You may have heard of a Japanese massage technique called Shiatsu, which uses finger pressure on acupuncture points to achieve a similar effect; the Japanese adopted the Chinese view of the body's energy system. You will probably have heard of Tai Chi (or maybe Chi Kung/QiGong), a graceful system of exercises that are designed to build up, or cultivate, your personal reserves of this energy, and the graceful movements that you make serve to circulate this energy smoothly throughout your body, breaking down any blockages and bringing things into balance on all levels. The energy is seen as animating all living things.
When we move from China to India, the same energy is referred to as prana, and breathing exercises and yoga techniques have been developed to again bring your energy system into balance. In India they do not think in terms of meridians, but of chakras: energy centers running the length of your body from the crown of your head to the base of your spine, seven main ones and further subsidiary ones in other locations.
The intention with all these energy techniques is that if you can harmonize your energy system, you are putting your body in the best possible position to heal itself on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In fact, the Chinese view is that chi not only flows through your body, but surrounds and engulfs you, too.
For example, feng shui has been developed as a way of arranging your living environment to allow for the smooth flow of chi around you, eliminating areas where stagnant chi might accumulate, for example.
Reiki seems to deal with this same energy, to an extent.
What is Reiki?
The practice of Reiki is believed to come from ancient texts rediscovered and developed by Mikao Usui in Japan early last century. The Japanese word Reiki means 'Universal Energy'. Eastern medicine has always recognized and worked with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to the well-being of life. The energy is known as 'ki' in Japan, 'chi' in China, and 'prana' in India. Acupuncture, tai chi and yoga are also based on the free-flow of this energy in a person. As a therapy, Reiki is an effective and simple way of tapping into this energy, and transferring it for the benefit of the receiver, to stimulate the body's own natural healing potential.
What are the Benefits?
The energy of Reiki can be used to great effect in many ways. Whether one is suffering from stress or tension, and the many symptoms associated with this, or wishing to improve the quality of relationships at home or work, the beneficial effects of Reiki occur on many levels. Reiki can accelerate the healing of physical problems, balance the emotions, and free us from restrictive mental attitudes. It may also provide a closer connection with inner wisdom.
Reiki encourages and supports positive personal change such as improving the diet, having more rest, exercise or leisure time, and may reduce the need for alcohol and tobacco. Reiki can allow us to respond more calmly to all events, and build on a more resourceful state of being. Reiki is a gentle energy and may be used safely by all ages, including the newborn, pregnant mothers, surgical patients, the frail and the elderly, regardless of their state of health. Reiki can enhance everyday life, and regular sessions help to ward-off illness and fatigue.
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that can be used without fear of any side-effects or overdose. It may be used with confidence alongside conventional medication or natural remedies because it acts in a complementary way. Reiki is being used in GP surgeries, hospices, cancer support groups, post-operative recovery, drug rehabilitation, prisons, HIV / AIDS centers, and care of the elderly.
What Happens During A Session?
A session is usually carried out with the client lying down or sitting, in a comfortable and peaceful environment. There is no need to remove any clothing. The practitioner places their hands gently, in a series of positions, on or over the body. The client's system automatically draws in only as much Reiki as is needed, using it in whatever way is most appropriate at the time. Reiki may be felt as a flow of energy, mild tingling, warmth, coolness, other sensations, or nothing at all. Reiki is deeply relaxing, eases stress, and has a calming effect. Treatment is enhanced if one can rest for a while afterwards and drink plenty of water to help the body detox. Be responsive to the needs of your body, eg resting if tired, and allow the energy to continue its work after the session ends. The beneficial effects may be felt for several days.
How Often Do I Need To Have A Treatment?
Although even one Reiki session can make a difference, it is usually more effective to have a course of regular treatments. This may be weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the needs of the individual. A treatment plan will be discussed with you, and reviewed as necessary. This will always be subject to your own preferences, and can be changed at any time according to progress.
Reiki does not take the place of conventional medicine. Always consult a GP for an acute or infectious condition, and problems of urgent concern. Reiki is a complementary therapy that works effectively alongside orthodox healthcare, so expanding treatment options.
Can anyone learn Reiki?
The ability to channel Reiki cannot be learnt from a book or by instruction. To be able to receive Reiki, students go through a special initiation which 'attunes' them to the Reiki energy. Over time this connection is improved through practice, and by actually using the Reiki energy on themselves - typical known as 'self treatment'. It is considered essential to treat oneself with Reiki, and indeed many people use it exclusively for reasons of personal development, healthcare and stress-management.
An initiation/attunement can only be performed by a Reiki Master (teacher). It is felt that this process harmonizes a person with the Reiki energy so they can receive and pass it on to others. This process is not exclusive, anyone can be attuned/initiated to Reiki regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs. Additional stages of attunements/initiations and the use of the Reiki symbols, further enhance the practitioner's ability to utilize the Reiki energy, focusing it for specific purposes.
What are the symbols?
The Reiki symbols are devices used by Reiki practitioners who have been attuned to use them, to focus their intent for specific uses and are an integral part of the attunement/initiation process. The Reiki symbols are held to be dear and sacrosanct and may vary across the different styles of Reiki.
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