Those who approach Len about the
Usui Method of 'Reiki' Healing are given a few minutes of light healing touch before being instructed in this method of self-development.
The first level is freely given.
There-after, students have to earn other levels
through disciplined practice and meditation. Each student is instructed/taught according to his nature, dedication, and accomplishment. Usui’s philosophy was non-dualist, and he stressed open unfolding through regular practice of techniques which included
the use of symbols in ways reminiscent of Taoist talismanic healing images. His teaching was a system of practice; any physical/emotional, or mental healing that might occur is seen as a natural by-product.
USUI SHIKI RYOHO 'his own' INSTRUCTION/TRAINING
USUI SHIKI RYOHO or in simple terms 'Reiki' is practiced at three degrees.
level having a defined scope of practice.
At the core of the instruction/training, and unique to this practice,
is a series of initiations, also called empowerments or attunements, which connect the student to the increased vibrations of the vibrations of the energy centres (Chakras) and the primordial consciousness, the intelligence that permeates creation, maintaining
life-sustaining functions and directing complex cellular processes and the sub-consciousness.
This connection is
believed then to be available at any time, regardless the student’s health, mental state or intention.
is viewed as the foundational practice for all levels. 'Reiki' practice is considered self revealing, and students are not taught 'Reiki' as much as they are instructed/taught how to be curious and to understand the connection to the system of 'Reiki'.
Initiation (Attunement) at each level marks the beginning of study at that level, not the culmination of learning.
First degree USUI SHIKI RYOHO 'Reiki' is easily understood/learned and appropriate for students of any age after puberty or state of health who have the desire to practice.
First degree students are able to treat themselves and others using light, non-manipulative touch to precipitate a cascade of healing vibration. The effectiveness of the treatment and the recipient’s ability to discern
the energy do not seem to be related. It is advisable to practice a minimum of 3 months or for as long as the recognition of an awareness of peacefulness a sense of Calm before the practitioner proceeding to Second degree.
But it is not necessary to proceed to the next level as at the sesond degree is a step towards a professional level.
Second degree practitioners are trained
in the use of specific symbols and their associated harmonizing vibrations to access 'Reiki' mentally for distant healing.
First and Second degree instruction/training may require 8 to 12 hours of class time each and instructed/taught to groups, although private instruction is available.
There are 4 initiations in First degree, and 2 initiations for level 2.
At all levels, Reiki develops through committed practice.
It is not necessary, nor is it advisable,
to take higher initiations to improve one’s practice. The reason to study another level is to acquire that particular skill—distant healing at Second degree, or instruction/teaching and initiation at the master level.
At any level, students can only advance through diligent self-treatment. In this way, Reiki masters have not mastered Reiki; they are simply students
who feel called to teach, and who continue to learn through teaching.
True mastery, in
the sense of Usui, Hayashi, and Takata, is not just a matter of receiving an initiation, but rather a life committed to practice with the increased vibration of your living energys Chakras.
Practicing Reiki for 3 to 10 years creates a reasonable foundation for teaching. Master training is an apprenticeship of at least a year.
When instructing/ teaching at any level, it is the Teachers/Master’s responsibility to consider any unusual circumstances and use his or her discretion in customizing
the training to fit the individual.
'Reiki' is instructed/ learned through direct transmission from a Teacher/Master
and cannot be learned from a book. None of the traditional levels include training in either professional treatment or the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship.
However, many students have not received such thorough training.
today, it is common for new students to receive less than a weekend of training and leave with the misguided impression they are now 'Reiki' Masters.
" Healing brings fundamental healing by helping us to become part of the universal consciousness, while energy healing centers around removing the symptoms of psychic/emotional body disorders.” Advanced practitioners of biofield Energy Therapies, including 'Reiki', conceptualize the biofield as a continuum from the vibrational, at the deepest and subtlest level, to the bioenergetic, closer to the physical realm.
While this distinction has not been scientifically tested, it is important within the system of complementary therapies and healing
and essential to the theory behind Reiki, as will be discussed below. The term Reiki refers to both the healing system and the vibrations accessed.
Nearly all 'Reiki' practitioners outside of Japan today trace their lineage to the some of the 22 trained as masters trained by Takata. There are also two other teachers, Hiroshi Doi and Premaratna, who offer disciplined practices
descended from Usui and Hayashi.
Useing the term 'Reiki' to refer to the traditional technique as taught by Takata,
unless otherwise specified. In accordance with the philosophy of Asian spiritual practices in which the practitioner is always seen as a student of the system and a “master” properly thinks of himself as a “master student,” I use the
terms “practitioner” and “student” interchangeably.
TRADITIONAL 'REIKI' TREATMENTS
Hands-on treatments are offered through light touch on a fully clothed recipient seated in a chair or reclining on a treatment
table. A quiet setting conducive to relaxation is desirable but not a necessity,
A full treatment typically includes
placing hands on 12 positions on the head, and on the front and back of the torso. Hands can also be placed directly on the site of injury or pain if desired, but the technique is neither symptom nor pathology specific. When even light touch is contraindicated,
as in the presence of lesions, the hands can hover inches off the body. A session can be as short or as long as needed, with full treatments typically lasting 45 to
75 minutes. The receiver need not be conscious and Reiki can be offered during surgery.
The practice of Reiki is
primarily passive, embodying the Asian philosophy of non-action.
The Offering of Reiki is refreshing to the practitioner
as well as the recipient.
Practitioners believe Reiki has the potential to rebalance the biofield
at the deepest emotional vibrational level, thereby removing the subtle causes of illness or dis-easewhile enhancing overall resilience. Because Reiki is a holistic
modality that supports overall healing and well-being, it is not possible to predict how quickly specific symptoms may respond. Generally, in addressing chronic conditions, a minimum of 4 complete treatments is advised before evaluating clinical benefit.
Although there are several professional organizations for Reiki masters, there has been no practical
method developed to examine the alleged connection.
It is important to note that no certificate conveys reliable information about quality of training. Thus, it is useful to include a number of factors when considering a Reiki practitioner’s
credentials, such as consistency of self-treatment, extent of clinical practice, and length of time between training at different levels.
There is no agreed upon theory for how Reiki might work, and
its mechanism of action is still unknown.
For this reason, Reiki is subject to the criticism leveled at other C.A.M
modalities by skeptics: it cannot be efficacious because it lacks a known biological mechanism of action. Implicit in this view is the belief that C.A.M claims will be proven to be ‘true’ or ‘false’ on the basis of present scientific
knowledge, and that “the acceptance of any theoretically implausible claims would require the abandonment of current scientific knowledge.” This of course ends all inquiry before it begins, leaving no room for making connections between theories
underlying energy healing practices such as Reiki, Therapeutic touch, or Qi gong, and those emerging in various branches of the conventional sciences.
The concepts underlying energy therapies such as Reiki have theoretical commonalities with a variety of models in physics, none of which have been experimentally linked with medicine or clinical outcomes. Models in bioelectromagnetism,
quantum physics, and super string theory are consistent with Asian scripture in suggesting that very subtle vibration may be the substratum of reality as we know it, and therefore such vibration may have a role to play in health and disease. For example, Jan
Walleczek and Abe Liboff in the field of bioelectromagnetism offer credible scientific support for the potential role of the forces of subtle bioelectromagnetic fields in physiological processes. Walleczek in particular has convincingly demonstrated that subtle
magnetic fields can have measurable interactions with biological systems in the area of redox potential and hydroxylation reactions. Although this area of research is in its early stages, these connections suggest that the theoretical underpinnings of Reiki
and other energy therapies may not be in direct contradiction to scientific models.
Vibrations associated with the
system of Reiki are understood to be drawn through the practitioner according to the recipient’s need, within the ability of the practitioner to carry the vibration even though many claim the the system is Spiritual.
Beginning students often find it difficult to grasp that non-doing can be so effective. The flow of Reiki is believed to increase as the practitioner
becomes inwardly more still, an understanding acquired only through prolonged practice. The fact that the vibrational flow is drawn by the recipient allows for great flexibility and ease of delivery. While a practitioner’s ability to be a conduit for
the vibrations may vary. Reiki’s self-regulatory mechanism precludes “overdosing”—even a dry sponge only absorbs to saturation. Experienced practitioners claim to notice when the healing vibrational flow decreases, at which time they
move to the next hand placement or in some cases are guided. Recipients often sense a vibrational flow, sometimes feeling heat or coolness, or waves of relaxation throughout their body, or in specific areas that
may or may not correspond to where the practitioner’s hands are placed. Such experiences may be evidence of a subtle entrainment effect, similar to that of sound healing, whereby Reiki vibrations attune the recipient’s biofield to greater harmony.
Reiki is believed to rebalance the biofield, thus strengthening the body’s ability to heal and increasing systemic resistance
to stress. It appears to reduce stress and stimulate self-healing by relaxation and perhaps by resetting the resting tone of the autonomic nervous system. Proponents of Reiki believe this might lead to enhancement of immune system function and increased endorphin
There are 3 tiers of Reiki practice:
• Individuals who use Reiki for themselves, family, and friends;
• Licensed or unlicensed health care professionals either offering full Reiki treatment or combining Reiki with other modalities (such as a massage therapist starting/ending
treatment with a few minutes of Reiki, or a physician using Reiki to ease the discomfort of an examination);
• Hospital-affiliated and community-based programs offering Reiki treatment or training.
Reiki appears to be an effective stress reduction technique that easily integrates into conventional medicine because it involves neither the use of substances nor manipulative touch that might be contraindicated or carry unknown risks, and because
the protocol for Reiki treatment is flexible, adapting to both the need of the patient and of the medical circumstances. Reiki can be used to support conventional medical interventions. In addition, when used on a conscious patient, the experience is relaxing
and pleasant, increasing patient comfort, enhancing relationships with caregivers, and possibly reducing side effects of procedures and medications. Staff report they enjoy giving Reiki treatments. Caregivers who routinely have to hurt patients in order administer
needed medical care express gratitude for a tool that minimizes patient discomfort and quickly soothes distressed children. There is limited but promising preliminary research evidence for the use of Reiki.
INTRODUCING REIKI INTO CLINICAL PROGRAMS AND HOSPITALS
Even in the absence of a large body of standardized research, clinicians and hospital administrators are including Reiki into patient care. With this in mind, we outline some of
the challenges and issues that are being faced. There are 3 avenues through which Reiki is being incorporated into conventional medical care:
• Medical personnel are learning First degree Reiki, using it for self-care, and integrating comforting touch into routine medical care;
• Reiki practitioners are offering treatment to patients and staff;
• Although Hospital-based education programs are training patients, family members and caregivers in First degree Reiki. It is a challenge to locate and identify Reiki
practitioners who have the training, clinical experience, and professionalism necessary to be part of a health care team.
There is currently no licensing for Reiki, nor, given its diversity and apparent low-risk, is there likely to be.
The first step when bringing Reiki into clinical settings is the decision to offer treatment or training or both. A competent Reiki Master is needed if Reiki training offered, and a traditionally trained Reiki master who has taken training over several
years and has additional years of clinical experience is best equipped to set up or supervise a program. A First or Second degree practitioner who has adequate training and clinical experience, who values integrative medical collaboration, and who has references
from medical practitioners is qualified to give treatment. An otherwise qualified Reiki practitioner may need guidance on how to work in a medical rather than a private practice environment. Once expectations are
communicated and agreed upon, there may be advantages to using non-medical Reiki practitioners rather than Reiki trained medical professionals when offering Reiki to patients. Integrative medicine calls for the incorporation into medical settings of dedicated
and experienced lay C.A.M practitioners even when their particular expertise lies outside the conventional academic paradigm. There are no professional standards in the practice of Reiki and therefore certificates have little meaning. Discussion of the following
questions can be useful when evaluating a practitioner’s expertise and appropriateness for collaboration in a medical setting:
1. When did you complete each level of training and how many hours of training did you receive at each level?
2. Do you practice daily self-treatment?
3. What clinical experience have you had since your training?
4. How do you describe Reiki?
5. How would you respond to questions about the meaning of various sensations a recipient might have during or after treatment?
6. How do you feel during and after giving treatment?
7. What role do you see yourself
playing as part of an interdisciplinary health care team?
The standard of care should be followed for any patient
who is receiving Reiki therapy in a clinical setting, including close monitoring of medications. Individuals with diabetes, in particular, have been reported to require less medication once beginning treatment. Outpatients with HIV/AIDS have been able to reduce
psychiatric medications under medical supervision when using Reiki self-treatment. It is of interest that people with HIV/AIDS also report greater openness to availing themselves of the benefits of conventional pharmaceutical treatment and increased ease of
compliance after using Reiki self-treatment.
STATE OF THE RESEARCH LITERATURE ON REIKI
The preponderance of Reiki studies reported in
the literature to date consists of a limited number of case reports, descriptive studies, or randomized controlled studies conducted with a small number of patients. This is in keeping with much of the current research on complementary therapies. For example,
reviewed C.A.M studies from 11 American Medical Association journals, and found that one third of the studies were traditional or narrative reviews and one fifth were randomized, controlled trials. Although few of the published studies of Reiki are randomized
controlled trials, it is important to review this literature in order to understand the context of current practice patterns of Reiki and to plan future research from health services research to randomized controlled trials. Because of parallels between Reiki,
Therapeutic Touch, and distant healing such as intercessory prayer, these modalities have sometimes been studied together, further confounding the ability to evaluate the separate effects of these therapies.