Published on May 23rd 2024

Comprehensive Guide to Reiki Therapy and Its Numerous Benefits


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Comprehensive Guide to Reiki Therapy and Its Numerous Benefits



Comprehensive Guide to Reiki Therapy and Its Numerous Benefits

Table of Contents


. Understanding the Basics of Reiki Therapy


. 9 Key Benefits of Reiki Therapy


. Anxiety Reduction


. Arthritis


. Cancer Care


. Depression


. Endoscopy and Abdominal Surgery


. Heart Disease


. Insomnia


. Pain Management


. Relaxation


. Exploring Distant and Self-Reiki Healing Therapies


. 5 Common Reiki Symbols for Healing


. Cho Ku Rei (the power symbol)


. Sei Hi Ki (the harmony symbol)


. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (the distance symbol)


. Dai Ko Myo (the master symbol)


. Raku (the completion symbol)


. Combining Reiki with Other Healing Modalities


. Meditation


. Musical Healing


. Crystal Therapy


. Should You Include Reiki in Your Wellness Plan?

In the world of energy healing, reiki therapy holds an important place. You must have heard of its use for treating physical, mental, and spiritual problems. How does reiki therapy work? What benefits can you expect from it?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and let you know the essentials of reiki treatment.

Understanding the Basics of Reiki Therapy

Mikao Usui (1865–1926) created Reiki in 20th-century Japan, which is where it originated. Later, in 1970, Hawayo Takata set up the first reiki clinic in the US. The word reiki is made of rei and ki, meaning universal and life energy, respectively. As its name suggests, reiki therapy utilizes the universal life energy for healing purposes.

According to reiki practitioners (reiki masters), they aim to re-align the energy field of a patient with the universal energy to cure them of physical or emotional issues. This energy field can sometimes get disturbed, often as a result of trauma, and the energy flow in the body gets blocked, causing problems.

Your reiki master may gently touch you or place their hands in the air over your body during reiki treatment. They can also perform reiki therapy from a distance to unblock your energy channels, as we’ll read about later.

What can you expect from reiki therapy? We’ll cover it next.

9 Key Benefits of Reiki Therapy

Practitioners of reiki healing claim it to have numerous benefits for your physical and mental health. Moreover, as it uses a gentle touch or no-touch, non-invasive technique, reiki is considered to be a relatively safe healing modality without side effects. Let’s see how it can help you and whether there is scientific evidence supporting it.

1. Anxiety Reduction

Reiki therapy has been linked to improving anxiety in the case of healthy adults, cancer patients, women who have had their uterus removed or breast biopsy done, those with chronic pain conditions, and community-dwelling older adults. Reiki therapy can also be used in palliative care (institutional care for terminally ill patients); however, there is a lack of significant scientific research on its use in this setting.

On the other hand, a study reviewing the clinical trials examining the effect of reiki on anxiety concluded that there is not enough evidence to establish reiki’s effectiveness against anxiety. The studies that support reiki as a healing therapy for anxiety didn’t employ the correct methodologies for establishing their claims.

2. Arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, one in every four Americans has arthritis, with women three times more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis than men. This condition leads to a painful swelling of joints, affecting the mobility and daily life of patients.

Distant reiki therapy may help reduce pain and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Another study conducted on 105 patients (35 received reiki therapy, 37 received hand massage, and 33 were in the control group) with rheumatoid arthritis highlights the effectiveness of reiki and hand massage in improving pain and fatigue.

3. Cancer Care

Reiki therapy can help improve pain, anxiety, distress, depression, and fatigue on a short-term basis for cancer patients undergoing conventional treatment, i.e., radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. According to data collected during a voluntary reiki program conducted at a cancer center, 82.6% of the participants reported positive changes.

One of them stated, “It had a very calming effect on me. I could actually feel my body relaxing. I was able to let go of a lot of my anxiety.” Another said this about a feeling of emotional release that they experienced through the therapy: “It made me cry. Just having the time to let it out, I always feel that I need to be strong for everyone. It was liberating to get that weight lifted.“

More research efforts are required to study the effect of reiki therapy on the long-term management of physical, emotional, and spiritual issues of cancer patients.

4. Depression

Reiki may uplift the mood and reduce the symptoms of depression, according to a study conducted on 40 university students. They were assigned either to a reiki therapy group or to a control group that received no healing sessions.

After six, thirty-minute sessions spread over a period of two to eight weeks, those who received reiki treatment and had anxiety or depression issues reported an improved overall mood compared to the control group.

Another study focused on the elderly in nursing homes and compared the effects of reiki therapy against sham reiki (a placebo procedure mimicking actual reiki treatment) and a control group. Here too, the reiki group showed significant improvement in the depression score on the 4th, 8th, and 12th weeks of the treatment and their depression scores were also lower than the other two groups.

5. Endoscopy and Abdominal Surgery

A preliminary study on twenty-one patients undergoing colonoscopy (an invasive procedure for inspecting the inside of the colon and rectum) for the first time indicated that reiki therapy reduced anxiety and pain, as well as the need for additional pain medication during the process.

Reiki therapy has also been shown to be effective in reducing surgical fear, anxiety, and pain scores and increasing oxygen saturation in abdominal surgery patients.

6. Heart Disease

Reiki may improve the heart rate variability (variation in the time interval between heartbeats) after acute coronary syndrome (a condition in which the blood flow to the heart gets reduced suddenly, which may eventually cause a heart attack) and the emotional state of the patients.

The Heart Rate Variability (HRV) parameter is used to measure damage to the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary functions like heartbeats, body temperature, and digestion and helps with prognosis after a heart attack. However, further research is needed to find out if reiki can be used as a long-term approach to improve heart rate variability after acute coronary syndrome.

7. Insomnia

According to a study involving sixteen female nursing professionals between the ages of 25 and 59, reiki therapy may help with insomnia. Before the reiki intervention, five participants reported poor sleep, and eleven reported sleep disorders.

They reported improved sleep quality after the reiki sessions, as one of the participants said: "I'm sleeping very well.

Because when I returned from the night shift, it was very tiring, and daytime sleep was not good Now that I have slept, I feel better. However, this study was only limited to a small number of females who also had some other health issues.

8. Pain Management

Reiki can be used for relieving pain after dental surgery and Cesarean childbirth, in chronic pain conditions and diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to diabetes). A case study examining the effect of reiki sessions on chronic pain concluded that it can be used as a complementary therapy in rehabilitative settings. This study was focused on a wheelchair-bound paraplegic (partial or complete paralysis of the body’s lower half) patient with chronic back and leg pain.

The complete reiki treatment comprised six 30-minute sessions performed at a week’s intervals. After all, except one session, the patient reported reduced pain and an increased sense of well-being.

9. Relaxation

Students at Stockholm University in Sweden participated in a twenty-week self-reiki program, which highlighted the calming effects of reiki therapy. The participants experienced a reduction in stress levels after the program compared to those before it.

Another study indicated the effectiveness of a single reiki session in reducing stress and improving the immune response.

Does physically visiting a reiki practitioner every time you need the therapy sound too demanding? Don’t worry, as you have other options at hand.

Exploring Distant and Self-Reiki Healing Therapies

You can get the benefits of reiki therapy even if you and the reiki master are located in two different parts of the world through distant reiki. In this, the practitioner sends the reiki healing energy to you using the distant reiki symbol and visualizes you through a photograph or crystals.

Interestingly, they also claim to channel the reiki energy into your past or future to fix energy blockages there, making reiki a healing modality that can transcend both space and time.

Moreover, you can practice reiki healing on yourself using different hand positions directed at promoting the overall wellness of the body and mind. Anyone can perform self-reiki, as everyone is believed to have hearing powers, whether they know about it or not.

As we mentioned the use of reiki symbols in distant healing, let’s take a closer look at what symbols mean in reiki therapy.

5 Common Reiki Symbols for Healing

Reiki practitioners may use certain sacred signs to assist the flow of reiki healing energy by drawing or visualizing them. They are believed to make the body and mind more receptive to reiki energy. Here are the five symbols that the reiki master may utilize during a session

1. Cho Ku Rei (the power symbol)

It is used for enhancing the power of the reiki treatment, grounding purposes, and clearing energy blockages.

2. Sei Hi Ki (the harmony symbol)

This symbol is utilized for healing mental issues like anxiety, depression, and addiction.

3. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (the distance symbol)

It finds use in distant reiki therapy by sending the reiki healing energy to somebody far away, in the past, or in the future.

4. Dai Ko Myo (the master symbol)

Used for attaining spiritual enlightenment, the dai ko myo symbol is believed to help the reiki masters get closer to the universal.

5. Raku (the completion symbol)

It is used for grounding at the end of the reiki session and for cleansing the negative energy that a reiki master may have acquired from the receiver.

You can use reiki along with other healing techniques, as we’ll see in the following section.

Combining Reiki with Other Healing Modalities

Reiki therapy can be compatible with some wellness-promoting practices, like

A. Meditation

The two powerful healing techniques of reiki and meditation can be more effective when practiced together than they are separately, according to the International Center for Reiki Training. Reiki meditation may be done for 10–30 minutes once or twice a day by following the given steps:

  • Make sure the place where you are going to meditate is clean and comfortable, and the temperature is maintained. You may cleanse the space by burning a bit of sage or sweetgrass to drive away the negative energy.
  • Sit or lie down comfortably.
  • Take deep breaths and say a short prayer.
  • Draw the distant healing symbol, emotional symbol, and power symbol on your hands and place them on your legs, allowing reiki to flow.
  • Pay attention to your thoughts as reiki begins to flow, and let them slow down.
  • Focus on your breathing and body, identifying areas of tension within them. These areas will fill with reiki energy and get relaxed.
  • Continue this till your whole body is relaxed and filled with reiki healing energy.
  • Concentrate on the clarity and calmness present inside you.
  • Take deep breaths and end the meditation. You may do some light stretching exercises after this.

B. Musical Healing

Music provides a soothing environment that can complement the healing effects of reiki therapy. It itself has a therapeutic nature and is known to uplift the mood. Your reiki practitioner may create a playlist with tracks ranging from three to five minutes in duration. They may change their hand position in sync with a change in the music. You can also ask them to create a playlist according to your likes and expectations from the reiki session. In case you need some suggestions for music during self-reiki therapy, here are a few recommendations:

  • Miracle tones under Solfeggio frequencies.
  • Alpha Waves, Beta Waves, and Theta Waves by the MRM team.
  • Chakra Affirmations + Tibetan Singing Bowls by the Sonic Yogi.

C. Crystal Therapy

Crystals are believed to balance the chakras, or energy centers, in our body and can be used in conjunction with reiki therapy. The reiki master may place different crystals on your body at the location of the chakras or around your body as you lie down for the healing session. Some examples of reiki crystals are tourmaline, rose quartz, topaz, and moonstone.

Should You Include Reiki in Your Wellness Plan?

Though proponents of reiki appear to be confident of its healing potential, there are also voices against it. According to Gary L. Wenk, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University, reiki is nothing more than a pseudoscience, and “articles published in poorly-rated journals” are often used to establish the credibility of its benefits. He further states that you are inclined to “feel better” after a healing therapy session as your mind is already convinced of its benefits, something explained through the placebo effect.

That said, the final decision to try reiki depends on how you perceive and balance different things like modern medicine, scientific evidence, and traditional knowledge. However, use reiki therapy only as a complement to conventional medicine and not as a substitute. Consult your doctor before starting with reiki treatment or any other energy healing method if you have other health issues. Making an informed choice will ensure that you will gain as much as possible from your wellness strategy.

Reviewed by


Dr. Rajashri Sonti

Ayurveda Physician