Reiki comes from Japan, and loosely translated it means “universal life energy”.
In the West, the early leaders of modern medicine like Galen and Paracelsus called this the “vital force.” The vital force is that special something that makes us alive. It isn’t well defined by purely scientific terms as yet. Western medicine has not studied subtle energy, life force or mind-body therapies until recently. In many places this type of natural, medication-free healing was dismissed as pseudoscience “faith” healing before it was studied at all.
In recent decades, however, modern medicine has once again accepted the mind-body connection. Reiki intersects with mainstream medicine through the way it quickly reduces stress. From a Western perspective, Reiki can improve health by reducing stress and all the detrimental effects stress can create.
There is a long history of using life energy for health and healing in Asian cultures. The idea of energy medicine is much more common and accepted there. Accupuncture and Tai Chi from China are examples. (Ki in Japanese is the same as Chi in Chinese). Indian Ayurvedic medicine and yoga give us both prana and the chakra system both of which describe life-energy.
Reiki in particular was developed in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui. Reiki is now taught around the world, and there are many different styles that have developed over the years. I studied Traditional Usui style under Reiki Master Tom Beardshaw.
The various styles have different ideas about how Reiki came to be and some of the details about how it should be practiced, but the essential core of energy-health is the same for everyone. Basically, a Reiki practitioner acts as a conduit, or a focusing lens. A Reiki session is simply a method of improving the connection to the natural “vital force” energy that you already have simply by being alive. The practitioner does not add anything new, and does not control or change anything in your body. It isn’t fast or dramatic or a miracle cure of any kind. The Reiki session only balances, supports and strengthens your own, natural, pre-existing ability to heal. Our most advanced scientific medicine and the most ancient healing techniques agree on one thing. All healing comes from within. The living being heals itself. The only difference is the way we help that inner healing along.
Think of it like an Internet connection. Most of us are born with a clear, broadband connection to universal life energy. Through age, illness, injury, lifestyle – all sorts of things – the connection slows down. In times of illness or inury we go from 5G broadband to an 80s style dial-up modem. Reiki doesn’t directly heal or do miracles. Changing your Internet provider doesn’t change your computer files, it can’t keep the central processor from crashing. BUT Reiki does improve the connection. It puts your natural connection with universal life energy back on broadband – or as close as possible. It helps your normal inner healing be the best it can be – on emotional and spiritual levels as well as physical ones.
The connection to the energy can be helped from the physical side with a hands-on session or it can be helped from the energy side through a distance session. Mental/emotional part of you can reach out to Reiki energy for stress relief, or the Reiki energy can reach out to you to help relieve stress. Reiki practitioners are trained to help form the connections, no matter which way the reaching out begins. It is hard for us to get our mind around, but the connection is just as strong, just as effective both ways. It doesn’t matter who reaches out for a handshake first, as long as the handshake happens.
When we do a hands-on session, many practitioners will enhance the session with aromatherapy or music. As I see it, “Sending Stones” is the same kind of enhancement for a distance session. It doesn’t change the energy or the essential benefits of the Reiki session, but scent, music or crystals can help us find the right frame of mind for Reiki to do its best work.