Reiki is a popular Japanese relaxation technique and spiritual practice that is also considered a form of alternative medicine. Using the palms of their hands, Reiki practitioners channel healing energy into the bodies of their clients; this energy can help the client recover from illness or injury, and promote a healthy and positive state of mind.
Reiki and the philosophy behind it have been highly influenced by the five commandments of Buddhism: prohibitions against murder, theft, sexual misconduct, dishonesty, and drunkenness. This influence can easily be seen in the Five Reiki Precepts developed by Mikao Usui, the developer of Reiki. The Precepts are: do not be angry, do not worry, be grateful, be diligent in work, and treat others with kindness.
The two major types of modern Reiki are Western Reiki and Traditional Japanese Reiki. The Japanese system uses more complex hand positions than those found in Western Reiki, and typically uses a wider variety of positions as well. Western Reiki entered North America through Hawaii, and places a greater emphasis on using energy to heal diseases and injuries.
Reiki training is available to anyone. Both the Japanese and Western schools divide this training into three levels of increasing complexity. The first degree may often be completed in as few as two days, by the end of which the trainee will be able to heal themselves and other using energy flowing through the palms of their hands. The second degree of training includes techniques used to intensify the flow of energy through the palms, and to increase the distance that energy may travel. Those who have completed the second stage of training claim to be able to practice “distant healing,” meaning healing over great distances. The second degree is much more difficult to obtain than the first, and frequently takes over ten years to master. The third degree may also be called “master training”. Most Reiki practitioners never attain third degree status, which qualifies those who hold it to train others in Reiki and to teach all three degrees of Reiki practice.
Although there are currently no scientific studies that have conclusively proven or disproven the claims of Reiki practitioners, Reiki treatments have become increasingly popular over the past thirty years. Devotees believe that Reiki treats the human being on many levels simultaneously, and addresses their physical needs, emotions, spiritual state, and psychological condition.
Due to the current lack of empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of Reiki treatments, practitioners frequently advise their clients to consult a medical doctor in conjunction with their Reiki sessions. Practitioners regard Reiki as being compatible with all forms of western medicine, and no harmful health effects have been shown to result from these energy treatments.