If you believe in the power of healing hands then this complementary therapy could leave you feeling physically and mentally uplifted. Whether you buy into it or dismiss it, find out the facts right here.
What is it?
Reiki is a Japanese word. It means universal life energy. Reiki practitioners believe such energy is all around us, with natural healing properties, and can be harnessed to improve physical, mental and spiritual health. The practice is based on ancient teachings, passed down from Reiki Masters to their students.
Reiki takes a holistic approach to healing. This means it doesn't target a specific illness or condition, but the individual as a whole.
How does it work?
Having discussed your health issues and/or emotional concerns, a trained Reiki master will ask you to lie down and relax. There is no need to remove any clothing, as Reiki practitioners believe that universal life energy can move freely though any garments. Once you are comfortable, they begin the session, which involves placing their hands upon your body in certain positions and 'redirecting' channels of energy. A session can last from an hour to 90 minutes.
What are the benefits?
Reiki specialists believe that any condition or illness or injury can be successfully treated. The results, they claim, are reduced stress and an increased quality of life and general wellbeing.
I can see how people might regard it as airy fairy, but I found it very helpful when I sought treatment for stomach pains.
Where's the proof?
Plenty of studies have been carried out, but much depends on the nature of the research. Empirical studies, based on experience and testimonials, claim there is a definitive link between Reiki and an improvement in wellbeing. Scientific studies demand hard evidence, and here the search continues. Either way, many people claim it works for them, and so long as it's carried out by a trained Reiki therapist it's considered to be safe.
Reiki from the NHS is now available, in a limited capacity, while private treatment can cost between £30 - £45 per session. Talk to your GP about NHS treatment, or check out the website for The Reiki Association which lists a number of independent practitioners.
Case study - Luisa, 17
I really liked reiki! I can see how people might regard it as airy fairy, but I found it very helpful when I sought treatment for stomach pains. Firstly, the therapist got me to breathe slowly and used a few relaxation techniques. Then she went from head to toe, placing her hands on my body and paying special attention to my areas of pain. It's meant to be hands-on healing, which removed any energy blocks that I had. After this, I actually went on to learn the first degree of the technique. I've used it on friends and they have found it helpful in the past as well.
If you're considering a complementary treatment or therapy for any medical condition, always consult your doctor (GP) first. This is to make sure it doesn't conflict with any existing course of treatment you may be taking, and also to check it won't have a negative impact on your health.
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