on clients who are not physically present in the office or clinic.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, more than 1.2 million adults had used an energy healing therapy, such as Reiki, in the previous year. The survey also found that approximately 161,000 children had used an energy healing therapy in the previous year.
People use Reiki for relaxation, stress reduction, and symptom relief, in efforts to improve overall health and well-being.
Reiki has been used by people with anxiety, chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, and other health conditions, as well as by people recovering from surgery or experiencing side effects from cancer treatments. Reiki has also been given to people who are dying (and to their families and caregivers) to help impart a sense of peace.
Clients may experience a deep state of relaxation during a Reiki session. They might also feel warm, tingly, sleepy, or refreshed.
“Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported.”