Reiki: For Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • What is Reiki?

    Reiki is a Japanese spiritual practice or technique that was developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Uso. Although Uso died in 1926, one of his students, Hawayo Takata brought Reiki to the West in 1937, where she practiced and taught until her death in 1980. Since Reiki’s arrival, it has grown substantially as more and more people have begun to accept and adopt alternative healing systems. 


    One research study revealed that in 1990, 80 million Americans had used one or more forms of complementary health care, including Reiki.[1] Another study in 2007 indicated that over 1.2 million adults in the U.S. had received one or two energy healing sessions (like Reiki) the year before.[2] There are even many medical doctors who now use Reiki along with conventional medical care. Health care professionals are finding it particularly effective for pain relief, surgery recovery, nausea and improved sleep. It also reduces stress and increases relaxation, making it particularly effective for healing.

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    How does it Work?

    Reiki is a subtle energy healing system that works with the chakras or energy centers within the body. There are 7 principal chakras in the body that support the functioning of our physical and spiritual bodies. Each chakra relates to different parts of the body, impacting the mind and spirit in distinct ways. By harmonizing the energy blockages within the chakras, health and wellbeing begins to improve immediately. The 7 chakras exist at the top of the head, forehead, throat, heart, solar plexus, navel, and at the bottom of the pelvic region.


    In a Reiki session, you will generally lie on a table with your eyes closed, listening to pleasant music. The practitioner will then place his or her hands in various positions above or on top of the body/chakras to channel healing energy to the receiver. A Reiki practitioner is someone who has received an attunement/training by a Reiki Master whose lineage leads back to the original founder, Mikao Uso. It’s important to understand that the practitioner is not the “healer” him or herself. Instead he or she acts as a conduit or vessel for the universal energy to flow through the hands to the areas that require healing. Sometimes a practitioner may use crystals or other “props” to assist with identifying the blockages that require more attention. A session typically lasts 45 minutes or so, but can be longer.


    The experience is different for everyone, but generally people feel a deep sense of relaxation during a session. It’s not uncommon to drift off into a light sleep for parts of it. Most people can feel the heat or biomagnetic field from the practitioner’s hands passing the energy to the body, which has an immediate calming effect on both the body and mind. Feelings of anxiety, stress, negativity and fear all begin to lift and the person usually feels more positive and refreshed following a session. Some people report a more spiritual experience, but Reiki works for everyone regardless of religious beliefs or cultural background.


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    What are the Benefits?

    I’ve already covered many of the benefits such as stress relief, deep relaxation and those reported be medical professionals including pain reduction, nausea relief, and improved sleep. Reiki is also particularly beneficial for those with a serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, chronic depression, respiratory disorders, neurological problems, etc.[3] Although one cannot expect a complete healing (although it has happened), Reiki does seem to consistently help with side effects and a faster recovery time for those undergoing conventional treatment approaches such as chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, etc. Reiki works in conjunction with all forms of healing and is great as a complimentary care method. Reiki is also effective for all minor ailments, both physical and mental, and helps one achieve balance both inside and out.


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    [3] (n.d.) Retrieved from



Published On: January 29, 2013