Reiki is a hands-on form of healing that uses subtle energy that is available to all of us. “Rei” is the Japanese Kanji for “spirit” and “Ki” means “life force energy”.

Reiki is a gentle yet powerful healing practice that uses this “universal life force energy”. It is not a religion or voodoo. It can benefit anyone. regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. Reiki utilizes our body’s innate ability to heal itself. Reiki can heal on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.

A Reiki session consists of a trained Reiki Practitioner placing his/her hands in various positions on the body that correspond to energy fields. Interestingly, these energy fields overlap with our major endocrine glands.

The patient receives healing energy through this process which typically lasts between 30-60 minutes. The person receiving Reiki may notice they are very relaxed, and even fall asleep. Some people may experience emotions, physical sensations, or visual images.

Reiki is very gentle, but can be done hands-off for patients with painful medical conditions.  This may sound a little “out there” to some of you.  I was once a skeptic too!  Let’s look at some of the scientific evidence that is being gathered on Reiki.

Reiki has been shown to be effective in reducing restlessness and morning cortisol (stress hormone) levels in nursing home patients with dementia. This means that the patient is calmer and easier to care for.  One double blind study showed that it is effective for decreasing pain, depression and anxiety in chronically ill patients.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, a renowned (and now celebrity) cardiovascular surgeon started allowing Reiki to be performed in his operating room during heart transplantations in the 1990’s. He noted that Reiki reduced post-operative pain, weakness and depression.  Patients receiving Reiki pre and post surgery require less pain medications and have shorter hospital stays.  Reiki is also used in many cancer centers as it reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital in Boston both offer Reiki to their patients.

Reiki during pregnancy reduces anxiety, nausea and pain and improves sleep. During labor and delivery it eases pain and anxiety. Reiki is being used in the hospice and palliative care settings.  It has been proven useful for relieving stress, depression and reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The National Institutes of Health is studying the effects of Reiki on painful neuropathy, cardiovascular risk factors, advanced HIV disease and prostate cancer.

Today the field of Energy Medicine is expanding and science is beginning to understand and explain the human energy system. Reiki is a very simply yet powerful form of energy healing. Reiki is a tool to be used in conjunction with traditional medical practice but not to replace it. Mostly, it’s very relaxing and feels good. So, go out and try it for yourself!

Helen Chin Lui, Certified Reflexologist (Foot, Hand, Weight Management, Fertility and Pediatric), Certified Energy Medicine Practitioner and Reiki Practitioner. Owner of the Healing Place, Medfield, MA

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