What is Reiki?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Reiki is a practice that originated in Japan and involves the “ laying on of hands “ to improve energy flow in the body. Reiki translated means spiritually guided life force energy.  Mikao Usui developed the practice in 1922 during a Buddhist training session.   He intuitively placed his hands on different areas of the patient’s body and delivered healing energy through his palms.

Reiki has been used worldwide. In the west there are set patterns of hand placement.  However, reiki can actually be done without direct contact with the patient.  The hands can be held just above the body or done at a distance. There are three levels of training.  Those who achieve level one are able to heal themselves and others.  Level two trainees are able to heal people from a distance and those at level three can train others.

There have been no adverse effects reported as a result of reiki however thus far clinical trials have not determined it to be effective for treating a variety of medical conditions.  The main concern for medical professionals is that patients will use reiki alone and delay conventional medical treatments.   
Ben Kaminsky
Reiki, the Japanese word for “universal life force energy,” is an ancient energy-channeling technique that releases Qi that is blocked in the body. Many of today’s day spas, medical spas and resort spas offer Reiki to patrons who want to improve physical and emotional health and reduce stress.

With Reiki, the practitioner places her/his hands on or near the client’s body in a series of hand positions. Each position, whether on the hands, feet, shoulders, or other, is held for three to ten minutes depending on how much Reiki the client needs. The entire treatment usually lasts between 40 to 90 minutes. This subtle form of healing may be done through clothing and without any physical contact between the practitioner and client.
Beyond Botox: 7 Strategies for Sexy, Ageless Skin Without Needles or Surgery

More About this Book

Beyond Botox: 7 Strategies for Sexy, Ageless Skin Without Needles or Surgery

Sexy and ageless skin is possible for a woman at any age--and she doesn't have to resort to invasive treatments like Botox to get it-as long as she cares for her skin properly, says Ben Kaminsky,...
Pamela Miles
Integrative Medicine

Reiki is a spiritual healing practice that helps bring you back to balance. Reiki balances the whole system, so people have different experiences, but most find it relaxing and effortlessly meditative (accent on effortlessly). Like meditation, Reiki is not tied to any belief system and can be used by anyone.

Reiki practice can support your health and well-being regardless your state of health. When you are healthy, Reiki practice helps you stay that way. If you are facing a medical condition, Reiki practice supports your conventional medical treatment by optimizing your body’s own self-healing mechanisms. Reiki practice often helps relieve symptoms and side effects of medical treatments.

Since Reiki practice is balancing and doesn‘t involve manipulative touch or ingesting any substance, there are no known medical contraindications. As long as you receive the medical care you and your physician deem necessary, Reiki practice is safe regardless your age or state of health.

The foundation of Reiki practice is self-care. You can easily learn to practice Reiki at the First degree level, which is all that is needed for self-care. Then you can practice on yourself every day, as often as you want or need. If you like, you can offer Reiki treatment informally to your family and friends. Since practicing Reiki supports both you and those in your care, learning to practice is especially useful for parents and caregivers. 

You can also receive treatment from someone else, a friend or a professional. Reiki practitioners vary widely in their approaches, but you can expect to lie fully-clothed on a treatment table or sit comfortably supported in a chair while the practitioner rests hands lightly on or just above a series of non-invasive placements on your head and torso. 

Because Reiki started as a folk practice for home care, there are no standards for Reiki practice or training. You will find a wide range of options in this buyer-beware market. If you do a little research, and use your common sense to choose carefully, Reiki practice can be an accessible, low-cost, non-invasive support to your health and wellness for the rest of your life. 

Reiki practice dates to Mikao Usui in Japan in the mid-1920s. Chujiro Hayashi, one of Usui’s direct students, and Hayashi’s student Hawayo Takata brought Reiki to Hawaii in 1937. The practice has spread around the world, albeit often with changes since Takata's death.




Reiki is a hands-on healing discipline believed to balance body, mind, heart, and spirit through gentle touch. The Reiki healer's hands are placed on or above the patient. The healer uses standard hand positions associated with all the vital organs of the body. This is believed to generate the flow of energy, which instinctively travels where it is needed within the body so that healing may occur.

Reike is an ancient form of natural healing where masters manipulate energy and frequencies in the body into energy points called chakras. Watch as psychologist Jeffrey Gardere, PhD, describes the healing benefits of Reike and how it's performed.

Continue Learning about Specific Mind-Body Treatments

Why is Pranic Healing preferred over acupuncture and chi kung?
Master Stephen CoMaster Stephen Co
While it is based upon some of the tenets that underpin both acupuncture and chi kung, Pranic Healin...
More Answers
What are the two types of sweeping in Pranic Healing?
Master Stephen CoMaster Stephen Co
There are two types of sweeping, general sweeping and local sweeping. General sweeping is a series o...
More Answers
What are the visualization tips for scanning my back chakras?
Master Stephen CoMaster Stephen Co
There are different ways to visualize yourself, and no one method works best for everyone, but here ...
More Answers
How does the Pranic Healing energizing system work?
Master Stephen CoMaster Stephen Co
The Pranic Healing energizing system combines three external prana-generation techniques -  pranic b...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.