In chronic pain treatment, reiki promotes good health through relaxation, stress relief, and pain management. In reiki, “universal life-force energy” is transmitted through the hands of a therapist from the vast pool of energy that abounds in the universe. Also called “palm healing” and “energy medicine,” reiki is made up of two Japanese words: rei, meaning universal spirit or spiritual wisdom, and ki, meaning energy or life-force energy. In CAM, energy therapies are based on the assumption that illness and pain are caused by disturbances in a person’s energy. Reiki practitioners seek to improve the flow and balance of positive energy and reduce negative energy in a way that is beneficial to clients. Although its exact origin is not known, some traditional masters teach that Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese physician and monk, was meditating on Mount Kurama and received his “enlightenment” for reiki. This probably occurred in the early 1900s. He started his first school for reiki in 1922. It was not used extensively in the West until the late 1930s. Traditionally, there are three levels of reiki: reiki one, reiki two, and reiki master. Reiki is normally taught by a reiki master and involves a transfer of knowledge about how the body works and the human energy system. Becoming a reiki master can take as long as a few days to many years. When performing reiki, the therapist poses his or her hands in twelve to fifteen different positions above the client. The hands are palms down, with the fingers and thumbs extended. Each hand position is maintained until the therapist feels the flow of energy slow or stop. Some practitioners believe they are helped by “spirit guides” that help them focus the energy flow. A treatment can last an hour or longer. There is no pressure on the body because the therapist never actually touches the client. The energy flows wherever it is needed and often is reported as a warm sensation or tingling in the body. Most report being extremely relaxed after a reiki treatment. Practitioners report that reiki therapy:
- Promotes natural healing.
- Balances the body’s energy.
- Balances the organs and glands.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Treats symptoms and causes of illness.
- Relieves pain.
- Clears toxins from the body.
- Heals holistically.
- Releases blocked feelings.
- Promotes positive thinking.
- Helps creativity.
- Adapts to the therapy receiver.
- Enhances awareness.
- Reduces stress.
Reiki treatments have been used to reduce chronic pain, help with recovery from anesthesia and surgery, improve immunity, improve mental clarity, and lower a person’s heart rate. Reiki practitioners often report clients experiencing a “cleansing crisis” after a session, in which they have feelings of nausea, tiredness, or weakness because of the release of energy toxins. This blog post is an excerpt from A Day Without Pain (Revised) by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).