Many of you may have heard about the healing power of Reiki, a form of complementary therapy that is becoming more and more popular in the west, but very few know what this therapy is all about.
Reiki is a spiritual practice developed by a Japanese Buddhist at the beginning of the 20 th century, promoting self-healing of the body through the transferring of universal energy. Practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands on healing to transfer ‘ki’ or ‘life force energy’ to their patients, since the underlying belief is that if one’s life force energy is low, then he /she is more likely to get sick or feel stress.
The practice was first introduced to the US and Canada in the 1970s, by Hawayo Tanaka, a Hawaii native of Japanese descent, and has since seen a remarkable growth in popularity. A 2007 National Health Interview Survey has shown that more than 1.2 million adults in the U.S. had used some form of energy healing therapy, including Reiki.
There are two main branches of Reiki, the Traditional Japanese Reiki and the Western Reiki, the primary difference between the two being that the western form of therapy uses systemized, rather than intuitive, hand-placement. Both branches are using symbols, which are a distinctive characteristic of Reiki (read more about them here). The western form was first introduced in hospitals in the 1990s, to augment conventional therapy and reduce the patient’s recovery time. Nowadays, more than 15% of hospitals throughout the US offer Reiki as part of their hospital services.
Classified as oriental medicine by some professional medical bodies, it is a simple relaxation technique which has proven its efficiency in accelerating recovery from surgery, improving mental attitude and reducing the negative effects of medication, and is beginning to be considered by hospitals all over the world a cost-effective way to improve patient care.