No one knows how Reiki practice works. It is documented, however, that through an unknown mechanism of action, Reiki practice gently elicits a healing response from within the receiver, enabling the person to move toward a more balanced state of body, mind and spirit. In other words, Reiki practice optimizes self-healing.
The documented outcomes of this self-healing, balancing process include measurements such as improved heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate variability. Even though improved blood pressure most often means lowered blood pressure, it is important to specify "improved" because Reiki practice does not lower normal blood pressure, and has been connected anecdotally with raising abnormally low blood pressure to a normal range.
Documented subjective outcomes include reduced anxiety and pain, and enhanced well-being and quality of life. These benefits are often felt within the first few minutes, and deepen with longer, repeated practice sessions.
Reiki is largely confused with energy medicine techniques such as Therapeutic Touch and medical qigong, but Reiki is actually a spiritual (not religious) practice -- like meditation or yoga -- that was started by Mikao Usui in Japan in the 1920s. Reiki practice is primarily for daily self-care.
Reiki is generally represented in conventional health care as an intervention, a treatment, or a modality rather than as a practice. It is unfortunate that the spiritual self-care roots of the practice are so often ignored, since those roots are the heart of the practice, and daily self-care provides irreplaceable support for professional or at-home caregivers.
The First degree, hands-on practice can be learned easily in 10-12 hours of in-person group class that includes practice, discussion, and the four Reiki initiations. You can then practice daily self-treatment and practice informally on family, friends, and pets.