Reiki is an alternative therapy or medicine, developed by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, which involves the practitioner channelling universal life force energy or ‘qi’ to promote healing and emotional well-being. The healer will usually place their hands on the patient’s body, using this energy to remove physical or emotional blockages.
Reiki is often regarded with scepticism – which is understandable since it is not widely supported by empirical evidence. Today we tend to reject outright anything that cannot be immediately tested and proven in material, concrete terms; thus, we often lose touch with our intuitive, spiritual nature. The purpose of this article is not to persuade you to believe or not believe in Reiki, but rather to share some of my personal experiences with you. Note: Reiki healing should not be used instead of medicine to heal serious diseases, but it can be used in conjunction with medicine.
I trained in the Usui tradition of Reiki at the Willow Clinic under Reiki Master Sal Worringham. Sal is a wonderful teacher and a very kind person. She has helped me to navigate some of the most significant changes in my life. Days after completing my Reiki Level 2 I met one of the great loves of my life and shortly afterwards found a new job. Reiki allowed me to let go of many destructive behaviours that were leading to bad life choices and preventing me from being happy. Later, when that relationship came to an end, Reiki would also help me to forgive myself and my ex partner for that period of suffering.
I decided to train in Reiki because, having received treatments during my parent’s divorce, I found that it had a profoundly grounding and calming effect on me. Whether you attribute this to energy healing or to a placebo effect is not really relevant. What matters is that Reiki made me feel better. When I learned how to do it for myself it made me feel empowered. I believe that it is important to acquire as many coping strategies in life as possible: you never know when you will need to tap into your resources.
During Reiki sessions, Sal also taught me to accept that external factors and other people are beyond my control. That the only thing I can change is myself. She explained that when I feel a strong emotional response to the words or actions of someone else, I have to take responsibility for how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. Or in her words, to tell myself: ‘it’s my stuff’. We can choose to respond to challenging external stimuli with anger, sadness, indifference or even with gratitude. We can be grateful because the challenge gives us a chance to learn how to overcome it and to develop ourselves.
Over the years I have known many sceptical friends experience Reiki and tell me with wide-eyed surprise that they could ‘feel the heat’ of the energy. Studies in neuroscience have also found that devotional and spiritual practices have a profound influence on the areas of the brain that govern our feelings of wellbeing and pleasure. Reiki healers will tell you that whether you believe in it or not, it works.