Reiki is a healing art that began in Japan in the early 20th Century.

The practice was originated by Mikao Usui, and focuses on the body’s seven main energy centers, called chakras, through which the body’s natural healing energy, or life force, flows.  The Reiki practitioner guides this flow through the laying on of hands, or by holding the hands above the body, relieving blockages of the chakra that cause illness, and leaving patients with a sense of relaxation, peace and well-being, while boosting their physical, spiritual and mental health. In fact, Reiki has shown promise in hospital settings to speed healing after surgery by reducing pain and lessening the side effects of medications, including chemotherapy. 

The term Reiki incorporates two Japanese words: rei, which means “God’s wisdom,” or the “Higher Power,” and ki, meaning “life force energy.” Though spiritual in nature, Reiki is not a religion. As viewed by its founder, however, Reiki should encourage the patient to pursue a virtuous life through peace, harmony, and a desire for self-improvement.

While the patient and the practitioner typically are in the same room together, it is possible for Reiki to be administered when the patient and the practitioner are separated by miles, or even continents. During so-called “long-distance,” or “absent Reiki,” the patient may sit comfortably or lie down while the practitioner sends healing energy by telephone or by video service, such as Zoom. As long-time Reiki master Libby Barnett recently explained, “The cells of the body are intelligent. They can pull in the energy and use it appropriately to activate the wellness within. The cells get as much Reiki as they’re hungry for, and the practitioner receives Reiki, too.”

It is important to note, however, that while Reiki can treat symptoms of illnesses, it is not a cure. Research is being conducted to quantify the benefits of Reiki treatments. But it seems safe to say that for many patients it has produced a sense of improved health and general well-being.