What Is Reiki? Here's My Take On It After 20+ Years

Even I didn’t know what Reiki was when I first decided I had to learn it. It was the early 90s and I was training in holistic therapies. I’d read an article on it in Natural Health magazine, but they didn’t even explain what Reiki was! Proportionately, far more people have experienced Reiki and even trained in it now. But even those who have had a Reiki treatment are often hard pushed to explain it if asked, ‘What Is Reiki?’

The word Reiki has two different meanings or associations.

  1. Reiki is a Japanese term meaning Universal Life Force Energy.
  2. Reiki is also the name given to a specific school or system of learning healing.

What Is Reiki Healing?

The practice of Reiki is fundamentally a form of hands on/off healing.

It very much depends on the practitioner you see. Some will work just above the body (in the aura). Others will have physical contact by placing their hands gently on your body (although never in the bikini area). Other practitioners will do a mixture of the two. (They should check with you, but you can always request hands-off if you feel more comfortable.)

Is Reiki Different To Other Forms Of Healing?

Personally I don’t think so. But others might disagree with me.

I’ve had lots of ‘healing’ over the years from those trained by the NFSH (National Federation of Spiritual Healers), Reiki practitioners, natural (never had any formal training) healers, and others. It all feels like the same stuff to me. It might be taught differently. Some healers may have a more conscious awareness and control, have been practising longer, or have a greater ability to channel larger amounts of energy.

But I believe it’s all the same energy, coming from the same place.

I believe healing is about tapping into this universal pool of invisible energy that runs through everything and channelling it to help other re-balance and re-energise themselves.

I believe healing energy to be the same essence as pure unconditional love.

The Technical Side Of Reiki

I say this very tongue in cheek, as it really isn’t technical. And it actually doesn’t matter how it works, or whether the healer or recipient understand know how it works. Plus, of course, no-one really knows how it works do they? So this is my take on it from many years of experience in giving, receiving and teaching Reiki.

I believe universal energy is always running through us, to a greater or lesser degree. But when someone ‘gives’ healing, whether they call it Reiki or something else, they consciously channel it to that person. This helps the recipient to re-balance and re-energise their own flow of energy and their connection to universal energy.

The theory is that we can pull universal energy in through our crown chakra and channel it out through the smaller chakras in our palms (and for some, the soles of the feet).

Sympathetic Resonance

Another way that I believe it to work is that when we are attuned to, or aligned with universal energy, and work with it on a regular basis, it affects and changes our own energy vibration. We become brighter, more balanced, more whole, and generally healthier on all levels; mentally, emotionally, in our bodies, and spiritually. Then, when we are near people who need to improve their own energy levels, our frequency, or vibration encourages theirs to alter to a more positive one. We bring them up to speed, so to speak.

This may sound weird, but it’s based on something called ‘sympathetic resonance’. For example, if you have two violins next to each other and you were to pluck one string on the first, eventually the same string on the other violin would also begin to vibrate. It’s as though the energetic or sound waves (ripples if you like) created from the first reach and affect the second.

I’m sure you know someone who, when you spend time with them, you ‘catch’ their enthusiasm; or conversely, someone who brings you down? I believe this to be a similar phenomenon.

Ultimately Reiki is pure life force energy, pure unconditional love. It runs through us all. We are a part of it, and it is a part of us. When we can consciously connect and work with it we can change our own vibrations, and our own lives, and we can help others to do the same.

I have always thought of Reiki as ‘A Ray of Light, and The Key To Life.’

If it sounds like something you’d like to have in your life, and you’d like to know more I’d love to share more about this wonderful gift with you. There are more articles on the subject and you can always take a look here to find out about my Reiki courses, both in person and online.

(Original post 26th August 2015. updated 13th March 2021)

Helen Leathers

Transformational Women's Coach, Trainer, Speaker & Author

Combining a spiritual outlook, a pragmatic approach, and a sense of humour I want to help you remember who YOU are and reveal YOUR path so you can step on to it empowered, energised, inspired and guided.

What are your thoughts or questions? Let me know below


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