Stress is, and always has been, an inescapable part of our lives. As the concrete jungle closes around us, many of us find it incredibly hard to give ourselves the time and space we deserve, and consequently struggle with feelings of discontentment, disconnection, tension and undue worry. But, if stress has been a defining feature of our lives, so have been the attempts to reduce them and help bring humans to paths of meaningful life.
The Japanese concept of Reiki is one such example. Composed of the words rei, meaning soul or spirit, and ki, meaning vital or life energy, Reiki is a century old practice for stress reduction and relaxation. The ultimate aim however, is to promote energy healing, that is, to revitalize the life force that flows through all living creatures.
Thus, the practice hinges on the idea of a cosmic force, a life-giving, radiant energy that flows through all of us (you may have heard of similar concepts in other East Asian cultures as well, such as the Hindu concept of Kundalini, or the Chinese concept of ch’i). Reiki healers believe that this energy inside a person can become depleted when a person suffers from physical, emotional or mental injuries. This depletion of energy in turn makes the individual sadder and more vulnerable, thus creating a vicious cycle that can quickly sap out a person’s motivation, happiness and desire. Reiki seeks to prevent this through the intervention of Reiki Therapy, wherein a healer helps replenish the energy of a person.
There is no standard protocol for Reiki Therapy – a lot depends upon what makes the client comfortable. Thus, there may be music, a sitting or lying position, and virtually any location may be used. What is common is that during the session, the Reiki practitioner will move their hands and place them over various parts of the body, particularly those which may have been damaged and hurt. When this is done, there is a channeling of universal energy from the practitioner to the client. When the healer senses that the energy has stopped flowing, they move on to a different body part, and one session can last anywhere from twenty to sixty minutes. Hence, a trained individual actively shares their own energy with a client to help them recover from their ailments.
For many, the greatest appeal of Reiki lies in its simplicity. It is not bound by any religious, cultural, or though systems, and does not require one to exercise the somewhat abstract concepts of will or belief – healers state that this energy healing is open to anybody who wishes to practice self-improvement, and it requires no special characteristics in the people who seek to benefit from it. Reiki therapy is also used in conjunction with numerous other practices, since it has virtually no side-effects or interference with other therapies. All that Reiki expects from clients is conscious, active participation – those who engage in this Reiki treatment need to take responsibility for their betterment and actively work towards it.
Due to the fact that science has been unable to establish whether something like ‘cosmic’ or ‘life’ energy exists or not, Reiki therapy, like other forms of energy healing, are categorized as a pseudoscience. However, proponents of the healing technique point out that it is only the lack of evidence, and rather disproving evidence, that has led to this categorization. Indeed, compared to a lot of other alternative medical methods, Reiki has a lot to be gained and very less to be lost. It has no side-effects, does not require commitment to any particular lifestyle, and can be easily practiced alongside a number of other medical therapies. This is primarily the reason why Reiki therapy is becoming popular amongst the masses – it provides a safe, secure and healthy place to people to get in touch with their bodies, ailments, and spirituality, thus enabling both stress reduction and self-improvement.