What is Reiki?
Reiki (pronounced RAY-key) is a Japanese form of spiritual medicine. Mikao Usui developed it in the early 20th century. It uses hands to transfer energy/healing to someone (or something).
Really….Is Reiki a Magic Elixer or Hogwash?
Reiki has existed for more than 100 years. However, it is still not universally accepted as a healing techniques.
After all, it utilizes energy, which can’t be seen.
For this reason, many people are still skeptical on the effectiveness of this method even though it is widely used and accepted.
In fact, the Catholic Church, through the 2009 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued guidelines that say “a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition.” Furthermore, the churches’ guidelines say it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions to offer reiki to their patients. (Please note that the author let out a big sigh and eye roll while writing these two sentences.)
Furthermore, in the past, there was limited scientific research on reiki . However, recent trials are beginning to show scientific evidence of the benefits. For instance, reports on benefits from just a few studies include the following conclusions:
- The National Institute for Health (NIH) published a study that found that reiki may be effective for pain and anxiety.
- Another study, following women cancer patients, found that the Reiki was also associated with physical benefits and emotional benefits. These benefits included pain relief, improved sleep, reduced cancer-related symptoms, increased energy levels,improved feelings of wellness, a sense of calm and peace, and reduced depression.
- A study of oncology patients in Turkey found that that Reiki decreased the pain level of the patients
My Reiki Journey: How it Began
My children recently went to visit family with their father, and I found myself with the unique opportunity to have some “unscheduled time” while they were away.
Coincidentally, I saw that a somewhat local metaphysical shop that I sometimes visit was holding a Reiki Level 1 Certification class during my “free” weekend.
I had always been interested in learning more about reiki, for personal and professional reasons. Personally, I had heard so many stores about the wonderful energy and healing shifts that happen for many people who receive a reiki healing; I hoped that I could learn something that could benefit me, my family, or my friends. Professionally, I thought that knowledge of it might benefit me as a yoga instructor and wellness/fitness studio owner.
Procrastination Almost Kept Me from Learning
While I was tempted to sign up, I must admit that I procrastinated in signing up.
While I was interested in signing up, I was conflicted about taking the training. Part of me was saying that the universe was gifting me with the opportunity to take this training, but the other part of me was thinking about all of the projects that I could tackle if I was home alone for a weekend!
The day the training was to start, my inner voice told me that I should take the opportunity to attend the training. However, when I went to sign up online, I found out that the training was full!
DRAT! I had waited to0 long to sign-up. (The lesson here is that, when you feel compelled to do something, you should seize the moment.)
Persistance and Timing
For the first few moments learning the certification was full, I took the news as a sign that the universe didn’t feel that I should participate in this training.
But, then my inner voice returned, and I couldn’t release this feeling that I should keep trying to sign up.
So, I called the store. They verified that the class was full and stated that I was on the waiting list. If someone dropped out, they would call me. (I felt that it was unlikely that someone would drop out at that point because the training was that night.)
Refusing to give up, I emailed the instructor teaching the class to ask if I could possibly be added. It was my lucky day! She promptly responded saying that, while it was full, I could join the class if I felt that this was the time that I should take the class. She believed in divine timing. I was grateful to the teacher, and I was in! Thank you universal timing!
So What is the Level 1 Reiki Certification?
Level 1 Certification is an introductory course, generally open to anyone who is interested in learning reiki. In essence, the course introduces participants to this universal life force that channels through all of us. It also teaches us how and why this energy is effective in healing. Most often, participants receive an overview of the history of the method, along with knowledge pertaining to specific hand placements for practicing on yourself and others. The hand positions essentially align to the chakras (energy centers) of the body.
Participants who want to pursue additional trainings can pursue a Level 2 and/or 3 certifications.
To learn more about reiki, visit some of these sites:
- The International Center for Reiki Training
- Newsweek’s article on The Healing Power of Reiki
- International Association of Reiki Professionals
What happened at the training?
True to the description, I learned about the history of reiki. I learned how to perform it on myself. I also learned how to do a treatment to a supine or seated participant.
Furthermore, I received two reiki attunements.
Part of the level 1 training involves reiki attunements.
I must admit, before taking the certification, I did not have any knowledge of these attunements. I didn’t know what they were or how they were done.
However, on the first night of the training, the instructor explained that learning reiki is different than learning many other modalities. Instead of studying the material and taking a test, as you would when learning other information or techniques, you receive the gift of reiki through the master instructor.
I must also admit that when I first saw the attunement process, I thought it was a little odd. The room was dimly lit. Each trainee took turns sitting in a chair, and the teacher performed a ritual that involved bowing, circling, etc. the participant.
But, I will admit that it was a powerful experience. The energy in the room was intense. I even started to unexpectedly cry at one point.
Reiki.org explains that the Reiki attunement “is a powerful spiritual experience.”
My instructor explained that the reiki attunement starts a “21 day cleanse.” However, this attunement cleanse is much different than the type of cleanse that you may personally know. The reiki attunement is a cleansing process that “cleans” the energy in your body. It can impact the physical body and the emotions by enabling the removal of toxins that have been “stuck” in the body. These toxins can have many forms, including the release of thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you.
In addition, “the attunement can also increase psychic sensitivity. Students often report experiences involving: opening of the third eye, increased intuitive awareness, and other psychic abilities after receiving a Reiki attunement.”
I am now about 17 days into my cleanse. While I can’t admit that I feel like I have released all my toxins, and I am not yet personally seeing auras, or experiencing any other noticeably new psychic gifts, some things did shift after my reiki attunement!
While I initially expected the attunement to yield positive results immediately, I found that my initial results were not positive!
For the first two weeks, I felt overly overly sensitive. I didn’t have my same energy level.
What was going on? Have I opened up some Pandora’s box that I won’t be able to shut?
Luckily, a “Google investigations” yielded some comforting answers. A reiki website said that the effects of an attunement can be compared to those encountered when cleaning a dusty house. That is, when you first start to clean, the dust can fly around and make you cough and sneeze. However, after some time, the dust settles, and you have a cleaner house!
So I am confident that, by the end of this process, I will be energetically “unclogged.” I am hopeful that the flow of energy in me will be improved. Additionally, I hope that I am able to be an conduit of positive energy for friends and family, if needed.
Stories that Opened my Mind
Personally, after attending the training, I believe that reiki has real benefits.
Not only did I hear stories at the training, I heard stories after the training when I told people that I had attended.
The instructor and participants in the class told stories about medical aliments, from a chronic limp to cancer, that were resolved after reiki treatments. Students at my studio shared stories about having a reiki treatment lower their blood pressure or relieve chronic pain.
I also learned that many in the medical community are now acknowledging the healing power of reiki. For instance, the nurses who attended the training received CEUs for it. (Yoga instructors like me also received continuing education credits for attending.)
Furthermore, I also learned that many area hospitals are using it as part of their treatments after one woman from the training spoke of receiving reiki after waking up from surgery at a Boston area hospital. (Curious about this, I did my own research. I found that more than 60 U.S. hospitals use Reiki as part of patient services. Additionally, more than 800 hospitals offer reiki education to patients. Other hospitals, like Boston Childrens’ Hospital, offer reiki education classes to interested parents.
Using Reiki on Animals, Situations, etc.
Before the training, I had no idea that reiki didn’t have to only be used on people. I also didn’t know that seasoned practitioners can sometimes send it without using their hands. In fact, learned that reiki could be used on a person, animal situation, object, etc! (I thought that this was SO fascinating!)
For instance, a surgical technician admitted that she sometimes performed it on the surgical instruments before surgery. She hoped to send positive energy into the tools being used to heal the patient through the practice.
The teacher who led the training, who was a nurse, told us how she sometimes gives it through her eyes when working with patients undergoing stressful situations.
Another woman said that she knew of people who primarily performed it on pets.
if you are interested in learning more about this healing method, I would highly recommend enrolling in a reiki level 1 certification. Or, I would suggest looking for a qualified practitioner who is local to you if you feel like you could benefit from a healing session.
For me personally, the experience reminded me of the importance of listening to the universal voice that speaks to you. In other words, when it talks to you, be sure to listen. It is almost always helping you to do or know something for your greater good!
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